Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Determinant by A.M. Hargrove

Author: A.M. Hargrove
             Goodreads Fan Club
             Goodreads Author Page
Series or Stand-alone: 
            Book 3 in the The Guardians of Vesturon  but can be read as a Stand-alone
Genre: Young Adult / Paranormal/ Science Fiction/ Romance
First Published: June 30, 2012
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I would like to introduce A.M. Hargrove to the blog! I got an opportunity to ask her a few questions about writing (this is actually my first author interview ever!) and her book Determinant and some random other things like vampires biting zombies. Hope you enjoy the interview. Look for an Excerpt and Giveaway at the bottom of the post.  

Hi Anne!! Thanks for letting me ask you a few questions!

I read the story of how you started writing, quitting your job and all. Very brave by the way. Can you recap that for the readers?

Certainly.  A couple of years ago, the company I had been with for over 20 years was taken over by another larger firm and my entire division was basically annihilated.  As a result, my job was eliminated, so I found myself in search of a new career.  I had made the decision that I did not want to return to the corporate world, so I sort of hunted around for something to do.  Writing had always been an interest of mine and I had talked about it for years, but never seemed to have to time to dedicate to it.  I had studied journalism in college and worked at the university paper and I also worked at an advertising agency before I entered the world of pharmaceuticals.  When I found myself with the time on my hands, I decided to try my hand at writing fiction. And that’s how it all began.

What made you start writing for the Young Adult audience? Do you think there would be a difference in terms of writing for a YA vs. an adult novel?

I chose the YA genre because at the time, my daughter was nineteen and that was the age of Maddie, my character in Survival and Resurrection.  She’s older YA (college) but the books are suitable for anyone age thirteen and older as the language is clean and there is no sex, other than kissing and sexual tension.  I do think there is a difference between writing in YA and the adult genre and I’m actually getting ready to find out because I have just begun my next project, which is an adult trilogy.  I think adult romance lovers expect more sex and explicit situations.

What are you reading right now? Anything you’re excited about reading?

I’m about to finish Gabriel’s Rapture by Sylvain Reynard which is the sequel to Gabriel’s Inferno.  It’s a wonderful story that intertwines Dante’s Divine Comedy, concentrating mainly on part one, the Inferno with the love story between a professor who is a Dante expert and his student.  I have thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Reynard’s ability to weave her knowledge of Dante into this beautifully written novel.  I liked it so much that I have downloaded The Divine Comedy and plan to reread it.  I haven’t read it since I was in college so it will be like reading it for the first time!

What do you think would happen if a vampire bit a zombie or visa versa? I’ve been arguing with a lot of people about this. What’s your public stance. No going back!

Oh, that’s easy.  The vampire would bite the zombie, tear it’s head off, rip it to shreds, destroying it in the process and walk away into the darkness only to repeat the process, if and whenever necessary ;)  Gotta love those vampires.

Back to reality. How do you get yourself over writing slumps? I writing a draft right now and sometimes I feel really down about my writing. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors like myself?

Don’t laugh.  Seriously.  I put on my music and go for a run.  For my current project, which I see as a trilogy right now, I was having difficulty in getting the first part worked out in my mind.  I’m a panser. I’ve tried the outline thing and it doesn’t work for me.  I can’t stick to them.  So Monday I went for my run and then Tuesday and yesterday, everything sort of fell into place.  When I’m writing, the same thing happens.  When I get stumped on something, I put that iPod on and hit the trail.  In less than an hour, I have it all figured out.

So on to the book! This is book three of the Guardians of Vesturon. What links the other two books to Determinant? Are there any continuing characters or settings?

Yes!  There are continuing characters, places and all sorts of things.  For instance the main female character was first introduced in Survival as was the main male character.

Maddie in Book One and January in Book Three are both college age. Is there a reason you choose to make them in their older teens? Do you think would it have affected the story much to make them younger teens or adults?

The story wouldn’t have worked had they been younger.  They both have similar stories in they are tragic yet they are diverse so their characters are entirely different.  They also are faced with decisions that a younger person may not have been able to make.  Keep in mind, however that January is sixteen when Determinant begins, but she is a very mature sixteen.

Do you have to read the first two books, Survival or Resurrection, to read Determinant?

No, Determinant is a stand alone novel.  Obviously, the reader would derive a greater in-depth knowledge of Vesturon, Maddie and the Yarristers if they read Survival and Resurrection first, but it is not necessary.   I wrote Determinant intentionally that way so if someone who wasn’t into series was interested in reading it, they wouldn’t have a problem delving into the book and figuring everything out.

Where did the idea for this type of supernatural beings like Rykerian Yarrister, the love interest, come from?

I get asked this a lot and believe it or not, I somehow managed to have a daughter that hates all things paranormal, including vampires and werewolves.  I don’t understand it myself.  I can’t seem to get enough of those creatures!  So when I was creating the world of Vesturon, I wanted to create a being that had supernatural powers similar to what a vampire or a werewolf would have, but also would be something my daughter would be interested in reading about.  And then came the hotness factor.  I knew the guys had to be some kind of awesome so enter... The Guardians of Vesturon!

Anything you want the readers to know about you or Determinant?

In Determinant I introduce an interesting new character who sort of steals the show so be on the lookout for him.   He’s going to be the subject of my new trilogy.  As for me, I’m totally shy and and an introvert.  Just kidding.  I talk incessantly so if you ever meet me in person, you’ll only get a word in when I pause to take a breath.  Thanks for the opportunity to drop in on you.  It’s been lots of fun!

Thanks so much for your time!

Author Bio

One day, on her way home from work as a sales manager, A. M. Hargrove, realized her life was on fast forward and if she didn't do something soon, it would quickly be too late to write that work of fiction she had been dreaming of her whole life.  So, she rolled down the passenger window of her fabulous (not) company car and tossed out her leather briefcase.  Luckily, the pedestrian in the direct line of fire was a dodgeball pro and had über quick reflexes enabling him to avoid getting bashed in the head.  Feeling a tad guilty about the near miss, A. M. made a speedy turn down a deserted side street before tossing her crummy, outdated piece-of-you-know-what lap top out the window.   She breathed a liberating sigh of relief, picked up her cell phone and hit #4 on her speed dial.

 Boss:  Hello
 A.M.:  Boss, is that you?
 Boss:  Why yes, A. M., who else would be answering my phone?
 A.M.:  Er... right.  Well, I'm calling to let you know you can pick up my luxury Ford Focus at Starbucks near the interstate.
 Boss:  Why ever would I want to do that?
 A.M.:  Because I quit!
 A.M. hit the end button and speed dialed her husband.
 A.M.:  Hi hubs, can you pick me up at Starbucks?
 Hubs:  Sure... Having some car trouble?
 A.M.:  Not at all.  I don't have a car to have trouble with because I just quit my job.
 Hubs:  WHAT?!
 A.M.:  It's time for a new career and I am going to be a very famous novelist.

So began A. M. Hargrove's career as a young adult paranormal romance author of self-published ebooks.  Her series, The Guardians of Vesturon, centers around a family of six siblings and is a mix of humor, mystery, suspense and of course, love.  Survival and Resurrection are her first and second full length novels in the series and Beginnings is the prequel novella.  Her third installment, Determinant, will be released on June 30, 2012.  (It didn’t happen exactly like that, but you get the idea!)

I was lost in the events of the day and the amount of work I had and I was still nursing my wounded ego as I headed out of the lab.  As I made my way down the corridor, I noticed six men advancing toward me. 

It wasn’t their actions I noticed so much or even the way they walked.  And though it was an oddity for them to even be here at all, it was their attire that captured my attention.  They were dressed identically, in an extreme fashion, much like members of a gang or secret society.  Large and muscular, they wore black vests and their bare arms were almost completely tattooed with tribal symbols of a sort.  Metal bands criss-crossed their chests and their legs were tightly encased in leather.  Knee high boots and black gloves finished off their ensembles. 

As I neared them I felt my flesh tingle and the hairs on the back of my neck come to attention.  Gooseflesh erupted and alarms started clanging in my head.  I sucked in my breath and as I did, my eyes connected with the apparent leader.  I say this because he was in the front of the formation as they plodded along.

Time stood still as our eyes connected.  His were an uncanny shade, lavender with hints of indigo and specks of silver.  It was a hue I was unfamiliar with but they were intriguing and fascinating.  The alarms were still ringing in my ears and the air felt electrically charged around us. 


 I turned into stone.  I couldn’t move a muscle.  He cocked his head as his eyes bore into mine.


I distinctly heard his command in my mind and I was helpless to disobey him.  I felt myself take a deep cleansing breath.  I questioned him with my eyes.  He flicked his head toward his men and they stepped back several feet.

“Who are you? Why are you here?”

I was confused by the demanding questions swirling in my brain but felt compelled to answer him.  I had never used mind reading to communicate, but I was sure he would hear my answer.

“I’m January St. Davis.  I’m here working on an internship for college credit.”

“You are human?” he asked with incredulity.

I wasn’t sure what he meant by that.  Why would he want to know if I was human?  What a ridiculous question!