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Back From The Brink

C.E. Clayton
C.E. Clayton Author Interview

Resistor is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a cyberpunk, fantasy, and a thriller as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

I knew I wanted to write a cyberpunk novel with a twist from the onset. I love the aesthetic of cyberpunk settings, but I wanted to mix that future tech with magic, because I always find that to be such an interesting mix. What can magic do that smart technology can’t? What kind of relationship would people with magic have in regards to someone who can put that magic into a device they can wield just as easily? The rest, in terms of the other genres that crop up, happened organically. I wanted to write something that was an epic, fun adventure, something that was maybe a little silly when it comes to banter and how serious the story takes itself, but with these moments of really raw intensity. I wanted to have just as much fun writing this story as readers would when they dove in, but while still covering heavy hitting topics like grief and depression, and certain genres and tropes cover those themes better than others, so I tended to pull from those elements when necessary. It does make Resistor a little hard to pin down in terms of genre, but I don’t consider that to be a bad thing, either.

Ellinor is an intriguing character. What were some obstacles you felt were important in shaping her character?

For Ellinor, her biggest obstacle, and what shapes her personality most for this first book, is her anger, her overwhelming sense of loss and betrayal. Ellinor’s grief for what happened to her husband never much progressed past the anger and rage stages, which had to color all of her actions and interactions with the other characters in the book – including former friends. In a way, Ellinor wants to remain angry because it’s safer for her, safer than feeling friendship or attachment again after being so profoundly hurt. But that’s not really her personality at her core, so shaping Ellinor to where she forces herself to be angry and grumpy, and mean, toward everyone when part of her doesn’t want to be was a very fine line both Ellinor, and I as the writer, had to toe. Ellinor has to be mean, and grouchy, and therefore a bit unlikable because that’s what she wants, she doesn’t want people to get close to her again. But if she was too unlikable for the reader, well, that’s just a bad time for everyone! So while this kind of obstacle was important to shaping her character and character arc in general, to show how far back from the brink she has to come, it was also an obstacle for me as a writer!

What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

I love books that make me feel things; that can just as easily tug all my heart strings as they can make me laugh, or get my heart racing with action. I had also been itching to write a heroine who wasn’t instantly likeable, that wasn’t a chosen one, was violent and angry. You don’t see that often in fantasy, where the main female character is kind of mean! So, because I was already vibing pretty hard with the cyberpunk aesthetic, and my last fantasy series was magic light, I wanted to lean more into the things I hadn’t done before. I started world building and coming up with a world, a magic system, and then figuring out how a character who was going to grow a lot over the course of their arc would fit into that. That’s typically how I write most of my novels, I store all these interesting ideas or creatures, or worlds and then figure out what would happen if I were to put a certain kind of person at the center of it all. I am mostly a pantser when it comes to writing my books, letting the characters drive, with only a vague outline for every 10 chapters or so as I go along, except when it comes to world and character building. That is always meticulously crafted before I start with the plot.

This is book one in your Ellinor series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book 2 will pretty much start right where the first book left off, so Ellinor and those she’s with do have a plan and goal in mind for what they need to do by the end of the next story. But the biggest thing the reader will see is the continuing evolution of Ellinor’s character arc, her, almost reluctantly at times, releasing her anger and prejudices. Of finding a new purpose and reasons to keep living beyond her desire for vengeance. Book two will also see a lot more of Kai and Jelani! Kai goes through a lot of growth and very raw and real moments in the second book, while there is also a lot of evolution in Jelani’s relationships, including more of his little sister who is briefly introduced in the first book. You’ll also see a lot more of the Ashlings and where and how zey live in the next installment which means, while there will still be a lot of colorful magic, readers can expect to see more of the tech side of Eerden as well. Book two is just as action packed, with some of my most cinematic fight scenes to date, according to my early readers. So a lot of what readers enjoyed in this adventure will be back and in greater force in the next book, which is good because a lot of the character growth that occurs is very painful, metally and physically in some cases. But the ending is worth the struggle, I promise!

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Ellinor Rask has wanted one thing for the past eight years: vengeance. But when Ellinor is captured, she finds herself dragged back into the world she walked away from, entangled once more with friends she would rather forget.

As if that weren’t humiliating enough, Ellinor learns first hand that her magic can be stripped away by a piece of bio-tech—and her ex-boss is happy to leash her with the technology in order to get what he wants. If Ellinor behaves, the device will be removed. All she has to do is deliver a package. One containing a creature created from raw magical energy and discarded technology. Simple, right?

But when her goals start getting people murdered, Ellinor has to decide if the year’s planning, her honor, and even her own magic, are worth the lives it’s costing. Dodging ruthless gangsters, she finds herself on the run with a creature of immeasurable magical abilities alongside her one-time friends. Now, Ellinor must relearn to trust the people she once abandoned. She must put her faith in technology, and her life in the hands of independent contractors, all while racing to deliver the package before it gets taken by force, or worse, the creature decides to make an appearance itself.

Nightmare From World’s End

The Nightmare From World's End4 Stars

The Nightmare From World’s End, a science fiction thriller by Robert J. Stava, takes place in Wyvern Falls located along the Hudson River. The action begins when various people begin to go missing along the river. Members of the community are confused about the disappearances until it’s discovered that a giant squid-like creature is wreaking havoc, leaving carnage and even more questions in its wake. That’s not all to the story, however. There isn’t just one creature, there’s two!

A major player in the chaos is John Easton, a private detective, begins to unravel the history around the two creatures. Alongside him is Sarah Ramhorne, a strong-headed Native American archeologist who seems to hold some of the answers. Together they, along with others, try to unravel the story that surrounds these two mysterious creatures and put a stop to the death that has been taking place along the Hudson River.

This book is definitely a thriller that will have readers flipping through the pages wondering what will happen next. The author holds nothing back when he describes each vicious attack committed by the giant squid. Also, the tie-in with Native American culture within the book was handled well. It’s obvious that Robert J. Stava did his research on the tribes in the Hudson Valley area, and while the main purpose of his book was to thrill his readers with the tale of giant, murderous, perhaps ancient sea creatures, a secondary purpose was to provide them with a history of the area and enlighten the reader on Native American history.

Adding to this point, Native American folklore is very present and relevant within the piece. The leading lady, Sarah makes it a point to educate those that she encounters about the injustice done to the tribes within the area. The author doesn’t just place Sarah’s dialogue as disconnected rants within the piece; it all leads up to the climax the unfolds towards the end of the story. This is evident through the actions of Crazy Jack, a homeless Native American (and real folklore character), that contributes to the climax of the story by waking up the second creature that lives on the other end of the river from where the squid is attacking. Throughout the story, Crazy Jack is guided by the voices of his ancestors, telling him what must be done in order to bring an end to the death and carnage unfolding.

This book has a lot going on it in; sea creatures, Native American history and folklore, a private detective with a tragic past, ancient aliens, mind-reading, and even ghosts. You name it, and it’s probably in this book. At times, it was a bit too much, and a little disconnected for the reader. Especially, the bit on ancient aliens. It’s hard to see how Guillamo Del Tesler and his fanatical theories about the river monster being an ancient alien come into play. He’s brought to the area after Jennie Roderick, a half-witted archaeologist student, mails him some doctored petroglyphs that indicate an alien existence within the area. While this part of the plot is an entertaining aside to the major drama going on in the story, it was difficult to discern how it actually contributed to the overall plot, if at all.

Overall, the author tells a good story. The entwinement of sci-fi thriller with Native American folklore is unique and provides a sturdy foundation upon which to base the plot of the entire story. Regardless of a couple smaller story lines falling out of place within the book, it was an entertaining read.

Pages: 249 | ASIN: B01MQLLNM3

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