Kick Ass Girls of YA ~ Jacklyn Madison


I was invited by my friend, Libby Heily, and her publisher, Fire and Ice YA Books, to participate in their Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop. For this Blog Hop, I was encouraged to discuss a YA character close to my heart, either already existing, or one I’ve created. Having already discussed my love for Buffy the Vampire Slayer in previous blog posts, I figured it was a good time to introduce my own character, Jacklyn Madison, the main character of the manuscript I’m querying to agents as we speak, The Order of the Key.

Why is Jacklyn a kick ass girl? Well, for one, she kicks ass. Literally. After accidentally unlocking her long dormant Aegis, Jacklyn discovers she is a Body Key with supernatural strength, speed, senses, and healing. The leaders of the Order of the Key capitalize on her abilities by teaching her how to fight the inter-dimensional monsters they are sworn to defeat. Jacklyn quickly takes to her new superhero lifestyle and becomes a valuable member of her new group. Not only that, but she makes the group her own, working to make it a better place for everyone involved.

Self-esteem? Jacklyn’s got it, despite having been a geek with a bully problem. She’s an athlete, and her mother works nonstop, so she’s largely responsible for her younger brother and sister. Who has time to worry about what the kids at school think? She’s got things to do. And it’s not a problem anyway, because Jacklyn isn’t just tough, she’s fast-witted and sharp-tongued and she doesn’t intend to suffer any of your crap.

OK Media Pitch 1With all of this, what really makes her strong is her compassion. Jacklyn is torn by the fact that she must kill to protect humanity from inter-dimensionals. Not only that, but she quickly realizes she might have to kill members of the Order to protect the people she loves. Her younger brother and sister are her world, and she would do anything to help them grow into productive members of society, let alone to protect them.

Jacklyn Madison is kick ass, but not perfect. She’s got a temper. She’s prideful. She struggles to trust. And she can sometimes hide behind a good quip.

That’s why I love her. She possesses what I look for in all of my kick ass heroines–strength, but also humanity.


If you’d like to know more about me, Jacklyn Madison and The Order of the Key, follow my blog or sign up for my mailing list, here.

To visit all the other blogs in the blog hop today, click here for a complete list. And for the chance to win some great books from Fire and Ice YA, click here to enter their Rafflecopter.

Introducing Jacklyn Madison: Character Bloghop 2014

It’s time for a character-centric blog hop! Here you will get to meet the lead of my YA novel The Order of the Key. But first, a bit of an intro. 

I was tagged by the great and powerful Hannah Goodman. Hannah is the founder and editor of Sucker Literary, which features undiscovered and new YA authors and happens to employ me as a reader. You can find the blog post that tagged me here. In that post, she discussed her novel, My Summer Vacation, which was originally published in 2006 and went on to win a bronze IPPY in 2007. It is set to be re-released in September 2014.  Other books about her main character, Maddie, have been met with awards and praise. The final Maddie book in the series remains unpublished at this time but is looking forward to finding a home soon! For more info about Hannah, check her out on the web at

This is what My Summer Vacation is all about:

My Summer VacationSixteen-year-old, Maddie Hickman is desperately seeking solace from her sophomore year of high school, a year of broken hearts, torn friendships, and family secrets revealed. Thanks to a position as a CIT (counselor-in-training) at Caleb’s Rock, a hippy, artsy-fartsy summer camp, as her mother calls it, solace has been found—or so she thinks. Maddie begins her summer at the pub shop writing short stories and poems, trying to recover from a terrible breakup with her first love and her family’s struggle with

her alcoholic sister. To maintain inner peace, Maddie swears off cute boys. Although

working alongside Noah, a fellow pub shop CIT, whose hot, nerd-boy looks and

ability to quote Shakespeare at just the right moment makes her swoon. Maddie decides a friendship with camper Zak is safe enough and can help her avoid the temptation of Noah, since Zak isn’t as cute and is a year younger. But when Zak asks her for kissing lessons so he can make the move on another girl, Maddie finds herself wondering if she should have sworn off not-so-cute boys, too.

Be sure to check it out!


And now, without further ado, I’d like you to meet, my character. Care to answer a few questions, dear?

What is your name? Are you fictional/historical? Hi. The name’s Jacklyn. Jacklyn Madison. Or Jacks. Or Jackie. My friends, the ones who’ve known me forever, know me as Jacks. Your second question confuses me. Of course I’m not fictional. I do love to read about fictional heroes. I kinda wish I was one of them. At least the stakes wouldn’t be real then. Maybe, one day, I’ll be considered historical. You know…I kinda like that…

When and where is your story set? When? Now. Duh. I don’t have a time machine. Those aren’t real too, right? I mean, I just found out that having powers and monsters are real, so maybe? Anyway, my story is mostly set in my…um…friend…Kyp’s estate. Or, his mother’s Estate. Where she trains all of the people with powers like mine.

What should we know about you? Well, I guess the big one is that I’m a Key. Keys are humans with supernatural abilities. For one, my blood closes rifts between dimensions, and it also gives me some strengths that make it easier to battle the creatures that climb out through those dimensional rifts. And damn those things are ugly, creepy things…that want to eat you…Anyway, every Key gets their own set of talents. Mine are related to my body – and before you get gross and I have to club you over the head with a big stick, I mean super strength, super senses, super speed. Stuff like that.  Anyway, I came to the Estate with my Mom, my brother Morgan, and my sister Gana. They’re Guardians. While Keys have multiple powers, Guardians get singular powers to master.

It’s nice that I’m here with my family. Even if they are probably some of the very few people I trust in this place.

What is screwing up your life? Well, at first I was really excited to be the long lost member of The Order of the Key. First, I get to be a superhero, which I kinda always wished I could do. Second, I get to learn more about my father who died when I was young. And third, I get to spend more time with Kyp, the guy who found me, who happens to be pretty adorable, if not a bit of an arrogant know-it-all.

My problems, however, began when I realized that Kyp’s mother, Lavinia, the leader of The Order, has some upsetting views. Interesting fact: Keys can’t die unless a ritual is performed over them. Guardians can die like any other human being. So why does Lavinia use the Guardians to protect the Keys? My family is not expendable. And why is The Order run like a scary dictatorship? The minute I started to realize something is screwy, Kyp told me why he really wanted to find me – to recruit me for his mission. You see, Kyp is planning a little coup…one that will get me stuck in the middle of a family feud complete with subterfuge, stand offs, and murder.

What is your goal? At first, I just wanted to be a hero. Now I just want to stop Lavinia and keep the people I love alive.

What is the title of your book? I suppose The Order of the Key would be a good title.

So, when will the book be published? When will you get to hear my story? Unsure. The Order of the Key is currently making the agent rounds. The rest depends on when someone picks it up as an agent and when someone picks it up as a publisher. I’m gonna say when, not if, because it just feels better, self-esteem wise.


And now, I will tag the following authors, who will be participating on their blogs on Monday, September 15th.

First up – Scarlett! You may remember her from when I guest blogged on her site recently.

Scarlett Van DijkScarlett Van Dijk was born in 1993 in Geelong, Victoria, before soon moving to South Australia. Her love of writing grew during her time at Wilderness  School, with her first novel, Sky Stone, begun at the age of fifteen. After graduating high school, Scarlett entered the University of South Australia studying the Bachelor of Medical Radiations (Medical Imaging) and will complete the degree this year (2014). While editing Sky Stone, Scarlett began writing the second book in the Sky Stone series, titled Guardian Core. Scarlett’s love for creative writing is accompanied by an interest in martial arts, reading, and desktop publishing. Learn more about Scarlett and her writing at

Second, meet Kay Kauffman, she’ll introduce herself below. You can find her at her blog at 

Kay Kauffman PicAs a girl, I dreamed of being swept off my feet by my one true love.  And at the age of 24, it finally happened…and he’s never let me forget it.  A mild-mannered secretary by day and a determined word-wrangler by night, I battle the twin evils of distraction and procrastination in order to write fantastical tales of wuv…twue wuv…with a few bad haiku thrown in for good measure.

I’ve been spinning yarns for more years than I care to admit and I’ve got the calluses and paper cuts to prove it.  My first novel, The Lokana Chronicles, is currently undergoing a major rewrite in advance of another round of queries.

I reside in the midst of an Iowa corn field with my hopelessly devoted husband and his mighty red pen; four crazy, cute kids; and an assortment of adorable kitties, chicks, and bunnies.

Third, meet the writer I once shared a writer’s workshop with, an author who can give a well-balanced critique, Ms. Kimberly A. McKenzie.Head Shot

Kimberly A. McKenzie was born in 1970 on Williams Air Force base in Arizona to Robert Klemm and Casandra McKenzie. She is single, divorced, and without any children of her own. Her decision to write under a pen name is due to the respect and love she has for her mother. The passion for writing has been with her life-long and she has been employed in the technical writing field across industries for ten years. Starting in poetry in her early twenties, Kimberly has written and published short stories and poems and two books and she believes that writing comes from life, those we know, and the ever-changing possibilities of the fiction writer’s imagination.

And last, but certainly not least, meet Julaina Kleist-Corwin.Julaina AA

Julaina Kleist-Corwin is editor for her anthology, Written Across the GenresShe teaches creative writing for the City of Dublin, California. She has won several first place awards in short story contests. Her work has been published in The California Writers Club Literary Review and Harlequin’s 2012 and 2013 Christmas anthologies and other collections. You can find her at her blog at, on Twitter at, or on Pinterest at

Each of them will be posting their own post in the blog hop on Monday, the 15th. Be sure to go visit them then!


Sucker Literary Blog Hop!

ImageHi all!  Welcome to the next leg of Sucker Literary’s Blog Hop, being held in honor of the release of Volume 3 of Sucker Literary available tomorrow!  Image

I was tagged in this hop by the lovely Kacey Vanderkarr.  Kacey is a young adult author. She dabbles in fantasy, romance, and sci-fi, complete with faeries, alternate realities, and the occasional plasma gun. She’s known to be annoyingly optimistic and listen to music at the highest decibel. Kacey is the president of the Flint Area Writers and the Social Media Director for Sucker Literary. When she’s not writing, she coaches winterguard, and works as a sonographer. Kacey lives in Michigan, with her husband, son, and crazy cats. Reflection Pond is available in paperback and digital for Kindle and Nook. Antithesis and First Shift are available from Inkspell Publishing. “How to Fall”, a short story, will appear in the volume of Sucker Literary that we are here to promote.

You can follow Kacey at any of the links below: Blog/Twitter/Facebook/Goodreads

As part of the blog hop, each of us are answering some questions on our current works in progress, while also telling you about the next three writers to post in the hop, and giving you a bit of information on what you can expect from them soon.  Please find my answers below, and please stay tuned to learn about the three awesome YA writers posting on their blogs next week!

1) What am I working on?

I never work on just one thing at a time, but my primary focus at the moment is my rewrite of The Order of the Key.  Order or OK as I like to call it in my notes to myself and my hubby/beta reader, is Book 1 of my Paranormal Romance Urban Fantasy series, Keys & Guardians.

The book begins when Jacklyn discovers that she is the long lost member of The Order of the Key, a group that hunts interdimensional creatures.  As she is trained by them, she becomes the prime weapon in a war between the group’s brutal leader, Lavinia, and her idealistic son, Kyp.

2) How does my work differ from other works in its genre?

Irreverence and reverence.  Jacklyn is a pop culture lover and she both mocks and loves the other heroes of her genre.  The story attempts to break genre walls and just be a good tale of a physically strong female character and her somewhat emotionally stunted male lead.  And by emotionally stunted, I don’t mean that he can’t say he loves her.  I mean that he’s a little crazy, a complete emotional mess.  In that way, the major flaws in the leads don’t show up often in leads.  Jacklyn, while staunchly independent and a physical powerhouse, is brash, prideful and green enough to cause a good majority of her own problems.  These are not your perfect super heroes – which would be the point.

3) Why do I write what I do?

Because I have to? It’s not so much a choice as a compulsion.  I used to avoid writing anything with a romantic slant at all – they always felt cheesy to me.  The truth is, I’m a romantic at heart, but I knew how other people saw those types of story and so I didn’t feel like a “Serious Writer”™ if I was writing romance.  But I never ended up having much interest in writing stories without at least a thread of romance in it.  But that isn’t to say I only stick to one genre.  My romances play themselves out with backdrops of interdimensional monsters, imaginary friends and real world tragedy.  So romance is really the only common thread in my stories. Other than that, I use whatever genre best serves the purpose of the story.

4) How does my writing process work?

Ain’t that a can of worms?  Well, at any given time I’m shopping out a story, revising another, writing another, and outlining another.  So there’s much juggling.  But if we’re talking about a story from conception to submission?  My stories usually start as the germ of an idea for a theme or a character that comes to me unbidden at some random time (9 times out of ten, while I’m washing dishes or taking a shower).  After I write down that germ of an idea, I begin to brainstorm to find what kind of stories and plots will best serve that seed of an idea.  With copious amounts of music playing in the background, I then begin to build on those scraps in the form of an outline.  Even when I start writing, I continue brainstorming – if I come up with a new idea that would need to be mentioned earlier, I write in and make it cleaner in the rewrite.  Long pieces and short pieces differ here.  Short pieces go off to my beta reader/hubby immediately.  Longer pieces go to him chapter by chapter, so at times I am making corrections or edits in one chapter as I work on writing a future one.  I make all edits that I agree with and reread.  Most times, I end up with a full rewrite necessary.  Others, I end up simple needing to tweak (rare!).  Then, it’s time to tap some outside readers to look it over.  Based on that I make another round of changes – hopefully not a ton because that will likely require another rewrite.  And then, I start submitting it to places – usually around the time I start feeling like I’ll throw up if I read it again.  And then, once it’s gone, I usually end up finding more things to fix, which becomes the “If I get rejected…” silver lining.  And that is certainly the nature of the writing beast, isn’t it?

And now, check out the bloggers posting next week!  You’ll want to hear what they have to say!  

1Image) Kip Wilson has a Ph.D. in German Literature and a passion for books, languages, and travel. She lives in Boston with her cute Spanish husband and mischievous twins, and is hard at work on several projects for young adults. She blogs at and tweets at


Image2) Sonja Thomas, a recovering CPA, is a writer for children of all ages. Raised in Central Florida and transplanted to DC for 11 years, she now calls Portland, OR home. To stay sane she dances, doodles and plays with furry, four-legged friends. Her young adult short story ‘Mirror Image’ will appear this summer in the UK anthology ‘Dark Heart’ Volume 2. Visit her blog at


And, finally,

3) ChristinaMercer, author of Award-Winning Tween/Teen FantasyARROW OF THE MISTand its sequel ARMS OF ANU, writes fiction for children and young adults. She was a Semi-Finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, took Writer’s Best of Show at the SCBWI California North/Central Regional Conference, and won an Honorable Mention in the 21st Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards. Christina enjoys life in the foothills of Northern California with her husband and sons, a pack of large dogs, and about 100,000 honeybees. For more about her and her writing visit

Don’t forget to check out all of the above listed blogs next monday, and purchase Sucker Literary Volume 3, on sale tomorrow!


The Next Big Thing Blog Hop…Again!

The awesome Jess Sturman-Coombs tagged me to blog hop with her again, so I figured I would discuss my latest writing project (aka, what I’m tackling now that I’m in edit mode with The Order of the Key).  Because I’m out of projects to successfully blog about, I’m not going to tag it forward – simply because I fear being tagged again.

And now to attempt to answer some questions about a project I have mentioned on this blog before without going into great depth.  Here goes…

1.  What is the working title of your current/next book?

Legally Insane.

2.  Where did the idea come from?

This story started as a simple tale of a divorcee who had lived her life for her husband until her divorce, and is now trying to find herself professionally, socially, and personally. That portion of the story admittedly arose from a personal place.  My mother was a housewife for my entire childhood, and hadn’t held a job since before my sister (who is 12 years older than me) was born.  When I was 14 my parents divorced and my mother was forced to navigate the working and dating world (to varying degrees of success).  Leah Marinillo was created at a time where I was creating an active wish-fulfillment world in which my mother had an easier time of her transition. There were differences, of course – Leah is not a mother, she is younger at the time of her divorce, and her husband is a soul-sucking bastard of a human being (my father is not) – but Leah’s journey was in many ways an idealized version of what I wanted for my mother.  

However, the story stalled there.  I had this great story of a woman re-establishing her own sense of self-worth in the world, but when I tried to sit down and write it, it just didn’t have legs.  I couldn’t find a strong motivation for my characters and it was a little too normal for me, given my tendency towards the bizarre.

It wasn’t until I was having a conversation with some of my friends in the Stargate fandom about what it would be like if the characters acted as the angel and the devil on your shoulders (Daniel as the angel, Jack as the devil, for anybody familiar with the series).  I thought it over and I started to play it out in my head – walk through my day with either Jack or Daniel commenting on everything I did as I did it.  Did they approve?  What did they think I could have done better.  And Carter St. James was born of that – he became Leah’s Guardian Angel / total hallucination – her favorite television character walking through her life and telling her how badly she was handling it.

3.  What genre does your book fall under?

Romantic comedy.  

4 .  What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

This one, I haven’t got much for.  There is a severe lack of actresses who look like Leah – short, somewhat plump, with a mess of auburn curls.  Doug, Leah’s love interest would definitely be  Michael Shanks.  Carter would be Ben Browder.  Callie, Leah’s best friend, was created as an amalgam of my two best friends in real life, Joy and Allegra, and my best online friend, Pip.  Appearance-wise, I’d probably cast Warehouse 13’s Allison Scagliotti.

5.  What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Previously content to be a housewife, Leah Marinillo navigates a divorce, a new apartment, a new job, new friends and sexual tension with her new boss, all while taking orders from her favorite television character, Carter, who appears to her after a traumatic experience to set her life straight.

SUCH a run-on, but I’ll take it.  

6.  Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I intend to attempt the traditional publishing route first.  If not, wherever the wind takes me.  The wind will likely take me to self-publishing, in that event.

7.  How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

I’m still writing it, although admittedly, so far it has been a massive jumble of scenes without any structure.  I am just starting to organize it into chapters and see what I have missing (since I write out of order).

8.  What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think this book can compare well with any romantic novel that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and any story about a woman finding her place in the world.  There’s a lot of that out there in the world, but I’m hoping my little Carter-shaped twist makes this one unique.  

9.  Who or what inspired you to write this book?

I think this is accurately answered in number  2.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

I’m hoping that this book will accomplish my mission of sending the reader on all of the emotional ups and downs of starting life anew.  By Chapter 4, Leah is embarking on a new life and has no idea what to do with it – and even when she gets it, she’s got a bunch of kinks to work out.  Even Carter isn’t always the great fount of wisdom she thinks he should be.  

Okay, that’s the project I have just started working on.  Please pop on back in two weeks when I discuss why time is always on your side.  Until then, Happy Valentine’s Day!

StoneThread Publishing Anthology – Things You Can Create Blog Hop

ImageHello readers!  I know I said I’d be discussing the married life of two writers in this next blog, but it appears I’ll have to push that back in honor of the early release of Things You Can Create, the speculative fiction anthology released by StoneThread Publishing containing my short story of the same name.  You can purchase the book, which is being released in e-book format only, here.

So, in honor of the release, I’m participating in another blog hop, the purpose of which is to introduce all you readers to the talented team of writers behind the stories in this anthology.  You can find the blog introducing this blog hop and a list of all of the authors who will be participating, as well as their blogs, here.

Enjoy the blog hop and this brief Q&A about my story.

Q: What is the title of your story?

A: The Things You Can Create

Q: Describe your story in one sentence.

A: A successful but bitter writer faces surprising consequences when she decides to kill off her main character’s love interest.

Q. Where did you get the idea for the story?

A: Writers all grow very close to our own characters.  They are our creations and they start to feel like friends and enemies.  They certainly begin to feel real.  The idea for this story came after a few too many cups of caffeine and a few too many hours torturing the main character of my novel.  At 2 in the morning, it’s easy to imagine anything – “My character would kill me for this!” isn’t much of a stretch.

Q: If your story was optioned for film, what actors would play the main characters and why?

A: Not sure.  I never pictured anybody.  I could definitely see Autumn Reeser as Laura, Kelly’s publisher.  When I think about it, I could picture Angelina Jolie as Juliana, Kelly’s main character, due to the badass qualities of both.  That is a slippery slope, because now I’m seeing a young, quiet but focused Brad Pitt as Kennedy, Juliana’s lover.  I can’t say who would play Kelly.  I feel like that would give too much away…

Q: Who are your favorite authors and why?

A: That’s a tough question.  I have favorite authors in many genres.  I love Orson Scott Card for his ability to think very far outside of the box, Kelley Armstrong for her ability to show the human condition in sub-human circumstances, Matthew Warner for his disturbingly accurate attention to detail, Suzanne Collins for her ability to make grandiose topics completely relatable, and Veronica Roth for the cadence of her writing voice.  And Joss Whedon for just everything.  Does Joss Whedon count?

Q: What else about this story will enthrall readers?

A: If you like “The Twilight Zone”, you’ll appreciate what this story has to offer you.  I’m no Rod Serling (nobody is), but there is a definite spooky feel to the piece that is very similar.  In that vein, it is much more of a character study of our writer, Kelly, than it is a suspenseful thriller or an action story, although this does contain elements of that as well.  

Q: What are you working on now?  

A: I have two more short stories completed, both of which are not genre fiction, but literary fiction.  I am currently shopping those out.  I have a third in edits.  I’m also working on the novel I discussed in my blog last week as well as two others that have taken a backseat, but are still in the works.  Basically, I’m a busy woman.

Finally, a brief excerpt of the story in question…

Some would say that the good I’ve done for her has done little to outweigh the bad, but I’m fine with that. Why? Because it pays to torture Juliana Collins. I sleep well at night despite the fact that her sad eyes stare back up at me from the ink-filled pages. Every time I see my name splashed across the newest Kelly Marin original, I take pride in it, despite the years I have spent torturing my hero in book after book of the “Chronicles of Heroism” series. It makes it all okay. I made her. She owes me. But lately that has changed.

Lately, a lot has changed.



And I promise – next blog I will actually discuss my married life with a fellow writer.  I promise. 🙂

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Hello readers!  I hope you all had a wonderful New Year!

I was tagged by Harvey Stanbrough to take part in this, The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  Harvey runs StoneThread Publishing, the publishing company behind the anthology “The Things You Can Create”, that will be featuring my short story of the same name.  His blog offers many essential writing tips, so check it out.

Here are the rules for this Blog Hop:

  • Give credit to the person who tagged you.
  • Post the rules for this hop.
  • Answer these ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress) on your blog
  • Tag one or more other writer/blogger and add his or her link so we can hop on over.

So…here we go:

What is the working title of your book?
The Order of the Key

Where did the idea come from for the book?
This idea has gone through so many iterations, I don’t even really know anymore.  I came up with an idea for this at the age of 15, scrapped it, pulled it out again, wrote it, hated it and trashed it, then resurrected it, cannibalized it for the “good stuff” and dumped out all of the trite stuff I couldn’t even believe I had written.  Then, with a somewhat similar theme, a couple of familiar characters, but an entirely new mythology, this series rose from the ashes like a phoenix.

What genre does your book fall under?
Urban Fantasy

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For the lead, Jacklyn, I have no idea.  I don’t think I’ve quite given up on the completely ridiculous idea that it’s going to be me.  Kevin Zegers would have the role of Kyp (Jacklyn’s romantic foil) in a heartbeat as apparently I wrote the thing with him in mind without even realizing I had done it (there will be a blog on this strange phenomenon in the future).  There are a few other roles that I have sort of dream casted with the likes of Michael Shanks, Gabrielle Union, Nolan Gerard Funk and Terry O’Quinn.  And there are still others that I couldn’t possibly cast yet.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

One sentence?  Really?  Can it be a run-on?  Oh well, here goes.

Jacklyn Madison discovers she has a birthright within an organization of people with extraordinary powers and an extraordinary mission – just in time to become a pawn in a deadly war for supremacy between the group’s dictatorial ruler and her idealistic son.

Now that was a mouthful.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I don’t know yet.  I have a few different avenues in mind that I may want to go with.  What I do know for sure is that this work looks like it’s likely to be 8 books, possibly more.  So there is a very good chance that whatever route I choose to start with, I may end up on a different route by the end.  I do intend for them to all see the light of day one way or another.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I’m still writing it, but to be fair, I’ve been working on other projects in between.  I’ve been working on it for a little over a year, but it has only recently started to take shape over the last 6 months or so.  Starting yesterday I began my own self-imposed NaNoWriMo – so the hope is, I should be up to the editing stage within the next month or so.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Any books by Kelley Armstrong, Richelle Mead, Veronica Roth or Cassandra Clare.  All contain some level of  blending between mythology, fantasy, romance and snappy dialogue, as does mine.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
When it comes to this particular work, I believe that it was actually the main character that inspired the work.  Jacklyn herself was inspired by the part of myself that dreamed of living in a world that was more interesting than the usual day-in, day-out.  She was inspired by the part of me that wished something truly supernatural would happen to me and wondered how I would handle it.  But the truth was, I couldn’t imagine a world in which that could happen and a regular woman, no matter how empowered she may be, could come out of the ordeal unscathed.  I drew the story around the idea of her and how a hero could be forged out of such a mess.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
One of the good things about this story, I feel, is that it is real.  The lead has just turned seventeen, but there is no sugar coating and we are definitely not in a young adult novel when we enter this world.  Teenagers curse.  They think about sex.  They make decisions that others would consider vile.  Just like adults do.  In that way, there are no punches pulled.  I felt like having a girl who could fight super powered creatures say something along the lines of “Good golly!” wouldn’t lend a great deal of authenticity.  Also, I feel like I’ve managed to create a fresh mythology here.  We are out of the Vampire/Werewolf/Witches/etc. tropes here.  Are there similarities?  Of course there are.  There is formula involved in building any fantasy world and that assuredly exists in this story. But there is a whole new world to be explored through the Keys, their allies, and their enemies that I have endeavored to make as original as was possible.

And there you have it.  Be sure to check out the blogs of the next bloggers on The Next Big Thing Blog Hop on Wednesday, January 9:  Jess Sturman-Coombs and Dallas Woodburn.

I’ll see you in two weeks with a peek into what married life is like between two writers!