Author Interview: Lea Nolan & Giveaway!
Be careful what you search for…
Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.
When a strange girl appears, bent on revenge; demon dogs become a threat; and Jack turns into a walking skeleton; Emma has no choice but to learn hoodoo magic to undo the hex, all before summer—and her friends–are lost forever.
Thanks so much for having me, Kristi! It’s a great pleasure to be here.
Tell me five things you LOVED about writing CONJURE.
1. The characters. I love Emma’s conviction and bravery; Cooper’s strength, loyalty and moral code; and Jack’s brotherly sarcasm. And I adore Miss Delia, the elderly hoodoo root worker who teaches Emma the magic.
2. The Creep, the wicked-flesh eating curse that attacks Jack. I love how deliciously gross it is!
3. Hoodoo magic. I loved learning about this root and herb-based African-American folk magic. The spells and charms are fascinating.
4. Gullah mythology. Plateyes, haints, boo daddys, boo hags, people that transform into animals—who couldn’t fall in love with folklore like that?
5. The action and adventure. This story asserted its personality early on and took me on a wild ride as I wrote it. I hope it takes readers on a similar journey.
Tell me five things you didn’t love about writing CONJURE.
Hmm, it might be hard to come up with five, but let’s see:
1. Two scenes were particularly difficult to write because I didn’t like what had to happen to the characters. When I write, I view the scenes in my head like a movie and I see and feel everything that’s happening to the characters. But these events were essential to the story so I had to hike up my big girl pants and hammer them out.
2. I don’t love how distracted I can get by shiny social media sites when I’m supposed to be writing. I bought the Freedom package to make sure I can’t roam the Internet when I’m supposed to be writing.
I’m really wracking my brain but I can’t think of anything else I didn’t love!
This book was really a joy to write.
Did you have any fun research moments?
Just about everything I learned about hoodoo magic was fun. There are so many great books and websites out there I could (and did!) spend hours studying the various spells and charms.
What, in your opinion, makes CONJURE unique?
CONJURE stands apart because it has lots of action and adventure as well as a sweet romance. It’s also contains some pretty cool hoodoo magic which isn’t widely written about.
If you had to retitle CONJURE, what would it be and why?
When I was drafting the book I called it The Blood Stone, but the plot changed a bit and made that title less relevant. I still love that title, but CONJURE is way better.
What YA books are currently in your reading pile?
Too many! When I’m writing, I tend not to read much because I don’t want to be influenced by other writers or their stories. Here are a few that are on my to-be read pile: The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegan, Sweet Shadows by Tera Lynn Childs, and Dreamless by Josephine Angelini.
You are having a dinner party with your closest friends and colleagues. What do you serve and what does your tablescape look like?
Now that it’s fall, I’d serve up something warm and cozy that evokes the season. So I’d start with a butternut squash soup with toasted French bread slices topped with melted white cheddar cheese. Then we’d have Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice, walnuts and cranberries, and a side of blanched and slightly sautéed green beans. We’d finish up with warm apple tartlets in Fillo dough and French vanilla ice cream. Oh man, now I’m hungry! I wouldn’t go too crazy with the tablescape, probably just a gold toned tablecloth and pumpkin scented candles. Wanna join us?
Lea Nolan writes the kinds of stories she sought as a teen—smart paranormals with bright heroines, crazy-hot heroes, diabolical plot twists, plus a dose of magic, a draft of romance, and a sprinkle of history. She’s holds degrees in history and women’s studies concentrating in public policy and spent fifteen years as a health policy analyst and researcher. She lives in Maryland with her heroically supportive husband and three clever children. Her debut YA novel, CONJURE, book one in The Hoodoo Apprentice Series is a new release from Entangled Publishing under the Entangled Teen imprint. You can learn more about Lea on her website, on Facebook, Twitter and on Goodreads. CONJURE is available at both Barnes and Noble and Amazon.
You can win a paperback of CONJURE by Lea Nolan!!
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