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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Release Week!! An Interview with Connie L. Smith, Author of The Division Chronicles!

To celebrate the release of Emblazed, Connie L. Smith has taken some time out of her busy day to answer a few questions for us, but first check out some info on this new book of hers! If you haven't read Essenced, book one, yet, you can get it now for free on Amazon!
Emblazed (The Division Chronicles #2) by Connie L. Smith
Young Adult (Paranormal)
Date Published: February 24, 2014
Publisher: Self

After all the preparations, Nicholai’s warriors stand on the threshold of warfare, the demons entering the realm in battalions and the world unknowingly depending on the army’s success to continue intact. But the battle is only the beginning of deadly struggles, and the soldiers will soon realize how little they know, how many things are at stake, and how much they have to lose.

Love, hate, hope, despair, anguish, joy… The journey is a gauntlet of emotion and combat, threatening their resolve as much as their lives.

Will their training and ties be enough, or will the complications and the forthcoming evil forever cripple the world’s last hope of survival?

AJ sensed him there, standing wordlessly some feet in the distance, just like she always recognized his presence when he lingered near. She absorbed the comfort and happiness he brought her – not that she’d admit that out loud – before sighing and speaking. “It’s called making a bed, Julius. It’s pretty commonplace.”

He didn’t push away from the doorframe, instead leaning further against it while he continued to observe her. “Sweetheart, nothing’s commonplace when you do it.”

Hearing the grin and affection in his voice, she smiled, peeking at him over her shoulder. “Is that a compliment or an insult?”

He gazed upward to stare at the ceiling with a thoughtful expression, then returned his attention to her, his shrug carefree. “Both.”

She smirked. “Sweet talker.”

“Odd ball.” He finally moved from the threshold, unhurriedly advancing toward her. “You know, most people make their beds in the morning. Not ten o’clock at night.”

She snorted. “Yeah. I’m gonna make my bed as soon as I roll out of it at six AM.

I wouldn’t be making it now if I didn’t have to wrestle the sheet back on four times a night.” Finally setting her pillow in its position, she turned to him with an unashamed

He chuckled, his adoration plain, and brushed a lock of hair from her face.

“You’re one of a kind, you know that?”

“Compliment or insult?” she teased again.

“Compliment.” He smiled, cupping her cheek. “Definitely a compliment.”

“Sweet talker,” she repeated, standing on her tiptoes to press a kiss to his lips.

Wrapping her arms around his neck, his circling her waist, she dove into the moment, reveling in the wonderful sensations only Julius incited. Safety. Warmth. Passion. So many more she couldn’t quite put a name to, the combination too heady and consuming to adequately decipher. It was simply a Julius effect, and its wonder had no equal in her life. Gradually breaking away, she knowingly lifted an eyebrow. “You didn’t come here just to make fun of me over my bed-making habits.”

“Maybe I came up here just to kiss you.”

“If that were the case, dear Julius, you wouldn’t have waited until I kissed you.”

Narrowing his eyes, he barely restrained his smirk at her forwardness and how well she’d grown to understand him in their time together. “You have a point.”

He stepped back from her embrace, grasping her hand in his. “Come on. We have a mission.”

“A mission?” Her brow furrowed, though she made no move to retrieve her palm from his, following him in confusion as he neared the hallway. “At ten o’clock at night?”

“I believe we already covered the time in this conversation, AJ.” He made a clucking noise with his tongue, shaking his head in mock disappointment. “You really need to keep up with matters a bit more.”

She glared at the back of his head, lips thinning despite her vexing boyfriend’s inability to see her from his location. Realizing the futility of her frustrated efforts, she clenched the fingers he clutched, smiling in accomplishment at his grunt of discomfort.

“Yeah, we covered it, but in household chore way. Not in a mission way. What could we possibly have to do this late at night?”

He sent her an amused glance – one she deemed condescending, particularly after the physical hint of her annoyance – while tugging her through the doorway. “You do realize it isn’t ten o’clock everywhere, right?”

“Of course I realize that! I’m not a moron!”

“I never said you were…”

She growled, steeling her feet against the floor and prying her hand from his.

“You didn’t have to. Your little grin said it all for you.”

His stare revealed sincere bewilderment – maybe a speck of frustration as well – and his arm dropped to his side. “So let me get this straight. You’re angry at me… because I smiled at you?”

Her eyes widened in fury, one finger raising to point at his chest while her left fist braced against her hip. “Don’t try to turn this around like I’m crazy!”

He scrunched his forehead, gaze traveling up and down her form while he held his hands out, as if silently offering his evidence.

She groaned, unhappy, turning away from him to rein in her irritation. For several seconds, she simply scanned her room, livid exhale after livid exhale falling from her lips, but the attempts did little to calm her turmoil, Julius actually flinching when her focus again landed on him. “It’s the grin you used. It’s the same one that was on your face when you drove into New Mexico, and I was surprised the facility was stationed here. Like I’m the dumbest person in the world and your number one source of entertainment.”

Instantly, his expression softened. “You can’t possibly think that I think that way?”

She just glared at him.

“Look, I’m not gonna lie.” He approached her, smiling tenderly. “You do amuse me, but not because I think you’re stupid. You’re… animated. And quirky. But not stupid. And I get it’s late, and no matter what time zone we’re entering, it’s ten o’clock here and we’re handing over sleeping hours, but Nicholai insists we need to go now.”

She kept pinched eyes on him, but her posture loosened a bit.

He laughed, reaching for her hand once more. “See? Animated. I can pretty much watch the wheels in your head turn.”

“Does that make you my mental stalker, too?”

Processing the playful edge of her words, he kissed her knuckles and led her into the hall. “Trust me, sweetheart. I have no desire to wander through your mind. I can’t imagine all the weird things I’d encounter.”

She tilted her head to the side, smiling. “Compliment or insult?”

Smirking over his shoulder, he caught her eyes with his. “Insult.”

How long have you been writing?
--- I started writing songs actually when I was still in elementary school, but they were admittedly highly plagiarized. I was a kid, you know??? I did pretty well when it came to writing short stories and things in school, but mostly my non-school writing consisted of lyrics. There were some poems and a few short stories before I actually attempted to write novels, which I’ve been doing (or trying to do, early on) for the last… year and a half, maybe? A little over? It’s been a process I guess, changing over the years!

What inspired you to write Essenced?
--- I have a habit of reading books or watching movies (or TV shows), and having kind of a mental fanfiction going on in my head. I frequently interject characters into the storylines. Those characters might come from other sources, but sometimes they’re just mine. AJ was one of those characters, and a story sort of happened around her. Then it kept chasing me and nagging me until I decided to write it down.

When you first started writing Essenced, did you plan for it to be a series?
--- I did, yeah. I knew how book one would begin and end, and how the series as a whole would, more or less, end. The rest of it tended to be kind of learning as I went on occasion. Note: I’m not yet finished with book three :)

Was it more challenging to write the sequel?
--- Yes and no. Like I said, I knew how Essenced (book one) would begin and end. I even knew basically what the first five chapters would consist of. Book two was really unclear in spots. Even while writing it, things were still developing in my head, and there seemed to be more tension from that. Also, there’s pressure when it comes to a sequel. I want it to line up and push things along. I might actually be more nervous about parts of this book than I was with Essenced’s release. But, at the end of the day, having people waiting to read the story, having already liked the first piece of it, does give me a bit more confidence, and I definitely learned things over the last few months to make this a better project at first publish. Here’s hoping readers aren’t disappointed :)

What's a little something you can tell us about Emblazed?
--- I kind of see the entire trilogy in chunks. Essenced was getting to know characters, their preparations, and laying the groundwork. I feel like each book after will push the series farther and farther on a lot of levels – physical, emotional, mental. Things will get more intense as the story progresses. At least that’s my intention. Oh! And there’s a second romance in the story – not just AJ and Julius!

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
--- I’d love to name a character and give you some incredibly awesome reasons for it, but the truth is I’m probably a combination of Bree and Greg – a short hermit :)

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main 
character, be like?
--- *sigh* Ever heard of a curve-breaker? Valedictorian, 4.0, and way too quiet for her own good. 

What book have you read too many times to count?
--- I don’t really read many books from cover to cover more than once. I’ll read parts here and there, but when I read a whole fiction book, it’s usually one that’s new for me.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
--- Ironically, some of the best advice I ever got about writing was from my brother. 
“You’re not gonna write a perfect book.” I can be a perfectionist, but at a certain point I just have to let it go and hope that it does well. My BFFF (author Catherine Peace) has been trying to instill this into my head as well :)

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
--- I’ve had to do some research for world oddities, especially for book 3 of the series, so I’ve seen some crazy things that have happened around the globe. If I would’ve known this question would come up, I would’ve gladly done some link saving. Seriously. Weird stuff happens. 

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
--- Read, obviously. I’m pretty good at floral arrangements. Baking. I’m exciting, right?

Are any of the things in your books based on real life experiences or purely all 
--- Little things can come up when I write. For instance, Ray-Ray is obsessed with Wheel of Fortune, which definitely reminded me of one of my friends. A couple of the things that I’m thinking of that really reflect a conversation or event ended up being deleted, but they show up from time to time. Sadly though, I still don’t have fairy wings, and there’s no hot guy suddenly appearing in my life :)

Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and will be forever sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. When she isn’t reading or writing, there’s a good chance she’s goofing off with her amazing, wonderful, incredible, fabulous nieces and nephew, or listening to music that is severely outdated. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either) and likes to snap photos. Oh, and she likes apples a whole big bunch.

To learn more about Connie L. Smith and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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