Hello all :) KaSonndra stopped by the blog today to tell us about her newly expanded book. She has done an interview for me and given us an excerpt exclusive to the new book :)
1. How did you come up with the title?
The title changed almost a million times! No, but seriously though, it was hard. My story was different and I knew that. But my readers had also confirmed that what made it unique was also what made it so memorable. The title had to fit the story and vice versa. So it came to me one day as I stood in the Barnes & Noble that your story is actually about what happens after the copper suns fall. I said all that without spoiling too much, didn’t I? Haha.
2. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Absolutely. I explain a little about the message on my goodreads website, but I’m happy to mention it again. It’s a story of choices and possibilities and all of the wonderful things that can happen when you put your mind into validating something you believe in.
3. Can you share a little of your current work with us?
The story follows Chela, a young girl who lives in a rebuilt society. She has recently learned that both she and her sick brother have certain powers. In Chela’s society, a place created from an apocalyptic war between good and bad nephilim, any type of supernatural power is illegal. Anyone thought to be related to a celestial creature will either be killed or exiled. So imagine Chela’s shock after she learned her father, a leader in the governing body, has been hiding his children’s secret. But in defense of Chela’s dad, I’ll say he had a reason for keeping them both in the dark. It’ll be up to Chela to save her brother without being discovered. Enter handsome, dashing demon slayer along with a best guy friend who’d walk the wire for her and Chela is all set!
4. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Pegging the voice/style in a book that crosses genres has been tough. Seriously, I had my friends and family calling me for sanity checks. I also had a hard time being disciplined about the process. I kept wandering away, doing yard work, filing my nails, anything to keep from writing. It took me six magical years to get When Copper Suns Fall's voice right. So to all of you struggling with your first novel and learning your writing style, I'll just say stick with it. Don't give up. Writing takes time to get right, and it doesn't come wrapped up in a writing course, either.
5. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Oh I have so many favorite authors. This question is always hard. But I'd have to say Elizabeth Kostova. Her book, the Historian gave me the guts to go for the MFA myself. I also thought it was pretty cool to see a woman writing horror. That's different. I remember saying, "Wow. I can do something like that." I can be different and give the readers in my genre a fresh type of story, and have people accept me for my, eh-em...oddness. But strange in a good way, though.
6. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Yes! Read. Read. Read. Write. Write. Read. Review. Review. Read. Write. I’m not kidding. Follow the percentages in this formula and you’ll see what I mean. Writing is a subjective business. If you want to survive in it, then you must know what makes your voice unique. It took me a very long time to find that voice. But by following the formula above I eventually got it right. And you will too. :-D
7. How did you come up with the idea for Copper Suns?
When I sat down and began writing When Copper Suns Fall, the story was a standard in your face, super-high fantasy. It came complete with blue creatures, unicorns, princes, and all that. Chela’s name was Cara and Faris had a name that has been overused lately. I wasn’t trying to be fad girl or the Lady Gaga of the writing world. But rather, I was trying to write the story I always wanted to read. One that came to life when my oldest son asked me: “what if angels that looked like people lived in a dystopian society?” The seeds were planted, the lights in my muse’s apartment lit up. The challenge was on. I asked myself: “how do I stick to an urban setting with fantastical elements, but bring my love of dystopia into play?”
8. Who is your favorite or least favorite character to write?
Seth Alton, hands down, was my favorite character. I mean, the guy is sexy, cocky (in a good way, though) poetic, smart, strong, vulnerable…and did I mention sexy? Anyone who calls themselves the alpha and the omega when you ask him to describe himself is somebody to pay attention to right?
9. There were a couple scenes in your book that made me want to cry. Were there any scenes you didn't want to write?
Aww. My betas said the same thing. I probably know which scene you’re talking about because when I go back and read it I feel the same way. There were three scenes I didn’t want to write. And even though I can’t mention them without spoiling the fun, I’m sure you can figure out which ones those are. Being a writer can sometimes be hard. When you live with your character babies and you have to send one of them into angel land for real then it can really be tough. (Don’t be laughing at me now). J
10. On the other hand, were there any scenes you liked that didn't make it to the final revision?
There were tons of scenes that didn’t make it into the final revision. At that point, I knew that this was going to be a series versus a one-shot deal. Some of those scenes are going to show up in the sequel When Silver Moons Rise, so I can’t talk too much about them. But I will say you get the chance to get in the head of a hot guy in the next installment. LoL
In the point of view of any character you choose, answer these:
1. What is your dirty little secret?
My dirty little secret. Hmm. Where shall I begin. LOL. No, seriously though. I have a short story that I’m writing under a pen name. It’s for adults and you’ll find it to be not your typical goody girl story. I have a LOT of adult fans and betas who helped me get to this point. This story is my thank you to them.
2. You're walking along and a dragon appears in front of you. What do you do?
I pull out my fireblade (a nifty little thing that aims itself…hehe) and let it rip!
3. What is your heart's desire?
To purchase an Italian villa that’s as close to the Mediterranean as I can get.
When Copper Suns Fall Deleted Scene exclusive to the Expanded Edition
“Keep hesitating and you’re going to get your head chopped off!” Faris yelled at me. He turned his body, blocking the rusted sword blade that almost hit me, struggling to hold our opponent off me.
The two boys were almost the same height, the same svelte, but toned muscular frame. The rusted weapon belonged to Curious George, the buck-toothed contestant I marked unclassifiable last week. He was almost sent back to the Dim Cities because of me. Of course, he’d been reassigned to the family of a Tracker, the stealth masters and fighters in our society. If any group could face down the dark soldiers, then the Trackers held that spot without debate. According to Alexa, my newsfeed obsessed friend, he’d won many competitions back in his city. A champion in his own right, and somebody who was peeved with the guide that almost made him lose it all.
He wanted payback, and almost got it. But Faris saved me…again.
I didn’t get the chance to reply to Faris before sharp pain sliced across my arm. Blood seeped through the slit in my suit, and my eyes watered. An outcast girl, the boy’s assigned partner, had took a pot shot at me while I wasn’t paying attention, and her aim hit the mark. Doubling over, I grasped my arm. A collective gasp rumbled through the crowd.
Costing Day number 2. This wasn’t a champion’s competency evaluation. No, we passed the cream-puff fighting stage yesterday. This time the kids fought for their families back home waiting to leave lives of disease, famine, and vicious beasts. This team had already mutilated the competition, even leaving many kids with black eyes, broken noses, and shattered ribs. Even Steve’s showoff tactics didn’t work against Curious George; someone I underestimated in a way I’d never done before.
Doubled over on the ground, a foot met my stomach, knocking the wind from me. And then a fist hit the side of my head. Besides not being able to breathe, I now saw stars everywhere.
“Get on your feet, Chela!” Faris called to me, just before he lifted the boy and slammed him to the ground. He sent three swift punches into the boy’s face. Now it was my turn. I only needed to make it through this round.
The champion always fought the last standing outcast contestant. The Judges made the decision on how long the match would last. And Steve Filipino’s dad was the one making the call today. Curious George defeated his son yesterday. Today was his chance for revenge. There were two champions this year. Faris and me. And our two opponents were determined to put us down no matter how hard it was to do so.
I stood up and dodged yet another fist headed my way. The girl I fought was called contestant number five. She was as good a fighter as Curious George. Maybe even better.
Panicking, I glanced around for Mother’s sword. By the time I spotted it lying on the ground ten feet away, I was tackled from behind. This was supposed to be a sword fight, not a primitive tackle match. But there were no rules. The people wanted to see blood, and they got their wish.
The girl sat on my back and pinned my arms behind me. Sharp pain shot through my shoulders.
“This is it, runt,” the girl hissed in my ear. “You lose an arm. I get a new place to live. Sound good?”
The wild feeling rushed over me. Oh no. I can do this. I can control it. Ground the power. Keep it inside. I closed my eyes, squeezed them shut. That didn’t slow the tingle and the burn inching through my body. It didn’t stop the dark vision surging into my mind. It was a tornado twisting in mid air, and feeling so real that it shook my entire body.
“Can’t let them know. Make sure you hide,” I said aloud this time.
“What’s wrong with you? Are you freaking retarded? I’m about to pull your arm off,” she said. “And why are you shaking like that. Stop it!” The girl pushed down on the back of my neck, mushing my face into the grass.
I growled, gritted my teeth, and jerked in spasms. The tornado image in my mind got louder and stronger. Lifting my head, I yelled “Ground the power! Ground the power!” It didn’t work this time. Instead, the power exploded.
My body raised up about a foot off the ground. The girl screamed just before her body lifted away from mine. She was no doubt feeling the scorching heat coming from inside me.
Around us, the crowd gasped. All I thought about was Father losing face when everybody noticed what I was doing. The Judges would figure out that I was an angel-blood.
I rolled over and glanced up. The girl was spinning in the air as if she was caught up in an imaginary funnel, her arms and legs flinging around, her bones cracking under the force.
A whistle shrilled into the air. I wanted to crawl under the stage and hide forever. Two border guards ran toward me. Dark soldiers with taser rods were lining up along the sidelines. An angry crowd yelled and shook their fists.
I glanced over at Faris who flipped open a round golden object. And then everything started moving in slow motion: the people shouting, the border guards shoving toward me, the girl hanging in the air. Before I found the words to describe the scene around me, everything started to move backward as if somebody was rewinding a clock.
The border guards returned to their seats. The girl dropped back to the ground.
Time returned to normal and people stopped moving in slow motion. It was as if the last two minutes hadn’t even happened.
Faris was at my side, lifting me to my feet. We locked gazes for a brief moment.
“Wh—what the freak just happened?” I whispered.
“Just smile,” he said and lifted my arm up as if celebrating a victory.
Applause thundered around us. I grinned and bowed and felt completely lost. Curious George had sat up and was massaging his head. Faris saluted him. Contestant no. 5 was approached by the Judges. Named the outcast winner, she would now receive her one lottery card. She had one out of about 10,000 chances that her card would be pulled.
Before I could question Faris, Ms. Fuquay approached us. He slipped away into the crowd surrounding us, leaving me speechless. And that marked the end of the Champion’s Brawl in Costing Ceremony no. 55.
Places where you can find KaSonndra Leigh online:
Author website: http://www.kasonndraleigh.com