Genre: Dystopian Romance
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp.,
Lyrical Press Imprint
Date of Publication: November 17, 2014
Number of pages: 72
Word Count: 33,718
Cover Artist: Renee Rocco
Two lives. Two realities. But only one truth.
The Senator reigns all-powerful in a manifested picture-perfect world. No worries. No wars. Only the unspoken threat of oblivion if you step a toe out of line. On the other side of the divide, the rebels face a debilitating war against an invulnerable robotic army. Every day is a struggle to earn back their freedoms. Freedom to feel. Freedom of speech. Freedom of thought.
Sergeant Grant Baker is pivotal to the war effort. But ever since his wife’s abduction, he’s been walking around in as much of a daze as the Senator’s brainwashed citizens. Then Eva reappears—without memories of him or their son. And he’s willing to do anything to keep her. Even if it means jeopardizing the war.
Eva doesn’t know which side to believe. Her predictable life as a single nurse, or the man claiming to be her husband. All she knows is she needs to discover how to end the war, quickly. If she doesn’t choose sides soon, she may lose the man—and the life—she never knew she wanted.
Acting as vanguard for the injured squad, Grant turned a corner and froze. A hulky man carried a limp woman over his shoulder.
Grant automatically reached for his gun. Even if they weren’t yet across the divide, he couldn’t stand idle as a man accosted a woman. Or worse. He aimed the rifle at the criminal. “Set her down nice and easy.”
The man froze. He glanced over one meaty shoulder, his unshaven mouth set in a scowl.
“Set her down, or I’ll shoot.”
A gold tooth flashed as the criminal grinned. He hurled the small woman at Grant and dashed for the slim space between two buildings.
Grant moved without thinking. His gun clattered to the ground as he lunged forward to catch the woman before she split her head open on the sidewalk. He grunted as he caught her with her weight against his bruised forearms. He shot a flickering glance her way. A riot of brown curls obscured her face. He set her gently on the ground.
He dashed for the opening the shady figure had disappeared into, but saw no sight of the man. The delinquent was long gone.
Ashland panted as he jogged to Grant’s side. “What happened?”
If Grant never heard that question again, it would be too soon. He shook his head wearily. “Mugging, I guess.”
“They still have those here? I thought the Senator brought an end to violence.” Ashland drew sarcastic quotes in the air as he spoke.
Grant didn’t bother to answer. He turned to the woman and where his squad was now gathered. A horrified private glanced from the woman to Grant and back again. “What do you want us to do with her…sir?”
If they left her, the Senator’s people might find her and stick her back in the pen with the rest of their brainwashed sheep. Then again, that same goon might double back to continue what he started.
He crossed to the woman and crouched to lift her into his arms. Her tangled hair fell away from her face. He nearly dropped her. “Eva?”
Frantically, he pressed his ear to her chest. Her breathing was shallow, but her heartbeat steady and strong. He clutched her tighter. He couldn’t believe it.
He’d found his wife.
Did you always wanted to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I’ve written stories since I was in elementary school. Over the years, I’ve wanted to be a singer, a vet, an artist, but the one constant was writing. By the time I graduated high school, I had a couple of written books under my belt. I decided to start submitting them.
When did you first consider yourself a “writer”?
I first considered myself a writer when I was fourteen. Before that, I’d started a dozen books, but never actually finished writing one. That was the age I first finished a book. I liked the feeling. I did it again, and again throughout high school. Writing overwhelmed other aspects of my life to the point that a day doesn’t go by now when I can’t think about writing.
How long did it take to get your first book published?
I was lucky enough to have a few short stories published before my first book. It eased me into the way of things, into the pattern of edits and so on. The earliest story I wrote which went on to be published is Stalking Shade, the first book of a trilogy. I wrote it in 2008 -- it was published in 2011. The other books I wrote during high school have not, to this date, been published.
Do you do another job except for writing and can you tell us more about it?
I’ve worked many jobs to support my writing. Retail, customer service, most recently emergency response dispatch. The one true calling I’ve found is through writing. The other jobs just pay the bills.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Hellish Haven: Eva’s memory is wiped by a corrupt government and she is sent to spy on her husband in the resistance movement.
Who is your publisher? Or do you self-publish?
Hellish Haven is published with Kensington Publishing Corp’s digital imprint, Lyrical Press.
How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
I try to finish the first draft of a book within a month. If I don’t write quickly, I end up drawn to shiny new ideas that tempt me to stop working on the book I’m writing! Editing usually takes at least another month, if not two.
What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Above all else, even writing, I am a reader. I read voraciously and I read widely…I’m pretty sure you can expect to see everything under the sun from me. Current published books include a fairy tale retelling, paranormal romance, several contemporary romances, urban fantasy with a strong romantic twist, and most recently my dystopian romance. I follow wherever my characters take me. Romance can happen anywhere, to anyone. :)
What genre would you place your books into?
I blanket my books under the romance genre. My most recent one, Hellish Haven, is dystopian multicultural romance.
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
Somehow, whenever I’m sitting down to write a book, romance always blossoms between the characters. When I started Hellish Haven, I knew I wanted to write a world that mirrored George Orwell’s 1984. Then came the heroine, and of course she needed a swoon-worthy hero (who she saves from certain death, not the other way around).
Do you have a favorite character from your books? And why are they your favorite?
I read the Lexi Carmichael Mystery series by Julie Moffett, which also has a good splash of romance thrown in. I love Lexi because she is socially awkward, a bit of a geek…we have a lot in common, actually.
How long have you been writing?, and who or what inspired you to write?
I’ve been writing since grade three when my teacher set a class assignment involving writing a short story. I was enamored with the act of putting new worlds and characters to paper ever since then. I didn’t write romance until I was about sixteen and my best friend, also a bookworm, slipped me a Sherrilyn Kenyon book. I haven’t looked back since!
Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I have certain areas I go to write. I don’t usually write to music because I find it too distracting. I’m not lucky enough to have an office, so I use the kitchen table for long writing stints. If I’m just jotting down a few words I might do so in bed, on the couch, or in a local coffee shop. I also have a treadmill desk I use for emails, blog posts, and interviews (like this one!).
Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
I try not to read reviews. Reviews of books are subjective. Sometimes they align with my thoughts on the book, sometimes they don’t. They might even point out something I hadn’t considered. But if I spent all my time reading reviews, I’d have no time to write!
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
If I don’t have a title first, finding one is incredibly challenging. Take, for instance, a past release. Never a Princess, Always a Frog was originally titled “The Princess and the Frog”. My editor read the book and told me that it needed a better title…so for about a week I was in panic mode, driving my friends and family crazy as I asked for their advice only to reject every single title until I had an epiphany. My life is much easier when I have a title before writing the book.
How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Character names are tricky for me. I find that first names have to fit the background of the character, not to mention their personality. I sometimes go through more than one name before finding one that sticks. Surnames are a big headache for me, as well. But once I find the name that fits, the work to find it becomes worthwhile.
Are character names and place names decided after their creation? Or do you pick a character/place name and then invent them?
Usually I have the character in my head first, and then choose a name to fit them. For instance, using Never a Princess, Always a Frog as an example again, the main character’s name was originally Chelsea. But I found it didn’t quite fit her character, so I moved on until I found Colleen.
Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I have some character traits in my mind before writing, but most of them develop as the story progresses. I like to learn new things about my characters and story as I’m writing it the first time.
Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Not intentionally, no! All my books have themes, of course. Such as, for Hellish Haven, that true love is stronger than any obstacle that can be thrown in its path, or that you may have to compromise your morals for the end result.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
It depends on the book. I like to read short stories and novellas on my e-reader, and I’ve been on an e-reading kick lately with longer books as well. I like paperback over hardcover, though if I have to, I will read a hardcover (if it doesn’t come in e-book either). I’m a reading junkie, I’ll get my fix any way I can.
What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I think George Orwell’s 1984 is my favorite. I’ve read it more than once, and love the world and the message shown by Orwell.
Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer?
I think books have the potential of translating well into movies. Let’s take a well-known one, the Harry Potter films. The first one mirrors the book to a T and I loved it. I was a little disappointed later on when nuances I loved were cut in order to make the film short enough.
Done absolutely amazingly, I think that movies become separate entities from the books. For instance, I adore the movie Ella Enchanted. It is nothing at all like its book counterpart, which I also love. I think of them, and judge them, as two separate things.
Your favorite food is?
Chocolate. You had to ask? ;)
Your favorite color is?
Your favorite Author is?
I have too many to name. I love books, period. My must reads include Tamora Pierce, Mercedes Lackey, Kate Elliott, Kameron Hurley, Janet Evanovich, Shawna Thomas, Julie Moffett, Zoe Archer, Bonnie Dee, Gina Gordon, and many, many more.
L.K. Below wrote Hellish Haven to bring her love of Orwell’s classic 1984 into the modern day…or near future, as it turns out.
She reads as obsessively as she writes and likes to Tweet about both at @LBelowtheauthor.
November 20 Twitter Party
1-2pm EST #hellishhaven