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I’ve Always Felt Empathetic Toward Others

Author Interview Michael J. Bowler

Shifter has the two main characters grappling with some big moral decisions. What was the inspiration for putting them into this position?

I like stories where characters, especially teenagers, have to grapple with more than just who to ask to prom because it’s when we’re faced with serious issues of right vs wrong that we show what we’re made of and who we are inside, and most of us will face tough choices throughout our lives. As a reader, I can ask myself the same questions I pose to my characters and consider which way I might go. My hope is that other readers will do the same. I’ve also thought about the ramifications of having such a power that I could decide who lives and who dies. As pointed out in the book, would it have been moral to kill Hitler before he got very far in his bid to take over the world? Even now, with what we know of history, some people would still argue no and others would say yes.

Are there any emotions or memories from your own life that you put into your characters of Alex and Andy?

I’ve always felt very empathetic toward the pain of others, even as a child and a teen, and wanted to “cure” those people of what ailed them, so I created this character of Alex to do that for me. I just don’t like seeing people unhappy or suffering, which is one reason I could never have become a doctor. Alex’s skills with his wheelchair and his innate tenacity were based on a boy I taught in high school. Despite his wheelchair, that boy could do whatever he put his mind to, sometimes with help from his friends, but mostly by himself. For Andy, I used much of the pain I absorbed from incarcerated kids I worked with who told me horrific stories of being locked in closets for years on end or about how some despicable adult slaughtered their pets in front of them. I sought to depict how hard it might be for such a child to accept love and friendship once released from such an evil upbringing, and I hope Andy comes across as believable in the minds of the readers.

What do you think were some of the defining moments in the development of Alex and Andy’s relationship?

Neither knew of the other’s existence until shortly before they met at the conclusion of Spinner (The Healer Chronicles 1), so I tried to imagine what it would feel like to meet a twin brother I never knew I had. Given the respective backgrounds of the two boys, I felt they could relate as outcasts and that might be the beginning of a friendship and even familial ties. The small moments they shared—when Andy would learn something new from Alex, or when they were washing dishes or working out in the fitness center—these moments helped cement their relationship. Learning how to combine their power and work together defined the growing connection between them, not just because their minds were linked, but because they needed to trust each other, and that must’ve been hard.

Will the next book conclude the story of Alex and Andy or is there more to tell? When will the next book be available?

The next book will conclude this particular storyline, but I have opened enough doors to tell other tales involving these characters and hope to return to them in the future. Spoiler (The Healer Chronicles 3) releases on July 12, 2022.

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Fifteen-year-old Alex and his learning-disabled friends barely survived the events of Spinner, but their nightmare has only just begun.

Alex’s wheelchair has never stopped him from doing what he wants, but his supernatural power to heal every human ailment known to science has put him in the crosshairs of a dangerous doomsday cult that will stop at nothing to capture him and his long-lost twin, Andy, who can shift illness from one person to another. When the boys combine their “gifts,” they unleash the power to control life and death.

Now Alex, Andy, and the others have been kidnapped by the U.S. military. On a creepy Air Force base in the remote Nevada desert, they must decide who to trust and who to fear while uncovering secrets this base wants to hide from the world. Who is the young boy with unusual abilities who’s treated like a soldier? What is hidden in an ultra-secret hangar that no one can access? And what unnatural experiments are conducted in that closed-off laboratory?

As Alex unravels these mysteries, he strives to bond with his twin, but Andy is distant and detached, trusting no one. He’s also more attracted to the dangerous power they wield than Alex would like. When misplaced faith in science ignites a hidden lust for supremacy, rescue can only come from the most unlikely source, and Alex must confront a terrible truth.

The Healer Chronicles continue…

Shifter

Twin brothers with the power of life and death – will they choose the path of good or evil? In Shifter, the second book in the Healer Chronicles, Michael J Bowler brings us back to the world of Alex and Andy and all the characters revolving around them. Having survived the events in the first thrilling book, the brothers begin to get to know each other and test the limits of what they can do together. But with secret organizations and military operations vying for control of their power, they have to make difficult choices that could save people… or leave them dead. The story takes twists and turns that make you question everything and everyone, from well-guarded fortresses and secret military labs in the desert.

Early on, we’re taken back to Andy’s horrific childhood, which explains his character to the reader and his brother Alex. The reader also gets some recaps and explanations of events in the first book, allowing those that have not read the first novel to understand this one. The author expertly balances dialogue, description, and action, creating incredible tension. A few scenes in the military lab had me literally at the edge of my seat! The author also created a rich and relatable world by adding small details between big moments.

There were plenty of everyday things that we take for granted highlighted in these extreme circumstances. For example, Alex’s experiences with his disability, not being able to reach a shirt in a closet that wasn’t made for someone in a wheelchair. Alex’s human existence gave us a closer connection to a character with incredible power. I loved so many of the characters in the novel. They were unusual heroes, abandoned or scorned by society because of who they are, mistakes from their past, or circumstances beyond their control.

There were also plenty of more important questions of ethics and morality in the choices the main characters have to make, as exemplified in the passage below: “And you would be, Alex. You two could save more lives than anyone in history.” “By killing,” Alex said, his voice barely a whisper. “How is that good?” “Because some people need to be killed so others may live.” Without giving too much away, you can see the dilemma Alex faces when he learns about how some powerful forces would want him to use his power.

However, conflict in the book doesn’t touch only upon questions of morality but also on adolescent insecurities and friendship. Many characters grapple with complex feelings of jealousy or fear of a new person joining the group and taking your place, wanting to prove their strength.

Shifter (The Healer Chronicles Book 2) is a suspenseful young adult thriller. With strong and memorable characters, non-stop action, and high tension, readers will not want to put the book down and anxiously await the conclusion of this exciting trilogy.

Pages: 372 | ASIN : B09R2K41L7

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A Truth Wizard

C.R. Endacott
C.R. Endacott Author Interview

Heroes of Afflatus follows a group of friends on a dangerous quest in the land of dwarves to bring peace to the land by recreating the Circle of Trust. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling story?

Initially, my intent for Circle of Trust, was to start a new series in the Afflatus world. I have 3 previously published works told from the perspective of Avery Noble. In Heroes of Afflatus, I changed that perspective to Jared Swagger. But the story unfolded itself, as I watched the political milieu in the United States in Canada, where I saw people who in all rights should have seen what brings them together, versus what drives them apart. As a Canadian watching American news, I was enthralled that people who were similar in so many ways, were so divided in others. And so, as a fantasy author, I thought, what if there was an evil power that thwarting a people’s unity. Thus, Noir and the Molpen were born.

Jared and Avery are intriguing and well developed characters. What were some driving ideals behind their character development?

Jared Swagger and Avery Noble are my main characters, and they have developed over the course of the first three novels. They started as enemies that hated each other, but I found immediately, that they were actually interested in each other, and so Jared eventually asked her out and now they are going steady (this is after numerous adventures in Afflatus together). Initially, the concept of Avery as a Truth Wizard reflects my own journey in understanding the truth about life. I was raised religious, but reality clashed with those beliefs, which is also why I incorporate LGBTQ+ themes in my writing.

I appreciated the depth of the lore in your world. What were some sources that informed the worlds development?

Initially the concept of Deep’en Realm, was an imagination of what Hades might be like. I don’t like the depictions of hell and the afterlife, and so in my imagining of an underworld, I developed this concept of Deep’en Realm. Most of my ideas are sparked from the notion that there can be any number of dimensions or worlds that have their own rules, and are totally foreign to our rules.

This is book one in The Circle of Trust series. What can readers expect in book two?

Book 2 takes our adventurers into the Fairy World, an “sky” world, where your heroes need to prevent Depravity, the evil Lord, from destroying the Blue Butterfly, the last talisman that seals Depravity’s power from entering the palpable world (our earth).

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Jared (Jay) Swagger has a pretty good life. He’s a great lacrosse player, he has an amazing girlfriend, and a secret world he gets to have adventures in. However, after Holly Fitts kisses him after his team won the lacrosse match, his girlfriend, Avery Noble, refuses to speak to him. And when adventure calls for a Truth Wizard in Afflatus, Avery leaves Jared behind. Jared is heartbroken. But the next day Carson, the crown prince of Afflatus, tells him that Avery has gone missing and that Jared needs to find her and rescue her from the land of the dwarves. Jared’s good friend and teammate, Garon Miller, tags along and he learns a lot about himself too. Most importantly, it is important to be true to ourselves. Once in the land of dwarves, they find that the evil spirit Depravity has been at work, stirring up dissension and war. The only way to bring peace is to find Avery and recreate the Circle of Trust. But this becomes increasingly difficult because they find out that Avery is seriously injured, and the Molpen, part mole, part human, beings are trying to stop them. Can Jared find Avery, restore her to health, and save the dwarves before Depravity accomplishes his goal to total annihilate the dwarves?

Heroes of Afflatus

The peaceful existence between the factions of Dwarves and Molpens in the Deep’en Kingdom is disrupted by a despicable elemental being. He possesses a Molpen, Militch, and makes him destroy the Circle of Trust, which has kept the dwarves bonded for ages. Avery Noble, the Truth Wizard, is summoned from earth to help salvage the situation. She’s the only one who can restore peace. But things take a sour turn when she goes missing on her mission. Carson, the crown prince of Afflatus gets Avery’s boyfriend and knight, Jared Swagger, to help find her. In a nerve-racking race against time, Carson, Jared, and his friend Garon must rescue Avery in time for her to restore the Circle of Trust and end the war between the Dwarves and Molpens.

Author C.R Endacott’s Circle of Trust is a riveting adventure novel in the fantasy genre that cuts across two worlds –earth and a fictional setting. C.R Endacott plunges readers into the Deep’en Kingdom, where some trees survive on dust and waterfalls heal wounds and replenish people’s energy stores.

Amidst the fast-paced adventure, Endacott slips in relevant themes apart from the clear ones of bravery and camaraderie. The standout ones for me include a message on the rigid expectations society has on how people should live their lives. Also, the book alludes to how the evil we commit is simply a result of unrestrained weaknesses. In other words, the people who perpetrate great evil are those who fail to keep their weaknesses under control. Similarly, good people aren’t absolutely devoid of sinister tendencies. They’ve just kept them on a leash.

I think we all enjoy twists and turns that are shocking enough to make us gasp. But we relish them more when we can recollect previously overlooked hints or clues foreshadowing those twists. That moment where it all makes sense, and we nod our heads or think, “ooh, so that’s why that happened”. Endacott evokes reactions like this by expertly sprinkling clues, which add up when the author finally introduces twists in some of the subplots.

While the book’s subplots had a few twists, I felt the main plot was a little too linear. It could have done with a few pleasant or unpleasant curveballs. In any case, the central conflict was enough to keep me quickly flipping page untill the end.

Circle of Trust is only the first in the Heroes of Afflatus series. This is an excellent start to what is sure to be a thrilling series. If you’re looking to get lost in an otherworldly adventure for a while, you can let C.R Endacott take you on a fantastical ride.

Pages: 108 | ASIN: B08GJZ9XG1

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Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel

Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel by [M. Ainihi, Allister Thompson]

Rise: A Blood Inheritance Novel by M. Ainihi is the first novel from the “Blood Inheritance” YA dark fantasy series. It follows the story of Amanda Garrett, a fifteen-year-old girl who lives in a small town with her father. The book starts off with a prologue set hundreds of years before the main story takes place, where we learn of the imprisonment of Erol, a jinn(genie), and the reason behind it. Hundreds of years later, while on a day trip in the woods with her dad, Amanda stumbles upon an ancient artifact she discovers contains a jinn(genie), which is Erol, that will change her life forever. Amanda’s life soon spirals out of control as she is sucked into a fantastical world where she’s orphaned, kidnapped, and forced to work for a powerful wizard who seeks a mythical talisman. All the while, Amanda harnesses dark powers unbeknownst to her. And as she sets off on her journey, Amanda learns about the creation of the universe, different mythical creatures, realms, and her own demonic ancestry. She has to deal with unwanted feelings and make decisions that will harm those she loves, some of which leave both her and the reader shocked.

Rise is an incredibly fast-paced novel, one-second you’re following the story of a joyful girl, completely unaware of the journey she’s about to begin, and the next you’re reading of genies, evil wizards, gods, and the creation of the universe. Although it is 160 pages it is extremely detailed and provides the reader with a good understanding of the characters and the realms they reside. As for the language used, it is fairly simple to understand, which makes it a suitable read for anyone. I did find a couple of spelling mistakes and redundancies but really nothing to fret over. The main character, Amanda, is very believable. She starts off as a naive young girl, happy to spend time with her father and worried over trivial matters. But as the story develops, so does she, as she becomes a troubled young woman trying her best to understand and control the dark powers and impulses within her.

Throughout the book, we get to see two sides of the same character and that makes it a lot more interesting. Other characters, such as Erol and Aden, also provide a refreshing break from what you might expect from a genie, for even though they want to do good with their powers, they also have secrets and desires that add complexity to what could otherwise be bland and predictable characters. M. Ainihi does a great job creating a beautiful setting, making you feel like you’re actually visiting the realms described. The theme is very fun and original. the author provides a different concept with the genies, as opposed to your typical vampires and werewolves. I very much enjoyed reading about these mythological creatures and all the lore behind them.

Pages: 162 | ASIN: B075PX97CK

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Feeling the Pressure

Bob Moseley Author Interview

Bob Moseley Author Interview

Choker follows Mark as he grapples with the pressures of high school along with the pressures of sports and family. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?

I was always fascinated with the idea of “choking” in sports or feeling the pressure. It can be extremely burdensome for any athlete. I set out to write an authentic sports book that captures the true feelings and thoughts of young athletes.

Mark is an interesting and well developed character. What were some driving ideals behind his character?

I wanted to portray a young athlete who comes face to face with his worst nightmare while playing the sport he loves but eventually overcomes the stigma through perseverance and summoning the courage to be different. As a biracial boy in a suburban high school Mark feels like an outcast at school for several reasons, and like so many of us, he just wants to fit in.

There were some very specific sports details in this book that made this book realistic. Did you use anything from your own life in this book?

Hah! Some people jokingly wonder if it’s an autobiography. I did miss a free throw once that may have cost my high school team a game, and I was broken up for weeks. No athlete wants to be known as someone who buckles under pressure. But my background as both a high school and college athlete, plus years as a sportswriter, helped lend authenticity to the novel.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

Nothing planned right now. “Choker” is my second book, following national-award winner “Out of Bounds.” I’m trying to build my brand as a YA sports author.

Author Links: Website | Twitter

Choker by [Moseley, Bob]

Be careful of what you wish for. Sixteen-year-old Mark Chamberlain always dreamed of playing in a state championship basketball game. But he never envisioned a nightmare performance that would bring utter humiliation and scar him as an outcast at school.

Classmates begin to call Mark “Wilt” Chamberlain because he melts under pressure.To top it off, Mark’s father won’t come to his games. When it feels as though the world is against him, with the support of a beautiful girl, Mark tries to summon the inner strength and courage to be different — just like legendary basketball star Wilt Chamberlain.

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A Steampunk Adventure

Ora Wanders Author Interview

Ora Wanders Author Interview

Children of the Elements follows four children as they discover magical abilities only revealed when they come together. What was the inspiration behind the idea for this novel?

I really don’t know where the idea came from. I was super into Harry Potter, and I was seriously just laying on the floor one day and thought of it. When I finally started writing, I had been thinking about it for like two years and slowly building up a story line.

I felt that the characters were well developed and changed with the story. What were some driving ideals behind their characters?

Well, Brenna was the most like me, so she was easy. Dimitri was a lot like my “best friend” at the time. Adara is sort of the person I think I am growing into (my mom totally says so!), and Wyndham is kinda me when I am around new people!

What has been a motivating factor for you to become a young writer and how has your family supported you?

My mom published books that were doing really well, and I was like, “I wanna do that!” Then my mom gave me a copy of her friend’s daughter’s book (The Fairies of Waterfall Island by Emma Sumner who was only eight at the time), and I knew I could do it too!

But my mom kept on me because I get distracted easily. She’s a book editor and owns an editing company, so she helped me plot out the milestones and character arches and helped a LOT with vocabulary and avoiding repetition–like everything ending with “said.” Cuz I do that a lot…

This is book one in a series. Where will book two take readers and when will it be available?

Well, it’s gonna show us life in the Realm of the Gods and why it’s WAY more boring when everything is perfect! Dimitri is the main character in Book Two instead of Brenna. There will also be four new elemental characters (hint: rhymes with schragons!). And there will actually be four books total. With each Devins kid as the protagonist. I finished the rough draft already, but now it’s going through my mom before it goes through the rest of her editing team. Editing Book One took almost six months, so I guess I will be lucky to get it out by the end of this summer (2019), but that’s the goal. I hope to have Books Three and Four done by the end of 2019 too.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | Instagram

Children of the Elements: A Steampunk Adventure by [Wanders, Ora]

When twin girls, Brenna and Adara, move from posh Victorian England to a humble farmhouse in America, they quickly notice that all is no longer as it seems…

While Brenna has always had an affinity for water and Adara has always loved fire, the girls now discover they have some sort of CONTROL over these elements as well!

They learn how true this is when they meet another set of twins—boys named Dimitri and Wyndham who also live in their new town.

When the four children get together magical things start to happen!

But they aren’t the only ones who know about this power now…

Something sinister has been lurking in the town waiting for the moment the four children finally activate their newfound abilities.

You’ll love this magical steampunk fantasy by a child-author because of the lovable characters and non-stop action!

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Choker

Choker by [Moseley, Bob]

Choker by Bob Moseley is the “coming of age” tale of basketball-obsessed Mark Chamberlain who, in the course on one year went from being the black sheep of his high-school’s basketball team to team captain.

A Clifton High student, Mark Chamberlain misses an all-important throw in the final seconds of a game, which costs his team a championship victory and gets him the nickname “the choker”. However, with help from coach Antonelli and his new girlfriend Su Metha, Mark is slowly getting over the setback and dedicates himself to training hard for the next season. His love for basketball helps him deal with heartache and pain and, after becoming team co-captain, he gets better and better at the game and ends up leading his teammates to victory.

This Young Adult book deals with a lot of issues that are important for teenagers nowadays: race issues, balancing school work and sports, bullying along with social media bullying, and dealing with loss, but also touches on the positive aspects of life, like the book hero’s first love, overcoming obstacles, bettering yourself through hard work. It definitely holds a lot of lessons for the reader, and teenagers and young adults will relate to the characters. The writing is alert and quite visual, and keeps the reader connected to the characters and interested in their evolution. Some of the pages are quite moving, such as the chapters that describe the death and the funeral of Mark’s father. I liked Mark’s character development, but I felt that the other characters were black and white, they were either good or bad. I would of appreciated more nuance.

The abundance of details related to basketball was a little overwhelming at times, for instance the descriptions of some of Mark’s games, a lot of information about game strategies and techniques, or about famous players. Any avid fan of basketball will appreciate the interesting facts and minute by minute break down of the games. This is an engaging and thought provoking coming of age basketball story that is sure to appeal to teens and sports fans.

Pages: 193 | ASIN: B07GX8B4T2

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