Today, I am pleased to spotlight author Connie L. Smith and her YA urban fantasy/paranormal romance trilogy, The Division Chronicles. Today’s post features an interview with Ms. Smith and an excerpt from the third book, Enscrolled, which was just released in mid- October.
Essenced (book 1)
Publication Date: July 2013
Years ago, demons were forced out of the earth’s realm by a band of supernatural fighters, banished from the place and its people in the aftermath of a horrific war. It should’ve ended there – would’ve – if not for the final demon’s claw snagging on the open portal. What felt like victory became only a reprieve, the winning warriors understanding that the tear would spread, and the demons eventually would escape exile. It was only a matter of time, and a need for future defense – a question of genetics and essences, magic and power.
Now, centuries later, a new army must bind together – one of teenagers with inhuman potentials and abilities…
AJ went to bed Sunday night an average teenage girl, clumsy and athletically lacking. So when she wakes up Monday morning with super-strength, she does what any rational person would do: She goes into denial. When a smoking hot guy in a suit shows up, rambling about the end of the war and demons spilling through some kind of rift, she refuses to listen, telling herself he’s insane. Except weird things just won’t quit happening, and the guy keeps popping up in her life, trying to explain the changes suddenly happening within her. Is she crazy, or is this guy… not so crazy after all?
Available from Amazon: Essenced: The Division Chronicles: Book One (Volume 1)
Emblazed (book 2)
Publication Date: February 2014
After all the preparations, Nicholai’s warriors stand on the threshold of warfare, the demons entering the realm in battalions and the world unknowingly depending on the army’s success to continue intact. But the battle is only the beginning of deadly struggles, and the soldiers will soon realize how little they know, how many things are at stake, and how much they have to lose.
Love, hate, hope, despair, anguish, joy… The journey is a gauntlet of emotion and combat, threatening their resolve as much as their lives.
Will their training and ties be enough, or will the complications and the forthcoming evil forever cripple the world’s last hope of survival?
Available from Amazon: Emblazed (The Elemental Prophecy) (Volume 2)
Enscrolled (book 3)
Publication Date: October 14, 2014
In the aftermath of the latest battle, the stakes are higher than ever before, time hardly an ally to Nicholai’s army of paranormal soldiers. The Tomes remain hidden, and the clock is ticking for the Essenced tainted with the demon’s incurable toxin. And beyond those worries, reason exists to suspect that magic might be vanishing, a twist that could insurmountably cripple the army’s capabilities prior to the war’s conclusion.
Never has the conflict felt quite as desperate, danger escalating and hope lessening with the slow drain of each issue’s hourglass.
Will the answers to these dilemmas surface in time, or will the efforts of the band of warriors fail to prevent the ruin of the world?
McKenna watched him leave before refocusing on Johnny, confused at the expression her boyfriend wore. “What are you smirking at?”
He shrugged. “I’m just not sure how this could be such a bad memory. My girl glued to my side.” Wiggling his eyebrows, he continued. “Playing nurse…”
“Well, you are poisoned,” she deadpanned. “That puts a damper on these types of situations for most people.”
“Oh, you’re serious again.” His smirk broadened. “Are you gonna yell at me like you did when my leg was broken? That was attractive…”
Though she fought against it, her smile emerged, spreading over her lips as she shook her head. “You’re impossible. You know that?”
“Nah. I just learned along the way how to make my girl smile.”
Her grin lingered until her attention descended to his leg, the spot of the poison’s initial contact. Then she frowned, her eyes filling with tears and her hands beginning to tremble. Just ten days, she thought.
“Hey.” Johnny cupped her face, gentling bringing her gaze to lock with his. “We’re not gonna think about that because that’s gonna get taken care of.” Tobias again entered the medical room, moving directly to the corner reserved for the cure’s research to recommence his work. “See?” Johnny nodded his head toward the angel. “Look how dedicated he is to finding this. Think of all the soldiers around us who are perfectly capable of getting whatever weird ingredients he comes up with. If you do, ten days will seem like a lifetime, because it’s plenty of time.”
And then she was the one smirking. “That’s quite optimistic.”
He laughed, shrugging. “I told you that you’re rubbing off on me.”
“And you’re trusting others. Like you finally flipped a switch.”
“It isn’t like flipping a switch.” He smiled, revisiting the lecture she’d given him while stranded on a cliff. “It’s like deciding not to be in the darkness anymore. You take steps, and the light comes a little at a time until the darkness is gone.”
She quirked an eyebrow, chuckling. “That seems vaguely familiar.”
“Someone really smart once told me that.” Pulling her closer, he tapped the tip of her nose with his finger. “She was really hot, too.”
Available from Amazon: Enscrolled (The Division Chronicles: Book Three)
Connie L. Smith spends far too much time with her mind wandering in fictional places. She reads too much, likes to bake, and might forever be sad that she doesn’t have fairy wings. And that she can’t swing dance. Her music of choice is severely outdated, and as an adult she’s kind of obsessed with Power Rangers. She has her BA from Northern Kentucky University in Speech Communication and History (she doesn’t totally get the connection either), and is currently working on her MA.
Tell us about yourself and what led you to start writing?
I’m a pretty boring person in comparison to some of the books I’ve written. No wings or dragon fire. Basically, I’m a Kentucky girl making her way through graduate school and writing some stories along the way.
What inspired you to create The Division Chronicles series?
I have a habit of adding my own characters inside of my head for TV shows, movies, books… I’ve never actually posted a fanfiction anywhere, but it goes on in my brain 🙂 On occasion those characters leap out of those thoughts and get their own storylines. AJ, a main character of the trilogy, had that happen. As a side note, it was pretty awesome to be able to create a story with so many mythological creatures involved – vampires, mermaids, thunderbirds… I like that paranormal aspect in some fiction, and I liked being able to include so many within my first trilogy.
What kind of research did you do before starting or during the process of writing this series? Was there an intriguing fact you learned that you didn’t know beforehand?
There was a bit of research – like which geographic areas would best suit the purposes of the story in general and specific scenes. At one point, I was actually using Google to figure out which cave in the world was the deepest. But the biggest research topic was probably the mythological species I’d use for the story. Most of the main characters have the essences of a certain species within them, giving them powers and quirky side effects. I wanted to use the ones people might expect for the work – like vampires and werewolves – but also step out the box and add in some species that maybe readers hadn’t heard of. It was a process to even figure out what I wanted the requirements for those species to be in order to be a part of my characters, and I remember it being a lengthy investment to find the right ones.
Enscolled, the third book in the series, was recently published. Can you tell us something about this book that is not included in the book’s description?
Sure thing! If you’ve read the first two books of the trilogy, you should know that there are two romances involved. A third one, briefly, is explored in book three 🙂
Please tell us about the main characters in the series.
The main, main, character is AJ. She’s a sixteen-year-old girl who suddenly finds herself with supernatural strength and hearing, all because the werewolf essence within her has awakened so she can fight an epic war against invading demons. She’s stubborn, but loyal and strong. When she gets to a training facility to prepare for the upcoming combat, she finds teenagers with a similar essence, and ones with aspects of different species – each species with its own odd quirk related to that essence. As examples, there’s a thieving Dragon-Essenced alpha, a girl-crazy Incubus-Essenced alpha, and a balding Thunderbird-Essence alpha.
Who was your favorite character to write? Also, who was the most difficult?
I had fun with a lot of these characters, and a reason behind that was because of the odd side effects. Isaac, Travis, Ray-Ray… They were all a lot of fun. The most difficult might’ve been McKenna. She’s the alpha of the Wood Nymph-Essenced, and she goes through a rough time within the last book of the trilogy. Considering she’d been really optimistic and hopeful up until that moment, I kind of felt like I was toeing an invisible line with her in book three at times. I didn’t want her to let go of those qualities, but with everything she deals with, changes had to happen at least in part. Trying to balance that out was possibly the most subtle – but complicated – thing I’ve done for this trilogy.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book or the series overall?
I just hope they enjoy it. To me, reading fiction is primarily about entertainment rather than meaning, a chance to step away from your world and dive into another. If my books let people immerse themselves in the story, and they experience enough connection with the characters to care about what’s happening, then I’ve done my job – hopefully well enough for readers to come back for another book 🙂
Which books and authors have had a significant influence on your writing?
I would have to say that I learned the art of writing battle scenes from reading 94308239 ones that R.A. Salvatore has written. I don’t like all of his books, or some of the things that have happened within his series, but if you’re looking for a person to credit for that aspect of my writing, it would have to be him. I don’t really know that I’d credit another specific person for the rest of it. I’ve read plenty of authors, and it’s more of a blob of awareness rather than individual influences.
Can you tell us about any of your current or upcoming projects and what readers can expect next?
Sure! I have a NA Romance that I’m hoping to release in November of 2014 (yes, that soon!) called Tail Lights. You can add it to your to-read list on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23267803-tail-lights.
I also have a YA Romance that’s been contracted through Inkspell publishing that should be out next year. It’s called Jivin’ Tango, and it’s about a dancer and a football player falling in love.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to enter to win a copy of Essenced (the first Division book) here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/111090-essenced.
Thank you Ms. Smith for taking time to provide this interview for Sun Mountain Reviews!
Connect with Connie L. Smith
Main Site/Blog: http://clsmithbooks.blogspot.com/