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1. What or who inspired you to start writing?
Although I find inspiration from many different avenues and from many different people, nothing in particular, really lit the writing fire under me. I have always been a story teller from as far back as I can remember. It is just who I am.
2. How did you come up with ideas for your books?
This series was one of those, ah ha, moments. I was simply having a conversation about what the best superpower would be. Everyone always says flying, or super speed, or mind reading. Mine has always been the desire to be invisible. I wrote the first book in this series with that main desire in mind. The idea just took off from there.
3. As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?
Future plans, well let’s see. I have lots of great ideas brewing. I want to write a book just from the point of view of Leif. I have an angels and demons story that I am currently tinkering with. I also need to get started on book 2 of the Howl in the Night books. I have so much going on and waiting to start that I don’t even know where to begin. Let’s just say, I have loads of future plans.
4. If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would be Sunny, from the Shadow Dancer series. Not only does she get the power to be invisible, but she also gets to be a queen! Hello! How awesome would that be? Add to that an awesome boyfriend and great friends, and who wouldn’t want to be her?
5. Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?
No. I don’t belong to a critique group, anymore. I used to, but I found that I ran out of time for it. I miss having that group to bounce ideas off, and I miss the interaction with other writers. It just wasn’t fair to take up their time with my writing, when I was finding less and less time to work on any of theirs. Maybe one day I will get back into a group, but for now? No.
6. When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?
I have been writing for years, since way back. I never felt that any of my writing was good enough or the story full enough to actually submit it to anyone though. Then I took the plunge and enrolled in a writers course though, The Institute of Children’s Literature. I made my way quickly through the first course, and enjoyed every moment of it. The last part of the curriculum was to putting together a submission package. I figured, I had put in the time and effort to create the package, I may as well submit it out and see what happens. Well what happened was my first submission was accepted and put into print. That was all it took. Just a little shove from behind was all I needed and off I went.
7. What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice I ever received and I tell this to every new writer that asks me this same question, is: To write a good story first. Don’t get lost in all the grammar and format. After you have a great story, go back and worry about the rest. People want to something awesome, give them that, and you will succeed.
I don’t have anything to share in the worst department. Either I knew it was bad advice and discarded it immediately or so far I have been lucky and haven’t gotten any.
8. Do you outline your books or just start writing?
I pants it. Every time. Every single time. I like the fun of seeing where my characters are going and what’s going to happen next. If I sit down and out-line it all out, and have all the minute details written down, then what’s the fun of writing the story? I already know how it’s going to end.
9. Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?
I have hobbies all over the place…sorta. I set out to learn something new every year. I have learned self defense, blown glass bead making, gardening, orchard care, pond and fish care, canning, crocheting, knitting, wine making, and on and on it goes. I am currently trying my hand at cheese making. I can’t think of anything that has played a part in my books accept the self defense. This doesn’t mean it won’t, but so far, not so much.
10. Do you have an all time favorite book?
Yes, it is called: Ride by Wind, by St. Clair. Oh. My. Goodness. I love this book. It’s romance. It’s violence. It’s thriller. It’s historical. I can’t tell you enough how much I love this book. If you haven’t read it, go and find it, and read it. Yes. It’s that good.
11. Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?
Yes, I have started it. As I said above, I am playing with an angels and demons story. I found this old book of the bible that was removed 1000’s of years ago called: The Book of Enoch. Then after finding that one, I learned of: The Book of Giants. These books are the histories / stories of the angels and the demons. Apparently there are a lot of books of the bible that were removed for various reasons. These were the two that I found fascinating. You’ll have to stay tuned to see what I come up with. I happen to think it’s a great idea. We will see how it turns out.
12. Who is your favorite actor and actress?
Heath Ledge was my favorite. I still think he is wonderful. Since he is gone now, I have to say my favorite all time actor is Tom Hanks. I find him awesome in many ways. He is a great husband and father. You never see him in the news for cheating or drug use. He tries fun and new roles all the time. He is never stuck in a certain genre. He has stayed with it for decades. There are so many great movies with him. With so many different reasons to like this guy, how can you not love him?
13. What is your favorite reality show?
Sadly, with my schedule, I don’t get to watch much tv, and I do not have DVR (GASP!) However, I have always found a way to watch Survivor. I love that show. It’s the bugs, the whining, the games. The best part though is to see how the people, regardless of their walks of life, start out all normal and then warp into animals is just wild to watch.
EXCERPT & BLURB:
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The adventure and the struggle contines for Sunny, as the fight for control of Acadia is near. Battle lines have been drawn, not just by King Gideon, but also by the rebels that were once Sunny’s allies. Due to unexpected trips to the ice realm and the fire realm, new allies are found to help build the Army of the Sun. There are new worlds explored. New friends and new enemies made. Ready or not, Sunny must prepare for what is coming as well as decide where she belongs within it all. But…what about prom? What about Leif? What about home? How can she, just a seventeen year old girl, rule a whole world? She’s not even sure if she can get through finals.
Leif turned his attention briefly to Lucas, who had stayed silent up to that point. “I see you have moved on. Rather quick don’t you think?” he said.
I refused to answer his taunt. Instead, I said to Lucas, “You about ready?”
A red flush of color appeared across Leif’s normally pale cheeks. I didn’t care. I was not going to be baited or made to feel bad for being out with Lucas. Was it a date? It hadn’t been specifically declared that, but it was something more than just an outing too. Maybe I was moving on, but that was my business. Not Leif’s.
“Yep. I’m ready,” Lucas said, then shoved the last bite of burger into his mouth and stood to clear the table.
I did the same, and gathered up my trash and belongings.
Leif suddenly and inexplicably became enraged. Either he was more upset about Lucas than I had realized or he really was going a bit on the loopy side. He grabbed my arm painfully and said, “We aren’t through here.”
“Stop it! You’re hurting me,” I said through gritted teeth. I didn’t want to cause a scene in the middle of the mall. People were already staring.
That was all the action Lucas needed to get involved. He slammed one big hand down on Leif’s shoulder and said as calm as could be, “I think you should release her.”
Leif did let go, which should have made me wary as he wasn’t the give up easy type, but I was too busy rubbing circulation back into my arm to think about it.
Leif spun around to face Lucas. “You can mind your own business. This is between her and me.”
“You made it my business when you laid a hand on her,” Lucas said, not backing down an inch.
Side by side the two were colored very alike, but that was where the similarities ended. Leif had ice blue eyes and Lucas had warm blue, inviting eyes. Leif was tall, thin, but wiry strong. Lucas was tall and bulky with evident muscles and strength.
“You don’t know what you are dealing with here,” Leif said and took a step closer to Lucas. It was like he was daring him to engage.
Lucas though, appeared calm and easy, no hint of aggression. “Yes. Actually I do.”
I began to realize that Leif didn’t recognize Lucas. He really didn’t know who he was. Leif didn’t have any special gifts other than begin a shadow walker tracker. Why then was he being so aggressive?
A wave of confusion crossed over Leif’s features for a moment. He stepped back and regarded Lucas. “You a walker?”
“Among other things. What’s it to you?”
Leif again grabbed my arm, not quite as hard that time, but hard enough to make me wince, and pulled me forward to stand almost next to him. “Then you know what she is,” he said.
I was getting a bit annoyed at being talked about like I wasn’t standing there. I was also getting angry at being manhandled by Leif. Incidentally, the anger is what caused me to pull in a bit of the energy from around us. I only grabbed a small ball of it, but it was enough to concern me. Whether in small or large amounts, energy was just as hard to control.
“Yes, I do,” Lucas said.
Leif leaned toward Lucas until he was just a few inches away from his face, glared hard with half squinted eyes, and said, “They you also know she’s mine. I found her. You don’t get to have her.”
That was it. I didn’t care about the pain it was going to cause me. I purposefully and intentionally, pushed out a zap of energy at Leif, where he held my arm. Not enough to really hurt him, but it was enough to have him jerk his hand off me in surprise and a bit of pain. Rage clouded his eyes for a moment as he directed his gaze on me.
I rounded on him with the full force of my own rage and completely ignored his. “You!” I said and poked a finger into his chest. “Don’t get to own me! No one gets to own me.”
He took a step back. I stepped forward and poked him again. “I get to decide who I want to be with and who gets to be with me.” Again he took a step back, and me a step forward, and I poked him hard in the chest, hard enough to make my finger twinge in pain at the abuse, but I ignored it. “I get to decide. Do you hear me, Leif?”
“Sunny,” Lucas said from behind me. “You have an audience.”
Without taking my eyes from Leif, I swung an arm behind me with my hand up at him, hoping that I conveyed with that one action, to shut up.
I did lower my voice at least. “You had your chance with me, but you chose to lie, to cheat, to keep me in the dark and at your mercy. You don’t get to decide anything about me anymore.”
I turned away from him and stepped back to my table, where I again began to gather up the debris from lunch. “Go home, Leif. There’s nothing here for you anymore.”
“Yes, there is,” he said softly from directly behind me. I hadn’t heard him come up next to me. Then even softer he said, “This isn’t over between us, Sunny. I’m not giving up.”
I glanced over my shoulder at him. The man before me was the Leif I knew. The Leif I had fallen in love with. The ice was missing from his face and his eyes and my heart felt the pain of losing him all over again. Why did it still hurt to see him, to be next to him? “Leif,” I whispered. “Go home. Please.”
Without regard to the people around us, he phased into the shadows and was gone.
“Yeah, Lucas,” I said as I stared at the place that Leif had vanished. I was suddenly so tired.
“Yeah. I’ll live.”
“Um…do you know that you have a slight glow of white around you?”
No. I didn’t know that. I closed my eyes and sighed. “Great.”
A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Courtney Rene lives Ohio with her husband and two children. She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature. Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, and her novel, Shadow Dancer. Her website is located at: www.Courtneyrene.com (www.ctnyrene.blogspot.com). Please feel free to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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