Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Erika Lewis Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview 

Erika Lewis graduated from Vanderbilt University with a degree in Math. And what do you do with a degree in Math? You become a writer of course… eventually…

She moved to the west coast following her dream to work in television. And after fifteen glorious years developing and producing for truly awesome places, like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Fireworks Television, 20th Television, that’s a division of Fox if you didn’t know that, and then at G4, where she could finally be free to be the nerd she had always been. She had more collectible toys in her office than even the famed executive producers of ATTACK OF THE SHOW and XPLAY. At least that’s the way she remembers it.

So how did this circle back to the beginning of this bio? A Math major becoming a writer? Because she’d actually always been a writer, she just never told anyone. She would write and write, edit and edit, then realize that it wasn’t good enough and go back in for yet another pass. And when she finally had several projects she really loved, that’s when she knew it was time to unleash them to the world.

Her first project, a graphic novel, THE 49TH KEY, is currently being featured in Heavy Metal Magazine, and will be released in trade in summer, 2017. Along with her amazing partner, Jessica Chobot, she’s currently working with LINE Webtoon and Legendary Comics on FIREBRAND, an ongoing comic series. Her first novel, GAME OF SHADOWS hits the bookstore shelves February 28th, 2017 from TOR/Forge Books, an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

There are several other really exciting projects that you will be hearing much more about soon, but if she leaked them now, she’d get in big, big, big trouble. She resides in the sunshine state of California. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she’s usually playing with her big fluffy Golden Retriever, or running, or at one of the bookstores or comic shops by her house. And always drinking coffee.

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Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (February 28, 2017)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765381389
ISBN-13: 978-0765381385


Praise for GAME OF SHADOWS

“A fantastical journey that I didn’t want to end!” ―Sherrilyn Kenyon, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“It’s impossible to put this riveting page-turner down!” ―Stan Lee, author, editor, actor, and former president and chairman of Marvel Comics

“This book’s got heart . . . a wonderful adventure.” ―R. A. Salvatore, New York Times bestselling author of The Hunters Blades novels

“One of those thrilling tales you can’t put down . . . the perfect blend of imaginative world-building and nonstop action wrapped up in a compelling mystery.” ―D.J. MacHale, New York Times bestselling author of Pendragon and The SYLO Chronicles

“We were hooked. This is an adventure story for the ages.” --John Barrowman & Carole Barrowman, authors of the Hollow Earth trilogy & Conjuror

“Riveting from the start.” ―Steven Gould, author of Jumper

“Lewis has created a whole new world that is at once exciting and affecting. . . . She weaves a web of mythology that is both reminiscent of the Celtic world and redolent of the unique creation of a rich and fertile imagination.”―Dara Hellman, Lecturer, Celtic Studies Program, University of California, Berkeley




Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Humans have been storytelling since the beginning of our existence on the Earth. The oldest cave paintings are over 40,000 years old. Stories have been told through the ages for many reasons: to educate, to inspire, to warn, but I think the reason it’s so important to all of us is to feel. We are emotional creatures. Taking a deep plunge into a character’s life, their good times and bad, turmoil and jubilation. Their friends become our friends, their enemies our enemies. We explore worlds and cultures that are fundamentally different from our own, and yet find ways to connect and feel a part of their worlds. We also tell stories to entertain. To make us laugh and cry, to feel scared or comforted. I truly hope to never live in a world where people stop telling stories.

Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?


It wasn’t until I was in college that I knew I wanted to be a writer. When I lived in London, I had to turn in several short stories. I was a math major at Vanderbilt University, and papers, let alone writing fiction, wasn’t something I had to do very often. But I longed too. I had always written stories in journals as a kid, but rarely showed them to anyone. The stories I turned in were read aloud to the class by the professor as examples of good work. The praise went a long way to giving me the confidence to let others read what I had written.

What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?

I can’t cook. I have nightmares about being on that show “Chopped!” It’s one thing that Ethan’s mother, Caitríona and I have in common!

When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I was maybe eight. It was a comic book set on the Battlestar Galactica. In my version, I secretly found a signal to follow and led the crew to find Earth. It was a very satisfying ending! I wrote my first novel about fifteen years ago, but like all first attempts, it was only mediocre. It’s in a drawer with several others.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?

In the 9th grade I had a guidance counselor tell me I should be sure to take typing. She told me I’d likely not get into a decent college, and I should be prepared to take a job where a degree wouldn’t be necessary. That’s when I learned to PROVE THEM WRONG! Needless to say I left that private school the next year for public, graduated with honors, and went on to Vanderbilt. She was right though. Typing came in very handy! LOL!

In your new book; GAME OF SHADOWS, can you tell my Book Nerd Kids Community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

Here’s the summary:

Thousands of years ago in Ireland, an ancient race fought a world-changing battle―and lost. Their land overrun, the Celtic gods and goddesses fled while the mythical races and magical druids sailed to an uncharted continent, cloaked so mankind could never find it. This new homeland was named Tara.

In modern day Los Angeles, Ethan Makkai struggles with an overprotective mother who never lets him out of her sight, and a terrifying secret: he can see ghosts. Desperate for a taste of freedom, he leaves his apartment by himself for the first time―only to find his life changed forever. After being attacked by dive-bombing birds, he races home to find the place trashed and his mother gone.

With the help of a captain from Tara who has been secretly watching the Makkais for a long time, Ethan sets out to save his mother; a journey that leads him to the hidden lands, and straight into the arms of a vicious sorcerer who will stop at nothing until he controls Tara. With new-found allies including Christian, the cousin he never knew he had, and Lily, the sword-slinging healer who’d rather fight than mend bones, Ethan travels an arduous road―dodging imprisonment, battling beasts he thought only existed in nightmares, and accepting help from the beings he’s always sought to avoid: ghosts. Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother, the fearless girl he’s fallen for, and all the people of Tara.

One thing about GAME OF SHADOWS is that its an expansive universe, meaning that as Ethan, Lily and Christian journey across Tara, they’re joined by some, imprisoned by others, and attacked by many. Taking inspiration from what I loved most about Tolkien’s Middle-earth, the gravity of the situation brings allies together and enemies out of the shadows. As Bran mentions in his prophecy at the beginning of the book, “For in darkness there is always light, and in the face of death a reason to fight.”

For those who are unfamiliar with Ethan, how would you introduce him?

Ethan is loyal to a fault, funny, and warm-hearted, but also tough when he feels like he’s being bullied. He doesn’t back down from anyone or anything, much to everyone else’s chagrin. His sarcasm gets him in trouble, and he’s not very good at keeping his mouth shut when he should, but then again that’s what I love about him.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

This may sound a little strange, but you asked the question. :) From GAME OF SHADOWS, I’d love to introduce the evil sorcerer, Sawney Bean to HARRY POTTER’s Voldemort. In fact, nothing would make me laugh harder than if they ended up freshman year roommates in an old college dorm! See, Bean’s charismatic, charming even. A romantic, he’d have you twirling in his arms, beaming at him—right before he sucked your soul out with his club of destruction. And even knowing he’d do that, you might still want to go out on a date with him. And Voldemort, well, this is a villain who took himself way too seriously. He couldn’t take a joke, or make a joke. He was mister doom and gloom, which would make it way too easy for Bean to get a rise out of him. And he would. I could just see it on SNL!

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

To pick one would be impossible, but Sherrilyn Kenyon’s next novel is always on my nightstand. She inspires me with her rich characters and dark, yet inviting worlds. Although I typically favor genre, I never miss a Gayle Forman novel. Her character’s situations and voices ring so true to their ages. She never lets a reader down, something we all strive for.

And then there’s Rick Riordan. His HEROES OF OLYMPUS series once again brought to life Greek mythology in a fun adventure, but his characters’ emotional arcs in this series are what really struck me.

You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?

I’d have to go with what I learned in school. PROVE THEM WRONG! Go after what you want and make it happen!

What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?

I wanted to be a lifeguard. It paid well and the idea of spending every day at the pool was to good to be true. I had to take a bunch of classes to get certified, including CPR. That same summer, when I wasn’t at the pool, I was babysitting for a family in our neighborhood. They had 3 boys. The youngest was about 4 at the time. It was an average hot, sticky day so we’d opted to watch cartoons in the air conditioned inside.

The kids asked for some candy, and I wasn’t the best babysitter in that I always said “sure.” They ran for the candy jar where they each grabbed a piece of hard candy. A few seconds later, I saw the youngest bend over in a really weird way then look at me with heartbreaking terror in his eyes. I asked him if he was okay, but he couldn’t speak. He was choking.

That lifeguard training kicked in. I don’t know how, but I didn’t panic. I remembered what I’d learned in CPR class. He was thin and easy for me to pick up, so I flipped him over, laid him upside down on my arm, and after a couple of whacks between his shoulder blades, got the candy to pop out. Then I started shaking when I realized that he could have died. Let’s just say that summer job stuck with me!

What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a kid?

To be less burdened with technology is incredibly inviting. In Tara, Ethan struggles with this for only a brief second because when you don’t have it, and have no chance of getting it back, you don’t miss it. You have to LET IT GO. So take me all the way back, to 1900, to a rural place where no one had cars yet!

What scares you the most and why?

I have an irrational fear of things with teeth at ankle level. I know, really weird. Like little dogs that yap and jump at my ankles when I’m running. Snakes, because you know they’ll bite you on the leg, where it’s very difficult to defend yourself. Strange, right?

What is your greatest adventure?

BC (Before Children) my greatest adventure was also the most terrifying. It was during spring break in college when I was living in London. My roommates and I got a really cheap trip to Teneriffe, one of the Canary Islands. We rented an old jeep and went touring. Ended up on a one-lane road going straight up the side of a dead volcanic mountain.

There was no way to turn around. The road was so thin that when I looked out the passenger window I could see our cars tires a mere inches from the vertical death-drop over the edge. We rode that way, praying no car would try and come down, for over 10 hours, climbing higher and higher. Temperatures fell below freezing at the top and we were in bathing suits. We laughed and joked and sang old camp songs, trying to keep from freaking out.

Erin drove. Man, I give her credit. Even when the tires slipped a couple of times, she remained focused and kept the car on the road. She was a rock. We’d left at 8 AM. It was after midnight by the time we found our way back to the hotel.

Happy to be alive, we celebrated with sangria—and called our boyfriends, parents, siblings and best friends to make sure they knew how much they meant to us!

When was the last time you wrote a letter to someone on paper?

This past December. I like to hand write thank you notes. No one does it anymore but should.

Where did you go on your first airplane ride?

To Miami, Florida when I was like 5. I remember the hotel had a fire in the basement. I was in the basement at the time.

When was the last time you cried?
Last Tuesday when I watched an episode of This Is Us!

What was your favorite book as a child and why?

Going way back into my childhood, it was The Monster at the End of This Book. I LOVE that book. I made my kids love that book. I waited and waited for that punch line at the end, and laughed every time. Then, it was Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. And Judy Bloom’s Forever…

I loved science fiction and fantasy, but also good old-fashion character driven real life stories. That what I like to write too, family dramas set in the middle of a fantasy world, like Game of Shadows.

Where can readers find you?

I’m all over social media stops these days.
Twitter: @ErikaElyLewis
Snapchat: erika@erikalewis.com
Instagram: ErikaElyLewis
Facebook: facebook.com/TheErikaLewis

You can email me too through my website or at erika@erikalewis.com. I’m usually very quick to respond, unless I’m on deadline. But I’ll always get back to you.


Ten quotes from GAME OF SHADOWS

“For in darkness there is always light, and in the face of death a reason to fight.”

“Um yeah, Sky, what exactly is this? You and Loony Tunes?”

“It’s not a what, it’s a where. Tara. Which is where those bloody birds have taken her.”

“My teachers were paid to watch me? Are you serious?”

“Dear Gods, Bartlett wasn’t kidding. Your mother didn’t tell you anything about anything.”

 “If you’re so determined to go, which it seems you are, I can’t let you go alone. Besides”—a slow tic worked Christian’s jaw—“whoever took your mother had a part in my father’s death, and I want revenge.”

“Not quite. He said if he found me on the castle grounds. These are not the castle grounds.”
“Have you ever noticed that both ‘love’ and ‘hate’ are four-letter words? On opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, and yet connected at their very core…”

“And I would give anything for another day with my mother.”

“Don’t you understand? Today you join the ghostly world you’re so fond of, and once you’re dead, the pathetic radharc power will die with you.”



Ethan Makkai thought that seeing ghosts was the worst of his problems. Between his ethereal gift and life with a single mother hell-bent on watching his every move, he feels imprisoned. When Ethan sees a chance to escape, to leave the house by himself for the first time in his life, he seizes it, unaware that this first taste of freedom will cost him everything.

Ethan is thrown into a strange and eerie world, like nothing he's ever seen. He's assaulted by dive-bombing birds and rescued by a stranger who claims to be his bodyguard. His apartment is trashed, and his mother is kidnapped to a place Ethan never knew existed—a hidden continent called Tara.

Travelling to Tara in search of his mother, Ethan discovers that everything he knows about his life is a lie. His mother is royalty. His father is not dead. His destiny is likely to get him killed.

Confronted by a vicious sorcerer determined to destroy the Makkai family, Ethan must garner strength from his gift and embrace his destiny if he’s going to save his mother and all the people of Tara, including the beautiful girl he’s fallen for.


EXCERPT

General Niles and Ethan dismounted and led the horses into a bustling market in the gigantic courtyard of Weymiss Castle. The place looked medieval. Wooden carts lined the fence, selling everything from clothes and dishware, to swords and knives. The food carts immediately caught Ethan’s attention. The smell of cooking meat made his mouth water. He hadn’t eaten since breakfast.

The general probably had money but not even Ethan’s growling stomach could get him to ask him for some. Never owe anybody anything. A lesson he’d learned a long time ago.

The farther into the market, the more subdued the crowd became. Long faces and hushed conversations replaced good-natured bantering. Guarded apprehension blanketed the people’s greeting smiles. Something was very wrong.

When they neared where a large throng had gathered, Ethan stopped to listen to an angry voice that rose from the center of the group.

“I’m telling you, with the death of the king—” an extremely fat man started. Unlike the simple clothes of those around him, he wore a red cloak with white stitching on the collar and down the back.

“What? They’ll invade?” A nervous woman in the back dropped a basket, and waited anxiously for the man’s response.

“That’s exactly what I am saying.”

A moment of shocked silence was broken by panicked murmurs until another man who looked like a clone of General Niles—uniformed, with the same blond hair and height—came behind him and set an authoritative hand on his back. “Stop scaring everyone, Linus Flinch! No one is going to invade Landover and steal your ale out of your cellars.”

Laughter broke out as Niles pulled Ethan toward a dark-haired boy, maybe ten, who stood eagerly waiting with his hands out. With a nod to the general, the boy took the horses’ reins. Ethan tried to say hello, but the general shooed the boy off.

“As I explained to Lily, you are a secret,” General Niles said, keeping his voice low. “And I need you to remain that way for a bit longer.”

“Why?”

“Because your uncle was murdered.” The word hung in the air long after Niles said it.

“Murdered?” Ethan said a little too loud. Several people turned and stared.

Niles faked a laugh, wrapped an arm over Ethan’s shoulders, and started walking, dragging him reluctantly along.

“And I’m a secret because . . . ?”

“I don’t want you to share your uncle’s fate.”

The man certainly didn’t sugarcoat anything.

As Ethan followed the general, he couldn’t help gaping at two figures standing over a nearby cart. Their bodies were covered in black fur and they stood upright like humans but walked on curved legs. With white fur circling their piercing green eyes, set off against their furry black faces, they looked like they were wearing masks. Dual swords mounted on their muscular bare backs, they wore tight-fitting maroon pants.

The stand appeared to be selling fish, but not like any fish he’d seen before. With red scales, six eyes and two tail fins, they looked like a radioactive science experiment gone wrong. The wolf-men tossed the merchant some gold coins, snatched two fish each, and scarfed them down. A yellow substance coated the soft fur around their mouths, which they lapped up with their exceedingly long tongues.

Ethan was too curious not to stop. “Um. What are they?” He whispered, hoping they couldn’t hear him.

“Faoladhs, hailing from Kilkerry. Weymiss has the biggest market in Tara. All are welcome to trade here.”

The Faoladhs rounded the cart. With their ears perked at attention, they tilted their heads in a very canine manner, and eyed Ethan. The general stepped between them, obstructing Ethan from their view. He turned, removed his cloak and wrapped it around Ethan’s shoulders.

“Let’s keep moving,” Niles said.

The cloak hung below Ethan’s knees and it weighed a ton. He started to shrug it off when the general put a stiff hand on his shoulder.

“Your clothes are a bit different,” he said. “Best not to take any chances.”

As they came to the end of the carts, a heavyset woman rushed the general, carrying several bottles of colored liquids.

“General Niles, these are for Morgan. Lily was here this morning and said you would take care of the charge for them?”

“Of course she did. Very well . . .”

As the general dealt with the woman, a man about Ethan’s height, dressed in a sleek brown vest and matching pants slipped behind the woman’s stand. He had caramel-colored skin, wildly curly brown hair, and thimble-sized horns on his forehead. As he snuck a bottle with yellow liquid from the cart, his twinkling hazel eyes caught Ethan’s. He flashed a mischievous smile, and then ran off so fast no one seemed to notice.

Ethan started after him but General Niles snatched his arm. “Hey!”

“Where do you think you’re going?”

“There was . . .” Ethan searched the crowd, but the thief had vanished into the masses.

“There was what?” Niles laid a hand on the pommel of his sword, scanning the crowd. “What did you see?”

Unsure what to say, Ethan shrugged. The thief was long gone. “Nothing I guess.”

Niles eyed him with a suspicious brow. “Then let’s keep moving.”

The rest of the way the general stayed beside him, keeping the crowds on his left, Ethan on his right and a firm hand on Ethan’s sore shoulder.

As they climbed the hill to the castle, teams of soldiers rolled cannonballs up raised planks to other men who stacked them in pyramids next to large black cannons. In fact, as Ethan looked back over Weymiss, both above and below the castle wall, men readied cannons, heavy metal spears, bows, arrows, swords, and shields.

“Landover is going to be invaded,” Ethan said repeating what he’d heard.

“Since the death of your uncle, tension with one of the territories has been high. We must always be prepared.”

As they came to a drawbridge that spanned the moat surrounding the castle, Ethan stopped again. Annoyed, Niles stopped beside him.

“So let me get this straight, my mom was kidnapped, my uncle murdered, and Landover is about to go to war.”

After a long sigh, Niles shook his head. “I didn’t say we were about to go to war. I said we must always be prepared.”

You can purchase Game of Shadows at the following Retailers:
        


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Erika Lewis and TOR Books for making this giveaway possible.
10 Winners will receive a Copy of Game of Shadows by Erika Lewis.



February 27th Monday Reading for the Stars and Moon EXCERPT
February 27th Monday Taking It One Book at a Time REVIEW & DREAM CAST
February 28th Tuesday JeanBookNerd VLOG & INTERVIEW 
February 28th Tuesday Movies, Shows, & Blogs RANDOM THINGS 
March 1st Wednesday Diane's Book Blog REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS 
March 1st Wednesday The Literati Press REVIEW 
March 2nd Thursday Books, Dreams, Life FAVORITE BOOKS
March 2nd Thursday J.R.'s Book Reviews REVIEW 
March 3rd Friday Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 
March 3rd Friday She Dreams in Fiction REVIEW & FAVORITE THINGS 
March 4th Saturday CBY Book Club EXCERPT 
March 5th Sunday Sabrina's Paranormal Palace REVIEW & TENS LIST 
March 5th Sunday Kara the Redhead EXCERPT 
March 6th Monday A Dream Within a Dream MUSIC PLAYLIST 
March 7th Tuesday Book Briefs REVIEW & GUEST POST 
March 8th Wednesday Wishful Endings TENS LIST 
March 8th Wednesday Sara is Reading and Listening to What? REVIEW & RANDOM THINGS

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