The Mermaids Melt at Dawn spins several yarns into a mythical story that combines many different genres. What was the initial idea behind this book and how did it change as you wrote?
When I started writing The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, I was inspired to begin the story like an old fairy tale. I also wanted the story to be somewhat tethered to reality, especially in the beginning, so I combined my passion for vintage fairy tales and historical fiction. Rok, a Cajun boy growing up on the bayou in the 1800s, was the first character to enter my imagination, and from there, the story transformed into a nautical adventure to Barbiche Island. I have always been fascinated by mermaids and Greek Mythology, so I decided to add a flair of mythology as well.
I am drawn to stories where humans, gods, and creatures coexist. I think there is something incredible about Rok, a real human, witnessing the mermaids of Barbiche Island. Rok lifted the veil between reality and fantasy and tasted the magic that humans so often dream about. As I wrote The Mermaids Melt at Dawn, I tried to capture the magic sensation we feel when we see the first snowflakes of winter or when we catch the first wave in the ocean.
Yarn 8 is my favorite from the book. Do you have a favorite yarn?
As I created different yarns and characters, I was curious to see which ones readers would enjoy the most. Based on the feedback I’ve received so far, Yarn 8/The Curse of Rhodanthea is a fan favorite and the most treasured yarn. Yarn 8 happens to be my favorite yarn as well. Of all the characters, I think Rhodanthea embodies a beautiful brokenness and a humble strength. For me, she is the perfect blend of human, god, and creature features. My second favorite yarns are Yarn 7/The Maiden and The Lyre and Yarn 9/The Rot Spine Monster. I had so much fun writing them, and they brought back fond memories of reading Greek Mythology as a child.
Each yarn seemed to focus on a different theme or had its own feeling. What were some emotions or feelings you wanted to capture in your stories?
Each yarn captures different emotions, moods, and personalities. Much like vintage fairy tales, each character can represent the light and dark aspects of ourselves. The Mermaids Melt at Dawn illuminates common archetypal patterns that are shared by all humans. Some of the experiences I tapped into are anger, sadness, fear, loneliness, love, humility, jealousy, joy, revenge, and remorse. I also crafted the story with some moments of surprise and horror as an homage to fairy tales and mythology, which were not rainbow and butterfly stories. They often had grim and shocking endings. Who could forget when Little Red Riding Hood found the granny wolf in bed, or when the old witch planned to stuff Hansel in the oven?
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
With Halloween just around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to write a paranormal romance! My next book is in the early stages of the creative process, but characters and scenes are coming to life more and more every day. I hope to release my newest book within the next 6 months, and maybe it will be in time for Valentine’s Day!
Posted in Interviews
Tags: adventure, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fairy tale, fantasy, ficiton, folktale, goodreads, Grendolyn Peach Soleil, kindle, kobo, literature, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, The Mermaids Melt At Dawn, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Soul Seeker opens with a man on death row for the murder of his son. What seems like a heartbreaking homicide with a bleak conclusion turns into a riveting supernatural tale when the man on death row tells his lawyers the truth. A demon named Crighton killed his son. This sets the tone for a novel that is equal parts grounded and gritty with a good measure of the supernatural to keep you guessing.
What I truly enjoyed about this book was the characters. Each one is meticulously developed and evolves as the story progresses. Benjamin Poe, the dedicated father, is empathetic but strong. Crighton is the stand out character, for me, in this haunting novel. He’s Lucifer’s top soul catcher and through his introduction and story line we get to explore various ideas about morality, or the perception of morality, and the dividing line between the two. As well as how choice plays into all of it. Kaylin McFarren has done an excellent job of creating a gray area that allows your mind to wander while being absolutely thrilled by the intricate paranormal story that unfolds.
What happens when a demon and an angel fall in love? As in the beginning, I was not expecting this book to pivot to a paranormal story, and then pivot again to a romance story. Kaylin McFarren has a similar literary talent to Stephen King in her ability to introduce just the right amount of mystery into a story that keeps things eerie and the tension high. Soul Seeker is an exceptional paranormal thriller that delves into the souls of humans, demons and angels. What we uncover is surprising.
Pages: 345 | ISBN: 9798665284903
Tags: angel, author, book, book review, bookblogger, demon, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, horror, Kaylin McFarren, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, Soul Seeker, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Adam Frankenstein: Search for a Soul is a collection of thought-provoking short stories. What were some sources that informed your writing?
First, I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: Or The Modern Prometheus. I knew the Universal Studios and Hammer films weren’t true to the book, as movies often aren’t, and I wanted my Frankenstein to be based off the book. In the book he is a sympathetic character, but becomes a murderer. He’s not given the chance to redeem himself and I wanted that opportunity for him.
Next, I read about Mary Shelley. It was important to me to get inside her head and understand her motivations. I watched the movie about her life and I read several books about her including Mary Shelley: Her Circle and Her Contemporaries and Mary’s Monster: Love, Madness, and How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein. I read university papers about her life and spoke to professors and other experts.
I’ve always been a fan of horror. I love the classics. I’ve read and reread so many classic horror tales that I plan on tapping into as I write. I read modern horror as well. I want to be able to appeal to the modern reader while intriguing them with classic stories.
Adam is an intriguing and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character development?
I’ve always felt especially drawn to two fictional characters in my life; Frankenstein’s monster and Jane Eyre. There’s something about a person who is all alone in the world trying to be better even when no one else might care about their life. I admit that Adam has some traits you may find in Mr. Rochester. Rochester warred with himself, justifying what he did even when he knew it was wrong. But, he had such passion the reader forgave him his past deeds and wanted to see him become the man Jane deserved.
In the novel, Frankenstein, the monster, who I’ve called Adam, is intelligent and realizes his own plight. He’s not the green-faced monster of the movies. His acceptance of the world’s rejection of him drives him to insist on a companion so he won’t be alone. I think we can all relate to feeling alone in the world at some point in our lives. What can loneliness drive us to do?
I knew immediately that the only way to keep Adam from becoming a true monster was to give him love and let him experience love for someone, or something else. A life totally devoid of love will certainly make anyone a monster. I gave him Bella, his little dog who also happens to be immortal. It wasn’t just the fact that dogs will love you no matter what you look like as long as you’re kind, but it was Adam’s experience of loving and of knowing he had the capacity to love that changed the trajectory of his life.
The Madame and the Madman is my favorite story from the collection. Do you have a favorite, or one that stands out from a writers perspective?
Although I admit to loving any story Victor Dracula shows up in, such as The Madame and the Madman, my personal favorite to date is Marked. It can be difficult to show character growth in short stories. And though I hope to show a little of that in each story, I felt Marked showed the greatest growth. Adam starts out a total brute willing to kill someone for kicking his dog. He’s calculating and unsympathetic to Seline at first. But, the little girl and her acceptance of him change things in Adam. Knowing that Sabine is not the girl’s mother, but is risking her life for the child change something in him. I love who he is at the end of this story.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I recently signed a contract with an amazing agent who is excited about Adam and the other stories surrounding Mary Shelley’s League of Supernatural Hunters. I’m doing the final edits of The Deadly Pieces, which is the first full Adam Frankenstein novel. It’s set in modern times and he has become a U.S. Marshal in Houston, TX. He’s secretly after a witch conducting unsanctioned experiments on the homeless population. So, there’s still the paranormal element though I do work with an actual U.S. Marshal to ensure any procedural parts of the book are correct.
I do have Adam Frankenstein comic books and am currently working on his origin story according to my own mythology. That should be out the first part of next year.
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The Witch Hunter General is a story of fear, manipulation, betrayal, and deceit. The book begins with a man named Victor who lets his wife die, alone and frightened because she was accused of being a witch. He is miserable, guilty, and angry at himself for what he has done. Over time, he has managed to avenge his sweet Elizabeth, but can’t stop hunting down dark forces and witches due to circumstances during his grief. Living another two thousand years, he hunts with a team of faithful sidekicks. A complex man, and an imposing one as well, Victor makes sure that you know who’s the boss and who is willing to take charge.
Mace Berry has delivered an exciting dark fantasy novel. From the beginning this book is an intense read. At times the scenes with brutality were a little hard to get through but I realize the events were meant to propel the story, and the book would not have the excellent tone that I looked forward to if the author had not done so. A great example is Elizabeth. When the story opens, she is wrongly accused, and her town turns against her because of their superstition and fear. As you continue reading the story, you begin to get drawn in by these deep characters that are marred by events brought about by fear, superstition or betrayal.
I enjoyed the energetic and tense fights to the death which were skillfully executed. I thought Victor was going to die and empathized with him throughout the story. In my opinion, the author’s measure is how they make you think and feel throughout the story. In the first few chapters, I went from being horrified, saddened, to angry all in the span of mere pages. Mace Berry is a great author skilled with language that is emotive and moving.
Each character in the book had such a strong presence that I didn’t have a favorite character because I enjoyed reading about them all. I have read other books where the main character has a team to help him because, in many aspects, the evil is too much for one person, and in this case, he has three. Magnus, Arten, and Scarlett. If you love supernatural stories with a twist, you would enjoy this epic fantasy novel.
Pages: 256 | ASIN: B088Q1RYD4
Tags: action, adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, Mace Berry, nook, novel, paranormal, read, reader, reading, story, supernatural, suspense, The Witch Hunter General, thriller, writer, writing
Patch Man opens with bombs going off in the war torn country of Summia. One of these bombs injures a one armed child that the Patch Man heals with his magical patches. The ensuing events propels Patch Man and this child on a whirlwind adventure. They accumulate a band of intriguing companions on a treacherous quest into the depths of a dangerous labyrinth where they seek the key to ending the war.
The thrill of reading Patch Man does not stop even as the reader digs deeper into the book. Rick Stepp-Bolling has written a science fiction adventure novel that hearkens back to the classic fantasy epics of the 70′ and 80’s. The flow of the story is compelling and gets to be exciting with the revelation of every new plot twist and new character. I keep wanting to compare Patch Man to other epic fantasy novels because it captures that same feel while remaining within the science fiction genre. Reminding me of the movie Mad Max which is able to accomplish this same balance.
Patch Man and his young female companion have been prophesized to end the war, but even knowing this did not keep me from second guessing their ability to pull it off. While on such a nail biting adventure it is easy to overlook the prophesy and only see the danger ahead. Patch Man was an impressive character. His patches give him a unique ability I have not seen in any other fantasy novel. His skills made him feel like an original character, even within the confines of some fantasy tropes. The other supporting characters in the book were equal parts alluring and compelling. Each added a new ability to the group, and a new personality that added depth to the overall story.
The action oriented plot and the heavily detailed world makes this a book that is easy to get lost in. The story line had me hooked from chapter to chapter as the events continuously build tension. Patch Man is a great book for readers who enjoy science fiction, urban fantasy, and paranormal stories.
Pages: 324 | ASIN: B0759F9WDH
Tags: adventure, author, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, epic fantasy, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, Patch Man, read, reader, reading, Rick Stepp-Bolling, science fiction, story, supernatural, suspense, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing
Phantom’s Mask is a thrilling continuation of your War of the Realms series. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that were different from book one?
Each book in the series has a very different tone. Book I thrived on suspense and the hunter/prey relationship, and it introduced the scaffolding for the world building. Book II has much stronger action scenes and shows off more of the supernatural powers. It also portrays a completely different side of the main character cast. In the first book, the Alpha fugitives were relatively helpless, always on the run with many of them unable to access their true abilities. In the sequel, they’ve shifted from defense to offense in a big way. Azar played a more direct role as an antagonist. Character development is a gradual process throughout the series, and you’ll definitely know the characters much better after this book.
I enjoyed the delve into Cato’s past. Did you have his past already planned or did it develop as you were writing?
Yes, it was planned! I had to be careful with the way I presented Cato in the first book in order to set up his transformation in the sequel. Because Cato’s memory has been so critically damaged after two years of torture, the reader gets to discover his past piece by piece as he searches for the answers. Cato actually has two different journeys; navigating his way through the present and uncovering the truth about his past.
I likened the book to Stranger Things or The Boys on Amazon, but I found it difficult to find a comparison as the book was quite unique. What sources of inspiration did you draw from?
Cato’s earliest conception was heavily influenced by a cartoon I loved when I was young. The idea of having ghostly powers fascinated me, and I often pondered what that kind of world would look like when I was bored and letting my mind wander. I thought, what if all the stories about spirits and mythological beasts were actually true, at least in part? Maybe we got some parts wrong in all the retellings. But what if those beings had been here a long time ago? What if they still exist, just not in this world anymore? Cato evolved into his own being, and I pulled religious concepts, fairy tales, paranormal superstitions, mythology, magic, and natural phenomena into a brand-new world around him where the spiritual and physical could coexist.
Cato in particular was an interesting study because I had to figure out what kind of Cryokinetic he should be. There are so many examples in comic books, movies, television shows, literature, etc. Should he create elaborate structures, like Elsa from Frozen? Slide on ice tracks like Frozone from The Incredibles? Create walls and shoot a frosty blast out of his hands like Iceman from X-Men? This factor would determine what kind of fighting style he would have. I also had to think about how his technique would have changed from the time he was Phantom to the present, how he would have honed his abilities during his intense trials. I decided to make him conservative with his ice. He rarely uses it on a large scale, instead preferring to protect himself with armor, form shields on his arm like a gladiator, utilize ice blades on the offensive, and shoot small projectiles across short distances. Because the creatures in this world have a limited reservoir of power, Cato has to be smart about how much he uses at one time. No ice castles!
This is book two in your War of the Realms series. What can you share about book three in the series?
Book III is going to focus heavily on character development and internal conflict. Cato and Axel were both pushed to the brink in Book II; the next installment will show Cato grappling with the person he was, the person he’s become, and the person he’s expected to be, and Axel is in a dark place psychologically after the events of Phantom’s Mask. Character relationships across the board will be put to the test. RC’s secretive past is going to come back to haunt him. Azar, who is used to always getting what he wants, just suffered a devastating defeat and will need to reevaluate his strategy. But most importantly, Cato finally uncovers the truth about what happened to him, and he has to come to terms with it and decide how to move forward.
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Tags: author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, ebook, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, nook, novel, paranormal, Phantom’s Mask, read, reader, reading, Sara A. Noë, science ficiton, scifi, story, supernatural, suspense, teen, thriller, urban fantasy, writer, writing, young adult
Phantasia by Efthalia is the second installment in Efthalia’s Phi Athanatoi series. This novel follows Carissa, an ex-cop and demigod granddaughter of Zeus, as she embarks on the greatest mission of her life thus far – saving a few morally astray Greek gods from causing ruin and chaos to not only their ethereal realm in Mount Olympus, but also to the susceptible and unknowing mortal world below. Efthalia’s entertaining way of storytelling and character building, combined with a unique plot that blends romance, adventure, Greek culture, and Greek mythology, are all key aspects that make this a thrilling paranormal romance.
Even though this is the second book in her Phi Athanatoi series, Efthalia does a great job at building each character so that even if a reader picks up the book out of sequence, they have enough context about important details to still be able to follow the story line. Carissa and Xen’s romance is hot, steamy, and palpable in all the right ways, while still making apparent the couple’s devotion to one another. Even auxiliary characters, such as Carissa’s mortal family members, are given the chance to shine, reminding readers how embedded loyalty and familial ties are to Greek culture. All the characters are likable, realistic and have their own sense of morality that adds to the depth of the overall novel. Each scene is portrayed in a way that allows the reader to easily envision happenings as they unfold.
Efthalia is a brilliant writer who also uses her work as an opportunity to highlight Greek culture. Her numerous and regular Greek vocabulary and cultural references add significant depth to the reader’s experience. The Greek glossary at the end of the book, which provides definitions of all Greek vocabulary used throughout the text, is a further welcome touch. Her vivid depictions of each of the Greek gods in the story, from Zeus to Ares to Hades, reflect the well-researched nature of her storytelling.
There are definite aspects that are reminiscent of popular thrillers, such as Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since there are sexual scenes, depictions of alcohol use, and some images of violence, this novel is best enjoyed by an adult audience. I would recommend Phantasia and the rest of the Phi Athanatoi series to anyone with an interest in the adventure romance genre, as well as any aficionados of Greek mythology.
Pages: 289 | ASIN: B083TBWNPH
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The LeRoux family traveled a long way to move into a family estate they have inherited. What they don’t know, is that strange things have happened in the grandest and oldest house in the province – the LeRoux Manor. The story follows Camille LeRoux – a teenage girl who is exactly where she needs to be. The only problem is, she doesn’t want to be there – but, there is no going back. Once she dips her toe in the waters of a possibly parallel universe, the water is quick to create dark, furious waves that slowly engulf her.
Liz Butcher takes us on a journey full of layers that unravel slowly and in no specific order, giving the reader a feeling of a déjà vu similar to the one the protagonist feels, almost as if you have felt the terrors of the manor upon yourself a long time ago. Butcher has successfully implemented the elements of fear, surprise, mystery, and suspense in the story to create an uncertain, sickening feeling. A feeling that you are there with Camille, watching her unravel her past, but not being able to say anything. The main idea of the story is easy to follow, while still twisting your mind and confusing you, making you feel like you are the one narrating it, and not Camille. This book definitely took me on a ride, one that moves you back and forth so quickly that you feel it in the pit of your stomach like a wild roller-coaster, knowing that you are about to drop and feeling the adrenaline rush through your body. Reading the book, I felt like I was Camille LeRoux, entering a world that is completely upside-down and trying to complete a puzzle that seems endless.
A clever connection and a splendid addition to an already well-developed story line is the mentioning of the novel “Through the Looking Glass” – an extraordinary piece of fiction that depicts a world where everything is in reverse. This connection is very supportive to the plot, as it helps the reader grasp the main idea and understand Camille LeRoux’s slow path to losing her mind, and finding herself. She never finds what she is looking for intentionally, but by accident. Everything happens backwards until she understands what – and who – she is.
Much like the essence of the novel – the reader and Camille are two sides of the same coin. Things repeat in history, and the same thing always happens. Camille’s brave character and her inability to look back turns out to be a dangerous beast that she shouldn’t have woken up, but she cannot escape her fate. Liz Butcher has a neat way of penetrating the deepest, darkest parts of the human mind and staying there for a long time, haunting your thoughts and your soul.
Pages: 212 | ASIN: B089W59RBF