Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Beneath the Surface Book Review. Plus Interview with the Author!

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Deep underground, an ancient species of mystic healers exist: the malions. Their capabilities are endless. Their strength is colossal. But they are also being hunted and their numbers are dwindling. One of them has just fallen in love with a human. On the west coast of Canada, sixteen-year-old Melissa Lawrence's life is about to take a turn for the worse. It could also be her saving grace. She just can't get caught. ** Adolescence hasn’t been fun for Liss Lawrence. And after a year in Vancouver, when she’s finally adjusted to her new situation, a freak car accident sends her life spinning out of control and crashing into the world of the malions, a hidden race silently helping humanity from secret enclaves underground. Liss’s knowledge of the malions endangers her family when Jaredsons Securities takes an interest in her accident. Few know the men of Jaredsons Securities, an international intelligence company specializing in missing persons cases, are actually the Vykhars, ancient malion enemies whose true purpose is the eradication of the malion race. The Vykhars will stop at nothing to discover if Liss is connected with the malions, and if they do, they will exploit her. Perhaps more dangerous still are Liss’s growing feelings for Rion, a strong-willed malion scarred by his encounters with Vykhars and carrying a secret that could destroy their relationship. But Liss has a secret and scars of her own, and Rion’s fiercely protective nature threatens to tear them back open. Can this pair of unlikely lovers survive the dangers of the Vykhars? And can their love survive their own misconceptions?

I loved this book! When Melissa finally caves and agrees to take her BFF Chelsea to a party, even though she is not a big party person. On the way there Liss gets lost and gets in a very bad car accident. Next thing she knows s that she is waking up in some strange mans room. Her survival instincts kick in and she freaks out. She finds out that she was saved by a Malion and when she goes back, she is putting everyone in danger. She comes back only to find out that the Vykhars have her whole life bugged waiting for her to make a mistake.
So normally I am not one for teenage romance, but this did not read like a book taking place in high school. Liss has gone through alot and still handle herself well. She does not have alot of support from the people around her. Rion and Liss are very real together. They complement each other and help each other grow and become better. My only dislike was that the story was a little slow in certain parts. It took awhile to get going and in some places I just had no idea what was going n because information was very slow coming. Besides that I loved the story and It is a very awesome read!

Interview With the Author
1)      When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I apologize ahead of time for the length of this answer, but it takes a bit of explaining.

For years, I wrote strictly in a diary. Every thought, every feeling, every best and worst moment of my childhood went into those pages. I also jotted down poetry into a secret notebook as an adolescent, which I still have, loitering at the back of a drawer in my computer room. Though I wrote about the recurring nightmares of my childhood in my diary, it never occurred to me that there was actually a story behind the creature who chased me through the woods in my sleep. I remember how relieved I was when the recurring monstrous nightmare stopped as I grew into teenagehood, but then something else began to happen: the days where I felt overwhelmed, stressed, or most recently, when I became a new mother, I dreamt of running into the street, finding the nearest manhole and jumping into it to escape from whatever consumed me at the time. One night, the creature who used to chase me through the woods (who we now know as Rion, the hero of Beneath the Surface) was down there waiting for me. He was scarred and beastly, but I was older, so he didn’t scare me. Clearly, he was getting impatient, and must have felt that since he could never catch up with me, he needed to wait for me below, instead. I couldn’t escape with the lid closed above me, so I had no choice but to listen.

I’m glad I did.

            A few months later, and with a little pressure from my mother-in-law (who has now since passed away), I sat down and began writing the first draft of Beneath the Surface. That was in 2010. My mother-in-law passed away just over two months later; because I promised her I would take a little time for myself everyday, without babies and house duties, I do. I write. It’s usually before the sun rises, or after everyone is asleep, but it happens. And it feels great.

2)      Who is your intended audience & why should they read your book?

My intended audience for Beneath the Surface is anyone who wants to escape for a while; anyone who loves young-adult paranormal romance, or anyone who just loves a good love story. I don’t target age groups, other than the fact that it should not be read by children. My novel is a beauty-meets-beast type of fairy-tale, with a hint of danger, tension, blossoming love and magical realism. It’s set in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I live, and it introduces the ancient world of the malions, mystical creatures that live right beneath us in underground passages and caverns, who are also in the midst of being hunted to extinction. 

3)      Who is your favorite character in this book & why?

I never choose favourites. I will, however, tell you who my favourite character to write about is: Rasadian. To write about Liss, the heroine and point-of-view character in my story, is like copying words from my head; she’s an open book and tells me everything. Rasadian is the exact opposite, and that is what I love about him. You must earn his trust, but he’ll never be your best friend, either. He fiercely loves his family, and puts everyone before himself.  He’s a loner, extremely sensitive (though he keeps his emotions in check) and difficult to get to know, but he likes it that way. He keeps everyone at a comfortable distance, which is quite a great distance. With him, I never know how he will react in situations until I’m ready for his line, and then he says what I least expect. He’s the type of man who has his own set of rules, but always for the greater good, in his opinion, and to better protect the malions, as he has a hard time trusting humans (the malions have been burnt in the past). To understand him you have to read between the lines. He hints a lot, and the mysteriousness of his character is what makes him so fascinating to write about. There are layers upon layers of soft inner shell and beauty in Rasadian, and I’m so excited to write more about him in book two, Beyond the Borders.

4)      Who is your least favorite & why?

Again, I don’t have a least favourite, just a least favourite character to write about: Rion. Writing about Rion is like backing a cat into a corner; even then, there are things about him I will never know, nor could I ever force out of him no matter how hard I try. I know he does this to me because he doesn’t want to scare me any more than he already has. He let me into his head once, and I soon realized I never wanted to go there again. What he does do is take up a lot of my time, by telling me the story and course of events, but very little about himself. I know only of him by his reactions and the decisions he makes during the story. He’s overprotective and has a hard time giving people space, but I’ve learned that it’s because he worries so much. As Leader of the malions, there is a lot of responsibility on his plate, and he shoulders every mistake made (even when it’s not his fault). He wants to be the one who fixes what is wrong, and won’t rest until the job is done right, especially when it comes to the safety and security of his family and Liss. It’s almost as if he’s says, “Not today, Miranda. I’m too busy to tell you about myself, and it’s not important anyway…” when I want to write about him.

That’s very frustrating some days.

5)      What was your inspiration for writing this story?

Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve’s Beauty and the Beast has always been, hands-down, my favourite bedtime story. I also fiercely love the Disney movie version, and all the worlds I’ve been introduced to because of authors like Hans Christian Andersen, the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. With Rion, his story couldn’t be anything else but a beauty-meets-the-beast type of story, and because I’m such a huge fan of the romance genre, together, we weaved it all in.

6)      What was the most interesting thing you learned researching to write this book?

I loved visiting Gladstone Secondary School, where I have Liss attend during Beneath the Surface. The school is old, but it has so much character and delightful traditions; it was very nice to incorporate some of those things into my novel and make it as real as possible for readers. Vice Principal Doris Sandri and the staff and students at Gladstone were very welcoming and forthcoming when I asked a bazillion questions, it was truly an interesting and inspiring visit.

7)      Have you ever gotten writers block? And if so how do you get past it?

YES! Music helps a lot, but sometimes I just need to walk away for a week. My blocks usually come creeping up when I’m burnt out. Rest and time away is very helpful. I can’t force myself to write through them, because I always end up deleting what I’ve written in the end.  

8)      What would you tell readers to get them interested in your books?

Word of mouth, detailed reviews and good ratings, awards and contest placements are important to me when choosing the book I read next. It has lead me to some fantastic reads like Jennifer Donnelly’s A Gathering Light, Annette Curtis Klause’s The Silver Kiss, and Terri Farley’s Seven Tears into the Sea. 

So, pretending I wasn’t the author, if I’d read my novel and enjoyed it, I would approach my friends and ask, “What are you reading right now?”

I would let them answer, and then I would tell them about Beneath the Surface and by saying, “This book won first place in the Ohio Fiction Writer’s ‘Ignite the Flame’ contest, earned an Honourable Mention in East Texas Romance Writers ‘Southern Heat’ contest, and it’s getting some really great reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. I picked this up at the library, and so far, it’s really good. This new malion species is so fascinating!”  

If I love a book, I scream it to the world with social media, and tell all my friends right away, in the same fashion I’ve written above. So far, I’ve had a few fans do this for me, then follow me on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads, and it means the world. I hope there will be others that feel the same.

Meet the Author
Miranda Phoenix-1962
Miranda Rae Carter has lived in British Columbia, Canada, her whole life, and is a self-proclaimed home-bug. She spends most of her time doing what she loves, and that is being a mom and wife--and trying to master the art of cooking. The rest of her time is divided between looking in mouths and writing. For more information on Miranda and her malion novels, visit her on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
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