Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Requiem of Humanity Tour Stop and Interview

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Can you tell readers a little bit about yourself and what inspired to write in this particular genre?

During the day I am your average mom, wife, and full time office manager. At night, I am the mad writer and dreamer of big dreams. I chose the horror/fantasy genre because of my love for the strange and unusual.

What is it about the paranormal, in particular vampires that fascinates you so much?

Vampires have such a flare for life and death that the are both fun and frightening.

What inspired you to write this book?

I have a 12 year old daughter and a 13 year old sister who both love vampires. I wanted to write a novel to share with them the fun of reading a vamp story without the sexually explicit content that seems so popular lately.

Please tell us about your latest release.

Stolen is about Jenda and Soborgne, two young friends who do everything together.

Unfortunately they may just die together when they are kidnapped by vampires.

The vampire Belle, was a sociopath in life and is even worse in death. Matteo, her unwillingly willing accomplice, is a bit of a lost soul who longs for love.

When the four characters paths interlock, blood is spilled and lives are lost.

Do you have a special formula for creating characters' names? Do you try to match a name with a certain meaning to attributes of the character or do you search for names popular in certain time periods or regions?

I have a very detailed process to name my characters. I startwith just a basic idea of who the person is going to be and then I research names to match nationality and time periods. I alsotry to pick names that will match the characters personal background and the image I have of them in my mind.

Was one of your characters more challenging to write than another?

Finding away to combine Matteos vocabulary to include words from his native Italian, his original time period, and still have him speaking in a modern way was difficult.

Is there a character that you enjoyed writing more than any of the others?

Belle is my favorite because she is so very wicked.

Do you have a formula for developing characters? Like do you create a character sketch or list of attributes before you start writing or do you just let the character develop as you write?

My characters all just happen. I learned early on not to try to box in their personalities.

What is your favorite scene from the book? Could you share a little bit of it, without spoilers of course?

My favorite scene spans a few chapters and takes place in front of a massive hearth and a roaring fire. When Belle shares her story with Jenda, the reader gets a chance to get to know their villain. At one particular part, even Belle's captives begin to feel sorry for her. Of course, belle redeems herself as the malicious fiend that she is.

Did you find anything really interesting while researching this or another book?

During my research for Stolen I learned many facts about astral projection, Indiana, and about trying to use time zones to avoid the sunrise.

Do any of your characters have similar characteristics of yourself in them and what are they?
Soborgne has a wild streak and can be very defiant. She is sarcastic and daring to a fault. She reminds me of myself at 17 except I was never that financially well off.

Do you have any weird writing quirks or rituals?

Just one really. I have an agate gem that I picked up on vacation a few months ago, it sets on my laptop when I write and I play with it alot when I am concentrating on how to word things.

Do you write in different genres?

I am dabbling in Steampunk, mystery, and even a little non-fiction.

Do you find it difficult to write in multiple genres?

Not at all, I enjoy the challenge.

When did you consider yourself a writer?

I have always considered myself a writer but it wasn't until the release of Stolen that I considered myself an author.

What are your guilty pleasures in life?

Caramel machiato from Starbucks, the giant bookshelf overflowing with masterpieces in my bedroom, and expensive cheese!

Other than writing, what are some of your interests, hobbies or passions in life?

I do photography, sketch, paint, and lots of other fun stuff.

What was the last amazing book you read?

The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Claire! She is just astounding.

Where is your favorite place to read? Do you have a cozy corner or special reading spot?

In front of my fire place with a big blanket and a cup of hot tea.

What can readers expect next from you?

I am working hard to finish the Requiem Of Humanity series and get them in print as well as eBook. I am also working on a fantasy novel.

Where can readers find you on the web?

The Official Catherine Stovall Web Page and The Official Catherine Stovall Fan Page on Facebook. I'm also on Twitter ( @cathstovall ), goodreads, and she writes.

Would you like to leave readers with a little teaser or excerpt from the book?

Jenda stood on the edge of a great cavernous gulf. Shadows surrounded her and she felt a pang of isolation deep inside. She had been alone so long, since she lost Soborgne. Just thinking of her lost friend brought back the pain. It flooded in; causing her heart to ache with an intensity that would cripple her if she gave in.

No, not now. Not here, Jenda thought.

She would not see the silver casket that lay empty at the front of the room. She would not smell the sour scent of hundreds of flowers that could not quite conceal the foul chemicals that lurked in the bowels of the funeral home. She would not relive that slow torturous walk to where she would say goodbye to her best friend. The sounds of hushed sobbing and the memory of pitying eyes following her echoed in her head.

Jenda had come to this place tonight in order to determine her own sanity, and in search of her friend. She did not know if the astral plane existed in reality or if she projected her mind there when she created her world. She was desperate, and this was her only way of finding out the truth. If she let the fog and darkness take over, she would never know what had happened to Soborgne.

Jenda shook her head slowly, trying to clear the dark swirling thoughts from her mind. Her long auburn curls cascaded wildly with the slight motion. Her usually deep green eyes shone like two liquid pools of emerald fire. Jenda wrapped her thin pale arms around herself. Hugging her elbows, she tried to hold it all in and hold herself together. She would find what she was looking for without reliving the horrible pain again.

According to her research, Jenda must recreate her world as she had always done. If she allowed her newly acquired knowledge or her fear of the voice to interfere, she may fail. Failure was not an option. There were too many questions left to answer. There may be some hope that Soborgne was not completely gone from her. The voice was the key to all the secrets.

Thoughtfully she surveyed the scenery before her. She began coming here so long ago she had lost track of the years. Through time, the landscape had changed as she had changed. As Jenda matured, the green hills and constant sunshine gave away to weather changes like drizzling rain and snow covered gray. There were still times when the sun shone but it lacked the glittery golden tones it once had. Only two things remained untouched by the girl’s maturing mind. There were always thirteen stairs and the crystal tree.

With this in mind, Jenda had duplicated the steps she always followed. She had climbed the thirteen stairs, crude steps roughly carved into the stone of the gulf, to reach her destination. There, on the far edge of the plateau, stood the crystal tree. A childish notion, probably, but she could always count on feeling comforted by the twinkling of each tiny dewdrop and the rainbows they cast. She wanted to sit beneath it now, to lean her back against its strength and let its drooping limbs hide her away.

She had created the tree early on. Each crystal held a memory. A person, a place, a feeling; she kept them all here in her secret heart. She would not lose them all as she did in the real world. Here she would always have Soborgne. Here the imaginary images of her real parents were enshrined in crystal beauty. She would never be alone, not like she was outside of her own mind.

Jenda never told others about her secret. She had told Soborgne once long ago but no one else. It had begun as an attempt to escape the loneliness she felt. Despite having two wonderful parents who loved her and the best friend a girl could have, Jenda often felt as if a piece of her was missing. She began building a world where she did not have to feel the sadness or feel abandoned. The ideas formed without her conscious mind understanding their origin. Each carefully laid foundation became more solid and more real each time she came here.

Soon she noticed the small changes taking place. Jenda only had to think of how nice a Rose of Sharon would look here or there and it would be done. No longer did she have to mentally focus on the reaction. It simply became part of her. The weather changes began shortly after. If Jenda wept, the landscape would mirror her emotions by casting a light mist. If she was angry, the wind blew furiously. It would bend the beautiful trees in arches. Yet it never touched her, never lifted one single tendril of her unruly mane. Tonight’s landscape reflected how she felt the most since Soborgne had been gone. Barren, cold, desert land stretched as far as she could see.

Tonight, Jenda felt the loneliness and desperation keenly. She had come looking for answers and received none so far. The shadows lurking everywhere matched her mood perfectly. Yet something felt…well, wrong. Before Soborgne’s disappearance and the intruding voice, Jenda knew no fear when she walked strange lands. She believed there was nothing inside her world that could hurt her. No matter the pain she felt, nothing truly bad had ever come through. The interruptions over the past few weeks had never truly harmed her. Her research had told her that physical contact was not possible on the astral plane, and yet she was afraid.

Jenda stopped her reflections abruptly. She realized her world was changing and not by her design. The sky was swelling into an ominous and bloated covering. The clouds hung low and thunder rolled in the horizon. The air seemed so thick that she could feel its weight on her skin. Suddenly, there was a loud crack and lightning ripped a jagged white line across the black velvet sky.

Jenda jumped at the noise and instantly cowered back from the edge of the gulf. She was reminded of the night in the hospital when the voice had spoken to her. It had called her name and told her “She will rise.” The shadows, formerly cast by her sullenness, grew into large black chasms. Fear rose like bile in the back of her throat. Stumbling over the rough ground, Jenda scrambled away from the darkness that engulfed her world. How had this happened? How could something so vile be here?

Jenda found herself clinging to a large boulder. She was trying to use its size to shield herself from the raging winds that were whipping around her; wind that even in her worst fits of anger had never touched her before. Another bolt of lightning crashed against the sky and the ghostly illumination spread across the scenery. In that split second of piercing light, she saw him.

A figure stood beside the crystal tree. His hand reached out to grasp a single prism. His head was turned towards Jenda. Two black eyes bored into her across the distance. It was as if he could see right into her soul. His mouth was turned up into a sardonic smile, as if to say, “I know you. I know all your fears and I am much worse than all of them combined.”

Jenda shrank against the cool smooth rock, thankful for its protection from the whirlwind of sand that stung her. She began to tremble and a small whimper of dismay escaped her lips. She had to regain control but she was so frightened. She hated to be afraid. The taste of fear made her gag and her anger rose like a fire being kindled inside her. She had to reclaim her world from the invader. How dare he touch her memories? He had no right to enter her sacred world.

She gathered her courage and stood slowly, steadying herself against her recent haven. Gathering her strength, Jenda willed her world to obey. She pressed against the darkness with her mind and heart. Tears streamed down her delicate face but she refused to break her concentration even to wipe them away. Determination filled her and she stood her ground like the warrior princesses of long ago.

The unseen battle raged. Jenda’s light pitted against the invader’s darkness. She willed the wind to stop, the darkness to fade, and the lightning to cease. She tried to picture her world the way it should be but the resistance was like a shield pushing her away from what was hers. She felt as if she was behind a glass wall. Jenda pushed with her mind, trying to find a crack in the barrier. Her frustration grew and her anger quickly diminished the fear and shock that had held her only minutes before.

Jenda wrapped that anger up inside her head, fusing it with her knowledge of what belonged here. The fury glowed red inside her mind and laced through the natural earthy colors that she knew would be there behind the gloom he had brought here. The image of the crystal tree wound itself into the intricate knot and it became almost a solid manifestation inside her mind. A beautiful collage of colors tied together in a Celtic knot encrusted in tiny shimmering lights.

Using every ounce of her mental strength, Jenda pushed at the invasion and imagined the knot being imprinted on top of the landscape before her. The wind calmed. It still tousled her hair but the worst of the onslaught subsided. This little victory gave her newfound strength. She pushed harder and the black slowly began to fade to a dull gray. Another mental shove and the gray turned to purple haze of twilight.

Jenda’s eyes were unfocused from the quick change of light and still blurry from tears. She ran the back of her hand over her eyes to clear her vision; she blinked furiously from the sting of salt and sand. As she opened her eyes, his presence suddenly filled all her senses.

The intruder stood inches from her, his black eyes boring into her as if the entire world depended on this very moment in time. He stood almost a full foot taller than Jenda. His broad shoulders tapered down to a trim waist. He appeared to be well muscled but not overly large. He was almost handsome except that his presence sent tremors of pure undiluted terror screaming to every brain cell and nerve ending inside her. All of her senses told her to wake up, to run, and to escape as quickly as she could.

Jenda did not turn or run. She stood her ground, focused on the object that the intruder stood holding between his thumb and forefinger. There in his large pale hand hung a crystal from her tree. Her mind went wild with the outrage she felt at the idea of this invader, this intruder touching something so personal to her.

Jenda seethed. Before she could stop herself, she reached to rip the trinket away. As she grasped the crystal, she saw the purple light begin to fill it. She gasped and then his hand closed around her tiny wrist. The cold shock of steely flesh sent shivers through her. She paused, thrown off guard by the sensation of having her entire hand plunged into ice. Then her heart skittered and she felt as if the world were spinning too fast and that she may fall. Trying to pull away from that frozen iron grasp, Jenda felt terror and heard her mind scream for her to run before she died.

Pulling with all her might to free herself from his grip, Jenda looked up into the intruder’s face. The beauty of it surprised her even as he held her fighting, kicking, and screaming. His face seemed serene and his mouth no longer held the sardonic smile. His lips were full and sensuous. There was not a single line or crease in his translucent skin. He showed no irritation or ill will despite Jenda’s ongoing struggle to escape. He would have been Orlando Bloom hot if it were not for the fact that his eyes looked like two giant glass buttons. The difference between pupil and iris was so slight there was almost no end to the blackness. There was only the tightness of the flesh around his eyes and mouth that showed there was any sort of physical exertion on his part.

Then in a moment of pure horror, the intruder smiled. It was not the sardonic smirk from before. It was a large predatory showing of teeth. In a fit of hysteria, Jenda thought of how much he reminded her of the Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland. A high-pitched frenzied laugh escaped Jenda’s mouth and echoed into the silence of the canyon. It was the kind of laugh you only heard in the movies or in real asylums.

Almost as soon as the thought of the cat crossed Jenda’s mind and before the echo of her laugh faded eerily in the silence, the intruder chuckled. The sound of that dry mocking noise nearly put Jenda over the edge. No, he was not the Cheshire Cat. This was the big bad wolf in all his menacing glory and she was his for the taking.

As if he knew her panicked thoughts, the invader’s already massive grin grew impossibly wider. His voice rang clear but the words he spoke almost sounded melancholy.

“Yes, little one, I am your big bad wolf.”

These few words were too much for Jenda. The fear overtook her. Her control of her world slipped, the darkness seeped back in, and the wind began to roar around them. Jenda renewed her struggle to free herself with venom. The crystal dug into her palm as she kicked her feet, scratched, screamed, and struck out at the living statue that held her prisoner. She felt the edge of the prism cut into her tender flesh but paid no mind to the scratch.

During the onslaught of her attack, the intruder remained motionless. He held her in his icy grip without need to exert himself. Now a single drop of blood escaped her closed fist. It seemed to fall in a scarlet clarity of slow motion. His head wrenched to the side and his nostrils flared. He jerked as if he needed to escape. He apparently forgot that he still held her wrist in his effort to put space between them. Pulled off balance, Jenda stumbled towards the intruder. She slammed into his chest, which was as hard as if he had been made of cold steel. The impact caused him to look down, as if just now realizing he still held her.

Jenda looked up at the same moment. What she saw filled her mind with images of life laid to waste in vast numbers. Thousands of lives lost in merciless senseless death. The intruder’s eyes glowed now a fiery red. His horribly exaggerated smile was gone. Now she saw a gaping, tooth-filled abyss. So much more was now revealed than what she had observed from an arm’s length of distance. She could see two sharp canine teeth protruding from the upper row. Jenda screamed. Her last thought before the darkness closed in was, I’m too young to die.

~Jenda and Soborgne are best friends and everything they do, they do together. Unfortunately, this time the girls may die together. The girls are kidnapped and held captive by Belle and Matteo, two vampires with a plan. Belle, a sociopath in life and death, is searching for an heir to her reign as the only vampire to hold the secret to surviving the sun. Matteo is a lost soul who would give anything to be loved and to see the light of day.

~As the four characters’ worlds collide, blood is spilled, lives are lost, and rules are broken. Disappointment in love and life bring out the worst in humans but with vampires, it leads to a chilling tale that will make you look under your bed before you close your eyes and then dream of falling in love with a medieval fiend.


Debby said...

I have been looking at steampunk. Great interview.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Elaine said...

Like this site and the interview with Catherine was great !