Meet Author Bree Lenehan

Author Interview

a8b206_ab1ea89b746f4648a30c8ce1bce11d2b~mv2(1).jpgMeet Bree Lenehan.

Bree Lenehan is an Australian radio personality, singer, and author. Her passion for creativity and mixing magic with transformative morale through the power of words flows through all of her work. She may not have found the wardrobe to Narnia, the Bridge to Terebithia or received a letter from Hogwarts, but she did fall upon the passage to Moa’s Rock. The world inside Bree’s first novel Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove came to her many years ago, in the backwoods of her grandparents’ property, where she stumbled upon a secret waterhole that became her daily escape from the real world.

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The Interview.


How did you use the death of the parents trope to really shape and strengthen your main character Halia?

Having lost both parents so young and growing up without them around creates a hole in Halia’s life that she fills with her curiosity for adventure. That curiosity is the very thing that leads her to a hidden world she’s always been destined to find… In the end, losing them brings her closer to finding her true self.
What was the hardest scene, line or character to write for Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove?

Oooh, this is a good question! I’ll have to replace one of the character’s names with ‘——’ for now to save giving too much away, but the hardest line/scene to write was: ‘“She’s gone…” whispered Halia, scooping ——’s hands into hers and cradling her tightly, as if love was powerful enough to bring —— back. But that’s exactly it, love was already more powerful than death, for death could take away the one you cared about, but it could never take away the love you have for them. Halia forced her fists away, and as she did, ——’s fingers unlocked to display a grey stone engraved with one last message: The forgiver.’ — The reason I struggled to write this scene was because 1. The death of a well-loved character is always heartbreaking, and 2. The message behind the engraved stone is one Halia needs to hear, but it’s not something she can take in lightly, so I myself even struggled to come to terms with the fact that this well-loved character’s dying wish was for Halia to forgive someone who did something unspeakable to her.


What is your favorite and least favorite part of the writing, editing, or publishing process?

My absolute favourite is seeing the world inside my imagination truly blossoming and evolving into something even bigger than I first anticipated it to be. Writing also gives me a reason to explore and dive deeper into how my characters are feeling, so if my MC’s are running through a forest, I too will go for a walk through the closest forest and take in all of the senses: sight, smell, sound, touch, taste… So that hopefully readers will feel the same cool breeze brush their hair from the nape of their neck, or the smell of sandalwood and dewy grass surrounding them. My least favourite (Australian spelling, hehe) part of the process is the never-ending rounds of formatting that I must undergo before it is finally perfect. But beauty is pain! Or so I’ve heard…
I loved that you mentioned your debut novel’s backstory in your bio. Have you visited the waterhole since finishing Pembrim?

You know what, I actually haven’t. But that’s a fantastic idea! I’ll have to take Pembrim down with me, it’ll be like a new-born baby meeting their father for the very first time! Hahaha. Too weird?
Share a character fun fact!

Sure thing! Each member of the water clan are born with a spirit companion, a creature that lives alongside them every day, a creature that hunts with them, a creature to protect them, a creature bonded to them so strongly that nothing could ever break it. Not even in death do they part, for if a spirit companion is killed, the warrior their spirit is connected to dies the same death, and if a warrior is injured, their companion of the spirit will share their pain. The coolest part about having a spirit companion is that if you close your eyes and focus on the bond between you and your spirit companion, you are able to see through their eyes. Should you find yourself in danger, your spirit companion has the power to see where you are and come to your rescue. I have lots more where that came from, all on my website under the ‘Sneak Peeks’ tab!
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?

I do, indeed! Firstly, I’m giving one lucky reader the chance to jump inside a future dystopian world and become a character in my upcoming series of books! Enter via the pop-up box on my website! And secondly, Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove is being released June 4th! The countdown is on!


Happy book birthday to Pembrim: The Hidden Alcove!

Find out more on Lenehan’s site now!


Forbidden Romance with Kristina Pérez

Author Interview, Misc.

Kristina Perez PHOTO.jpegMeet Kristina Pérez.

Kristina Pérez is a half-Argentine/half-Norwegian native New Yorker. She has spent the past two decades working as a journalist and academic in Europe and Asia. She is the author of The Myth of Morgan la Fey and holds a PhD in Medieval Literature from the University of Cambridge.

As a journalist, her work has appeared in the South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal Asia, CNN, and Condé Nast Traveler, among others. She has taught at the National University of Singapore and the University of Hong Kong.

She has a penchant for non-defanged vampires, fringe science, ice skating, and dulce de leche.

Sweet Black Waves is her debut young adult novel.

Social media links
Twitter: @kkperezbooks
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Pinterest: KKPerezBooks
Goodreads: Kristina Pérez

The Interview.

Your upcoming YA, Sweet Black Waves, focuses on a the tale of Tristan and Eseult. What made you want to spin a tale of forbidden romance, war, and family conflict based on this classic?

While I was doing my PhD in Medieval Literature, I ended up teaching the Old French versions of the Tristan legends one semester and became fascinated by the character of Branwen (often called Brangaine in the French). In the medieval legends, she is the confidant of both Iseult and her mother, the Queen of Ireland. She takes part in conjuring the infamous love potion and it’s Branwen’s fault that Tristan shares the potion with Iseult instead of King Marc, her intended husband. Consequently, Branwen becomes embroiled in covering up the affair and keeping the peace between their two kingdoms.

I wanted to know how Branwen felt about her mistakes and the part she played in changing history, as well as her feelings for all of the characters involved. So that’s what I did! I’ve taken some liberties from the original so that the reader won’t quite know what’s going to happen, and I’ve put Branwen at the center of the story––where I believe she belongs.

What is your favorite aspect of writing a forbidden romance?

One of the best things about writing a forbidden romance is that the stakes are inherently high. To quote the Bard, “The course of true love never did run smooth,” and the obstacles presented by a romance that is in direct conflict with another aspect of a character’s life helps me, as an author, to dig deep into that character’s motivations. Keeping secrets and the fear of discovery are other great ways to test the love relationship as well as the character’s conscience. Plus, it’s tantalizing!

As Branwen took life on the page, what was your favorite and then least favorite characteristic she showed you?

Branwen’s loyalty is her guiding principle and it’s both her best and worst characteristic. When the story opens, she is fervently devoted to her kingdom of Iveriu and her cousin, Princess Eseult. Those loyalties soon come into conflict with her growing feelings for a half-drowned man she rescues from the waves––who happens to be from the enemy kingdom of Kernyv. Branwen’s actions are compelled by her desire to be loyal to all those she cares about, which leads her to do increasingly rash, ruthless, and dangerous things.

Is there anything you’d like to share with the readers today?

In the mists of time known as 1998, I lived in Ireland and studied Celtic Civilisation at University College Cork. While I was writing Sweet Black Waves, I went back to Ireland and did a road trip, scouting locations for my Iveriu. I wanted to share a photo with your readers of the coast and the waves, which mean so much to Branwen.

Irish coast.JPG



Sweet Black Waves comes out next week! Are you ready?


Meet Author Sarah Nicole Smetana

Author Interview

Meet Sarah Nicole Smetana.

Sarah Nicole Smetana (c) courtesy of Justin Ostiz (1).JPG
Sarah Nicole Smetana grew up in Orange, California, where she wrote songs, played in a few bands, and successfully pilfered all of her parents’ best vinyl records. She received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University and her MFA in Fiction from The New School. Currently, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and their three-legged cat.


Social Media Links:


The Interview.

Do you believe there is a “perfect” song out there? If yes, any advice on how to find it?
Honestly, I don’t think so, because songs (and most art for that matter) are far too subjective. There can be a perfect song to you—but even then, it will almost certainly come down to emotional context. It’s amazing how fully and intensely music can affect us, and yet it’s often because of the way certain songs or lyrics can speak to our present experience. When we’re heartbroken, for example, we don’t usually gravitate toward songs about the exciting possibilities of a brand new love. Instead, we go for the dark, gritty, devastating tracks. We seek the songs that draw out the emotions we’re already feeling—songs that both justify our feelings, and commiserate with them.
So, do I think there’s an inherently perfect song? Not really. Can there be a perfect song for you in a particular moment? Absolutely.
I saw you mention an alter ego while browsing your ABOUT page. Care to share in more detail how your alter ego shapes you as a writer?
That’s a really interesting question. I don’t know how other writers feel, but in a way, I think the act of writing is just one long series of trying on alter egos. I am embodying every single character I write, so at any given moment, they’re all me. Or, I’m all of them—which is kind of the most incredible thing in the world, when you really think about it. And also one of the greatest responsibilities.
Is there a song, or songs, you listen to while writing?
I actually don’t listen to music while I write. I have playlists or particular songs/albums that help me get into the mood of a scene, and so I’ll listen to music throughout the day, on my commute, etc. But when I actually sit down to write, I tend to do it in silence. I also read aloud a lot as I’m working, to hear the rhythm and flow, and music isn’t very conducive to that.
What was the hardest thing (scene, line, etc) in your upcoming debut THE MIDNIGHTS?
The beginning. Seriously. Beginnings are so important, because they’re tasked with drawing the reader in, defining the story, introducing the characters, laying the foundation of setting—and because they have to do so much work, they are so, so difficult to nail down. For THE MIDNIGHTS, I must have started this book over half a dozen times, at least. And even once I finally found the story that I wanted to tell, I still hadn’t found the beginning. My beginning now is the third version of this version of the story, and for the longest time, it was actually chapter 3.
Tell us your journey on querying and now publishing, THE MIDNIGHTS. How did it come to be?
I studied creative writing in college, and then got my MFA, which is a pretty basic route. After that, though, my path was a little unorthodox. I never actually queried.
I met my agent at a conference, during agent speed dating. She was my last speed dating session of the day, and one that wasn’t even supposed to be mine (a friend was sick so I took her spot). I sat down and started babbling, because I had no freaking idea how to pitch a book I was only half finished with, and I could tell that she was totally uninterested in the nonsense I was saying. But, I happened to have these little chapbooks with me, from a contest I won with an excerpt from the novel. And while I continued blathering nonsensically about a story I didn’t even totally understand yet, my agent began reading. A minute or so later, she looked up and said, “I want to read the rest of this. Send it to me.”
So I did. I signed with her shortly thereafter. I worked on the book for another two years or so before we sent it out on submission. I got a lot of rejections, as most of us do, but ultimately found an editor who was the absolute perfect fit.
Write a fun fact about yourself.
When I was a kid, I was really into video and computer games. I actually think that these games were the first form of storytelling that I responded to. I was particularly obsessed with the work of this groundbreaking female game designer named Roberta Williams, who developed these incredible (for their time) fantasy adventure games. My all-time favorite was called King’s Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella, about a princess who gets sent to a fantasy land to save a fairy, defeat a witch, and find a magic fruit to save her dying father (her father was the hero of the first two games in the series). If I’m not mistaken, this was one of the first adventure games that featured a female lead; the princess was doing the saving, instead of being the one saved.
I played The Perils of Rosella over and over and over, enamored with the world, fascinated by the characters. Everyone you encountered had a full story, even if you only glimpsed a sliver of it, and Rosella’s own story changed depending on the choices you made. It blew my mind. Every single little detail mattered, the same way it would in a novel.
Fun fact about one of your favorite things.
Does my cat count? She’s definitely my favorite thing. She has three legs, and is absolutely bonkers. She has at least a dozens of nicknames, including: Monster, Little Monster, Monster Mash, Sneak Attach, Night Terror, Col. Bananas, and Little Tostones. (Her real name is Cisco.) She’s afraid of plastic bags and brooms.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with the readers today?
Nope! Just my eternal gratitude for everyone who’s read or is interested in reading THE MIDNIGHTS. This is truly the book of my heart, a seven year long journey, and I could not be happier to finally share it with all of you! Thanks for having me on the blog!

THE MIDNIGHTS is out today!