Welcome to the book tour for Gaia by Karen Ann Hopkins. Below, she answers my interview questions and keep reading - there's a giveaway!
As the Demons grow bolder and the walls between the planes of existence weaken, Ember is forced to develop her powers as quickly as possible, and she seeks out a powerful earth Watcher to continue her supernatural lessons. Her glimpse of the future demands she fight the dark forces spreading across the earth.
But her new mentor has his own agenda, making her question everyone and everything she ever trusted.
When Ember is thrust into the world of the Watchers, she learns of their plans—ones that defy the scripture and make them enemies of the Celestial Host. Ridding the world of evil gets complicated when it becomes impossible to take sides.
As Ember struggles with morality, she soon discovers that there’s something more frightening than anything she’s faced before.
There are descendants of angels walking among us. Ember is one of them. And she may be the only hope mankind has as the rapture approaches and evil rises.
Embers is an epic paranormal adventure about an eighteen year old girl who discovers that she's immune to fire and any other injury when she’s in a horrific car crash that kills her parents. Following a violent episode with her aunt's boyfriend, Ember flees Ohio to live with an old relative in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. Ember's exuberance at escaping a bad home life soon turns to trepidation when she finds out that she's a Watcher, a descendant of angels. While Ember learns about her heritage and the powers that go along with it, she strikes up friendships with two young men who live in a frightening walled compound in the forest. Inexplicitly drawn to one of the men in particular, an impossible romance develops. But it is cut short when Ember discovers that her new friends are fighting on the opposite side of a war—one that’s been raging between two factions of Watchers for thousands of years. When the compound’s inhabitants threaten the townspeople, Ember takes action, sealing her fate in the ancient battle of good versus evil—and the grayness in between. Ember is up to the challenge, until she realizes that she isn’t only fighting for the lives of the locals and the souls of her new friends. She also might be one of the few champions who will make a stand for all of mankind as the rapture approaches and the end of days begin.
Embers is a dark and gritty YA novel that’s the first book in the series, The Wings of War.
I hope you enjoy Karen's answers to my interview questions!
- Where/how did you come up with the idea for your story? Did it suddenly pop into your head or were you brainstorming?
Embers was a daydream of mine for many years before I wrote the story. It wasn’t until after I published the Temptation series was published with Harlequin Teen that I felt confident enough to make it real.
- Did you start with the main character, the world or the overarching concept?
I envisioned creatures and people with unusual powers living in the secluded mountains of eastern Tennessee. The forest, rugged terrain and mountain people set the stage for the rest of the story.
- Panster or Plotter? Or in between?
I’m more in between. It’s important to think a story out thoroughly before diving in and I do that by picturing the scenes running through my mind as if they were on a movie screen. I take notes and set up a basic timeline before I begin writing. The process of preparation might take a month or many months of having the story floating around in my mind before I’m ready to commit to it to the page. Once I get started, I don’t stop to edit or revise. I continue writing with a stream of consciousness until the book is finished. Then I go back and fix the mistakes and any issues that popped up along the way. Too many writers get stuck on a certain page, trying for perfection early on. I’ve found that once you get further into the story, it begins to tell itself and the flow is smoother and steadier.
- Are you a fan of writing contests?
I’ve never entered one, so I guess not. ;)
- How did you find your agent? How many query letters did you send?
My first novel, Temptation, was rejected about thirty times before I was finally offered representation by Christina Hogrebe of the Jane Rotrosen Agency in New York. But to be fair to the first agents I submitted the story to, the manuscript evolved through the process, getting much better along the way. It was eventually worthy of representation by the time it reached Christina. Many of the agents who rejected it offered me sound advice, which I took. I incorporated their suggestions into the story, making changes and revising until it was in great shape. I always had a unique story. It just needed work to make it marketable.
- What's the best marketing tool you've found so far?
Bookbub. Definitely. I’ve been lucky enough to land two promotions with the company, one for Lamb to the Slaughter and the other for Embers. These sales resulted in tens of thousands of purchases and downloads of my books. My fan base grew, as did my online review numbers, and my placement in the rankings rose. No other promotion or marketing strategy I’ve done has come close to a Bookbub promotion.
- What do you like best about your mc?
Ember is a strong young woman who is kind, loyal and loves animals. These are all traits that I admire.
[MM - me too, glad to see a fellow horse lover on my blog!]
[MM - me too, glad to see a fellow horse lover on my blog!]
- What do you like best about your main antagonist?
In Embers, the antagonists were Garrett and his demon followers. They were pretty scary characters and I was satisfied that they were great representatives for the evil rising up in the world. In Gaia, I like that it’s more a question of WHO are the antagonists in the story.
- Anything else you like to share about your journey or your upcoming launch, including links to giveaways or ways people can help spread the word?
The Wings of War is an epic young adult fantasy/paranormal that I believe readers of all ages will enjoy. I ask that fans let their friends know about it, and it greatly helps the cause when you post your honest ratings/reviews on Amazon. This is the most important place to give a shout out for your favorite stories and authors.
Thank you for being a part of Gaia’s blog tour! I love to connect with readers on my Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram or at www.karenannhopkins.com. Please be on the lookout for the release of SECRETS IN THE GRAVE, the third installment in my mystery series, Serenity’s Plain Secrets, in early September! Thanks for reading!
Karen Ann Hopkins
Karen Ann Hopkins
About Karen Ann Hopkins:
Karen Ann Hopkins resides in northern Kentucky with her family on a farm that boasts a menagerie of horses, goats, peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs and cats. Karen's main job is home schooling the kids, but she finds time to give riding lessons, coach a youth equestrian drill team, and of course, write. She was inspired to create her first book, Temptation, by the Amish community she lived in. The experiential knowledge she gained through her interactions with her neighbors drove her to create the story of the star-crossed lovers, Rose and Noah.
Karen grew up about a mile from Lake Ontario in Upstate New York. She was bitten by the horse bug at the age of five, and after diligently taking riding lessons for several years, was rewarded with her first horse when she turned eleven. The feisty horse's name was Lady, a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred cross, who became Karen's steadfast companion. Through the years, the constant force in her life was horses. Eventually, she found her place as a riding instructor herself. Before accepting her fate in the barnyard, she worked a short stint as a paralegal, traveled abroad, and guided tourists on horseback riding tours in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee.
Karen is currently working on her Amish mystery series, Serenity's Plain Secrets, along with the YA paranormal/fantasy series, The Wings of War. Karen is also excited to announce the Temptation series has been optioned for TV by Pilgrim Studios and is available on Audible. More books in the Temptation series are in the works.
Tour Schedule (this week or visit the Tour Page for the whole list):
Monday, September 7th
A Book Addict's Bookshelves (Review/Interview)
Bumbles and Fairy-Tales (Review)
Tuesday, September 8th
The Cheshire Cat's Looking Glass (Guest Post)
On Writing and Riding (Interview)
Little Miss Drama Queen (Review)
Thursday, September 10th
Book Lovers Life (Guest Post)
So Bookalicious (Review/Interview)
Friday, September 11th
Rainy Days and Pajamas (Review)
Her Book Thoughts (Review)
Tour Giveaway Info:
One lucky winner will receive a $50 gift card (Amazon, B&N, iTunes), as well as a complete set of Karen’s YA books, including Embers, Gaia, Temptation, Belonging, Forever, and Rachel’s Deception! Please enter via the Rafflecopter form. Giveaway is open internationally.a Rafflecopter giveaway