Friday, November 22, 2013

Nancy Lee Badger Interviews Connie L. Smith

Author Connie L. Smith stopped by to talk about her writing as well as to discuss her latest book, Essenced. It is a YA/UF, and was released on July 29, 2013.
Please tell my readers a little bit about your book.
Basically, centuries ago, there was a war between good and evil. Good was made up of different creatures – many of which only exist in myth these days – while demons were the evil. Once the demons were defeated, they were banished from the realm through a portal into an unknown dimension. The method would’ve been permanent, if the last one through hadn’t snagged the portal itself, keeping it from closing entirely and ensuring that it would reopen. Knowing the inhabitants of the world would need supernatural forces to win the upcoming war – and recognizing that magic was slipping from the universe (magic most of the creatures needed to live) – the victors placed the essences of certain creatures in humans, bottling away magic for future use. This is the story of the Division – the rift in the portal – growing too large to ignore, and magic bringing phenomenal essences to life in teenagers who have to save the world from the reemerging evil.
Describe the genre of this particular title, and is the only genre you write in?  
This book is YA/UF, with its fair share of romance. It isn’t the only genre combination I write, but it’s the one book I’ve published as of yet. I have a Paranormal Romance novella due to come out sometime around December, and I’m about to start writing a YA Romance. Some of my planned future books could be more traditional fantasy, more NA… I’ve even written a few children’s stories.
New Adult? An interesting new genre. good luck with that. When did you start writing toward publication? 
I decided to try to write a novel last year. That particular work has been temporarily abandoned. It was my first book, it wasn’t turning out like I wanted, and I just gave up. For beginning writers – don’t do that! Keep working on it! I started writing Essenced soon after, and it’s my first finished novel. 
Only started last year? Awesome! What is your writing routine like?
Boring. I basically just sit on my bed with a  computer, my fan turned out to drown out noise, with a Diet Dr. Pepper (or a bottle of water) within reach.
Coffee and a laptop is all I need. What sort of promo do you do? Do you have help?
I have help in the way that some friends have shared statuses and encouraged other people to read the book. The only person I’ve hired for help, so far, has been Laura Gordon – the lady who designed my cover. BTW, check the site out: I’ve been on blogs (often with free promotions scheduled for the same day), and have created a contest for someone to design the cover for my upcoming novella. And I’m planning on making use of Goodreads giveaways, even beyond the one that’s currently scheduled.
I have a Goodreads giveaway going on right now too! Having achieved your goal to be a published author, what is the most rewarding thing? 
I think, as a self-published author, the most rewarding thing is looking at this massive goal, and knowing that I did it. I didn’t have the backing of a publisher, or the help of one of their editors, and I still managed to make this book sell-ready, and in good enough shape to allow for some awesome reviews. That… is pretty impressive :)
Please Share three fun facts about you that most people don’t know.
1) I’m addicted to the 1950s. Seriously. It’s a bit sad.
2) I once galloped like a Monty Python character through the food court of three malls.
3) I have a desire to plant a flower garden while wearing fairy wings.
What’s next for you?
I’m editing the second book, Emblazed, which should be out in February 2014. I’m also planning to release novella around December of this year, and I’m jumping into another project for NaNoWriMo.
Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.

Now, centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities…

AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?
     AJ noticed the intense stares Julius sent her all day long, even through the mental and physical demands of her training, which had easily outdone all her previous challenges. She ached all over, sweat poured from her body, and she wanted a shower and her bed as quickly as she could possibly attain them.
     Still, even with the pain and tiredness came a sense of amazement. Had she been told yesterday how much she could accomplish, she would’ve thought the speaker crazy. In fact, she’d done just that many times over. How often had she argued with her instructors, insisting they asked too much of her and her pack, that what they expected of her she simply couldn’t give? After this morning’s group embarrassment, she’d made the decision – everyone had – to stop arguing and start performing.
     Turns out, the trainers knew what they spoke of. They gave her many different tasks she thought insane, but rather than recoil and dispute – her first instincts – she kept her mouth shut and tried. And did. When she thought she’d handed over every ounce of her abilities, she pressed on, always unearthing more under the exterior. Granted, she had room for progress, and who knew precisely how far this new mentality could take her, but she now understood every instructor’s insistence that the Essenced could do so much more than they believed. What they’d done that day seemed unreal, but it happened nonetheless.
     She wondered how far she would be had she only accepted the trainers’ now observably true words from day one, though she couldn’t change the time she’d walked in obliviousness to anything more constructive. But it wouldn’t happen again. She would keep pushing herself, testing the extent of her abilities.
     Even as she thought about those things, gathering her empty water bottles to leave the endurance room, she felt his eyes on her, so intense she both cringed and shivered. Both good and bad, beautiful and bothersome. That’s Julius, alright. Turning to him, seeing the intensity for herself, made her pause as an involuntary gasp escaped her.
     “What?” she finally demanded.
     He kept staring. “I’m deciding something.”
     “Okay…” She elevated an eyebrow, drawing the word out. “Well, I’m gonna go eat, so just… keep deciding.”
     “I’m deciding about you.”
     She stopped, gawking at him with wide eyes. Deciding about her? What did he mean exactly? Surely he hadn’t bridged the topic of them out in the open for everyone to overhear. They’d done so well these last days, pleasantly ignoring all the complications the topic brought, playing selective memory. If he meant to change that – which she couldn’t decide if she wanted or not – the endurance room certainly didn’t seem the ideal setting.
     “Deciding what about me?”
     He gazed a moment longer, biting the inside of his mouth as he thought through his answer. “You fought against Nicholai longer than the other alphas today.”
     Well, this definitely didn’t sound like it concerned them. She argued with herself that she held no disappointment with that fact. “Yeah, I managed a pitiful defense for a little over a minute.”
     “More than the others did.”
     “Well, then, we all need help.”
     He nodded. “So you do. And so you’re getting it. Lesson learned, I think. Today you all pushed. A lot.”
     Although she appreciated the compliment, she wondered what this had to do with her specifically. If he wished to congratulate her on a job well done, and all the students had increased their focus and determination, shouldn’t he be addressing a crowd rather than just her? “Is there something you’re wanting to say here? Because I really am hungry. And tired. And I really, really stink….”
     “You outlasted the rest of them.” He looked her up and down, again causing her to cringe and shiver, nodding once when his eyes locked with hers. “You’re ready.”
     She lifted an eyebrow. “In case you aren’t aware, that’s exactly the attitude that got us all in trouble in the first place.”
     He laughed, shaking his head. “Not ready for the war. But you’re ready for the next room.”
     She tried to understand his words, but their meaning evaded her. “Next room?”
     He nodded, then jerked his chin toward the door, intending her to follow him. Though nervous, and not a little unsure, she kept to her self-promise of acquiesce and walked behind him. “Where are we going?”
     “You’ll know in a minute.”
     “But I don’t get it. You gave me the tour the day after I got here. I’ve seen all the rooms already.”
     Glancing over his shoulder at her, that annoying smirk spread across his lips. “You sure about that?”
     He stopped in front of the supplies room, checking to see if anyone could see his actions. When he noticed a clear coast, he opened the door and ushered her hurriedly into the dark room, flipping on a light switch seconds later.
     “This is where you wanted to take me? ‘Cause I gotta say, Julius. I’ve kind of been here.”
     “Shut up and keep walking.” He gently shoved her toward the area’s opposite end, grinning at her unease. As they neared the back door, leading to the desert circling the facility, he pointed to the left.
     Glancing there, AJ only saw boxes piled high, layers of training materials that, although organized, hardly seemed like a destination worth finding. She turned to him, confusion and concern etched on her expression. “You’ve brought me here to kill me, haven’t you?”
     He rolled his eyes, though with a smile on his lips. “I told you once before. If I was gonna kill you, it would’ve been when you wouldn’t quit with the adrenaline thing. Just walk over there.”
     She tilted her head to the side, eyes suspicious. “To the piles of supplies? In the supplies room?”
     “Yes.” He considered the uncertainty on her face, sighing and shaking his head. “Just this morning you were shown how this hardheaded mentality works against your training. Do you really wanna hold to it before you fight the demons?”
     She winced, then glared. “That was low.”
     “It was necessary. Even with your newfound determination to not be stubborn, you can’t help but be stubborn with me.”
     “Well, the other trainers didn’t drag me off to show me the wonders of supply organization. I could be eating right now, you know. We walked right by the cafeteria…”
     “…And the sooner you go along with this, the sooner you can eat.”
     “And get rid of you…” She thought it over, then agreed. “Solid reasoning. Let’s get on with this.”
     Watching her spin toward the piles of boxes, Julius smiled to himself.
      Once they reached the stacks, he maneuvered one to the right, leaving just enough space between two of them for a person to fit through. He grinned at her, mockingly, and strode through the path.
     “He’s so gonna kill me,” she mumbled to herself.
     “I’m not gonna kill you! Just come on already!”
     She did as instructed, stepping in between the mess of provisions, inching forward a few feet until she reached her trainer, finding him waiting – and smirking – beside a door she hadn’t previously seen.
     “Where did that come from?”
     “Do you want the construction plans?”

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.
How can my readers buy your book?  
You can find more information about Connie L. Smith
and her book, Essenced at:

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