July 11, 2017
Blurb from Goodreads: A mysterious murder in a dystopian future leads a novice investigator to question what she’s learned about the foundation of her population-controlled society.
Decades after economic and environmental collapse destroys much of civilization in the United States, the Coast Road region isn’t just surviving but thriving by some accounts, building something new on the ruins of what came before. A culture of population control has developed in which people, Continue reading
I confess to you that when I read books I tend to be a little dichotomous: one part of me is reading as a reader and one part is reading as a writer. So when I was reading both Nexis and Redux, I was very much admiring the worlds that A.L. Davroe built as much as her great descriptive writing. I don’t know whether these would be questions typical readers would ask, but they are for this dichotomous one.
Thank you so much to A.L. for being my very first interviewee here on the Microcosm! Welcome!
Sascha Darlington (SD): First, I am amazed by your world-building. How did you go about doing it? How much time did you spend on it? Did you do up an outline?
A.L. Davroe (ALD): You know, I really didn’t put much thought into the world-building in the Tricksters series at all. I’m a “pantser” – meaning I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I got the idea to write a sort of futuristic Cinderella story where she loses her leg instead of her shoe and just sort of ran with it. This was before Marissa Meyer’s CINDER was even announced on Publisher’s Marketplace, so we just happened to come up with similar hook ideas. Clearly, we went in different directions with them. I sat down to write and had a novel after just a few months. The editing on NEXIS was pretty light, so what you read is pretty much what came out of my head. You can say that a lot of my influences went into that book. If you’re a big fan of SF/F books, shows, movies, anime, or gaming, you might see a lot of little elements that leant to the world-building. Nothing is entirely its own, especially when you adhere to actual science and try to predict our current path as human beings. But, I can say that the final product is something that doesn’t exist in any other media and I’m very proud of it.
SD: I read in your afterward that Nexis flowed far more easily than Redux. Did you write it spontaneously or plan it?
ALD: As mentioned above, I just came up with NEXIS as I wrote. That was the beautiful gift of that book, LOL! It wanted to be written. REDUX, not so much. I think it’s mostly because, when you aren’t the sort of creator who is disciplined and outline oriented, things don’t flow as well. Even though, by the time NEXIS was sold to a publisher and coming out on the shelves, I had a pretty solid idea of where I was going with the sequel (I’d had to hand in a summary for the sequel to my editor when we first pitched NEXIS) it didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do. As mentioned in the afterward, REDUX went through many transformations before it became something I was pleased with.
SD: Were you thinking ahead to Redux when you were planning events for Nexis?
ALD: I wasn’t! I wrote NEXIS entirely without a concept for following novels in mind. By the end of it, I knew there had to be more to the story. NEXIS clearly ends on a “ship-cliff” as one of my friends calls it, and I knew I had to clear that, and the situation Ella creates in NEXIS, up.
SD: Are we going to get a third Tricksters novel?
ALD: When I handed the summary for the rest of the series in to the publisher, I did so with three books in mind. I wrote and handed the first draft of REDUX in with three books in mind. The original summary plotted a very different path for The Tricksters. However, after discussing the series and options for strengthening REDUX with the editor, we decided on just two books for the time being. That’s not to say I don’t have more to say. I very much would like to write another book or two in the Tricksters world. I’m dying to write a companion novel about Zane and Clairen and another about Delia and her beau ;D. And I wouldn’t mind a follow up to REDUX – I’m dying to continue on with Taurus, Stormy, and the slaves. For now though, my contract is only for two books and that seems to be what we’re sticking with. Perhaps if sales demand it, then another will come. Don’t worry though, I have other series if readers want more!
SD: Do you have a background in computers or did you have to do a lot of research to make these novels happen?
ALD: I actually have no more of a background in computers than most people do. The extent of the science and technology in both novels comes from my own exposure through the media and my own research. While I know some of the technologies have not yet been realized, I tried to utilize things that I knew were plausible given our current scientific path and our condition as humans. By doing this, I’d hoped to build a world that was relatable to readers. I can’t stand reading a dystopian and thinking to myself, “perhaps in a parallel world, but not in this one.” That’s a shame, because while it allows us to examine broken systems, it doesn’t make us fear what we could become. Without that we’re less likely to consciously police ourselves. I hope that people will read this series and think to themselves, “Yeah, that could happen.” I’m not saying that I set out to change the world or start a revolution, but I certainly thought about making a book that said something because I believe that that’s one of the back-bone elements of SFF.
Excerpt from Redux
From A.L. Davroe: So, I’m trying this new thing where either the reviewer or I pick out an excerpt and then I take a few lines to explain it. In this way, I feel like readers can get a little bit of a “directors cut” view on REDUX. Hope you don’t mind!
“I glance over my shoulder at Delia, once my best friend.
She notices me watching her. Now that the holo-mask is gone,
recognition dawns in her expression, and suddenly she seems
to be unable to stop staring. There’s a bubble of hope inside
of me, a desperate desire for her to come running at me in
laughing relief. But her face, alien and strange as it is under
those Mods, turns sour, the meaning clear. Hate, resentment,
betrayal. All those emotions are there, aimed at me.
She must wonder why, if I was alive, I didn’t come to
her. Why I didn’t heed all those messages she sent me in her
darkest moments. Instead, I let her suffer without me, let her
turn herself into one of them just so she wouldn’t be alone
anymore. There’s no way she would know that I couldn’t go
to her no matter how much I wanted to. I had been cut off
from the outside world, imprisoned in one small room with
only Meems to keep me sane. Even in the moments when my
ability to hack my habitation unit proved useful, I still couldn’t
go to her. I couldn’t run away for the simple fact that I didn’t
have legs to run on. One can be a prisoner, even in their own
body. Perhaps it’s too late for her to understand that, perhaps
the damage is already too deep, the hate too strong.
Heart falling, I turn away and stare at the floor.
Perhaps I’ve lost Delia for good.”
This excerpt is part of Ella’s first interaction with Delia, her best friend who she’s been separated from for the past year. They’ve both gone through so much and become different people. There’s a huge disconnect and betrayal felt on both sides. Ella’s thoughts embody something that is often so common between two people in a relationship – the inability to put oneself in another’s shoes in an effort to understand why they hurt others. It’s always so easy to just assume, but it’s not always so simple. Ella doesn’t know what Delia has gone through and vice versa for Delia. I chose it specifically because I’m a huge proponent of including strong, non-romantic bonds in novels – specifically between women. I’m clearly aware of the Bechdel Test and I’d do a huge disservice to my characters, both male and female, if I didn’t make them well rounded, complex human beings. Delia is just one of the many characters that Ella builds strong bonds with in this series, but this is the one relationship that I secretly champion the most in my head…Perhaps because I know just how dark Delia’s mind actually is.
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Redux, the second in the Tricksters series, is coming out with Entangled Publishing March 21, 2017!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.
The domed city of Eva
Book Title: Redux
Author: A.L. Davroe
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Author Email: ALDavroe@gmail.com
Author Website: http://www.ALDavroe.com
Author Blog: www. ALDavroe.com
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldavroe
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALDavroeFanPage
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5212441.A_L_Davroe
nescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.
To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.
But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.
But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.
Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new―and better―life to all who’ve suffered.
Or die trying.
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Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish.
But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them.
Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother’s shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon’s darkest secret.
They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth.
During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left.
Tristina Wright is a blue-haired bisexual with anxiety and opinions. She’s also possibly a mermaid, but no one can get confirmation. She fell in love with science fiction and fantasy at a young age and frequently got caught writing in class instead of paying attention. She enjoys worlds with monsters and kissing and monsters kissing. She married a nerd who can build computers and make the sun shine with his smile. Most days, she can be found drinking coffee from her favorite chipped mug and making up more stories for her wombfruit, who keep life exciting and unpredictable.
Still trying to figure out the mermaid thing.
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The funeral was a typically sombre affair, alive with soggy tissues and streaky make-up. I stood at the back, letting the vicar’s voice wash over me, and spent the whole time staring at the flower-laden coffin, wondering if the lid would suddenly flip up and a fanged monster would escape to reap its vengeance on the congregation.
Unsurprisingly, it didn’t happen, and as the mourners dispersed in the direction of the pub, I quietly snuck off home. I wasn’t in the mood for crowds and needed time to think, time to try to make sense of at least something, but as I turned to close the door, it was obstructed by a perfectly polished black shoe that belonged to…
“Seb, please,” he said, easing his way through. “Only my father calls me Sebastian.” He checked down the backstreet and closed the door securely. His eyes scanned the flat. “Nice place.”
“I like it.”
“It doesn’t bother you? Living over a funeral parlour?” he asked.
“Why would it? The neighbours are quiet.”
He didn’t laugh at my joke; neither did he comment. He simply stood silently, staring. It was very unnerving and made my legs go all wobbly. Perhaps if I turned away from him, he’d disappear again? It was worth a shot. I forced my jelly legs over to the front window and stared out at nothing in particular. The light was subdued, and the sky had darkened to an air force grey. A low mist was beginning to carpet the distant fields, and I wondered if snow had been forecast.
I knew my little experiment hadn’t worked. He was still there. I could feel his presence and smell his scent, a musky, inviting aroma that filled my senses and sent my head into a whirl, and it was getting stronger.
“Your friends interrupted us the other day. Can we talk now?” he whispered softly into my neck, and his fingertips traced a fiery trail down my spine.
“What’s the point? There’s nothing to say. I wish you’d just leave me alone,” I said, lowering my head in time to see Lara leaving the newsagents. She glanced up with a look of fury contorting her face as Sebastian’s hands reached around either side of me and grabbed the window frame.
“I can’t do that. I’m not that strong,” he said.
I studied the arms now imprisoning me, with their perfectly formed muscles straining against the rolled-up sleeves of his white shirt, and seriously doubted his statement. His stance was predatory and made me feel uncomfortable. I ducked under his elbow to escape, but he caught me around the waist and pulled me against him. Our bodies moulded together perfectly, and the strength of his grip made me feel like a china doll that he’d be able to crush in an instant. He was almost a full head taller than I was, and the warmth of his breath caressed my forehead. How easy it would be to reach up and taste those lips. I imagined the feel of them, and my own parted in an involuntary invitation.
The full Foxblood series can be seen here: http://foxifae.wixsite.com/raquellyon
rain has stopped, but fog crept in while I sat in Rory’s. I walk
through that fog now, the streetlights casting cones of luminescence
that capture swirling mist. I should go straight home, but I really want
a bottle of wine. J.J.’s Market is only two blocks off and I walk
toward neon signs advertising beer and cigarettes, drawn like a moth.
Not long ago, I was newly married, looking forward to finishing my MFA
in Design with the hope of someday starting my own business. I barely
drank and rarely got drunk. Now, I’m wandering around out here at night
trying to avoid ghosts and unwilling to go home without alcohol because
I’m afraid I won’t sleep. My eyes start to prickle and I wipe the back
of my hand across my face.
no, I’m not alone. I can’t hear her behind me—her steps will never make
sound again. All the same, I feel her there and soon she walks beside
block to go and maybe I’ll just uncork that bottle right in the store.
With any luck, she’ll veer off and find some other lucky person to latch
really need your help.” Her breath hitches as her voice rises in pitch.
She’s also crying and I just can’t ignore her—it’s not about me
turn to look at her. No, she doesn’t look dead but many of them don’t.
Not to me, anyway. Some are more translucent while others appear
basically the same as you and me, give or take the glow around them.
That’s not guaranteed either. People are all different,
whether dead or alive. One of my new theories is that we all start out
as “dead” before becoming “alive” again. Like a lightbulb switching on
and off again here in this realm. I think it’s a circular system. It
seems an efficient use of energy. In this theory, ghosts are glitches.
But this girl next to me isn’t interested in hearing about my theories,
which change daily anyway. She just wants to know what’s going on.
really don’t want to go there right now but I’m stuck in this
situation. I look at her young, beautiful face. Trusting eyes stare back
happens a lot too, I’ve come to learn. Suicide is a big one for getting
you grounded. You cause that kind of pain and you just can’t move on.
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Ashra’s hand trailed across Jaden’s muscled torso. He made it easy for her to be gentle. His body trembled as if he longed for her. His mouth was hungry for her kiss. He arched up against her, as if craving more. His need was like a living creature, wild and aching for her touch.
Eyes closed, Ashra shivered. Only one other person had desired her as much.
And he was dead.
She forced her way through the memories of pale bodies tangled upon cool silk sheets. When her soul-sucking power leeched out, it found no opposition. Images of the human’s life rewound in a blaze of vivid sights, sounds, and sensations.
Ashra looked up at Tera, her smile little more than a barely perceptible curve of her lips. “He fancies himself the protector of the child of prophecy. Was she among those taken tonight?”
Ashra chuckled, the sound without humor. “It’s a pity her genetic heritage wasn’t sufficiently superior to prevent her from being culled.”
“There’s more. Go deep.”
She pushed past the blackness at the start of his memories, expecting deeper darkness. Instead, the colors shifted into shades of ochre and gray. Memories, older than his body, resided in his soul; memories of an Earth long since lost to them—a planet surrounded and nourished by water; images of tall buildings glistening beneath a benevolent sun, and of thriving cities filled with the bustle of humans; memories of quiet and intimate conversations beneath a silver moon, the same silver moon that now graced Malum Turris with its light, though a thousand years older and viewed only from beneath the protection of the dome.
She saw herself as he must have seen her, a much-younger icrathari, still hopeful for the future, never realizing that the Earth they had all known and loved was irretrievably lost. Had she ever looked that vulnerable? Had her smile ever been so beautiful, so filled with love as she looked upon—
“Rohkeus?” Oh, blessed Creator, was that stricken whisper her voice?
Ashra pulled back and stared at the human. Her mouth dropped open. Her heart pounded in her chest, its beat erratic. It couldn’t be. It simply couldn’t be—
She looked up at Tera. The other icrathari nodded.
Rohkeus’s soul reborn…in a human.
Ashra threw her head back and laughed, a despairing sound. Her prince, her love, reduced to a human? Her slender fingers coiled into fists. Her golden eyes glittering, she pushed away from him, though her body trembled from the loss of his warmth. No, the human was not Rohkeus; he could never be Rohkeus.
Steeling herself against the gasp of pain that escaped from his lips as the anesthetizing effect of her kiss faded, Ashra rose to her feet with sinuous grace. “He is not one of us. Not anymore.” Nothing had been more devastating than losing Rohkeus to a human assassin. To see his soul reborn in that contemptible and weak race was an insult to the person Rohkeus had been.
“Should we turn him into a vampire?” Tera asked.
“Kill him. Set Rohkeus’s soul free.”
All around her, the sounds of baying wolves echoed in the night. Trees slapped her face as she ran, and she tripped more than once. She was crying now and mumbling to herself, terrified. She dared not look back, knowing that the wolves were pursuing her. She came out of the woods into a clearing leading to a tall hill. The howls came from all directions. Shadows flew through the woods in her peripheral vision, and Gabby cried out. She fell again, skinning her knee badly on a jagged rock. In her terrified state, she felt no pain, but continued as fast as she could and ran up the hill.
A snarl came from directly behind her, and she instinctively turned and cried out. A wolf was bearing down on her fast. She turned and raised a hand as the beast leapt at her with gleaming claws leading the way.
“NO!” Gabby cried.
To her amazement, the wolf changed form in mid-flight and turned into a naked man. He landed at her feet on all fours and snarled at her.
“Get away from me!” she screamed.
The naked man backed away from her warily, glancing down at his human hands with a look of confusion and shock. More wolves were coming out of the woods. They stopped when they saw the one who had turned into a human in the light of the full moon.
Gabby wasted no time considering her luck and ran as fast as she could up the hill.
“Gabriella Cross, stop!” Michael’s voice rose up over the howls.
Gabby could hardly see through her tears. She didn’t dare look back, knowing that she would find death closing in on her. She reached the top of the hill and ran across the flat expanse of rocky earth.
“Gabriella!” came the voice again.
The wolves were gaining on her.
She darted between two pines blocking her way, receiving many scrapes on her face and arms. Half blinded by tears and slapping branches, she stumbled out from between the trees and suddenly came to a steep cliff. She tried to stop, but her momentum was too great. With a terrified cry she fell forward over the cliff.
She frantically thrashed her arms as she fell to her death. Above, on the ledge, a mournful wolf cried out. The ground was coming up fast to crush her, and Gabby closed her eyes, not wanting to see her death.
Then. Suddenly. Gabriella was weightless.
Strong arms held her firmly. She opened her eyes to find a winged beast staring back at her.
Gabby passed out.
Karen Ann Hopkins
(Wings of War #1)
Publication date: March 15th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Paranormal, Young Adult
There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure/romance about a seventeen year old girl who discovers that she’s immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt’s boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember’s exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she learns that she’s a Watcher, a descendant of angels.
While Ember is instructed about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two teenagers who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the young men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it’s cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil, and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She may be one of the few champions willing to make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is the first novel in the dark and gritty YA paranormal romance series, The Wings of War.
The complete series:
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Sawyer sobered quickly. The obvious hurt on his face made me regret my words.
“You’re right. I’m a monster. I won’t argue on that account. But your kind isn’t squeaky clean either. Just because your ancestors were arch angels doesn’t give you the right to police the world.” His eyes narrowed. “Do you know how many humans have died from wars that Watchers caused?”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I lied.
I was already suspicious about Watchers. Ila scared the crap out of me sometimes with her demeanor and righteous words.
But Sawyer didn’t need to know that I questioned the Watchers myself. His opinion didn’t count.
When I turned back to him, ready to change the subject, I wasn’t prepared for the darkening of his already almost black eyes. He leaned in closer and our breaths mingled. In and out I breathed, allowing his familiar woodsy scent to fill my nose. I know Sawyer. Oh, I know him.
Don’t do it, Ember.
But I couldn’t stop.
When he kissed me, my lips parted automatically.
Deep down, I wanted him, desired him madly, and had from the first time I’d seen him in my dreams.
In that instant, I didn’t care that he was a Demon.
You can visit Karen Ann Hopkins at her website: http://www.karenannhopkins.com.
Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats. Karen’s main job is home schooling the kids, but she finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lived in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah.
Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse at the age of eleven. The feisty horse’s name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen’s steadfast companion. Through the years, the constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets, along with the YA paranormal/fantasy series, The Wings of War, and the continuation of the Temptation series. Karen is also excited to announce the Temptation series has been optioned for TV by Pilgrim Studios and is available on Audible.
“I loved joining Rose and Noah during their journey in the Temptation series by Karen Hopkins.”-Katie McGarry, acclaimed YA author