JeanBookNerd Storytellers BOX

Let your adventure begin...

L.M. Elliott

LOUISA JUNE AND THE NAZIS IN THE WAVES Nerd Blast

Sean Penn

BOB HONEY WHO JUST DO STUFF

Leigh Lewis

PIRATE QUEENS Nerd Blast

Tom Bilyeu

Impact Theory

Veronica Henry

THE QUARTER STORM Official Blog Tour

William L. Myers Jr.

A KILLER'S ALIBI

Stacy Hackney

THE SISTERS OF LUNA ISLAND Nerd Blast

E.E. KNight

NOVICE DRAGONEER

Robert McCaw

DEATH OF A MESSENGER

Gregg Olsen

SNOW CREEK Podcast

Josh Duhamel

THE BUDDY GAMES

N.E. Davenport

THE BLOOD TRIALS Nerd Blast

Evie Green

WE HEAR VOICES

Jennifer Marie Brissett

DESTROYER OF LIGHT Blog Tour

Barbara Dee

VIOLETS ARE BLUE Nerd Blast

Friday, September 23, 2022

Gina L. Maxwell Interview - The Dark King


Photo Content from Gina L. Maxwell 

Gina L. Maxwell is a multi-bestselling author living in the upper Midwest, despite her scathing hatred of snow and cold weather. As a lifelong romance novel addict, she began writing as an alternate way of enjoying the romance stories she loves to read.

Her debut novel, Seducing Cinderella, hit both the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists in less than four weeks, and also hit the #1 spot internationally, ahead of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons. #ProudDay 

When she’s not reading, writing, or spending way too much on her paper planner and office supply obsessions, she loves hanging out with her high-school-sweetheart hubby and their adult kids, while dreaming about her someday-move to someplace tropical.
        
  

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill? 
When I was young, I watched my dad perform (he was a singer and drummer) and saw how happy he made people with his talents. I wanted to be able to do that someday—to make people happy, touch their hearts, and help them escape their troubles, if only for a few hours.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre? 
All-time favorite book is The Last Letter by my best friend Rebecca Yarros. And not just because I’m biased. It’s legitimately the most brilliant book I’ve ever read, with a heartbreaking, poignant message. I would put it into the hands of every person I met if I could. My favorite book outside of my genre is You by Caroline Kepnes, and I highly recommend listening to the audiobook because the actor is beyond phenomenal. It’s the most fascinating social experiment of a story, and the fact that she’s able to make the reader sympathize with the psychotic stalker when we know better is just amazing.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Hands down, it’s hearing from readers that one of my books has strongly impacted them for the better. Whether it helped them find confidence in themselves, heal from past wounds, or reminded them that they deserve to be loved and treated well, knowing that my stories have helped women or even just touched them enough to stick with them long after they turn that last page, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 
Burnout. This book had to be written very fast in order to be released this fall. That meant that I was in my office from the time I woke up to the time I fell into bed. I think I sat in my living room for all of a half hour during those 9 weeks. When I hit the 7-week mark, I really started to feel the strain of fatigue, and some days it felt impossible to get any words on the page. Thankfully I was able to power through and took a well-deserved break once I turned it in.

Has reading a book ever changed your life? Which one and why, if yes? 
Absolutely! The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter. After reading that book (and feeling so invested in the characters’ HEA) I started to think about what two characters I would throw together if I were to write a book. That led to weeks of daydreaming about their backstory and conflicts, which led to me writing a book just for fun/for myself, which then led to wondering if it was possible to get it published. Three years, fourteen major rewrites, and hundreds of revisions later, I got my first contract with Entangled Publishing, and the rest is history. If it hadn’t been for Gena’s awe-inspiring writing, I don’t know that I ever would’ve stumbled onto this path. I’ll be forever grateful to her for that.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT THE DARK KING
  • I’d never read any books with faeries before writing The Dark King—not even A Court of Thorns and Roses! Whereas I’m a huge paranormal romance fan, I’d never read any high fantasy books. Even to this day, the only series like that I’ve read is the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout, and while it’s high fantasy, there are no fae in that world. So I did a lot of Googling, and I also had a reader friend who is extremely knowledgeable about the fae who helped me when I had questions. Now I’m totally in love with the genre, but I’ll wait to read things like A Court of Thorns and Roses until after I’ve completed the series because I don’t want to be influenced by her world and characters. Any similarities between The Dark King and A Court of Thorns and Roses is completely coincidental at this point.
  • I’m from Wisconsin, so all of Bryn’s Midwestern idiosyncrasies are very real, down to her apologizing to the bartender for requesting he do his job by making her a drink.
  • I bartended at a local (small town) bar for 5 years and the part about people leaving their money in a pile on the bar and going about their business is what they do. The bartender just pulls out what they need whenever a drink is served.
  • It was my editor’s idea for Bryn to threaten to castrate Caiden in the bar. So if you love that part, she gets the credit!
  • I didn’t intend on writing a Beauty and the Beast retelling, but when I realized I’d accidentally created one, I scattered a few Beauty and the Beast details throughout the story just because it made me giggle.
  • Tiernan (the middle brother) has a decal on his car that says “I drive like a Cullen” which I think is one of the funniest bits in the book. I got the idea because my 23-year-old daughter has that decal on her car, and I love it.
  • All the fae characters (and Bryn) have Celtic/Irish/Gaelic names. The Woulfe twins’ names, Connor and Conall, who are from a fae bloodline of wolf shifters, mean “lover of wolves” and “powerful wolf” respectively.
  • I wrote all the sex scenes after the book was already written because they take so long for me to write, and I dread them. Yes, I know that I’m known for my sex scenes, so people are always shocked to hear I loathe writing them. But it’s only because they’re exhausting. I put A LOT of details into them and they’re always really long. So while I’m always really proud of them when I’m done, sometimes I wait until the end to add them all in.
  • There’s a line at the end of chapter 8 that’s basically a nod to my fellow romance readers in an “I see you and you see me, wink-wink, nudge-nudge” kind of way:
    I’m officially trapped. The prisoner of three extremely wealthy and unbelievably sexy brothers. Somewhere, there’s a romance reader swooning at the very idea.
  • The epilogue is in Tiernan’s POV. He’s the middle brother I mentioned earlier, and that chapter is my favorite last chapter I’ve ever written. It’s pretty diabolical, if I do say so myself, and it’s causing readers to simultaneously scream with excitement and curse my name. I love it so much! *cue maniacal laughter*
Best date you've ever had? 
I’m still looking forward to experiencing that someday.

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 
Coffee.

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
It was a total comedy of errors. My daughter and I (who was 11 at the time) were driving from Pittsburgh to San Antonio in a ’93 Cadillac Deville with 2 cats. From start to finish, the trip included two tire replacements (they happened separately), driving through a storm with no less than 6 tornadoes reported to have touched down in our area, multiple stops for an overheating car, replacing the thermostat at a body shop in Arkansas where my Yankee ears could barely understand their Southern accents, and staying in a motel that had what looked like a pile of pubic hair in the shower and smelled so musty my daughter couldn’t get to sleep until I grabbed the pine tree air freshener from the car and slipped it under her pillow case. But we laughed the whole way through it and kept repeating my motto I always say when things go wrong: It’s an adventure!

What's your most missed memory? 
My dad’s speaking voice. He passed away when I was ten, and I have his albums so at least I’ve never forgotten his singing voice, but I don’t remember what he sounded like when he told me stories or helped me with my homework. It’s been 34 years and I still miss him every day.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
Multiple times. Always stick up for others who may not be able to do so themselves. I don’t tolerate bullies or ignorance.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before? 
True love, every time.

What event in your life would make a good movie? 
Summer of ’96. Started with me and a guy from school named Rob getting together and commiserating because our significant others dumped us and got together. His neighbor/friend Jesse started hanging with us and the three of us became inseparable that summer, doing things like hiking, rock climbing, freestyle rollerblading, and jumping off a railroad bridge into the Wisconsin River together. Unfortunately, the summer ended in tragedy when Jesse and I got into a car accident that killed him instantly. The real question is how I survived at all, because according to the first responders and doctors, I never should’ve made it out of the car without being electrocuted to death, not to mention the logistics of how I got out “on my own" should have been impossible. But Rob and I know it was because of Jesse. The three of us had made a pact to protect each other, and that’s what he did. He saved me. I have a book series that I’ve wanted to write for some time that uses that summer as the backstory for the series. Maybe someday I’ll get to write it.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
The sound of strong winds whistling through windows. (Tornado experience around the age of 7.)


For Bryn Meara, a free trip to the exclusive and ultra-luxe Nightfall hotel and casino in Vegas should’ve been the perfect way to escape the debris of her crumbling career. But waking up from a martini-and-lust-fueled night to find herself married to Caiden Verran, the reclusive billionaire who owns the hotel and most of the city, isn’t the jackpot one would think. It seems her dark and sexy new husband is actual royalty—the fae king of the Night Court—and there’s an entire world beneath the veil of Vegas.

Whether light or shadow, the fae are a far cry from fairy tales, and now they’ve made Bryn a pawn in their dark games for power. And Caiden is the most dangerous of all—an intoxicating cocktail of sin and raw, insatiable hunger. She should run. But every night of passion pulls Bryn deeper into his strange and sinister world, until she’s no longer certain she wants to leave…even if she could.

You can purchase The Dark King at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you GINA L. MAXWELL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Dark King by Gina L. Maxwell.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnlatestinterviews

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond



ASIN: ‎B007PUT3JW
Publisher: ‎Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2012)
Publication Date: ‎May 1, 2012
Language: ‎English

Praise for THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS

"Brigitta...was incredibly unique" Blogger Ambur, Burning Impossibly Bright " Burning Impossibly Bright

"This is an utterly sweet, captivating book that will charm you, make you think, and maybe even make you shed a tear." Cupcake's Book Cupboard

"an interesting look at all that can change in the summer of a young woman's life." YA Bibliophile

"The story line immediately captured my heart " Charming Chelsey's

"...a novel of identity, true love, and the meaning of death; all told in the voice of a bright, thoughful, and passionately self-contradictory teenage girl." Book Talk

"...fun summer read with a little bit of a serious twist...You'll laugh, you'll tear up, and you'll be on the hunt for a celebrity lookalike crush in no time" Fiction Folio

"...the sort of book that should top your "to reads" list." Letters Inside Out

"...a delightful tale of self-discovery and of burgeoning romance." Allison Can Read

"The meaningful relationship that is created only makes you want more" Books With Bite

"Readers can expect romance, drama, and incredible emotion" A Cupcake and A Latte 


The summer Luke came into my life, I decided to keep him a secret. Even from my celebrity-obsessed best friend. Maybe he *was* a dead-ringer for notorious Hollywood bad boy Trent Yves. And it was possible that everything he told me was a lie. And yes, I was probably asking for trouble. But all I saw was Luke--sweet, funny, caring--someone who would let me be the real me.

But which was the real him?

You can purchase The Summer of No Regrets at the following Retailers:
        

Photo Content from Katherine Grace Bond

Katherine Grace Bond wants to heal the rifts in our culture and in ourselves. She writes on writing, race, family, and relationships on Medium, and is at work on a time-travel fantasy, for which she spent a couple of months in France trying to chase down Manet. Her books include The Summer of No Regrets, about finding the meaning of life and death when the boy next door may be a movie star in hiding, and The Legend of the Valentine, illustrated by the awesome Don Tate. Her poetry collections include Considering Flight, about the uneasy dance between father and daughter on the razor’s edge of mental illness. When she’s not writing, she plays fiddle in an Irish band called The Scuppermonkeys.
        

Schedule TBA

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Monday, September 19, 2022

Ellen Pall Interview - Must Read Well


Photo Content from Ellen Pall

ELLEN PALL is the author of more than a dozen novels, including Among the Ginzburgs, Corpse de Ballet, and Slightly Abridged. She has also written many features about people in the arts for The New Yorker and The New York Times, and published numerous personal essays, most recently in The New York Review of Books. Ellen grew up on Long Island, went to college at U.C. Santa Barbara, then moved to Los Angeles. There, she wrote eight Regency Romances under the pen name Fiona Hill. (Not to be confused with the former U.S. National Security Council official Fiona Hill. Very different person.) After ten years, she left California for New York, where she promptly began work as a journalist, wrote novels under her own name, and met her husband, the international human rights advocate Richard Dicker. She now divides her time between New York and L.A.

        
  

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
Food! The kitchen. Oh, how much easier it is to snack, or even cook, than to write! I eat like a squirrel—a little at a time, but all day, and very often—and sometimes I’ll put a tiny bowl of sunflower seeds or blueberries on my writing desk just to lure myself there.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
For starters, everyone sees the world from their own point of view—we can’t help that—and that makes us all natural protagonists. And we all want our lives to make sense, to have shape. What would it be like if we perceived our own lives as an uninterrupted stream of random incidents with no relation to each other? Complete madness! We crave story: action and reaction, decision and consequence, effort and reward, struggle and triumph, confusion followed by understanding. We want our lives to tell a story, to be a story, and we want to know the stories of other people, too. God bless story. What would life be without it?

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Apparently, I have an inner skank! I’ve been 100% faithful during more than thirty-five years of marriage, yet I had no trouble at all dreaming up Anne Weil’s flagrant and prolonged betrayal of her husband. So embarrassing!

Greatest thing I learned at school:
That I might be a writer. My fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Varon, assigned us to choose an inanimate object and write a paragraph in the voice of that object. I’m not even sure what I chose—maybe a bottle of perfume?—but I do remember vividly what a pleasure it was to me to look at the world from point of view other than my own, and how easily the object’s “voice” came to me. My teacher praised me lavishly, and from then on, I started to think of my imagination as a strength.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
This is weird, but I kind of fell in love with John Keats when I was twelve years old. This was soon followed by a massive crush on John Donne. I had a sad childhood—my mother got very ill when I was five and died when I was seven—and as I reached adolescence, a lot of painful emotion was churning around inside me. Expressing my feelings creatively helped me make sense of myself—and it made me feel like my idols. My poetry was terrible, but it meant a lot to me. Thankfully, I eventually found my way to prose.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Writing a song called Must Read Well. This is a reward still in progress, because the book won’t officially come out until September 13 and the recording is still in production, but after my publisher learned that I play music with friends, he suggested I write a song with the same title. I laughed, but then I wrote one, a very simple one, and asked my friend Cindy Thrall, who’s a professional singer and a powerhouse belter, to sing it. She not only agreed, she had great ideas about how to make it better, and we wound up collaborating on it during weeks of intense, hilarious, exhilarating meetings. After a lifetime of working alone, it was the most sheer fun I had as a writer. She and some of her pro friends recorded it, and now I’m using the chorus for TikTok posts about the book. The whole song, with Cindy’s amazing vocals, will be online soon.

Writing Behind the Scenes
I love choosing the names of my characters. I always have. The right name seems to make the character suddenly much more real.

I keep a New York City phone directory next to my desk to flip through for names. I write down any that appeal to me and later I go through those and make a decision.

For Anne, the elderly, vision-impaired writer who is one of the two protagonists in Must Read Well, I wanted a three part name, Someone Someone Someone. I felt the three parts would give her a kind of literary solidity.

I also wanted a name that would suggest she was Jewish without foregrounding it. So I scanned the phone book looking for uncommon Jewish surnames, names that might make you wonder if that person was Jewish but be unsure. And I wanted a hint of classiness, elegance, because Anne aspires to that.

I still have the list of names I considered for her, and I see now that she could have been Anne Leibling SomethingElse. But she became Anne Taussig Weil. As soon as I put that name together, I knew I had her.

Best date I’ve ever had
Dancing with my future husband to the music of King Sunny Ade and his band at a club called Sounds of Brazil. It was around the corner from the apartment where we lived then in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. That was almost forty years ago, and Sounds of Brazil is still there. The music was fantastic. We were so full of joy. And so sweaty.

First job I ever had
The summer before I went to college, I worked in the office of a small chain of movie theaters. My job was to check the number of tickets sold each week against the amount of money each theater reported taking in that week. It was exactly as exciting as it sounds.

Most memorable travel experience
My husband and I went to Italy for our honeymoon. We rented a car [where?] and drove to Lake Como, arriving during a storm at night to find the hotel room we’d reserved was a weird, narrow, very high-ceilinged cell with a single window well above eye level and a crib in it. I insisted we find another hotel and after the long, twisty drive there in a storm—I wasn’t spending my honeymoon in a room like that!—we had quite an argument. But we did find another place just a little down the road that had a room for us. When we woke up, I opened the wooden shutters on what I’d thought were windows and found they were French doors directly on the lake. The sun flooded in and the world was as beautiful as I’d ever seen it.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought?
“Can I make it to Thursday without washing my hair?” It’s such a pain in the neck, and I have an appointment for a haircut at the salon that day.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
I grew up in Roslyn, Long Island and went to school in California. I stayed in California until I was thirty-two. When I finally moved back east, I rented a tiny fourth-floor walkup in a narrow, six-unit, 135-year-old building in Greenwich Village.

After I moved in, my older sister told me she thought our mother had lived somewhere near my new address before she met our father. I was seven when my mother died and had no idea she’d ever lived in New York City. I knew she’d grown up near Boston, but as far as I was concerned, our family had always lived in Roslyn. My older sister did know, however, and she got in touch with her godmother, who had been our mother’s roommate in 1937. Guess what? Thirty-seven years later, I’d moved into the same little building.

One result was that my mother’s long ago roommate became a treasured friend. I learned more about my mother from her than I’d ever dreamed of knowing—about her childhood, her schooling, her life as a young commercial artist, her nature, her first love, her marriage to my father. Eventually, this coincidence also led me to a trove of letters from her boyfriend of the time—“boyfriend” meaning passionate, poetic lover, a man who later became prominent in the movie industry.

I wrote an article about this experience that ran in the New York Times—it’s called “Mothers Lost and Found,” and you can read it on the Journalism page of my website. I think that would make a great movie.


Ellen Pall's Must Read Well immerses the reader in an escalating game of cat-and-mouse between two women: a millennial scholar driven to deceit to reach her goals and a frail octogenarian no less capable of deception. Narrated by Liz Miller, a penniless Ph.D. candidate desperate to finish her dissertation, the novel begins when Liz's boyfriend abruptly ditches her, rendering Liz homeless and reduced to couch-surfing at best friend Petra's tiny Manhattan studio apartment. Trying to find an affordable living space, she stumbles across a Craigslist posting that will change her life: a room with a view in a pre-war Greenwich Village apartment. The rent is a pittance, but in exchange, the tenant must be willing to read aloud daily to the apartment's sight-impaired landlady.

Liz quickly figures out that the sight-impaired landlady is none other than Anne Taussig Weil, author of the 1965 international blockbuster The Vengeance of Catherine Clark and the very woman whose refusal to cooperate for the past four years has held up Liz's dissertation on the feminist works of mid-century women novelists. Access to Weil is the key to completing her doctorate at Columbia and finally getting her academic career back on track.

Liz sets scruples aside and presents herself as a quiet young woman still finding her way in life. Once settled in, Liz learns from Weil that her need for a reader stems from a desire to revisit a key episode in her life. That episode, recorded in the scrawled journals Weil kept since she was a young girl, turns out to be the story of her passionate, disastrous, secret love affair with a celebrated pianist—the affair, in fact, which gave rise to the plot of Vengeance.

The novel, which builds from there to a double-twist climax, is fast-paced women's fiction, perfect for book club members everywhere.

You can purchase Must Read Well at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you ELLEN PALL for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Must Read Well by Ellen Pall.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
jbnlatestinterviews 

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Katie Keridan Interview - Reign Returned


Photo Content from Katie Keridan

Katie Keridan made her literary debut at ten years of age when she won a writing contest by crafting a tale about her favorite childhood hero, Hank the Cowdog. After that, Katie continued to write, through college and graduate school and during her career as a pediatric neuropsychologist. While Katie enjoyed being a doctor, scientific research didn’t bring her nearly as much joy as did creating her own characters and worlds, so she slowly left the medical world behind to focus exclusively on writing. In 2018 she self-published a poetry book, Once Upon a Girl, and her work has been featured in Highlights Hello Magazine, The Blue Nib, Youth Imagination Magazine, Red Fez, The Red Penguin Review, Sand Canyon Review, and Every Day Fiction, to name a few. She loves sharing her writing with others who feel different, misunderstood, or alone. Katie lives with her husband and two very demanding cats in San Jose, CA.

        
  

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Connecting with readers! I love hearing from readers, especially when something about one of my characters encourages them to share something personal with me, maybe about a time their heart was broken, or their struggle to communicate effectively while being incredibly shy, or how a character inspired them to be brave in a particular way. I also love hearing from people who at one point thought bats were nasty or horrifying, then read my book and developed a soft spot for Batty and learned what amazing and necessary creatures bats are.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
Jodi Picoult famously said, “You can always edit a bad page. You can’t edit a blank page.” I’ve always found that so inspiring and so freeing, and it never fails to help me overcome writer’s block. Just get the words out…you can always fix them later.

Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book?
Sabriel, by Garth Nix. I first read this as an older teen, and I immediately fell in love with the characters and the world-building. When I was younger, so many female protagonists were described as being “tall and thin, with long blond hair and blue eyes.” My great-grandmother was Native American, of the Iroquois tribe, and I’m a short brunette with dark hair and dark eyes who struggled to relate to so many book characters…until I met Sabriel, who was described as having dark hair and dark eyes. That instantly piqued my curiosity, and the more I read, the deeper in love I fell…my mind was blown reading a book where a girl rescued a boy, instead of the other way around, and I loved the idea of possessing powers that were traditionally viewed as “bad” but using them for “good.” Mogget absolutely influenced the concept of Cyphers in my book, and I (obviously) love the idea of exploring death as both a process and a place.

What is the greatest thing you learned in school?
How to do my own research. Don’t just mindlessly absorb what others around you are saying…fact-check their information and their sources and make up your own mind.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Reign Returned is definitely getting a sequel that will be released Fall 2023. I’m also working on a middle grade fantasy book about a girl with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who learns she has magical powers.

In your newest book, REIGN RETURNED, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
It’s a coming-of-age, enemies-to-lovers YA fantasy novel featuring themes of discovery, destiny, and a love strong enough to outlast time.

TEN RANDOM FACTS ABOUT REIGN RETURNED
  • 1) I started writing this book on nights and weekends while working full-time as a pediatric neuropsychologist at a children’s hospital.
  • 2) I considered using angels and demons as characters, but ultimately chose Astrals and Daevals, as I didn’t want to deal with the religious implications of those particular terms.
  • 3) My yellow Labrador, Dante, was my real-life Cypher until he passed away due to complications from diabetes (he has an entire paragraph in the “Acknowledgements” section of the book dedicated to him).
  • 4) I love caves, and much of Sebastian’s cave is based on Luray Caverns in Virginia.
  • 5) There is a REIGN RETURNED playlist on Spotify.
  • 6) I truly couldn’t believe when my publisher agreed to put a bat on the cover of REIGN RETURNED, but I was beyond thrilled, because he’s such an important character. Also, people have a lot of incorrect beliefs and assumptions about bats, and I hope those will change as they learn more about these helpful creatures.
  • 7) Much of REIGN RETURNED was drafted and edited while attending Laura Munson’s fantastic Haven Writing Retreat in Montana…I can’t recommend this program enough, as I loved connecting with authors of other genres and ages. We still continue to support one another to this day; writing can be lonely, so it’s important to have a community around you (https://lauramunson.com/haven-writing-programs/).
  • 8) I love astrology and pulled from it frequently while creating characters. Sebastian’s birthday is January 17th, making him a Capricorn, and Kyra’s birthday is October 5th, making her a Libra.
  • 9) I listened to “They Don’t Know About Us” by One Direction so many times while writing this book.
  • 10) I love mood and aesthetic boards and used Pinterest to make boards for my characters, Cyphers, and realms.
What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel?
I hope readers enjoy the plot and world-building, but I especially hope they like the characters. I hope they see aspects of themselves in the characters, as well as finding traits or characteristics to aspire to. I also want them to see parallels between situations in the book and situations in our current world and be inspired to stand up for the things they believe in.

What part of Kyra and Sebastian did you enjoy writing the most?
Let’s start with Sebastian…he’s always been the easiest for me to write because we share a lot of the same traits (he’s a Capricorn, like me). He often doesn’t know what to do with his emotions, and he’s more comfortable being logical and making decisions based on evidence instead of assumptions, and I’m very similar. He also likes animals more than most people, which is something else I can relate to. While I had a wonderful time writing his action scenes, I most enjoyed the scenes where we see glimpses of his true character…he puts up so many walls and has so many defenses, but in his unguarded moments, we see things he’d rather keep to himself. His vulnerabilities were so endearing to me, and I loved writing those little unexpected moments that ultimately reveal a lot.

Now for Kyra…my editor will absolutely confirm I struggled with her, especially in the beginning. I knew I wanted her character arc to be different from Sebastian’s. We meet him and he’s as assassin and a generally “bad” character who becomes better over the course of the book, but I didn’t want Kyra to start “good” and end up “bad,” so I had to figure that out. Ultimately, I came to understand her as a character who has worked hard and done everything she’s been told to do her entire life, only to have everything she thought she knew turned upside down…she unexpectedly learns she possesses the ability to do magic that’s been outlawed in her realm for centuries. She loses someone incredibly important to her. She’s also forced to interact with someone with silver blood, someone she has all kind of prejudices and biases against, and that forces her to realize everything her schooling and government has told her might not be true, which leads to the unravelling of so many things. So, while it required me to upend her life, watching her master her power and embrace her destiny was immensely enjoyable.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing REIGN RETURNED?
I turned in what I hoped would be the last draft of the book to my phenomenal editor, AR Capetta, while of course knowing there would still be a few changes to make following their feedback, and I was reading through all of their notes and comments and got to the very last line of the book, and they’d written in all caps, “THIS.IS.BEAUTIFUL.” And I just burst into tears, and I remember thinking, for someone to feel that way about something I’d written, it was absolutely priceless and the best feeling ever and what I secretly hoped someone would think when they finished my book. I’ll never forget it.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I would love to introduce Kyra’s Cypher, a lynx named Aurelius, to Mogget, a magical creature from Garth Nix’s Old Kingdom series who often takes the form of a white cat. They’re both a little snotty and believe they know best, even though they ultimately have good hearts, and I think they’d have a wonderful time sitting around lamenting the short-comings of those they’re forced to guide and interact with. Just hearing the two of them talk about deigning to share their wisdom and experiences with peasants incapable of truly appreciating them would be hilarious. Even though Cyphers technically don’t need to eat, I imagine there might be salmon involved, as well.

TEN RANDOM THINGS ABOUT ME
  • 1) I love to kayak, especially in the ocean, and go to Monterrey Bay as often as I can.
  • 2) I grew up on a ranch in Texas, which no doubt inspired my love of nature.
  • 3) I love to travel, and one of my favorite experiences was riding a camel in the Sahara Desert in Morocco.
  • 4) I grew up with horses and still love them. I donate as often as I can to organizations like Skydog Ranch & Sanctuary, a fantastic group of people who rescue mustangs and donkeys being rounded up and shipped off to other countries for slaughter (check them out at www.skydogranch.org), as well as The Medicine Horse Project, a wonderful organization dedicated to caring for and rehabilitating abused horses (www.medicinehorseproject.org).
  • 5) I’m a dedicated yoga practitioner and love what it does for my mind, as well as my body.
  • 6) The musical artists I currently listen to most are Pet Shop Boys, Khruangbin, Air, and Moon Boots, but growing up, I loved NSYNC, Five, Britney Spears, B*Witched, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith, and the Spice Girls.
  • 7) The first time I left the United States was during my Master’s in Public Health program, when I went to Ghana to learn more about the mental health needs of former child soldiers as part of my dissertation.
  • 8) I’m hopeless at styling my own hair, so if you see it looking nice, assume someone else deserves the credit.
  • 9) One of my favorite movies as a teen was “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” and I’d ride my horse across the pasture, pretending I was dodging tanks and villains and carrying a little journal in my saddlebags with a hand-drawn map.
  • 10) While I come across as outgoing and extroverted, I’m actually an introvert and need quiet time by myself to recharge after being around a lot of people or going to a big event.
Choose a unique item from your wallet and explain why you carry it around.
I don’t carry anything super cool or fun, but one thing I will always have is some kind of hair tie or pony-tail holder. As much as I love my long hair, I also can’t stand when it gets in my way or sticks to my neck when it’s hot out, so in those situations, up it goes!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Fail spectacularly. Lose everything. Hit rock bottom where you can’t fall any further and the only place to go is up. While I don’t wish for others to experience pain, I know from personal experience that you don’t grow when things are great…it’s when things are hard that you’re forced to look within and uncover what you’re really made of. I struggle to relate to people who’ve never failed, who’ve never experienced rejection, who’ve never had to take care of themselves…you develop a different kind of strength when you have to overcome hardships. And once you’ve rebuilt your entire life from the ground up, you stop being so afraid of things that “might” happen because you’ve seen firsthand what you’re capable of ,and no one can ever take that away from you.

What is the best date you’ve ever had?
My first date with my husband, Cameron! We’re actually kind of similar to Kyra and Sebastian in that we got a second chance to have a relationship…when we first met, the timing was all wrong, and while there was an instant connection, we were headed down two completely different paths. I ended up marrying someone else and moving to the East Coast. After the man I was married to lost his battle with ongoing mental health struggles and took his own life, I moved back to California and eventually reconnected with Cameron. Our first date was at a music festival in San Francisco, and it was perfect, because how often do you get a second chance at true love? We just celebrated our five-year anniversary.

What event in your life would make a good movie?
There are so many, it’s hard to choose! I’m going to say my relationship with my husband…how often do you meet someone, feel insane chemistry, go your separate ways, then reconnect a decade later, only to find you’re both single and the feelings are stronger than ever, ultimately leading to you marrying each other and living happily ever after? It sounds so sappy, but it’s true; if I hadn’t lived it for myself, I doubt I’d believe it.

How far away from your birthplace do you live now?
I was born in Austin, Texas, and lived in Texas until I was 24, at which point I moved to California for graduate school. I currently live in Silicon Valley, California.


Kyra Valorian is the most gifted Astral healer the golden-blooded realm of Aeles has seen in ages. When tragedy strikes, Kyra discovers she possesses a life-changing gift: she's a Recovrancer, able to enter the realm of the dead and recover those who've died before their time. Unfortunately, recovrancy is outlawed in her realm. Desperate for answers, Kyra will do anything to get them . . . even partner with a dangerous enemy.

Sebastian Sayre is the most sought-after Daeval assassin in all of Nocens. A silver-blooded Pyromancer, he wields fire and dreams of finding Rhannu, a legendary sword that makes its holder invincible. Since the sword was long ago stolen from Nocens and hidden where no Daeval can retrieve it, however, such a dream seems impossible . . . until he encounters the one Astral who might be both able and willing to help him.

As Kyra and Sebastian work together to uncover the secrets of their realms, they also uncover secrets within their own pasts--pasts that are far more intertwined than they ever imagined. Ultimately, in this tale of discovery, destiny, and a love strong enough to outlast time, remembering the past just may prove to be the only way to change the future.

You can purchase Reign Returned at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATIE KERIDAN for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Reign Returned by Katie Keridan.

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