Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway Dark Souls (Dark Souls #1) by Ketley Allison

Published July 19th, 2013


9-year-old Emily desperately wants a name for what she is. For what is consuming and torturing her. For what is changing her.

But she’s not crazy like her mother. She’s not.

Emily may not be as crazy as she thinks, because her body is no longer her own. Something is stirring inside her. It is soft, seductive, and tells her what to do to survive. As Emily learns that her world has been infected by demons that consume human souls and fit seamlessly into the bodies they empty, she must also accept that she is one of them. Yet, she is different from the rest, because her darkness didn’t inhabit her, it was awakened. And it doesn’t just want the humans.

Thank you, Mrs. Ketley Allison

Beautiful Cover! What is the connection with the book's subject?
Thank you! It has a huge connection, actually, but I can't give away too much! What I can tell you is that the blue smoke is a soul. The rest, you'll have to read and find out... 

Are the demons from Dark Souls different from others and how?
This is what I love about demons. As a writer, I can make them anything. There aren't as many restrictions as there are when talking about werewolves or vampires. That's not to say you can't get creative with vamps or wolves, but I loved the endless possibilities demons brought. I would say mine have a unique flair to them, but not so crazy you'd be unfamiliar with it. There's a secretive "ruler," for one, who is a bit of a mystery. My demons come in sects, too, with echelons of power. There are weak ones, scary ones, and very powerful ones. But all want one thing: souls. 

Many readers said that Dark Souls can be read by both young adults and adults. Were there moments when you censored your work to fit a certain age group?
Well, there were definitely instances where the f-word was warranted and I didn't do it. I did have both age groups in mind when writing Dark Souls, but I didn't completely censor myself. Teens in the young adult genre are a lot more mature than we think, and I think a lot of the time they don't get a lot of credit for that. They can handle a few bad words and sex scenes here and there. I find it's all about tact. If it moves your story forward and fits with what you're writing, then you should do it. My characters have to be natural and above all else, believable. Having a 19-year-old that says "holy moly!" every time she's surprised and doesn't know what sex is...well, it doesn't feel right (although, yes, I have said 'holy moly!' as an adult...more than once). That's not to say she swears all over the place! I truly believe my book is appropriate for both age groups. I don't go nuts in either direction.

What drew you to write about this subject?
I've been obsessed with paranormal YA books for as long as I can remember. I was a really shy teen, and these books were my escape. They allowed me to be someone else, to live in another world. I'll always remember that feeling. I love this genre so much I knew I had to write in it. I also wanted to add a little depth, a little darkness. Something not so romantic, but still addressing love. Dark Souls is the result of what was years in the making. I've been thinking about it for a long time. 

What do you think makes a great story?
Layers! Anyone who can bring their characters to life can write a great story. I've learned to put depth into my characters, including a little evil with the good. Nobody's perfect, so my characters also have a lot of flaws. I truly hope I've achieved a great story!

Next projects?
Dark Souls Book 2! I have the name and cover all ready to go and I'm about halfway through the story. I'm so excited for this next book, because now I can go crazy. My characters are established, my scene is set...let the action begin! And stay tuned on my blog for some teasers and excerpts! 



I was never supposed to live.
At least, that was what my mother would scream at me during her rages, her face twisted into savage fury as she lunged at me—either to kill me or mutilate me, I could never really tell. 
“You are wrong! You are an abomination!” she cried before charging at me, her right arm raised high as if to slay me in one swift, ferocious plunge.
Yet, for reasons that still escape me, she would never make that one final move. She would always stop mid-leap, her face frozen and twisted for a few terrifying seconds before I would see her body slacken, her tendons snapping and releasing like broken cords as she fell heavily to the floor, just before reaching me. What I remember most clearly was that moment of calm, chilling stillness, just before her legs would collapse beneath her, where her eyes, wide and unblinking, would focus solely on mine. Even when the rage turned into haggard despair and she crumbled before me, she would never look away. 
That memory, that horrifying image of my mother that I could never entirely erase, was the first thing that entered my mind when my world started falling apart.
The beginning of my destruction started out suspiciously enough. White blurred into black in front of me, the steam rising like smoke and clogging my breath as I stirred, clink, clink, clink.My face was heated, too hot, and I swiped a quick hand over my damp brow before I mustered up a smile.
“Here you are.”
“Oh, uh, no. I ordered a white mocha. Not a mocha mocha.”
I lifted tired eyes to his face, lowering my chin in apology. “Shoot, sorry. Just hang on a sec.”
“Yeah well, hurry up would you? I have class in like, two minutes.”
Then maybe you shouldn’t be stopping three blocks away for some chocolate coffee. My smile didn’t transmit my thoughts as I grabbed the still steaming cup. I adjusted my apron as I walked back to the coffee station, wincing as the hot cardboard began to scald my fingertips. I swore as I thunked it down onto the counter and the coffee hit my hand.
Holding my hand against my stomach, I used the other to grab a fresh cup and tried to ignore the sounds of impatient patrons behind me.
What was wrong with me today?
I felt normal, but not quite. My mind felt thick, my focus slightly wavering on the edges, enough to make me slightly dizzy. I blinked, trying to bring clarity back to both my vision and my thoughts as I fiddled with the espresso machine. Once started, I leaned my forehead against the cool cabinet doors above, waiting for my heated, slick skin to finally cool down.
“You okay? You look like you’ve found a hidden portal in that espresso.”
Macy Forrester’s warm brown eyes were trained on mine as I glanced behind me and at her. 
“Is it a portal back in time? ‘Cuz I could really use a do-over this morning.”
I squinted, trying hard to focus on her. She went hazy for only a moment before my eyes readjusted.
“No, I’m fine, it’s just been a busy morning,” I finally replied as I turned the dial on the milk steamer. I couldn’t even muster up the energy to banter with my best friend like I usually did.
Macy raised her perfectly plucked brunette eyebrows. “You’re not seriously stressed, are you? You should have seen my morning. I usually bomb Natural Science, but this morning was a particularly epic explosion.” Her eyes followed me as I walked past her and dropped the guy’s white mocha in front of him. “Mixed up my molecules. Probably destroyed the atmosphere. It wasn’t pretty.”
“You know me, always in my own head.” I smiled at her, hoping I looked more normal than I felt. “Sorry I missed your near-explosion, though.”
“More like my near-death. ” She leaned her elbows on the pick-up counter, making herself at home. 
My shift-mate, a sullen girl named Andrea, made sure to give Macy the stink-eye as she plopped a drink on the counter beside mine. Macy smiled serenely in return.
The guy held out dollar bills to pay, but I waved him away. “On the house. Sorry about the mistake.”
Pleased, he turned away without so much as a thank you, making room for the next person.
“Large coffee. Extra light.”
I nodded, twisting around to pour coffee out of the decanter and narrowly avoiding crashing into Andrea. The rush before the university’s four o’clock classes was starting, and with only Andrea and I on the floor, it was becoming exhausting and cramped behind the counter. I powered through, refusing to succumb to my dizziness, even if it was making my surroundings tilt sideways. Rent was due soon. I couldn’t afford to miss it. 
“So I have gossip,” Macy said, oblivious to the people navigating around her. The sound of their voices and footsteps ricocheted against my body, clogging my ears, their movements like clusters of nits clouding my eyes. It took severe effort for me to keep my attention on Macy as I ran around, grabbing milk, pouring espresso, blending frappes. 
I clutched the espresso lever a little tighter. “What about? You know I’m always the last to hear it.”
Macy sighed extravagantly before saying, “Which I will never understand, since I’m always the first, and you’re my best friend.” It didn’t seem to occur to Macy that I didn’t go to NYU with her. Or any college for that matter. “I saw someone today. Well, a guy and a girl, but you know who I care about.”
I smiled weakly in response. While most people found New York City streets to have an endless supply of strangers, mysterious and boring alike, Macy seemed to run through all them like tepid water, always thirsty for the next—especially if the next turned out to be an exotic, tropical waterfall.
“Well, have you scoped him out yet?” I asked, only half curious. My mind was more concerned with the increasing demand for coffee and this weird fugue-state that I couldn’t seem to get rid of.  Flu, maybe? Low blood sugar?
“No, but I’ve heard rumblings,” she answered. “He just transferred to NYU. I think. He wanders around campus at least. Definitely not homeless, though.” Macy nodded her head, agreeing with herself. “Must be a student. Anyway, Amanda and Liz have both talked to him, and they say he is way, way hot. Even up close.”
I gave myself enough time to turn my head to whisper back in mock-seriousness, “Could this be it?”
“You mean, could he be the answer to all your dreams?” She leaned farther over the counter, her eyes hopeful. “Maybe.”
It was Macy’s goal to set me up with my soul mate, a goal she’d never given up despite two years of knowing me and my tendency to stay away from everyone, even the male models Macy would so shamelessly plop down in front of me, her own set of Ken dolls she wanted me to fall in love with.
BOOM. I turned back around too fast, crashing into Andrea. Coffee spattered as the cups Andrea was holding fell to the ground. I teetered on the edge of impact beside her, barely avoiding sending both of us into the hot mess. I threw my hand up against the counter for balance, my growing sweat causing my hand to slide sharply to the right, skidding against the metal as I faltered.
“Aak!” Macy staggered back, her hand going up to wipe her forehead. Then, because that exclamation didn’t quite cover her pain: “Hell mother! You ass! F—uh, fountain…” she finished, using her remaining good eye to track a mother with a stroller as she walked by.
“Watch it.”
Her tone was flat, almost lifeless. Even through my dizziness, I was surprised. Andrea wasn’t the friendliest, but she usually forgave my coffee mistakes. She and I had been working here together for two years now, and I thought we’d developed a sort of grudging acceptance of each other. 
Confused, my mouth began to form a question, but no sound came out. Because once I looked at her face, my vision cleared, my ears popped, and my body steadied. And my eyes widened in horror. 
She gave me a cold smile, only one side of her mouth tipping up at me before she walked around me without another word, without even an apology, turning the corner smoothly before she was completely out of sight.
“Did—did Andrea get braces or something?” I managed to ask as soon as she was out of earshot.
“That chick’s a piece of granite. A rude one,” Macy said as she continued to wipe her forehead. “She didn’t even flinch when you smacked into her. No, I don’t think so. Then again, my eyes were too busy being scalded to look up.”
“Huh,” I said, continuing to stare at the spot Andrea had just vacated. “Weird.”
“What’s weird?” Macy smoothed down the front of her sweater-dress and adjusted the strap of her book-bag before she resumed her position, looking back at me as I continued to stand in the center of the service area. “Emily?”
“Come on, it should not take this long to pour a cup of coffee.”
Grumblings all around. Macy made sure to give them all a good glare. “Oh, get to class already.”
I blinked a few times before I mentally rejected what was in no way possible in the first place. I focused back on Macy and was relieved that I could see her, clear as day. Even more reassuring, I no longer felt like I was in a coffee shop tilt-a-whirl, the ground once again secure beneath my feet.
 “Nothing. Never mind. Welcome to Cream of the Cup, what can I make you today?”
I resumed taking orders, trying to shake off the image and the feelings that came with it as probably a strange flashback from my past. Nightmarish childhood images that I hadn’t really thought of since moving in with my aunt ten years ago. Frightening images. That had to be what was happening to me today.
Because there was no way I just saw blackened, rotting rows of fangs when Andrea curled up her lips.
“All right dude, I gotta go.” Macy’s face took on a determined look, her face flushed; a trait of hers that always clued me in to when her emotions were running high.  I laughed, shaking off my vision of Andrea as nothing but a product of my overactive and slightly disturbed imagination. “Mace, take a breath! You haven’t even met him yet!”
“Yeah, well you just wait,” she said. It sounded ominous, as if she already knew the effect he would have on us both.
I continued to laugh, relaxing as the warmth of it covered any last traces of unease.
If only I knew then just how right Macy was and how doomed we both were upon meeting him. If I had known, then maybe I would have acted. Maybe I could have prevented.
I could have saved us.

About the author:
Ketley Allison is a twenty-something (maybe almost thirty-something) author who believes that supernatural love shouldn’t stop at eighteen. She began her career by writing books as birthday presents for her friends (with her friend as the main character and opposite a super sexy lead, of course) before ending it in order to walk down a path she thought she was supposed to follow.

The writing bug never left her—and, in fact, would often bleed into the official papers she was supposed to write—so now Ketley’s putting down her suit and finally following her dream. While her friends are no longer the stars of her books, she still throws in bits and pieces of them into each and every one of her characters.

As a result, her books tend to focus a lot on friendships as well as love, because let’s be honest, friends are what really get you through—especially when your epic love turns into epic heartbreak.

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Unknown said...

wow...autorul este foarte creativ.Imi place faptul ca autorul a dat o asa semnificatie culorii albastre din fundalul coverului.Faina carte:D

Oanaaa. said...

Coperta imi aduce aminte de ceva familiar, in simplitatea ei. Suna bine oricum.

Andreea Ilie said...

E foarte draguta coperta si mi se pare chiar interesanta cartea. :D

Anonymous said...

O coperta simpla, cu un titlu sobru:x
Interesanta combinatia.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for spotlighting me and hosting a giveaway! And good luck to everyone who entered. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it :)