Monday, February 20, 2012

Interview with Shea Berkley

Welcome back everyone. This week we're chatting with Shea Berkly, author of The Marked Son. Don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this great book! 

Shea, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
·         Well, I’m a writer. That’s kind of obvious, though, huh?
·         I like to brush my teeth. Nothing says hello better than minty fresh breath.
·         I like to be active. I’m slightly competitive. Okay… maybe slightly isn’t the correct word. I’m horrifyingly competitive. I like winning. I’m trying to be an adult about losing, so I stopped throwing temper tantrums last week. Seriously. It was time to let go of the behavior and move on in life. Plus my friends started chucking random household items at me. Hello! It’s only dodge ball when a ball is involved.
·         I’m an avid reader (all kinds of books).
·         Avid movie watcher (all kinds of movies).
·         Avid people watcher—in a non-creepy way (umm, at least I hope so).
·         I ride horses (used to train them).
·         I hate fish (as pets) but I love to eat fish (except salmon… salmon is gross, seriously).
·         I can eat pizza every day of the week and not get tired of it.
·         I believe chocolate should be part of the food pyramid (it is for me) and I drink far more cola (Coca Cola... not Pepsi... Coca Cola) than is reasonably healthy.
·         I usually take two showers a day (now to some that may seem extreme, but when I’m kickboxing, I sweat like a dude.
·         I’ve recently decided to train to be a ninja (cross my heart, I’m not messing around... well, most of the time I’m not).

Speed Answer Challenge:
LOL! Speed answer. That’s funny. I don’t do speed. Only in a small, standard European car found in movies like The Italian Job and Bourne Identity, but then I usually get pulled over by cops who are profiling innocent citizens who like to drive small, standard European cars ever-so-slightly over the speed limit. Never had a ticket, though. Boo-ya!

*Speeding is against the law and can lead to serious injury. I am in no way encouraging the dangerous, unlawful activity. I am personally trying to control said dangerous and unlawful activity by means of driving only an automatic. (so not fun, by the way)

(ahem) I will try my best to be as pithy as possible. I’m not kidding. I will try, but that doesn’t mean it will happen.

Favorite Band:
My favorite band changes constantly. It’s a mood thing. Right now, it’s NeedtoBreathe. Tomorrow it may very well be Red or Three Doors Down, or The Band Perry.

Make or Bake:
I’m not gonna lie. At first I didn’t understand what you meant and then it hit me. (the lightbulb over my head may be a little dim, but it still works) You’re talking crafts versus food. If anything is up against food, food usually wins. Bake, baby.

Coffee or Kool-Aid:
This is tricky. I love coffee, but it has to be the kind that has all that unhealthy junk in it that makes it palatable. Kool-aid is kinda my summer go to drink only if I want to chug something cold. So I’d have to say Coca Cola. Not Pepsi. Coca Cola. I know it wasn’t an option, but I’m being truthful here.

Favorite Place you Lived:
(eeek) I’ve lived all over the place and I will surely insult one of my friends if I don’t pick where they live. (waving you close to whisper) I miss San Antonio the most, in the I’m-not-picking-favorites sort of way.

Seriously, that was not a pick! I refuse to pick. Grrr.

Favorite Movie:
(hits head on desk) Why are you torturing me? It’s so hard to pick just one. (I know you can’t hear me, but there’s an impressive whine to my voice that’s Oscar worthy… or at the very least worth an Emmy) Okay, okay, okay. Gladiator. It’s my go to movie when I can’t find a movie I want to watch.

Goat or Lion:
Seriously? Baby goats=adorable. Grown goats=nasty/smelly/nuisances. But then I’m not too keen on being mauled by a lion so the goat definitely comes out the winner in this contest.

Walk or Bike:
Have you sat on a bike seat for more than 30 minutes? I can’t feel my hinny after 15. Pure torture. Walking is far more fun. You can stroll, trot, run, skip, sashay… the variety biped motion gives is all kinds of awesomeness when it’s not attached to pedals and wheels. Trust me on this one.

Tell us a bit about your book, The Marked Son.
Seventeen‐year‐old Dylan Kennedy always knew something was different about him, but until his mother abandoned him in the middle of Oregon with grandparents he’s never met, he had no idea what. 

When Dylan sees a girl in white in the woods behind his grandparents’ farm, he knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams. He’s felt her fear-- Heard her insistence that only he can save her world from an evil lord who uses magic and fear to feed his greed for power.

Unable to shake the unearthly pull to Kera, Dylan takes her hand. Either he’s completely insane or he’s about to have the adventure of his life, because where they’re going is full of creatures he’s only read about in horror stories. Worse, the human blood in his veins has Dylan marked for death…

Most people who read The Marked Son say the story is unique and has a lot of surprising twists and turns they never saw coming. It’s filled with magic, action, humor, romance, monsters and mayhem. Honestly, it’s just a fun, adventurous read that most anyone who loves to get lost in a fantastical story will love.

What inspired this story?

My inspiration is that I have a teenage boy living inside me. (giggle, snort) Naw, that’s not it.

My kids inspired me to write The Marked Son. I thought a story they could all read would keep them out of trouble. Sadly, they’re fast readers and quickly got back to their wicked ways.

*Any mention of my children being anything other than the literate, angelic, caring, well-behaved creatures that they are is the sole imagination of this author and not to be believed. They’re only wicked on Wednesdays. I don’t know why. They just are.

Actually, Dylan is a combination of a lot of guys I used to hang out with when I was growing up, so there isn’t one guy who can claim him. I wanted to create a rounded guy, one who was real, not a caricature of a guy. Dylan feels deeply, longs for acceptance, knows how to fight for what he wants and accepts that he might get hurt to reach his goals, but that’s okay because he knows from experience that nothing good ever comes without a sacrifice.

I did want to make him feel isolated without actually being completely alone and that meant giving him a mother who is less than motherly. But he still loves her, so I was tapping into the need we all have for family and acceptance. I also wanted to show that everyone has a purpose, and his is far more complex than what he ever dreamed possible. Honestly, Dylan is a complex guy, which believe it or not, most males are. They just hide behind their grunts and disgusting habits so no one can’t see they have a gooey center.

How did your characters find you?  
Huh. (thinks deeply… shrugs) I wish I knew. I start writing and they show up. Weird, but there it is.

How long have you been with your agent?
I’m not sure. No one told me I was supposed to keep track. More than two years. I think. Yeah, definitely more than two years, but less than ten.

What can you tell us about your next book?
My next book in the series is the continuation of Dylan and Kera’s story and the fight to free the Land of Teag. All sorts of craziness ensues and people get into major trouble. Some die. Some live. Some are happy. Some are miserable. I try to hit all the oohs and aahs that make reading an adventure.

My latest book is an Epic Fantasy called Torrein: Age of Fear which is available on Amazon.

What if the only hope of saving a magical world depended on an ordinary boy?

Taelyon is a land divided; its mortals distrust those different than them; its wizards live indifferent to the suffering of others to see the danger on their doorstep.  The battle for dominance is never far off, and death is a daily fear provoked by King Hcaon the Younger's inability to lead.

Torrein’s parents are powerful wizards, and Torrein's greatest fear is that he'll be denied the gift of magic.  When magic is denied him, he's chased from his own village by those he used to call friends.  Alone and wandering in a world he doesn't know, Torrein doesn't understand that his destiny is far greater than any he could have achieved if magic had been granted him. What plagues him is a desire he can't have - to be with his family and live his life in peace. 

Peace is not easily found in Taelyon.  The destiny Torrein fights lies in a prophecy soaked in blood.  To claim his rightful power, he must calm his fears and face those who want him and his people dead.  Everyone has been blinded to the real evil in their midst, and it will be a fight till the end of the age to reclaim Taelyon's freedom.  Though it's hard for him to accept, it’s up to Torrein to protect those who have been deceived, and to make sure the evil in their midst doesn't destroy them all. 

Where can readers purchase your book?
Get your copy of The Marked Son at: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books on Board | Diesel | Powell's | BAM | The Book Depository

May we read an excerpt from the book and can you provide it here?
The Marked Son by Shea Berkley

Nothing feels better than touching Kera. I hold her close, feeling her heart beat behind her ribs. The heat of her hands on my chest is impossible to ignore as I kiss her, teasing her lips, and ultimately torturing myself until my control is almost gone. I pull away, putting my forehead to hers, and silently count to ten. Counting to a hundred wouldn’t help. Holding her intensifies my feelings of recklessness.
I can’t let go.
I pick her up. You’d think her dress, with its yards of material would be a problem, but it isn’t. Not for her. She wraps her legs around my waist and rakes her hands through my hair. I place my head on her chest and close my eyes. The rapid beat of her heart matches my own. The scent that engulfs her is as heady as the feel of her in my arms.
“You smell like summer and—” I search for the word that describes the scent pulsing under her skin. It teases me with every breath and touch. Naming it is driving me insane. It’s one I haven’t smelled on her before, yet it’s a scent that’s all too familiar to me, like summer and… “—sadness.”
She captures my lips with hers and slowly slides down my body until her feet touch the floor. Our kiss deepens, her embrace turns desperate. Her kiss fills with misery. The room turns hot, too claustrophobic. I can’t think. I try pushing her away, but she clings to me. Her breathing quickens, and she shivers within my arms. I sense real fear in her. Though she protests, I finally manage to step free. One, two, three steps back, separate but still connected. I can’t stop staring at her, wanting her. She’s like…
A drug.

Where can your readers connect with you on the web?
I’m not really a media junkie, but I make an effort to get online every day at one of the following places: Facebook / / Goodreads / Twitter / Ruby-slippered Sisterhood

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