Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From the Mountain by L.L. Crane ~Interview and Review

Title: From the Mountain
Author: L.L. Crane
Series: Mark of Powers (Book 1)
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 14 2015
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print

What would you do if you were one of the last of your kind on earth? Sixteen year old Teak’s Mark of Power has kept her alive, but will it last?  Although she is a trained killing machine, it isn’t by choice. Slated to be one of Siv Gareth's elite soldiers, her life seems to be on course, but she has a decision to make.  Does she follow her father’s wishes and become a soldier, or chase after her own dreams of training dragons?  Persecuted, shunned, and tortured because of her skin color, Teak is mad, and somebody is going to pay for it.  Siv Gareth’s race war has just begun, and now that the Purity Law has passed, the Destroyers are out in hordes to kill her and any others with light skin.  When she shoots an arrow at Siv Gareth, a chain of events unwinds that ultimately threatens her very existence.  Accustomed to going it alone, Teak finds herself on a long journey with a group of inept teens, and she must learn to depend on them…or die.  When two boys enter the scene, one irritating and the other mesmerizing, Teak wonders if she has a shot at a normal life. But will her lack of Power and skin color ruin it? This dystopian society novel, Book 1 in the Mark of Power Series, is riveting with suspense, action, betrayal, and the brimming hope of romance.

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The man-made mountain was situated next to the ocean, waves crashing violently against it as if they knew it didn’t belong there.  At the very top of the mountain perched a mansion, formed of smooth purple rock, so rare that it glistened against the occasional sunlight.  It was built like a castle, with turrets and windows, even a moat of salty brine water bleeding in from the ocean. 
A prison was nestled at the base of the mountain, sections of it actually winding into the packed earth of its lowest parts.  Soldiers, dressed in red uniforms stood at attention before its doors, long swords swinging from their belts.  Further out from the mountain, was an area they once called Presidio, housing the privileged…in mansions as glorious as the one on top of the mountain…made of stone or rock, precious metal, the highest quality of wood. The government officials lived there, although they were few now.  The healer.  The Elite Army.  Those with Power.  And of course, the Destroyers.

An Interview With the Author L. L. Crane

What does your writing process look like?  I wake up early and write in bed for several hours if I can.  Sometimes that pesky day job gets in my way!  After writing, I go to work, as I own my own business and have flexible hours.  When I am in the car, I am always thinking of a new plot, story line, or way to make a character more interesting and believable.

Do you have any strange writing habits (like standing on your head or writing in the shower)? I am boring about that!  No, I just lie in bed with the covers snuggled up around me and write while it is peaceful and quiet.  I do get irritated when the phone rings or if someone interrupts me when I’m in a writing zone.

Just as your books may inspire other authors, what authors have inspired you to write?  I think that Veronica Roth with the Divergent Trilogy inspired me the most.  I had been reading that genre for quite a while and when I read Divergent, I thought, wow, maybe I could do this.  So far, I am not anywhere near where she is or what she has done, but her books were so intense that I couldn’t put them down.  When Tris died, I was so forlorn that I almost wrote to her.  I was that much into the characters.  That is what I hope to obtain with my own writing.  Lauren Nicolle Taylor was a close second with the Woodlands Series.  And of course, Suzanne Collins with the Hunger Games was another author who truly inspired me. 

Imagine your characters are on survivor.  Who will they vote out of the book?  Siv Gareth, of course!  He is not only evil, but he is diabolical and a little crazy.  You can’t really understand why he is so terrible.  Reese would be a close second.  He’s just plain nasty!

What/Who is your favorite monster/villain?  I don’t have a real favorite villain.  However, Valentine in the Mortal Instruments Series is quite intriguing because he has moments where you understand where he is coming from.  He doesn’t seem to be all bad, even though he is dreadful and evil.  But what he does to Jace is unforgiveable! And, of course, Voldemort in the Harry Potter books is a villain that we all hate.  It is so easy to see him from Harry’s point of view!

Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any advice on how to deal with the bad?  Yes, I read my reviews and respond to them.  I am fairly new at this publishing part, so I haven’t had any bad ones yet.  On the bad part, it is just like I would advise someone starting a business to do.  Just ignore it.  Not everybody likes the same thing.  There is plenty out there to read.  I also think if someone wrote you a bad review that it at least means that you moved that person in some way, and that’s not a bad thing if you are an author. 

Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?  I haven’t yet found anything that is too taboo.  It depends on the audience.  For right now I have focused on Young Adult Fiction, so I want to be a little bit careful about things like sex and swearing, although my new release, Forbidden Rain, will have some swearing in it and one scene that is sexually suggestive.   I think the imagination is a wonderful thing, and that if the context is correct, anything can be written about.  The audience is key.

What is the weirdest thing that has ever been said or done to you by a fan?  (Internet stalkers count) To be honest, I haven’t had anything weird happen yet, although I am sure it will come!

What is the hardest scene you have ever written?  I think it would be when the Destroyers decapitated Soot in From the Mountain.  I had to imagine every detail of it, and I have never been one to watch horror films.  I had to do a lot of research what it would really be like to have your head chopped off and what it would be like to watch it.

What are you working on now?  I am just finishing Forbidden Rain, Book 1 in the Blue Spectrum Chronicles.  It is a dystopian novel as well and is set in the future also.  Rain is the main character, and although love is forbidden for teens, she manages to get herself in quite a pickle with a boy named Orion, who disappears from her life as quickly as he came.  I am also working on the third book in the Mark of Power Series, Into the Black Night.  I just launched the second book in the series, To the Moon.  I also have about three other books that I’ve started and am itching to get onto, one that isn’t a Young Adult Fiction novel, but rather, aimed at adults and themed around horses, one of my favorite animals.  It is a unique slant on them as well as a young girl who is raised alongside them.

Thank you for your time, any parting words?  Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me and let readers know about my books.  I actually started off in college with writing scholarships, and here I am in my fifties just starting to fulfill my dreams!  I am grateful for a time when you can be an Indie author and have the opportunity to reach readers with excellent work even if you don’t have a publisher.  I am also grateful to people who are willing to help new writers out and share information about them.   

Author Information

L.L. Crane lives in a remote area of Northern California with her two horses, six goats, three dogs and two cats.  When she was a child, L.L. Crane dreamed of being a writer. She used the name, “Katie Bush” 
as a pen name for the famous writer she hoped to become, cranking out book after book on her mom’s old blue typewriter.
 As life often has twists and turns, L.L. Crane found herself becoming anything but a writer.  She graduated with a B.A. in Education, even though she was honored to begin her college career with the aid of writing scholarships.
After becoming a teacher, raising three children primarily on her own, as well as owning and operating a business, L.L. Crane finally pursued her dreams and began writing novels.  She brings her own experiences from teaching and her love of animals to her stories.
L.L. Crane is an avid reader and writer and loves children, animals, reading, riding horses, and gnomes.
Author Links

My Review
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Dragons...need I say more?
When all that keeps you alive is a mark of power, you learn to find a way to not only survive, but thrive.  Despite what Teak has been trained to do she faces a choice that could lead her in a completely different direction.  With her world becoming smaller and more volatile Teak must choose the path that might keep her alive.  When a new law is passed she and her new companions find out exactly how cruel the world can be.
I love a good dystopian story, but one with dragons is even better.  I love the characters, particularly Teak who is as much sixteen year old girl as she is trained killer.  Author L. L. Crane paints a picture of a future society that is very backwards in many ways.  Lives are at stake and Teak will have to call on her new acquaintances as well as every ounce of training and knowledge she has to even have a small chance at seeing another birthday.

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