Friday, April 05, 2013

The Coven: Fire and Ice by Verdell Walker

Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t think I have one, to be honest. I don’t even think I write in only one style. I try to pick a style appropriate to the story. The story should be the primary motivator for everything – each one requires something different. On a simple level, I strive for unadorned, realistic dialogue for my characters. I’m a big believer in the dictum of “show, don’t tell” and thoroughly agree with Hemingway’s belief that less is more.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

This novel was definitely a vehicle for me to comment on the destructive nature of bullying and its far-reaching consequences. We all need to be cognizant of the power our words and actions have on others. My primary goal as a writer is for readers to be engrossed in my characters and their stories. Beyond this, I also use writing as a soap box to address the issues that I care about. Beyond magic and witchcraft, this series is going to touch on issues that concern me. In Fire and Ice, bullying is a central theme while there is also an underlying social commentary on class. That commentary will be a much bigger focus in the second book, which I’m writing now. Drug use, racial discrimination, poverty on Indian reservations, veterans’ issues, and sex trafficking are all going to factor heavily into the plots of the subsequent books. Those are things I care about, and I want to bring them to my readers’ attention at the same time I’m entertaining them.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

People may laugh, but JR Ward is one of my biggest influences as a writer. If you want to know how to create compelling, multidimensional characters with a distinctive arc, look no further than her Black Dagger Brotherhood series.

What book are you reading now?

I’m reading “A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness, ironically. I’ve wanted to read it for a while since I’ve heard nothing but good things about the book.

What books are in your to read pile?

1.     The Dark Monk (The Hangman’s Daughter series), Oliver Potzsch
2.     Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
3.     Crucible of Gold (Temeraire series), Naomi Novik
4.     The Last Runaway, Tracy Chevalier
5.     Crocodile on the Sandbank, Elizabeth Peters
6.     Lover at Last, JR Ward (obsessed with her, counting the days until this comes out!)
7.     Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

What is your current “work in progress” or upcoming projects?

I’m working on Book Two as we speak – it will focus on Cody Quintana, the Brother who is a member of the Laganasett tribe and son of its High Chief. I’m shooting for it to be available early next year. In all, I’m planning five books to be in The Coven series, each one focusing on a different member of the Brotherhood.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

Definitely dialogue. I spend a lot of time and energy making sure that my dialogue sounds natural and realistic. That’s especially important when you write YA; readers will be turned off by anything that sounds forced or like it wouldn’t come out of a character’s mouth. I always read my dialogue out loud to make sure that it “flows” right.

Who designed the cover of your latest book?

An extremely talented graphic designer named Gabriella Miyares. She did a FANTASTIC job – if any writers are looking for someone to design a cover, I encourage you to reach out to her.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Keep writing. You can have the most well-oiled promotion machine in the world but at the end of the day, the work has to speak for itself. You need to sit your butt in a chair and WRITE. That’s the only way you’ll get better at it. As I write book two of the series, I can already see how I’ve grown as a writer since finishing Fire and Ice. Producing the absolute best work that you can is the most important thing.

Do you have a song or playlist (book soundtrack) that you think represents this book?

Here is a list of songs that got me in the mood for 'Fire and Ice'.
    Rui da Silva - Touch Me
    Casa del Mirto - The Haste
    Lana del Rey - You Can Be The Boss
    Aaliyah - More Than A Woman
    Kanye West and Jay-Z - No Church in the Wild
    Chromatics - Tick of the Clock
    Led Zeppelin - Kashmir
    Skrillex - Hey Sexy Lady
    Black Tide - Shockwave
    The Black Keys - Work Me
    Dave Brubeck - Take Five
    Sam Sparro - Black and Gold

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The Coven: Fire and Ice        
The Coven, Book 1
Verdell Walker

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

ISBN: Print – 1481981080
Ebook - 9781301450695

Number of pages: 454
Word Count: 114,679

Cover Artist: Gabriela Miyares

Book Description:

After her clique's bullying causes a classmate's suicide, Kat Grey trades the vicious world of the California "in crowd" for the chance to become a better person in Massachusetts. But when she steps in to protect a classmate from being bullied, Kat sparks a war with Hannah, Milton Academy's resident Queen Bee.

Kat's courage and compassion attract the attention of Blaze Ward, Hannah's ex-boyfriend. As they fall in love, Kat discovers that Blaze is more than the boy next door. He's a warlock. He is also the leader of an in-crowd like no other - the Brotherhood, five young warlocks charged with defending witches and humanity from a demonic adversary named Seth.

Kat challenges Blaze to become a better man and leader while he helps her find redemption as she makes it her mission to stop bullying at Milton. But when Hannah teams up with Seth to destroy her, Kat becomes a hostage in the age-old war between the Brotherhood and their greatest enemy. Saving Kat will require more than Blaze's strength and skill; it will mean breaking one of his kind's most sacred laws. Blaze will have to make a choice: his honor or Kat's life.

About the Author:

Verdell Walker is the author of THE COVEN series. Born and raised in the South, writing has been her escape from reality for many years.

Verdell is an avid sports fan and absolutely devoted to the Green Bay Packers. A gifted cook and baker, few things make her happier than making a meal for her family and friends. Except maybe writing about her favorite boys.