Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Getting to Know the Authors: Featuring Raye Wagner + Special Cover Reveal of Demigods and Monsters!

     Raye Wagner grew up in an urban fantasy believing she was related to the goddess of literature. As the second of eight, she was surrounded by monsters, demons, and her sometimes mortal parents. She read heaps of fantasy while locked away in the upstairs room of the family cottage.
    Raye studied the art of medicine long before she had an interest in the Gods on Mount Olympus. One sunny afternoon, Apollo revealed to Raye the history of his ancient curse and the myth of the Sphinx. Stories have haunted Raye ever since. She writes young adult fiction for teens and adults. Curse of the Sphinx, a YA urban mythology, is her first novel. Demigods and Monsters, the second book in the Sphinx series, will be released April 2016.
What she has written:
Origin of the Sphinx (Sphinx, #0.5),
Curse of the Sphinx (Sphinx, #1) 

And Demigods and Monsters (Sphinx #2) 
Here is the cover reveal of Demigods and Monsters!
Blurb for Demigods and Monsters:
     Can Apollo’s curse be broken?
     Seventeen-year-old Hope Nicholas is done running. Apollo’s curse has ruled her entire life, limiting her choices and robbing her of the things that matter most. But she refuses to live in fear any longer. In fact, she’s ready to do whatever it takes to break the god’s power over her existence. 
     When the goddess Artemis instructs Hope to impersonate a demigod and infiltrate a conservatory to get access to the Olympian library, she doesn’t hesitate. As she sees it, there’s nothing left to lose. 
But once inside, Hope discovers the only way to get what she needs is to work with her sworn enemies. As the lines between demigod and monster are crossed again and again, Hope has to dig deep for the courage to accept her fate or fight for the freedom to save herself.
    Demigods and Monsters is the second book in the Sphinx series.

Demigods and Monsters Excerpt:
     Glass shattered, followed by a thud. In one fluid movement, Athan slid his hands under the pillow, grabbed the matching silver blades, and sat up. The thin sheet fell from his shoulders, and he shifted to the edge of the bed.
    The night was dark and thick with humidity. The ceiling fan continued to whir despite the escalating tension in the small motel room. Through the broken window, the sour stench of rotten humanity wafted from the street. Athan waited to hear what, if anything, else was coming. 
    He’d been following a lead, a mere rumor from an acquaintance of a friend. The message came via text a week ago and spoke of a golden girl at Athena High in Seattle. Thought to be a demigod, the girl didn’t blend in with the rest of the senior class and made no attempt to. By the time he’d arrived, the mysterious girl had disappeared. Vanished. No forwarding address. No next of kin listed on the records, no emergency contact. Just gone. The apartment was vacant despite the rent being paid through the end of the six-month lease. Even more frustrating, the girl had withdrawn from school weeks ago. Any trail she’d left was now cold. Bitterly so.
    Desperation made a foolish companion, and he wore his recklessness like a heavy cord, tangling his intuition and instinct into a messy knot. Regardless, he’d spent the next several days talking to students, searching popular hangouts, even going so far as to call the conservatory. Unfortunately, he’d gotten voicemail. Not too surprising. Most demigods carried their own cell phones. It was rare to use the conservatory’s line, and even more rare for someone to call it. Perhaps it would be worth a brief visit to see if there was any news of Hope, or rather the Sphinx. The thought of a visit to the demigod residence made his stomach roll. But if it led to finding Hope, it would be worth it.
No sound came from the small sitting room on the other side of the bedroom door. If there were visitors, they weren’t human. He stood and crossed the room.
    As he reached for the handle, the door crashed open, and a thick, pale hand grabbed his wrist in a crushing grip.
    Athan ducked as black steel swept over his head. He tilted away from the hulking figure and kicked his heel into the Skia’s stomach. The soft give told him he’d missed the ribs. Not that the dead needed to breathe, but a punctured lung might’ve slowed the monster down.
    Crouching low, he swung his leg close to the ground in a smooth arc. The minion from Hades anticipated the move and closed the gap with a knee to Athan’s face. The taste of copper filled his mouth, and warm blood ran down his chin. He spit a mixture of saliva and blood and then swung his jeweled dagger at the Skia restraining him.

Now on to the Interview!!!
1) How old were you when you started writing, in your opinion?
   When I was in elementary school I used to write stories about girls that drove too fast and got in trouble. My teacher actually called a parent teacher conference and told my mom I needed counseling. I stopped writing fiction in middle school with the exception of school assignments. I was in my 30s when the idea of the Sphinx being a cursed monster of the gods fell into my head. And that's when I started writing in earnest.

2) What do you want a reader to gain from reading your works?
   Fiction is meant to entertain, but I believe it can deliver so much more than that. I want readers of my writing to set down my words and feel empowered, educated, and even contemplative. If we can see ourselves in another character, we can polish our strengths, and challenge our weaknesses.

3) What are your three top suggestions on becoming an author, or being a pleasure writer?
   Don't give up. Success in anything takes time. You will have to hone your craft, and if you persist, you'll be a better author next year than this year.
   First drafts are diamonds in the rough! Ernest Hemingway said "All first drafts are $h**" You will think yours is different. And you should. But take the feedback from good critique partners and write it again and again. A friend of mine said that you will have to write seven novels before you write anything good. You can write seven different novels, or write the same one seven times.
   Write down your goals. I'm a firm believer that if you want something write it down. It declares your intention to yourself and the universe. If you see your goals in black and white in front of you, you will think about how to achieve them, and then you will act in a way to make those dreams come true.
4) What is your favourite novel, why?
    I have two... Exodus by Leon Uris because it inspired me to go into nursing.
   Twilight by Stephanie Meyer (groan- I know)  But not because I loved it, although I probably did at the time. Twilight was the first YA book I read in my adult life, and it opened up to me the realm of YA literature.

5) Who is your favourite author, why?
   A.G. Henley   I read her novel, The Scourge, and fell in love with the characters. Seriously in love. My first author's convention was UtopYA in Nashville in 2012, and she was there. I completely fan-girled (is that even a verb?) and made an idiot of myself. Seriously, I don't think I could form a coherent sentence I was so excited to meet her. When I got ready to need an editor for Curse of the Sphinx, I emailed her and asked about her editors. We started corresponding, and have become friends. She's been a great mentor! And she's an amazing author.

6) What are your favorite pass times besides writing? 
    I love to bake cookies, cake, almost any treat. I try and exercise 3-4 times a week. And I love to read. If I get time to do all three of these things in a week, it's been a pretty good one!

7) Who in your life do you credit your imagination to the most?
   My family. My mom read to us a lot when I was little, so I have to give her credit for my love of the written word. My father is a big believer in persistence, and reaching for your dreams. And I have seven siblings who all like each other. We made forts, haunted houses, played in the woods, built fairy homes, and ran away from bad guys (imaginary). Sometimes I still think we're not all oriented in reality.

8) What are the top five things on your bucket list?
   I want to live long enough to see my children be parents and strong citizens in society. I don't have a bucket list other than that.

9) What is your funniest childhood memory?
   In high school we used to like to toilet paper other people's houses (and got our T.P'd in return). As a senior class we decided to TP the high school. A whole bunch of us got caught by the police. When the officer asked my friends where their parents thought they were they all pointed at me and said, "her house" (this was true). When he asked me, I also told him the truth. "Toilet papering the high school."
   My mom actually took me the first time I went. My parents were oddly supportive of my vandalism, although they cautioned me that if I got caught they wouldn't bail me out. I had 40 hours of community service and a fine I had to pay before I could graduate.

10) To the youth of today, if you could tell them one thing, what would it be?
   Persistence and hard work can overcome almost any obstacle.

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