1. What was your inspiration for "The Awakening?"
Honestly, it was just a random thought brought on by nine year old niece’s drawing. She drew a picture of a girl that had oddly colored eyes. They were mostly blue, but she put in swirls of silver. I thought to myself, now why would anyone have eyes like that? And that is how Awakening was born. Straight from the crazy insane drawing of a nine year old.
2. Awakening includes multiple mythical beings. How did you decide which ones to use?
It came down to the eyes. The character’s eyes play a huge role in the book. The eyes truly are windows to the soul. For Alex, the main character, her eyes were midnight blue that would swirl with a silver color. She has a vast heritage that includes witches, shape shifters and a piece that she will discover in the upcoming books. Devon, her protector, has eyes that go black with red rings. My first thought…vamp…NAH. Way to overdone. I came up with an alternative. He was cursed by Gypsies because he wouldn’t take a life. Now, he’s forced to kill to appease the beast inside because of the curse. Next we have Morgan, one of her two best friends. His eyes glow amber and hence he is a shifter, a wolf specifically. Saidie is her second best friend and we discover she has the Necromancer gene hardwired into her DNA. She has dominion over the dead and she pretty much has her own book. It’s the next book in the series, "Necromancer." And last, but certainly not least, we have Connor. Thanks to his Irish ancestry he inherited The Sight. He can see future images and sense when something is going to happen. Roll all of these guys into one group and you’ve built a powerful force to be reckoned with.
3. Alex refers to "The Event" in the early chapters. Without giving too much away, how does this effect her as a character?
There are moments in all our lives that we can never forget. Some are good memories, some are bad memories, but they stay with us. The “Event” did that for Alex. It defined her for more than ten years of her life. It is the moment when everything changed for her. The Night Terrors started, her sanity started leaking away, and she became withdrawn. She lost all her friends and became the girl who everyone picked on and made fun of because she was so alone and withdrawn. She became the freak. It made her vulnerable and terrified of everyone and everything. It became who she was for a long time until she found the courage to face it.
4. Starting over is a prominent theme in "The Awakening." What new challenges does Alex face in this book?
She is coming home to face her demons. She left after having a mental breakdown in front of the entire school. Now she has to face everyone there and try for a normal life. She is also faced with having her heart both broken and mended for the first time and finding friends that will stick by her through everything no matter how weird or strange things might get. It’s a story about a girl finding herself and realizing that she’s more than just a crazy nut job. It’s about finding acceptance and strength, and realizing that she is worth the effort.
5. The relationships in "Awakening" play a big part in the story's development. Can you describe the differences between the relationships Alex has with the male characters?
Alex and Morgan: Alex and Morgan share a bond that goes beyond friendship, beyond family, beyond romance. It’s a soul bond. They literally share the same soul. What one feels so does the other. It can get a little irritating at times too…lol. It can cause problems, but it’s also wonderful. She will never again be alone or lonely so long as the other shall live.
Alex and Devon: He’s bossy, irritating, and arrogant. She spends half her time wanting to wring his neck and the other half wanting to kiss him. Their bond was instant and can’t be broken no matter what happens. Modern day relationships are more blasé, more about we need to get to know each other. Alex and Devon are different. Their relationship follows the old world code, where you understood that this person is special the moment you meet and that’s it for you. They are meant for each other, they each know it, but there’s only one problem. Devon refuses to let himself be happy. He wants to protect her and he might be the very thing she needs protecting from. So what does he do? He pushes her away by dating another girl and destroys her heart. Doesn’t mean she won’t do anything in her power to make him see reason.
Alex and Tom: Tom is the only real human in the book besides her Dad. He has liked her since they were kids and now that she’s home, he pursued her with a vengeance. He mended her heart after Devon broke it and has wormed his way in. She needs him as much as she does Devon, but in a different way. It’s not fair to him and she knows it, but she needs him.
6. Behind the general craziness of Alex's everyday life there is a mystery surrounding her family. How did you develop the family's backstory?
Well, once I figured out what she was, I started to add bits and pieces. I wanted it to be steeped in dark history so I started building from there. It all just sort of popped out on paper all once. It’s not something I can explain. One day, it just sorta formed in my head and there it was.
7. This is the first book in "The Bloodline Series." Can you tell us a little bit about your plans for the rest of the series?
The books tell the story of how Alex became Alexandria Nicolette Deveraux. The first book introduced us to her history and how she came into her powers. The next few books will take us through the steps of that journey. Book 2 will help us to understand more about her magic and why Saidie’s death magic affects her. Book 3 will show us Devon’s story and why he came to Jacob’s Fork to protect Alex. Book 4 will test the bonds that bind the friend together and Book 5 will be the last of the series. Alex will have to face her ancestor’s past and chose her path.
8. Who are your favorite authors?
Good Lord there are so many…lol. My top authors though are Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher. My top YA authors are Richelle Mead and Kira Saito.
9. Do you have any interesting rituals or habits when you write?
I’m a chronic insomniac so I write most of my stuff between 3 and 5am. I almost can never sit down during the day, especially if I actually got sleep, and write. I need the sleep deprived brain to write. I have to have a can of Coke too. Coke and peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.
10. Can you tell us about any other books or future projects in the works?
Currently I am working on three novels:
The Oath, Book 2 of The Coven Series
Necromancer, Book 2 of the Bloodlines Series
The Ghost Files of M. Hathaway, Volume I.
The Ghost files are what I am most focused on at the moment, though. It’s darker than what I normally write and I need to finish it…lol. It won’t leave me alone until I do. Way too many characters running around in this sleep deprived noggin of mine.
Thanks for having me, Sheree! It’s always a pleasure.
You can get your copy of The Awakening from Amazon Kindle, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and most major ebook retailers. Check out The Awakening book trailer as well.
Baker's "The Promise" is also available from Amazon and B&N, and you can also view the book trailer here.