Talk about fireworks! My first guest for 2012 is KaSonndra Leigh, and she’s kicking things off with a BANG! How so? With a PRINT copy of her book to give away! If you want a chance to snag that prize, read all the way through to the end for giveaway details. In the meantime, knock the confetti off the chairs and get comfy. You’re in for a fantastic interview!
**CONTEST CLOSED** Congratulations to winner Linda Klum!
Welcome KaSonndra, and thanks so much for such a fabulous giveaway! Congratulations on the release of your debut novel, WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL. Can you give readers a brief glimpse into the story? What can you share they won’t necessarily learn from the blurb?
Hi Sarah. I’m so very excited to be here today. 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!
How did you create the dystopian society featured in your story? Was the story inspired by the world you created, or was the world inspired by the plot you had in mind?
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?”
Isn’t it amazing how something so “small” can have such a big impact? I absolutely love your son’s question, and it’s so cool how it inspired your story! I know you’ve spent a lot of time “inside” your story — what’s your favorite line from the book? Why do you love it?
Seth’s line when he’s asked by his accomplice to describe Chela’s looks. This is what he says:
“She’s very much like a foxglove—smells good, easy on the eye, but deadly when eaten.”
Most of the characters in the novel are witty, but Seth has the slickest tongue of them all. He truly represents the effort involved in making sure each MC has his or her own complete personality.
Oh, that’s a GREAT line! And I love when humor is infused in a book — without fail, books with such charismatic characters are my favorite reads. :c) Which genre are you drawn to as a reader? Do you prefer to read in the same genre as your WIP or do you mix it up?
I’m what you call a 100% eclectic (a big fancy word) reader. I love all stories with good writing and unforgettable characters. I don’t have one particular genre I stick with, but I do tend to gravitate toward stories of the strange, odd, and unusual. This means paranormal, urban fantasy, horror, and even dystopian. The way I see it is that the more open you are to exploring genres outside your comfort zone, the better. As a writer, you should consider works in all genres, even non-fiction. There’s a lot to learn once you step outside your comfort zone.
I definitely agree with you there, especially about stepping out of the ol’ comfort zone. I cling to mine with a certain ferocity, LOL, but it’s when I push myself the rewards are the sweetest. And from sweet to perhaps a bit naughty (*grin*), let’s take a look back over all of the intimate moments you’ve created between characters. Which scene would you most like to experience for yourself? What makes it so alluring?
Ahh, the hopeless undercover romantic in me would choose the scene where Faris and Chela finally give in to their feelings for each other. The way that whole scene was written intrigues me, although I was the one who wrote it. Am I teasing by being so vague about it? Yes, yes! I want you to read it and experience it for yourself. Big grin.
LOL! Have you ever battled with any of your characters over their personality traits? If so, who won – you or the character?
Oh boy, have I had battles? Each one of my four main characters has very strong personalities. Each one of them wanted the lead roles, each one of them kept trying for the full spotlight. But at the end of the day, there can only be one main story character and one main secondary character. So, I’ll just say it was a 50-50 win. Two of the MC’s got their way, and the other two didn’t quite muscle me around so badly. 😀
LMAO! I think you’re my first character BRAWL! *giggle* On that note, have you ever made big changes in your story because someone – your crit partner, a friend, or beta reader – really didn’t like it? Are you glad you did (or didn’t)?
By the time my story reaches the beta stage, it’s usually very close to the final draft. But the important thing to remember is that a final manuscript must be precise before heading out to meet its reader. So yes, I have made big changes after crit partners, betas, etc. have finished reading. And a big YES I’m glad I did. My betas have saved me from career paralyzing mistakes. I heart them forever!
Isn’t it positively frightening to think what we might do sometimes without our critters? LOL. (I laugh, but I do shudder when I think of some of my flubs, LOL.) How do you keep track of plot elements or twists?
Glad you asked. I actually have developed a very good plotting system. It involves using an excel file. I use columns to layer story elements such as personality traits, character tics, and how they fall along the plot line. I also use that same file to keep track of relevant plot objects that each character uses. This system helps in keeping track of plot twists, the timing of their entry into the story, and any twists that may develop as a result.
I’m a spreadsheet junkie, and I have never thought of that. I bet it really comes into handy when you write fantasy, too. (My brain is not wired for such depth. As it is, I have to do roll call to figure out which of my kids I’m talking to, LOL. You ROCK!) You also write. A lot. Which of your novels most reflects who you are as a writer? Why?
I’ve written several novels. Some of them are collecting dust as they sit in the desk (or rather, on the hard drive). I chose When Copper Suns Fall as my debut novel because it most reflects my growth as a writer both stylistically and emotionally.
One of the coolest things for me about writing is watching myself improve. It must be SO fabulous to have that private library, but let’s hope you’re adding to the list of published titles as well! What are you currently working on?
I’m actually working on polishing up a ghost/love story for adults called Hacienda Moon. It’s the story of a police psychic turned writer (I know, the writer telling stories about writers’ thing). She has just lost her daughter, so she moves into an old plantation house located in eastern North Carolina in hopes of making a fresh start. Turns out not everything and everyone in that small town is what they seem to be at first glance, anyway. The story is based on one of the North Carolina coastline’s many intriguing ghost stories. And then there’s the sequel to When Copper Suns Fall. It’s called When Silver Moons Rise. Watch for the cover reveal in February, 2012!
I happen to ADORE the NC coast. I have THREE books based there, LOL! Make sure you let me know when HACIENDA MOON comes out, because you’ve combined two of my greatest loves in that one. (SQUEE!) And I love the SILVER MOONS title. What a great followup to COPPER SUNS, at which we’ll take a closer look right now. Don’t go anywhere, guys. We’ve got a giveaway following the info below!
WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL | blurb & buy links
In fifteen-year-old Chela Prizeon’s city, alchemy is forbidden, and angels hide among the mortal. With a deadly virus ravaging the globe, Chela’s nightmarish memories compels her to experience a past riddled with gloom, and now her brother is infected.
Chela’s only hope is the Caduceans, slayers sworn to protect the last seven Light Keepers and the ancient memories they share. A group led by the sometimes elusive, sometimes infuriating boy who intrigues Chela. But can she trust this boy with the mysterious past, someone who can influence her memories?
With the Caduceans aid, Chela races to defeat her rivals, to unearth dark family secrets, desperate to find a cure…only to discover the glutovirus is far more than a simple disease.
In this haunting debut, KaSonndra Leigh offers an escape into a world as intriguing as The Mortal Instruments and a story as chilling as Enclave. Full of celestial creatures, fascinating villainy, high-stake choices, and a secret romance, When Copper Suns Fall, is a fresh and original urban fantasy—with a dystopian twist—that will take readers on an unforgettable adventure.
KASONNDRA LEIGH | bio & linkage
KaSonndra Leigh lives in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, North Carolina. She likes to write about teens doing fantastical things in magical worlds. Her two sons have made her promise to write a boy book next.
She holds the MFA in creative writing, and loves to play CLUE, Monopoly (the Indiana Jones version), and Pandora’s Box (good writer’s block therapy). She lives in an L-shaped house with a garden dedicated to her grandmother. It has a secret library complete with fairies, Venetian plastered walls, and a desk made out of clear blue glass.
When Copper Suns Fall is her debut novel.
WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL | excerpt & buy links
Forcing my eyes to open, I found myself outside the Cradlehack. I was standing in Faris’s arms, my head against his chest, my fingers entwined in his black vest. It was a smooth fabric that felt like silk. A cloth no one had worn outside of ceremonies since before the Tidal Years. This boy was no common citizen. His earthy-sweet smell made me feel hypnotically safe, as we stood among the crowd fleeing down the hillside. He lifted my chin, stared in my eyes. But this wasn’t some dumb player’s move.
No, a mysterious thing stirred behind his silvery-gray eyes.
“Feel better, Chela?” he asked. I nodded.
“Thanks for helping me,” I said, still fighting a light head. Still afraid the dreaded black blobs lingered somewhere around us. Somewhat ashamed I’d spoken so horribly to him moments ago.
“You probably shouldn’t do that,” he said.
“Why? Because I caught you using alchemy? That’s what your kind does. Make magic in the shadows, right?” I said.
His left eye ticked. The girl in the hoodie had called him a Caducean. Could it be possible? Father told me Caduceans were a mythical group—demon slayers from a time long gone. Yet, here I stood with a boy who didn’t deny my claim.
Around us, fewer people were leaving the Shack. They paid no attention to the two idiots standing and staring at each other. Did Jalen and Lexa make it out safely? They were taking forever to reach me.
Did I really want them to find me?
“They’ll call me, now, and make me a witness against you. I’m sorry, but I already have too many problems. So I—I have to tell the truth,” I said.
“That won’t be a problem.” Faris smiled, a catchy one that lit his face up. I couldn’t decide whether it was angelic or downright wicked. Just like I couldn’t remember where I’d ever heard an accent like his. What kind was it? Old southern? Old English? Irish? It sounded like a mix of all three, but with a deep timbre, making him sound god like. “In a few minutes, you won’t remember me or any of this.”
“Really? How do you figure that?” I asked, heart racing.
“Because my gift to you…” He moved his face closer to mine, pulling me into whatever was happening in his head. “My gift is to remove memories that cause you pain.”
“Okay, um, right.” Had I lost my mind? It probably wouldn’t have hurt to scream.
He held my gaze, locking me into something I couldn’t explain. A tear puckered up in his left eye, and slid down his cheek where it stopped on his top lip. Then he blinked, snapping us out of whatever place he’d taken us to, and glanced behind my head. “Here comes your dark knight,” he said, easing his arms away from me.
He strolled off into the last group of stragglers hanging around the Shack. How did he know my nickname for Jalen?
I wiped away a tear rolling down my right cheek.
“Chela, there you are. You scared me, girl.” Jalen’s voice cut into the moment. He spun me around to face him. I blinked, clearing my eyes. “What’s wrong? Did you get hurt?”
I glanced around us. The boy was gone. A dull headache joined the fuzziness in my head. Lost inside a clouded mind, I forgot what I wanted to say. The entire night’s events were hazy.
I fumbled with my thoughts.
What happened to me in there?
Those of you who haven’t run off to visit KaSonndra’s buy links (ahem! LOL) are in luck, because as promised here’s the scoop on her giveaway. If you’d like to win a PRINT COPY of WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL, please go like the COPPER SUNS Facebook page (click here) and comment here to give her your FB name so she’ll know you’re there. You can also tweet this post by using the share button below. Be sure to mention KaSonndra by adding @kasonndraleigh to your tweet!
So in summary, go like her on FB, tell your Tweeps, and comment here to make sure she doesn’t miss your entry. And I’d love for you to welcome KaSonndra today, so don’t y’all go far without saying hello! Again, this is for a PRINT COPY of WHEN COPPER SUNS FALL. Winner will be chosen January 16th and contacted via email, so don’t forget to leave your email address! I’ll update this post with the winner’s name when it’s announced.
Hope everyone is having a fantastic 2012! Thanks for joining us today, and good luck!