Meg Mitchell Blog Tour

Meg Mitchell Blog Tour Banner

I am so excited to kick off this new blog tour for a very enchanting book.

Most of you are familiar with my FANtastic interview segments. Do you remember the author who helped me out by being my first interview?

It was Amy Williams! (You can read my first interview here.) Amy is back today using her super secret alter ego of Kimberly McNeil. She has an epic YA novel that is sure to excite fans of sci-fi and fantasy alike.

Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal

 Stories never end. They just get bigger.MegMitchell_Journal

 You only have to turn the page.

 Meg Mitchell lives in a castle, but she’s no wilting princess. Raised in an alien world by adoptive parents, she spends her time fighting Centaurs, training as an Andai warrior, and chilling in her favorite willow tree.

 But when Meg uncovers her birth father’s journal, she discovers a cousin she didn’t know existed. Meg and her little brother and sister travel through an interdimensional rip to San Francisco to search for their cousin, setting off a chain of events no one could have foreseen.

 When her sister is kidnapped, Meg enlists the help of teenage detective Barb Taylor and her genius little brother Jim. Following clues dropped by a mysterious benefactor, they embark on a cross-country adventure to rescue her sister and find Meg’s cousin.

 Family is everything to Meg, but not all is as it seems. In her quest to reunite her family, she may lose more than she ever imagined.

Find it at these fine retailers: AmazonBarnes & NobleCrosshair Press

 Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads list. 

 Excited to know more? I hope so because there is lots more. (Seriously, this will be a long post.)

FANtastic Interview with Amy Williams Kimberly McNeil:

CB) Meg Mitchell is chock full of fun references and characters that feel familiar. Too Familiar. Tell us about your inspiration for the Legend of the Lightkeepers series.

 KM) One word: Fanfiction. I was writing fanfiction before it was a thing. I had my No. 2 pencil and my wide-ruled notebook paper, and I’d sit at the never-used fireplace at my house in Houston and scribble better stories than the ones I saw on television.

 Best example? Probably my two favorite television shows as a young child were My Little Pony (the original) and Star Trek: The Next Generation. I loved My Little Pony so much that I saved up my allowance money to buy the toys at Toys ‘R Us, but even at seven or eight years old, I thought their writers needed help. I always wondered what would happen if the Ponies were in charge of spaceships rather than holding scavenger hunts and putting on festivals. So, in kindergarten and first grade, that’s what I wrote about.

 Fast forward to the early 90s, when I was nine or so, a new range of cartoon shows hit the television. I discovered Star Wars and amazing adventures like Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? and the totally awesome (horribly dubbed) anime Ronin Warriors. I loved those new stories, but I didn’t want to let go of the stories I’d been telling myself since I was six. So I just expanded my mental universe.

 Then, one day, I told my childhood best friend about my stories. I was eleven years old by this time, and my universe had really become a cohesive world I could describe. My friend was desperate to read the stories, so that’s when I wrote the first version of Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal.

 By the time I hit high school, I had amassed quite a following of friends and family who loved the world I’d built. I kept writing because they kept asking for more. At the end of high school, I had completed somewhere around 30 novels in the series. Somewhere along the way in all those 30 books, I had left all traces of the original source material behind. The stories themselves bore little resemblance to the old cartoon shows.

 So I guess you can blame the Lightkeepers series on the boring writers for My Little Pony back in the 1980s, specifically whoever wrote the pilot episode. Seriously, that pilot was epic. If you haven’t watched it, you should, and then you should read Meg Mitchell & The Secret of the Journal, and you’ll laugh.

 CB) That was an epic answer. A thirty book series based on all my favorite 90’s cartoons. I am so there.

 When I meet an author, most of them tend towards humility. You are the only author that openly fangirled with me about your own books. Do you ever find yourself reading your own books for fun?

 KM) You know, I spent most of my life refusing to talk about my stories. There I was, 16 years old with more than 20 completed novels, and I was too scared to say anything about them. I wasn’t afraid of rejection; I was more scared to be thought of as boastful.

 But the more people read my stories and loved them, the more I wanted to talk about them. Because I loved them too! I mean, I’d spent every free moment I had since I was six years old living in this crazy universe in my mind. My characters are real to me, friends who’ve been with me for 25+ years, and their stories have taught me about myself, about God’s grace, and about life.

 One thing I’ve learned about storytelling is that it’s a gift, and for me, it’s a gift God gave me. And I can ignore it or refuse to talk about it, but how does that bring glory to Him? If He’s given me the gift to tell stories, then He’s also given me a story to tell. And I want as many people as possible to know about it, because maybe something I’ve written will encourage them or help them know God better. That’s the definition of success for me.

 And, heck, yeah. I read my stories for fun. Part of the joy of my writing process is that I’m not 100% in control of what my characters say or do. Sometimes—No, most times, they surprise me. They make me laugh, and I enjoy spending time with them and sharing their adventures.

 And if you’re not a writer, that sounds completely psycho. I know.

  CB) Right, but then we write (usually) because we love to read.

 The antagonist, Phoenix, starts off as one of those not too threatening villains that would never hurt a child and is just bad because it’s more fun. But by the end her true colors show and I believe that she is really evil. Was it important to you that readers see her as the bad guy, and not as someone they should root for?

 KM) Oh, Phoenix. I love Phoenix, but then I’ve always had a soft spot for the baddies. Phoenix Munroe is so very important. I wanted to present Phoenix as honestly as possible, because I truly believe that “bad guys” always have a motivation that matters to them. Sometimes they’re willing to do horrible things to accomplish their goals, but in their own minds, they’re justified. It’s important for readers to be able to judge Phoenix and her heart for themselves.

  CB) When I interviewed you about New Name you had quite the dream cast lined up. Who would you cast in a movie version of Meg Mitchell?

 KM) I have about 200 folders of images on my computer with reference images for the Lightkeepers cast. (It doesn’t help that the size of my cast makes Game of Thrones look like a short story.) Some characters are really easy to pick an actor or actress for. Others make it really difficult.

 I actually just did another interview on this blog tour that asked for a dream cast, so I’ll pick a few different characters than what I told her. Except for Meg. Meg’s the main character in the book, after all.

AylaKell-MegMitchell 

The best actress I’ve seen yet for Meg is a gal named Ayla Kell. As with most of the people I’ve picked, I chose her years and years ago, so as she is in 2017, she’s probably too old for Meg. But her photos from several years ago match Meg very closely.

 

ChristianMartyn-JimTaylor

 

 Most recently I stumbled onto a young actor named Christian Martyn who looks similar to Jim Taylor. He’s got the clean-cut, wholesome look, but give him some glasses, and I think he could pull the massive nerdiness off really well. 

 

 NecarZadegan-VelannaIttai

The actress I would pick for Velanna Ittai, Meg’s adoptive mother, is Necar Zadegan. I saw this woman act in two seasons of 24 and nearly came unglued when she walked on the screen, because she is Velanna. Absolutely crazy.

 

 FamkeJanssen-PhoenixMunroe

Finally, because you asked a question about her, Phoenix Munroe was a pretty easy pick. The actress Famke Janssen is perfect for her.

Someday soon I’m going to be doing blog posts on characters from Lightkeepers, so I’ll feature all my reference photos. Those will be fun!

 CB) Epic Cast. It’s too bad kids have to age. Maybe you should get cracking on that movie.

 If given the choice would you rather work as a Peregrine detective or train as an Andai Warrior? Bonus choice: Or would you rather commit crimes with Phoenix?

 KM) Oh, gosh…. That’s a tough question. I would have to say, I would love to train as an Andai Warrior, as long as I didn’t have to train with Meg’s teacher!! He’s brutal! But getting to learn an ancient martial art that uses energy sabers? That would be epic.

 Granted, being a Peregrine agent would be awesome too, but there’s a lot of politics in play there. And I am way too clumsy to keep up with Phoenix. I’d fall off a bridge during a getaway, and she’d leave me behind. That being said, I’d love to have coffee with her.

  CB) Now for the last but most important question: When can I get my hands on book two?

 KM) Fingers crossed, Book Two—Barb Taylor & the Mountain of Fire—should be available next year. I’m hoping for spring 2018! The super exciting news is that I’m releasing a web serial that ties into the Lightkeepers series. It will be available shortly after the first of the year. At least, that’s the plan. But you can watch my website or my publisher’s website for announcements!

acwilliams2015

Amy Williams is a novelist, freelance writer, founding member of Crosshair Press LLC, and professional nerd. You can find most of her work under the name A.C. Williams, but she also writes young adult fantasy (The Legend of the Lightkeepers) under the pen name Kimberly McNeil. Amy is single and lives in her family’s 100-year-old farmhouse on five acres in the middle of the Kansas prairie. She loves cats and drinks far too much coffee.

Follow her on social media:  Website  — Facebook TwitterInstagram — Google Plus

I’ve been featuring a lot of books lately and I figure most of you would like to know what I thought after reading them.

So since Amy was the first of my FANtastic Interviews, I thought I’d use one of her books as the start of a new segment I’m calling: Dive In Reviews. Because I dive in and gush about all the parts I liked while trying very hard not to giveaway spoilers.

Dive in Review of Meg Mitchell and the secret of the Journal:

Meg Mitchell and the Secret of the Journal by: Kimberly McNeal, is the first book in what is sure to be an epic YA fantasy series.

I loved everything about it. It’s a science fiction, fantasy, adventure, mystery, superhero mash up. The writing is tight, the characters are intelligent and witty.

First we have the young heroes: Meg, Danny, and the youngest Jenny. Their sibling relationship is very believable. (As a sibling this is important to me.) These three live in a wonder-filled and dangerous fantasy land (One that we do not see nearly enough of). But they may still have family in our world. Once here they quickly find trouble in the form of a super criminal named Phoenix Munroe.

Pheniox is a failed detective, her last case was trying to track down the run away Mitchell kids. In her new life of crime, she likes to leave clues for two teenage detectives named Barb and Jim. (Where in the world could that have come from.)

Oh and there may also be vigilante samurai, secret assassin training, and mysterious Jedi storytellers. (But you didn’t hear that from me)

This book is non stop action and is chock full of Easter Egg hints to eighties and nineties nostalgia. Kids and adults alike will be entertained as the Mitchell kids cross worlds to prove that Family is everything.

The Legend of the Lightkeepers promises to be an enjoyable series with witty and complex characters. Not just a novel for children but for anyone who remembers getting up at six am on Saturdays just to see stories that your parents promised would rot your mind. They did anything but, right?

If Meg Mitchell was a cartoon, I would be up at six am on a Saturday just to see what happens next.

 

Meg Mitchell FB Banner

Calling all book readers! Join Laura A. Grace and A.C. Williams (pen name Kimberly McNeil) as we chat about her urban fantasy novel MEG MITCHELL & THE SECRET OF THE JOURNAL on November 2nd from 8 PM to 10 PM EST (7 PM CDT and 6 PM PST).

Grab your favorite drink and snack and be prepared for a fun time of chatting with A.C., games, and giveaways.

Special guests Kat Heckenbach and Kara Swanson will also be sharing their books and joining in the fun. 

And here’s the schedule so you don’t miss any posts in this epic tour:

Wednesday, November 1st   

–       Review & Interview – dolphin18cb (You are here)

Thursday, November 2nd  

–       Review & Guest Post – Thorn & Vine

–       Character Interview – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 3rd  

–       Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

–       Fan-Made Book Trailer – Unicorn Quester

–       Author Interview – Welcome to Arhyalon

Saturday, November 4th  

–       Review – Live Life Reading

–       Review & Author Trivia – Of Pens & Paper

Monday, November 6th  

–       Review – It’s Storytime With Van Daniker!

–       Spotlight – The Hermit Librarian

–       Author Interview – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

Tuesday, November 7th    

–       Author Interview – Jebraun Clifford ~ dream.write.repeat.

Wednesday, November 8th

–       Review – The Overactive Imagination

Thursday, November 9th

–       Blog Tour Wrap-Up – Unicorn Quester

Friday, November 10th

–       Review – Taneisha’s Book Blog & More

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Once upon a Princess blog tour and a FANtastic interview.

Once Upon A Princess Blog Tour

Hello dear readers,

Today I am adding even more books to your reading pile, by introducing you to an entire series at once.

The good news: all of the books are available now, so you can binge read it all without waiting for the next one to release.

The better news: The first book, Beauty’s Curse, is a free ebook on all reading platforms. Get it here: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Kobo // Google Play // iBooks

Don’t forget to add it on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28781837-beauty-s-curse

If free is not enough to tempt you, read this blurb:

About Once Upon A Princess Saga

“I have better things to do.” 
“Like what?” Rose asked. “Waste your life on a fool’s journey, under a silly girl’s orders?” 
“I have never considered saving your life to be the same as wasting mine, Rosary.” He came and stood in front of her, the ease of his presence replaced by an unusual heat rather than familiar warmth. Rose had never before been bothered by the six inches he stood taller than her, but all of a sudden the shadow of his strength imposed itself on her. 
The cursed beauty of the moonlight revealed the clarity and sharpness of his eyes as she gazed up at him. “What if you did waste your life though? What if?” 
“If I have wasted my life, I have wasted it on you. Willingly.” 

 For four years, Princess Aurora of Rhone—Rose to her friends—has searched the world for a way to break the curse placed on her by Magdalina, the wicked ruler of the fairies at war with her kingdom. Under the curse, Rose is doomed to die on her eighteenth birthday after pricking her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel. And time is running out.

 On the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Rose makes the journey home with her friends—Theo, a priest with a penchant for revenge; Mary, a young and talented fairy; and Ethan and Sophia, siblings with a troubled past–as pressure from her father, King Stefanos, leaves her with two equally unsatisfying options: Abdicate the throne, or get married.

 Enjoy this novella series retelling of the Sleeping Beauty, with new characters, new plot twists, and plenty of action and adventure. Perfect for teen and young adult historical fantasy readers.

 Once Upon A Princess Saga

The series is four books: Beauty’s Curse, Beauty’s quest, Beauty’s Gift, and Beauty’s Kiss.

Want to participate in a treasure hunt?

 At the end of each book in this series is a special collectible clue. Collect all four books, and get all four special prizes, FREE!

***

To help celebrate the completion of her series, I asked C.S. Johnson some FANtastic questions:

Me: The Once Upon a Princess series is called a Historical Fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty. Can you define Historical Fantasy for us? What makes this version Historical?

 C.S: I tell people that this fairytale is set in between the historical European historical world with a few imaginary kingdoms thrown in. I have Greece and the Romani nations, and I have plenty of other references to history (Aragon, Gaul, etc.) but Rhone, Rose’s kingdom, is made up, and so are a few of the others. So you still have the socio-economic barriers of the Middle Ages, but you also have a mishmash of magical creatures, different species, and supernatural creatures. There are also issues with religion, politics, and social concerns just like there would be in real life. 

 If I had to put it on a map, I like to think it’s the part of land between Ireland and England the rest of Europe that’s now underwater. I think it’s a great way for all the fairy kingdoms and the pixies to hide their homes.

 Me: Good definition. Beauty’s Curse did have a very historical feel to it. And I like that idea of the faerie realm being underwater.

 How many versions of Sleeping Beauty did you research before deciding on how you wanted to tell your own story? Was there one you feel inspired you more than the others?

 C.S: I feel bad about this one, because I really only researched the Grimm fairy tale and the Disney version, and of course, the slap-dash post-modern nightmare that Disney made with Maleficent a few years ago. I hate things from all of them, to be honest. I especially hated how the princess is more or less at the mercy of other people’s choices from the very beginning. I don’t think any teenager princess would be willing to take that, no matter how charming and graceful and beautiful she is. 

 Me: Never feel bad for watching Disney movies. While we are on the subject of movies . . .

  If your series were made into a movie tomorrow, do you have a dream cast ready to give the director?

 C.S: I don’t really have a dream cast. I’m in love with my imagination, and I tend to live there for my entertainment needs more than I do here. 

 Me: Okay, I will let the director know, you prefer to use unknown actors. ;-D

 Your series features Fairies and magic, but it also has priests and Christians and scripture. How did you reconcile using these two seemingly different forces (God and magic) in the same story?

 C.S: This is a fairly consistent stance I have when it comes to faith. It says in the Bible that man is different from the Stars and Angels, and Jesus was unique in that he made himself like humans rather than the others. Angels have supernatural abilities and jobs, so I don’t see anything wrong with including angels, like Amalia, in my stories. I actually used the premise about the Stars for my fallen star superheroes in The Starlight Chronicles. It says in the Bible that humans are not meant to play with sorcery or consult with witches, and I really take this to mean that we, as humans, are not meant to play with or try to use magic. But for other creatures, especially magic and (so far as I know) imaginary ones?  I would see their magic as an innate trait, as Mary says, and like any ability, it would have limitations and rules placed on them by God and reinforced by their consciences. Of course, they would be fallen creatures, as we are, and they live in a fallen world, as we do, so they would have mostly-good and mostly-bad characters, same as humans do, because we are capable of both. I don’t see the two forces as competing forces, in the end; for me, God would have had to have designed them and granted them that free will and ability.  

 Me: I love that answer. And I have always been fascinated with the idea of stars as beings, more than just superheated balls of burning gas.

 Beauty’s Curse makes reference to at least one other classic fairy tale. If you could live the life of a Fairy Tale Princess, which one would you pick?

 C.S: If I could pick one, it would probably be “Beauty & the Beast.” I love love-hate stories. They’re really so good because they have a better understanding that people are at odds with other people, and when people come together, they become better people. I’m a very strong believer that love makes you a better person, even if it’s painful. Especially if it’s painful.

  Me: The perfect answer. I also adore all things Beauty and the Beast. Which begs a question. . .

 Now that Rose’s story is finished, are you planning on tackling any other fairy tales?

 C.S: I like fairy tales, I really do. I like the simple truth of their stories. I like that good and evil are brought out into more obvious terms, and I like that there is a lot of hope and redemption through courage and honor. But I don’t think I’d like to rewrite any other specific ones. Writing this one started out on a half-dare, from my students in my English class, when I explained how much I didn’t like Sleeping Beauty that much as a story. 

 I will say I’m still going to write them, but I like to borrow different elements from them and try to come up with my own scenarios. For example, Eydis: The Island of the Dragon Bride, is my latest novella, and it borrows things from the Atlantis myth, dragon myths, the traditional ‘damsel-princess-in-distress’ trope, and parts of Icelandic and Bermuda folklore. Ultimately, I like to ask my audience difficult questions—about faith, about life, about reality and how we can really know things—and I find fantasy and fairy tales are very lulling ways to do this without getting people angry (or angrier, in some cases.)

 Me: I love that you want to write original stories. Rose’s story was definitely the most original retelling of sleeping beauty I have ever read. Thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about your series.

 ***

CS Johnson             About the Author

C. S. Johnson is the author of several young adult novels, including sci-fi and fantasy adventures such as the Starlight Chronicles series, the Once Upon a Princess saga, and the Divine Space Pirates trilogy. With a gift for sarcasm and an apologetic heart, she currently lives in Atlanta with her family. Find out more at http://www.csjohnson.me.

 Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Google Plus 

 

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, September 25th

Book Spotlight – The Twirling Book Princess

 Tuesday, September 26th

– Book Spotlight – Michaela Mills

 Wednesday, September 27th

– FANtastic Interview –You are here

 Thursday, September 28th

– Book Review – Amanda’s Books and More

 Friday, September 29th

– Author Interview – Aconite Cafe

 Saturday, September 30th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

Author Interview – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 2nd

– Author Interview – Liv K. Fisher

– Review – Mom with a Reading Problem

 Tuesday, October 3rd

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

 Wednesday, October 4th

Book Review – A Book A Day

– Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

– Author Interview – So Few Books

 Thursday, October 5th

Book Review – True YA Book Blogger

 Friday, October 6th

– Author Interview – Lands Uncharted

Book Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

Once Upon A Princess FB Party Banner – FACEBOOK PARTY – 8:30PM EST

 Saturday, October 7th

– Book Review – Rachel Poli – I read. I write. I create.

– Book Review – Official Blog of Shannon A. Hiner

 Monday, October 9th

– Wrap-Up Post – Unicorn Quester

FANtastic Interview with Kristen Stieffel

Many of you reading this, may have heard me mention a writers conference called Realm Makers. At this conference I have met many author and have had the opportunity to learn from them. One of these authors is Kristen Stieffel and she is getting ready to release her first novel, Alara’s Call:

Alaras-Call-Kindle

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Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies. Alara’s Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of other’s futures, but never her own.

A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.

But it’s a ruse.

The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara’s faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.

But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king’s palace…by any means necessary.

****

To help Kristen celebrate I am participating in a blog tour for Alara’s Call. And to help you understand why you need to read this book, I have invited Kristen over for one of my FANtastic interviews:

C: Naturally, Alara’s Call takes place in a fictional world, but the fictional religion, Telshanism, is very similar to Christianity. They have many theological elements in common and the dramatized worship services are familiar. So my question is, What was the story benefit of creating Telshanism rather than just using Christianity? Was it to avoid Historical comparisons?

 K: Actually, I’m all for historical comparisons!

I definitely modeled Telshanism closely on Christianity, quite deliberately. At one point I even considered writing the story as an alternate history rather than as a secondary world fantasy, but too many things had to change in order to set up all the culture clashes I wanted, to it was easier to just go the fantasy route. Since my story isn’t set in the real world, I thought it would be inappropriate to use a real religion.

C: It is easy to see the similarities between Telshan and Christianity, but with one big exception. What prompted you to make the Trinity female? Was it to help highlight the misogyny of the Makutian culture?

 K: It’s more like the misogyny of the Makutian culture was put there to contrast the equality of the Glynrellan culture.

One of my main goals was to explore what a truly equal society would look like. But here’s the problem: In our own actual Christianity we have a verse that says “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28 NRSV). Yet we don’t actually behave as if that were true.

From the second century onward, women were marginalized and excluded from church leadership. One of the main arguments used against female church leadership has been that Jesus and all his disciples were men. Never mind that the first person to share the good news “He is risen” was a woman.

What would need to be in place for women to not be marginalized? Well, what if the deity were female? But an all-female trinity could possibly lead to the marginalization of men, which isn’t what I wanted.

Many people even now like to refer to the Holy Spirit as “she,” because doing so helps us to acknowledge the feminine nature of God — who must have a feminine nature because both male and female are created in God’s image.

So I took that interpretation of the Trinity and flipped it, so that instead of Father, Son, and a Spirit some people address as feminine, I have a feminine creator, a feminine Redeemer, and a masculine Counselor. This allows me to explore ideas in the fantasy realm that I couldn’t do if I had exported literal Christianity to the fantasy storyworld.

C: Alara is a Curate in her religion, basically a priest or a pastor, but she is also a prophet. Do you believe that God still uses Prophets today? Do we just not notice them?

 K: I don’t see anything in Scripture that says any of the spiritual gifts have stopped operating in the church, so yes, I believe there are still those who have the gift of prophecy. In many mainline traditions, we tend to look the other way or write people with this gift off as cranks. I think we do so at our own peril. Scripture says we will know a prophet by whether what they say comes to pass. So we need to pay attention, if only to determine whether the speaker is speaking for the Lord or is being presumptuous.

 You may say to yourself, “How can we recognize a word that the Lord has not spoken?” If a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord but the thing does not take place or prove true, it is a word that the Lord has not spoken. The prophet has spoken it presumptuously; do not be frightened by it. (Deuteronomy 18:21-22 NRSV)

 Frederick Buechner, in his book Wishful Thinking, says, “Prophet means spokesman, not fortune-teller.” I think this is important to remember, because even in Scripture we often see that the prophets are not only predicting the future, they are also teaching the people of God what they need to hear. Whether they want to hear it or not.

At a meeting of the Central Florida Presbytery, we once had a guest speaker who gave a stirring talk on the church’s role in combating violence in our culture. I was only mildly surprised afterward to hear my pastor refer to the talk as “prophetic.” The speaker hadn’t made any predictions, but he had called the church to action. That’s the kind of thing I think of in our current day when I think of prophets.

C: I love this definition of Prophet, and after reading Alara’s Call I can see how you used it to shape her character.

Speaking of characters, the character descriptions are so clear I can easily picture them in my mind. Did you compile a dream cast for Alara’s Call to base the descriptions on? If yes can you share pictures?

 K: Oh, my. I have such vivid pictures in my head, I could never entirely choose actors to play the roles. No one ever had precisely the right look. Except for General Rariden. He has always been Harrison Ford

.Harrison Ford

I’ve lately decided that Jenna Coleman could probably pull off the role of Alara,

Jenna Coleman

and Diego Luna would pass for Dorrel.

Diego Lune

But — and I realize I show my age — my favorite actor to play Dorrel would have been the late, great Roger Rees.

roger-rees-nypl-promo

I have a Pinterest board for Alara’s Call if you want to see more.

https://www.pinterest.com/kristenstieffel/alaras-call/

C: Yes, I love these choices. When you get that big movie deal, push really hard for this casting.

In Alara’s world, they use medieval technology. But I also got a Renaissance almost Regency feel, no doubt inspired by the beautiful cover art. Was there any one historical period that inspired the world of Alara’s Call?

 K: The main inspiration is nineteenth-century Europe, with all the small countries close together and interrelated royal families and court intrigues. The main departure from nineteenth-century technology is that my storyworld doesn’t have black powder, so there are no firearms or explosives. So the armaments are at more of a medieval level. But in all other ways, the world is meant to have more of a Regency/early Victorian feel.

C: If you could take one element from your world building to bring into the real world what would it be?

K: That’s an interesting question, because everything in the storyworld—other than the Telshan trinity—does exist in the real world, or (in the case of some of the manifestations of characters’ specific gifts) is described in Scripture. I guess if I were going to pick one thing from the storyworld that I wish we did as well in the real world, it would be the Glynrellan culture of equality. America has a fairly egalitarian culture, but we still have lots of room for improvement.

 Thank you for coming Kristen and sharing about your novel.

 Kristen-Stieffel-Headshot Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in varied genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash-fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy. Visit http://www.kristenstieffel.com to learn more about this many-faceted author.

Follow Kristen on Social media:

Kristen’s WebsiteHer BlogAmazon Author pageFacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.

Don’t forget to add Alara’s call to your to read list:

Alara’s Call releases September 19th. Pre-order it here.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the tour:

M, 11th: Review, Gretchen Engel,  www.scriblerians.com/www.newauthors.wordpress.com

            Interview, Catherine Bonham, You are Here

T, 12th: Visual Post, Jebraun Clifford, www.jebraunclifford.com

W, 13th: Review, Kate Jameson, www.kategjameson.wordpress.com

            Review, Anna Tan, www.blog.annatsp.com

R, 14th: Guest Post, Laura A. Grace, www.unicornquester.com

            Interview, J.M. Hackman, www.jmhackman.com

F, 15th: Story World Feature, Travis Perry, www.travisbigidea.blogspot.com

            Visual Post, Liv Fisher, www.livkfisher.blogspot.com

Sa, 16th: Top 3 Post, Laurie Lucking, www.landsuncharted.com

Su, 17th: Behind the Scenes, Steve Rzasa, www.steverzasa.com

M, 18th: Review, Laurin Boyle, www.laurinboyle.wordpress.com

T, 19th: Behind the Scenes, Kristen Stieffel, www.newauthors.wordpress.com

W, 20th: Guest Post, Gillian Bronte Adams, www.gillianbronteadams.com

R, 21st: Review, Michele Israel Harper, www.micheleisraelharper.com

F, 22nd: Guest Post, Rebecca LuElla Miller, www.rebeccaluellamiller.wordpress.com

FANtastic interview with Illusionary Author, Desiree Williams.

Illusionary Blog Tour Banner

Today’s post is an extra special one, because today I am participating in a blog tour for Desiree Williams’s new book Illusionary.

 First about the book:

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 Dorothy got sucked into a tornado.

 Alice fell down a hole.

 Wendy flew to Neverland.

 Kamryn? She tripped down the stairs.

 Now, Kamryn Kensington finds herself in a strange new world. Within minutes of her arrival, she dodges an archer’s arrow and avoids getting sliced up by a cosplay reject holding a dagger to her throat. And that’s before the storyteller’s breath brings stories to life.

 Home is the mission—to return to her family and pursue her life’s dream of art and travel. Yet the longer she’s in the Land of Ur, the harder it is not to feel for the people she meets. Even her artistic side can’t help but breathe in the beautiful wonder and magic of this new world. So when the Oracle hands her a different quest, she takes it on the condition he sends her home afterward.

 No one thought to warn her of a jealous queen and her dragon minions. Or that, by helping her, the cute storyteller would go crazy. Or that her heart would rip in two when she left. Those would’ve been great facts to know ahead of time.

 Considering that nothing in Ur is what it seems, the mission proves to be more than she ever imagined. But more than her own future will be in jeopardy if Kamryn doesn’t succeed.

****

 I have already read and fallen in love with Illusionary. Even before Illusionary though, I was already a fan of Desiree Williams because of an amazing book she wrote called Sun and Moon. So that’s why, to celebrate this new book release, I got in touch with Desiree for a FANtastic interview. (Because I’m a fan, get it?)

 A great big thank you to Desiree Williams for visiting the Blog and answering all my geeky questions.

****

C: One of the things I loved about both Sun and Moon, and Illusionary, was the stand alone nature of the novels, was it a conscious choice to keep the story contained to one book, or was that just the natural ending place?

D: For both books, I pre-determined that they would be standalone stories. While I (along with other readers) love series, for these two stories I wanted them to have a standing ground all to themselves. However, for Sun and Moon, I do have plans for Zara and Jaedon to have a cameo appearance in a future novel—not an extension of their story, just a fun appearance.

C: I can’t wait for that. I loved the world building in Sun and Moon and can see many more interesting stories set there. I have one more question that applies to both Sun and Moon and Illusionary.

As an adult reader, I love that your protagonists are of an adult age, meanwhile the novels still have that YA feel. Is this a major consideration for you when writing romance, especially considering the main plot device used in Sun and Moon, that they actually be old enough to get married?

D: In a way, yes. I love the thought that there is an individual out there created to journey with us in life. That God designs our paths to connect with the love of our hearts and souls—our other half. And I would like the characters to be old enough to explore this depth of love.

C: Illusionary would make a great movie. Did you create a dream cast for Illusionary?

D: Ah, I so agree with this! Illusionary would be epic as a movie! My heart soars at the thought. But no, I don’t have a dream cast in mind of who would play Kam and Reese. Although, ideally, it’d be nice for them to be new faces, actors who hadn’t been sucked into the world of Hollywood darkness.

C: I love the idea of the actors being unknowns. Illusionary would an epic story to launch a career with.

Illusionary has multiple references to classic children’s books, what was your favorite book to read as a child?

D: Uh … confession time. I actually had a rather rough childhood and was deprived of books (outside of school) until my teenage years. The earliest books I remember being in love with were the Immortals Series by Tamora Pierce. Once I got my first library card, my world exploded with possibilities after that. =)

C: I too love Tamora Pierce books. Her world building is amazing. While we are talking about other authors, I must know: Is there a Baum county NC? If not why did you choose this name?

D: LOL. No there isn’t a Baum County NC. This name, along with Carroll Memorial Hospital and Barrie’s Children Hospital, where inspired by the writers of the classic stories. Those, along with other nuggets, are woven through Illusionary.

(If you visit Desiree’s facebook page you will find three behind the scenes videos with easter eggs for Illusionary.)

C: Speaking of nuggets I want to know something about the magical red gem. Reese says it was a gift from his Grandmother. He references other jewels as well. Is there anything special about the rest of the set?

D: Technically, no, there isn’t. The red tear had been a gift but the Oracle tweaked it for Kam’s purpose. Which helped in getting Reese to open his eyes and see things differently. The other jewels were just pretty trinkets that had belonged to his grandmother and passed down to Reese.

C: Pity, I really thought I was onto something there.

If you had a choice of visiting a fictional world, which would you choose?

D: I can’t pick one. I’ve tried before, and I still can’t choose where I’d want to go. Can’t I just go to them all? I mean, as a reader, I’ve visited so many amazing places and characters in my mind. Instead, I’ll say I want story dust. That way I can bring the all fictional worlds to me. 😉

C: Okay but since Ur is the only place to get story dust . . . If you could visit Ur, without falling down the stairs to get there, what would you do there for a day?

D: Oooh! So many possibilities. Hmmm … First, I’d need to eat some moon-jacks and pork spears with the Treasures Ones, and avoid getting caught in Tock’s mouth. Then I’d swing by Wonder Winds to get some fashion advice from Paloma. After that, I’d probably bask in the beauty of Native Hollow or play soccer with a few of the Indocan children. And I’d end the day with having a cup of tea with the Oracle. Oh my … can I just go do that now?

C: Not yet I have a couple more questions for you.

*Possible spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned*

Without spoiling the end for people who haven’t read it yet, can you talk about the Oracle? Was it important to you for readers to understand who he represents? Do you feel the story would have been less complete without him?

D: *headdesk* Oh, how to answer this question without spoilers! I think it is important for readers to understand or at least pick up on who the Oracle represents in the story. Because I believe it would give them a deeper impact of the ending and the reasons/ importance of why Kam was pulled from the real world and dumped into the Land of Ur. There technically isn’t a villain in the story, not in a true sense. The conflict resolution is all based on something far deeper. And yes, it does involve the Oracle and the desire to see Reese prosper beyond the chains that bind him.

C: Here’s the sad truth. I cried, so hard, during that moment when Kam and Reese say goodbye. What’s your most memorable “all the feels” moment?

D: How can I pick just ONE “all the feels” moment?!?! Illusionary was a roller-coaster for me. From grinning like a goober at all the mushy scenes to crying myself in the cave when they had to say goodbye. However the specific moment I have in mind is a spoiler, and I can’t go into too much detail. But I will give hints so that those who have read Illusionary can pick it up. My favorite “all the feels” moment is toward the end where Kam walks into her living room looking all sloppy and is on the verge of having her heart fly from her chest.

C: Oh yes that moment was the best. I would have been angry if it had ended any other way.

Thank you to Desiree Williams for answering my questions and thank you reader for stopping by today. I hope you enjoy getting to know Illusionary and its author as much as I have.

D: Thanks so much for having me on today! *big hugs* I loved all your questions and am so grateful I got to visit. Blessings!

Desiree Williams

About the Author

Desiree Williams is a dreamer by day and chocoholic by night. She lives in the beautiful state of Kentucky with her husband and daughter, where she juggles life as a wannabe supermom. Desiree is a lover of food and avoider of dirty dishes. She delights in making people laugh and strives to bring hope and love with her wherever she goes.

You can find out more about Desiree and her books at www.desireewilliamsbooks.com

You can also visit her on the following social media sites:

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads / Newsletter

Illusionary

Illusionary can be purchased from these fine retailers:

Amazon: http://a.co/hj1bDtH

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/illusionary-desiree-williams/1125821432?ean=2940154019337

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/illusionary

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/illusionary/id1207467393?mt=11

Don’t forget to add Illusionary to your to-read list on Goodreads:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34363709-illusionary

 Illusionary Blog Tour Giveaway

  Giveaway Here

Desiree has graciously offered to give away the following prizes: a “Make everyday an adventure” pillow, “Don’t Grow Up! It’s a Trap!” metal sign, book cozy, signed paperback of Illusionary, notebook with pens, sketch book with colored pencils, and a “Eat Cake for Breakfast” travel cup.

The winner of the grand prize giveaway will be selected on Monday, Jun 12th at approx. 9 AM (EST). The winner will be announced on Desiree’s Facebook and Twitter pages.

Feel free to visit the rest of the tour at the following stops:

Blog Tour Schedule

June 5th Launch Day – HOPE through the Pages

              Spotlight – Rachel Lopez

              Book Review – Jebraun Clifford – Dream. Write. Repeat.

              Interview – Jilligan’s Island

 June 6th Book Review – Indie Book Reviews

              Spotlight – Christian Book News

              Interview – Bookworm Mama

 June 7th Book Review – Zernia Blossom’s Books

              Book Review – Prismatic Prospects

              Interview – dolphin18cb [You are here!]

 June 8th Book Review – Lands Uncharted

              Book Review – Seasons of Humility

              Interview – Liv K. Fisher

 June 9th Book Review – She Hearts Fiction

              Book Review – Chrissi Reads

              Spotlight – Dreams of Faerytales

              Guest Post – Jannette Fuller

 June 10th Wrap-Up Post – HOPE through the Pages