Fire & Magic is book two in The Younglings series. What were some new ideas you wanted to explore in this book that differed from book one?
Stakes are higher in Fire & Magic. The Younglings are under attack, and have some major trials and tribulations to deal with, as well as normal teenage life. The joie de vivre that teenagers have is inspiring. But most teens can experience many difficulties in their day-to-day lives, and—like Shadows & Magic—I feel this book is the messy, real deal. I wanted to show The Younglings mature and grow, and watch their bonds of friendship develop and strengthen. Would you give your life to save a friend?
I’ve also introduced some interesting new characters, into Fire & Magic.
Love is a huge thing for teens, and some unexpected relationships develop. Of course, true love never runs smoothly, and we have several relationship issues. Will they be resolved? You will need to read the book to find out.
Eve and Quinn have matured in this book. What were some obstacles in this book that you felt were important to defining their characters?
For Quinn, as a half-demon, he is constantly worried about becoming evil, and as a result, his self-confidence suffers. Can an angel truly love a demon? In this book, we watch him grow in confidence, and trust that Eve loves him unconditionally. As for Eve, she is a feisty, strong female lead, and this develops throughout the book. A badass half-angel who won’t tolerate BS.
What scene in the book did you have the most fun writing?
I think the final chapter. As well as being sensual, without being explicit, the coming together of Eve and Quinn is beautiful on so many levels.
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Athena Jackson has found herself in a predicament—she is twenty years old, pregnant, and stuck in an abusive relationship with her boyfriend, Silas. When Silas finds out about the pregnancy, he demands Athena end it and forces her to a woman’s clinic. Before the procedure can be completed, Athena reaches out to an old friend from high school, Lily Rhodes Marx. Lily comes to Athena’s rescue, spiriting her away from the abusive Silas. Lily and her husband Rowen graciously welcome Athena into their home, where she finds out that family isn’t always blood, and that faeries and magic are real.
Fallen Snow, by Abby Farnsworth, is the third book in the EverGreen series. Taking place after the events of Moonlit Skies, Fallen Snow picks up with Athena and her journey to accept her own pregnancy and save herself from Silas. With several twists and turns that will keep readers on edge, Fallen Snow explores relationships, how someone could continue to love their abuser, and how new love can bloom even without the help of faerie magic.
The author has a knack for developing interesting character personalities and giving them believable physical descriptions along with faerie powers. These traits allow each character to shine on their own. There are several twists and turns throughout this alluring young adult romance novel, making this an unpredictable but enjoyable read.
I always enjoy the quick pace of the EverGreen books. I think the story moves a lot quicker here because, this being the third book in the trilogy, the author doesn’t need to spend time developing the character’s background. The characters are already established and their relationships feel genuine and the reader can feel their love for one another. Farnsworth’s writing style has developed and grown just like her characters in the story.
Fallen Snow is a seductive paranormal romance story that fans of emotionally-resonant teen fiction will enjoy. I loved the way fantasy and reality are blended throughout this story and I think readers will too.
Pages: 170 | ISBN: 1956788468
The Good Witch of the South brings a new evil witch to the land of Oz that is amassing an army to overthrow the Head of Oz. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
TC – The inspiration for the story came from the dust jacket cover art. I had just finished my memoir, Roads Over Brown County, which took me two years to write, and I was playing around with a fairy design and thought it would be a fantastic image for a book cover. I keep thinking how nice a fantasy book cover it would make but didn’t know what kind of story it should be, and I didn’t have a title. For some unknown reason, while I was working on the cover art, I was also reading Frank L. Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz again.
After I added tattoos on the fairy’s arm and some glowing orbs behind her, it came to me. I knew exactly who this fairy witch was. It made perfect sense; she was a good fairy witch, Glinda’s daughter, the Good Witch of the South. I instantly knew what I wanted to write.
For reasons I can’t explain, the first chapter I wrote in my journal was the epilogue. Everything else about the plot instantly fell into place.
What were some ideas that you wanted to keep from the classic Wizard of Oz and what were some new ideas you wanted to introduce?
TC – That’s a good question. I decided to combine aspects from Baum’s original book and the 1939 MGM movie with Judy Garland. Not many realize that in Baum’s books, Glinda was the Good Witch of the South, or also known as Glinda the Good, and not the Good Witch of the North. For fun, I decided to give Glinda the last name Glinda Goodwitch. I also decided to have the main characters from Baun’s book and the movie, The Scarecrow, The Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion play a part in my book. I also thought it would be fun to add subtle echoes from the movie within my book.
One of my favorite moments in the film is at the end when Dorothy is back home in her own bed, and she is telling her family and friends about Oz. I wanted to capture this iconic moment in the book.
So when the main character, Samantha Goodwitch, Glinda’s daughter, is recuperating from a terrible injury from fighting the vicious red alpha dragon. She wakes up in an unfamiliar bed and looks up at her companions, and tells them about a dream she’d been having. She points a trembling finger at each one and says, “You, and you, and you . . . . . and you were there.” I also had the new Wicked Witch taunt her victims as she did in the movie, using some of the barbs the Wicked Witch of the West used. All of these small touches made the story special and fun for me when I was writing. It made me smile.
I added one piece of imagery at the beginning of the book when Sam is crouched on the roof of the castle looking out across the land of Oz that has been with me since I was a child. I am almost sure it started from the very first time I watched the movie. It happens when the Munchkins escort Dorothy to the center of Munchkin City to show her the Yellow Brick Road. Where the Yellow Brick Road spirals out from the center of the city, there is another spiraling brick road, but the bricks are red. That always fascinated me, and I have ever wondered what kind of adventures one would find following the Red Brick Road. To this day, when I watch the movie, I whisper, “Dorothy, take the Red Brick Road.”
Sam is an intriguing character that I enjoyed watching develop. What were some obstacles you felt were important to the characters development?
Mainly believing in herself and proving herself to her mother, to her sister, and to everyone she loved. Every time I start a new book project, I struggle with it, from my children’s picture books to my novels – especially my novels. So, I say to everyone, “Believe!”
Do you plan to write other stories within the land of Oz?
When I first started writing this Ozarian tale, I said to myself, “What am I think writing a book based on a classic like Oz!” Doing another book? Well, I will tell you this: I have already written an outline. But to be honest, the two years it took me to write The Good Witch of the South knocked the breath out of me. I am not sure I have it in me to write another adventure in the Land of Oz. But one never knows.
I have to admit. Now that this Good Witch story is finished, I find myself genuinely missing my daily visits to the Oz.
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Ryan Standley’s To the Top of Greenfield Street follows Eric Daniels as he spends a brief yet formative summer in Freeport, a small northern Illinois town hundreds of miles away from his childhood home in Iowa. The text is written in an autobiographical fashion, with many musical and cultural references that indicate that the events take place in the 1980s or 1990s.
Standley does a superb job at recounting the nostalgia of youth. Eric’s adventures with his (mostly) newfound neighborhood friends – from their nighttime rendezvous to the drive-in theater to the Fourth of July festivities, all the way down to Eric’s surprise going-away party hosted by his mates – feel absolutely real and capture the freedom of any summer in the life of a Midwestern teenager. Nate, Matt, Billy, Melissa, Jen, Rachel, and Declan each make their own contribution with their easy-to-distinguish personalities.
To the Top of Greenfield Street is ultimately an engaging coming of age story. Eric has two major experiences that take place in a short amount of time, but leave an indelible mark. It is also through these turning points that Eric learns that resolutions aren’t always happy events – nor do they need to be. One, he comes to grips with the reality of his ties with Donna, his estranged and drug-addicted mother. Two, he experiences through Jen what it is like for a young man to share feelings of affection and chemistry, however fleeting, with another young woman.
Above all, the author showcases the finite nature of young relationships in a way that resonates with readers as young as their twenties. By the end of the text, Eric walks away cherishing the friendships and good times that he has had, but also accepts that just as summer inevitably turns to fall, he must accept what is and begin his next chapter of life alongside his dad. Endings do not need to be finite in nature – and very often in life they are anything but.
This is a solid read for readers of any age who want a well-written, teen-centered coming of age story. To the Top of Greenfield Street is a young adult novel that I heartily recommend.
Pages: 286 | ASIN: B08GFQCVH8
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The Secret Journal follows two teenagers that uncover a dangerous secret about their town. What was the inspiration for the setup to this exciting story?
I am a huge fan of archaeology thrillers. I love Indian Jones and National Treasure. The Goonies was my favorite movie as a kid. But I also love fantasy and magic like Tolkien of course, and more modern stuff Like Brent Weeks Lightbringer series. I combined these influences and wrote the book I would want to read.
Petersburg, Illinois was my hometown growing up. It is a beautiful little town full of history and old Victorian era homes. Old Abraham Lincoln himself surveyed the town, and if you visit there you will see it’s a magical place. As a kid, I played in all the mysterious drainage tunnels and I’ve been in some of the basements of those old homes high up on the bluffs. The key locations in the book, including the library, the old Victorian basement, and even the mysterious tunnel are all real, and were described to the best of my memory. So you see, it only made sense Petersburg had to be the setting for the magical story I wanted to tell.
Garrett and Breanne are intriguing and well-developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?
Garrett is a small-town kid from a blue-collar home who reminded me a lot of myself at his age. The problems I gave him were similar to problems I was going through at his age. Of course, I ramped it up as the story made the transition from mystery into fantastical.
My inspiration for Breanne was inspired by my wife and her father and brothers. I knew I wanted a diverse cast of characters in my book because I value diversity, and I think our culture needs more of it. So writing a young Black girl who wants nothing more than to be a world famous archaeologist like her father was my way of saying to any young girl out there, no matter her culture or background, you can and should be whatever you want to be! I also think it worked well that she couldn’t be any more different than Garrett. He is a poor, small-town kid who has to work side jobs for new shoes and has never really left home. While Breanne is a world traveler, cultured, and incredibly intelligent, yet they are drawn to each other.
I enjoyed the mystery at the heart of this story. Was it planned before writing or did it develop organically while writing?
I am a panster at heart, so I didn’t plot much. I knew what needed to happen by the end of each chapter. I let the characters show me how to get there. Sometimes, I sat back in my chair completely surprised by the path they chose to take. Now that I am working on the third book of the series I plot a little more, but I still let the characters take me away and I am still surprised on a regular basis with the directions they choose to go.
This is book one in your God Stones series. What can readers expect in book two?
In ‘The Secret Journal’ I took readers on a suspenseful mystery where the intensity built chapter by chapter. By the end of the book it is obvious all hell is about to break loose. From the early pages of Book 2 ‘The Keepers of the Light’ that is exactly what happens, and it doesn’t stop. The action picks up as the teens fight for their lives, come to terms with their new reality, and try to save the world. The magic picks up too as we continue to transition from ‘real world’ ‘to a world suddenly saturated in a magic that wasn’t meant for us. I should mention, Book 2, ‘The Keepers of the Light’ is out now and I am hard at work on the 3rd book!
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Phantom’s Mask follows Cato is a very powerful ghost. He can go invisible, he is fast too, but not as fast as his lab brother Axel. After is family betrays him Cato is vengeful of the people who made him this way. His mother sold him off to be a lab-rat because he was born different. It pains him, but as much as it does, he will have to make a deal for the greater good of protecting his lab family who he has a strong connection to. Now fugitives who are being hunted, this team of eight will fight to the bitter end. They are a product of classified government program, forced like prisoners and experimented on, the alpha ghosts do not like humans because humans have betrayed them.
Phantom’s Mask is a suspenseful supernatural thriller filled with an array of mesmerizing ideas, there’s war, humans hunting ghosts, half humans betrayed by humans, and everyone bitterly protecting their space. Phantom’s Mask by Sara A. Noë is a fascinating product of a wild imagination with a plot that has the vague feel of Stranger Things, but much more suspenseful and action packed, a bit like the show The Boys on Amazon. There is ample time spent creating a rich atmosphere in this book that feels gritty and realistic. The author has created enduring characters with keen precision to details that ensure each character feels authentic, if not always complete. The emotional turmoil that Cato goes through was something that was consistently compelling and kept me interested. But even that takes a backseat to my interest in Cato’s origins and the intriguing mystery at its core.
Fans of the first book in the series A Fallen Hero will be more than pleased with this followup. Sara A. Noë continues to plumb the depths of her characters in Phantom’s Mask and readers will be delighted by it.
Pages: 578 | ASIN: B086D7NFSX
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The Scented Bones follows a young forensic anthropologist thrown into the middle of a feud between vampires and werewolves. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?
The Godfather by Mario Puzo. When I was in college, taking an English class, most essays and books were boring until the professor chose his book. The book inspired discussions and gained attention of the students. It had power and I wanted to have similar power over my readers with my writing.
This book has been in the works for more than 5 years. It has gone through 5 drafts, including Angel being a university student and main character to be Rayne and not Gage. However, that draft seemed to read more like about street gangs and so I worked hard to make it more like mafia families.
The Scented book is the first in the series and in every book I’ll introduce more characters and families. Hopefully, my books will inspire readers to read more and even try their hand at writing.
Angel is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some themes you wanted to capture in her character?
I didn’t want her to be perfect. I wanted her to be smart but timid. Serious but with surprising funny moments. I wanted her to tread carefully when it comes to relationships and focus on the job. But, what I wanted to show was how she looked at magic. Of how she was afraid of what she was and what she could do.
I enjoyed the backstory and mythology embedded in this world between the vampires and werewolves. What were some sources of inspiration that helped you create this world?
Most inspiration came from the characters themselves. Originally all characters were mundanes and as the book progressed into the paranormal, the characters became their other selves. When I was re writing them, I was thinking that if they weren’t paranormal born, how would they shift if bitten? How would they act if they were born?
I tried staying away from other paranormal books about vampires and werewolves to keep my characters original.
Where will the next book in The Svabodina Case Files pick up and when will it be available?
The next book will pick up a couple of weeks after the last scene in The Scented Bones with a new case. The new case will involve a serial killer.
At the moment, I have about 20 chapters written. I’m going back to editing these chapters before finishing the book because I have to add information to the already written ones in order to write the scenes with the actual killer. It is a lot of work and I have a chapter summary file that I go back to for each chapter. I’m tracking dates, character appearances, etc.
I’m not sure when it will be out, hopefully next year. The Scented Bones has been republished by a publisher! So, I’ll work closely with the publisher for book 2 as well. It’s super exciting! Book 2 is titled – The Puzzle of Bones.
Angel Svabodina is a rookie forensic anthropologist, enjoying the beginning of her new career. That joy comes crashing down when she figures out the skeleton she’s working on is not human and then it vanishes.
She throws herself fully into the case without thinking about the parties involved, a psychopomp associate, and paranormal mafia families made up of vampires and werewolves—or the consequences.
When she sees there’s no avoiding the inevitable, Angel has to suck it up and work with the werewolves to solve the case but can she trust them?
Werewolves and witches are in a centuries-old feud, but that doesn’t stop the shivers running down her spine from one wolf in particular. Rights and wrongs become blurred, as she is tormented by her past and accepting who she truly is while searching for the skeleton. What’s more, nothing comes for free, including information. To get what she needs from the werewolf don, Angel has to meet with the fae queen. Can she meet her without repercussions and solve the case?
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2019 Independent Press Award Winner in “FANTASY.”
Nathan Andrews was a good man. It came as quite a surprise to him that he wanted to die.
The mysterious image of a woman haunts Nathan during a Near Death Experience. She was “perfect” and everything a man would seek within a life partner. With the simple utterance “Go back!” she forever conquered his heart.
Leaving a mental hospital after that, Nathan runs into an odd woman named Amanda. She barely knows English, doesn’t recognize the simple things, and finally confesses an all-important truth to him: She…is GOD!
After some subtle convincing of the claim, and confronted by a winged man named “Gabriel,” Nathan accepts this fantastic reality. A reality that will change his world, and the world of Mankind… FOREVER!
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