Monday, February 29, 2016

Interview & Giveaway - When in Gnome (Gnome Sweet Gnome, Book 1) by Emily Night

When in Gnome
Gnome Sweet Gnome, Book One
Emily Night 
Genre:  Paranormal Romance
Date of Publication:  September 28, 2015
ISBN:  1515387747 * ASIN:  B017YGK0WU
Number of pages:  355 * Word Count: 90,674 

Book Description:
Evangeline Black quickly becomes entangled in the magic that thrives in Gnome, Mississippi, when she spontaneously shifts into a wolf only hours after arriving. 
Her life is out of control, and she has to rely on the kindness of strangers: the psychic caretaker of the lovely antebellum home where her mother was born, the sheriff who practices his own version of Native American-inspired magic, and a rocker werewolf. While she struggles at the bottom of the magical learning curve, it becomes apparent that someone is stalking her. 
Evangeline quickly learns two things about Gnome. The first is that anything is possible. The second is that magical creatures are much less enchanting when they want you dead. 

“How’s the aura practice been going?” Ben asked.
“Well, I’ve read the book… most of it… and I’ve been practicing.  I’m just too easily distracted.”
“Okay, well, we’re going to work on that because concentration is key to everything, the auras and your shifting.”  Ben excused himself for a moment and went to the kitchen.  When he returned a few minutes later, he had a steaming cup of tea.  “This is what I call a meditational blend, just a few herbs I’ve put together that will help you to reach the desired state a lot quicker.”
“Like LSD?”
Ben laughed.  “Not exactly.  The point isn’t that you hallucinate; it’s that you relax and focus.  You won’t see any pink elephants, I promise.”
I grinned.  I already felt pretty relaxed after the wine.  “You should be wondering about the fact that you offered me some strange drink, and I drank it without question.”
“I assume it means you trust me.”
I did.  “So, will it make the auras more visible?”
“That’s up to the viewer.  The auras are always there.  If you are trying to see them, it will help.  I wouldn’t recommend that a person use this as a crutch, but I feel like you might need a little boost to get started.  So, bottoms up.”
“So, were you born with power, or is it a learned thing?” I asked, as I brought the cup to my lips.
“I believe we’re all born with power.  Free will is the power to choose.  Most people forfeit that power by choosing to accept limitations.  It’s a case of worldwide groupthink.  During our early years, it’s easy to accept the concept of magic.  As we get older, that faith in what is unseen is educated out of us, and we begin to rationalize what we once believed was magic and force it to fit within the limitations of the mainstream worldview.  Once you break away from that groupthink and accept that there is more, that’s when the magic begins.  It may not be much at first, and you are still tempted to rationalize it.”
I nodded.  “It was easy for my friend Aimee to rationalize some of the things I experienced.  The more she tried to convince me I was imagining things, the more I began to think I was crazy.”
Ben nodded.  “There’s a war inside all of us.  Because of your heritage, the part that was telling you to believe was probably a lot stronger than it is for most.”
“Stronger than it was for you?”
“Probably, although, I started exploring at a young age.  I didn’t really allow myself to get to the point where I bought into the mainstream worldview.  I think that made all of the difference.”
I tossed the last of the tea back and swallowed.  There was no sugar in the cup, so the taste was a mixture of grass, bitter plants, and something naturally sweet-tasting like fennel.  “It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.”
Ben grinned, taking the cup from my hands.
I was mesmerized by how graceful his hands were.  They weren’t big and rough.  What can I say?  I’m a hand person.
“Just give it time to kick in,” he said as he gently set the cup on an end table.  I noted that he used a coaster.
“So, out of curiosity, you just made this using the right plants?” I asked.
“Well, it’s a combination of things—plants and my own personal power.  The plants are completely harmless herbs that might be used in cooking or sold over the counter as supplements.  They probably wouldn’t have any effect whatsoever without… help.”
I was trying to focus on what he was saying, but I was distracted by the sensation of tunnel vision.
“I don’t exactly follow a recipe,” Ben continued.  “I just kind of go with my gut.  Different herbs are reputed to have different properties, like for curing the sniffles or having visions, whatever.  I pick certain ones and put them together, but the real magic is in the intent.”
“So, you do a spell over them?”  My words felt thick in my mouth.  The room seemed to be expanding and getting darker at the same time.  I was sure the walls were breathing.
“No, it’s not like I recite an incantation or say magic words or anything.  It’s more like praying and directing my will at them.”
“So… if the real power in the tea is your own, why do you need the tea at all?  What can’t you just..?” I waggled my fingers.
Ben laughed.  “Do what?  The tea is more like a vessel… or a conduit.  I can use a vessel to store power and even concentrate power, which can then be transferred without exhausting my current resources.”
I was feeling the room beginning to spin, and, although I was sitting cross-legged on the carpet, I seemed to be slithering to the floor and nearly fell over backwards.  “O true apothecary!  Thy drugs are quick!” 
Ben laughed as he reached out to catch me.  “Don’t leave just yet.  Try to focus.  Stay with me, okay?”  He propped me up against the couch like I was a rag doll.  Very much unlike a supermodel.
“I’d say that was more than just a little boost.”  My head flopped back on the couch, and I looked up at the ceiling and saw the stars where I was sure there hadn’t been a skylight earlier.  The room was falling away from my vision, and I was looking at the night sky through the trees.  Then I was looking down and saw myself sitting in Ben’s living room with the beautiful man bent over me.  I was watching my own eyes, a dead stare, as my arms lay limp at my sides.  I could hear him urging me to focus, and I sensed the beginnings of concern in his voice.  The tiniest thread of fear that the worst case scenario might have manifested. 
Talking with author Emily Night!

What is your writing environment? 

A British Colonial desk in my living room with my laptop hooked up to a widescreen monitor and keyboard.  I’m easily distracted, so I prefer silence while I write.  I moved a few months ago, and, unfortunately, my new place is kind of noisy.  To block out the noise, I will sometimes listen to music in iTunes or Pandora.  What kind of music I listen to depends on what I’m writing.  When I was writing the beach scene with Evie and Paul, I had Dido’s “Here with Me” on repeat.  When I was writing the parking lot scene with Evie, Paul, and Mackenzie, I was listening to a frenetic mix of Wolfmother, Trapt, Linkin Park, and Avenged Sevenfold.  If I’m not trying to evoke a specific mood, I might be listening to Celldweller, which is somewhere between electronic and industrial rock.  I prefer instrumentals.  I also like to listen to Two Steps from Hell, which is basically Soundtrack music.  Music is very much an important part of my family, and I talk about music a lot in the book.


Do you write everyday? 

If you mean work on a story or novel every day, then no, not every single day.  I set aside time, but sometimes I end up updating social media and working on marketing during this time.  Most of my time is not my own.  However, the books in progress are always at the top of my mind.


What authors have caught your interest lately and why? 

I’m not usually the kind of person to grab something as soon as it’s released, and I’m a slow reader.  So, I’m mostly working through books I’ve had on the shelf for a while.  I can make an enthusiastic recommendation for Ender’s Game.  I really enjoy Jim Butcher’s Dresden series.  Not only does he have a fantastic imagination and complex plots, but his character development is great.  There are moments when I just sit back and go, “Oh wow.”  It’s masterful, the way he tells a story.  A series for children that I enjoyed was the Theodosia series by R. L. LaFevers about a girl whose parents are archaeologists and run a small British museum.  The fourth book, Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh was very moving.  Patricia McKillip writes wonderful and unique fairy tales for adults, my favorite of which is The Book of Atrix Wolf.  I’ve just started House of Leaves, a horror novel by Mark Z. Danielewski.  As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of reality.  Everything I read has a hint of fantasy to it.


Top 3 things on your bucket list? 

To visit Scotland and Ireland has always been at the top of my list.  I love the landscape and the language.  Another thing on my list includes snorkeling with Manatees, and the ultimate experience would be in Belize.  I’ve also always wanted to sail and go out on open water in a sailboat.  I took an excursion once, the only day that the wind wasn’t blowing.  The snorkeling was nice, but I want to experience real sailing.


How did you get the idea for this particular novel? 

At the time when I first conceived of the idea, the market wasn’t saturated with paranormal books, and adult books about a girl learning magic weren’t that common.  So, I wrote what I wanted to read.  I also had an entirely separate idea about this house and its occupant who wasn’t able to leave the house.  I’ve always loved old houses and have lived in a few.  They have character, so old houses are a favorite topic for me.  Over time, the two ideas merged, and it seemed like they had always been meant to be the same story.


What is your favorite scene in your new release? 

I believe it’s the scene where Ben is trying to help Evie focus and learn to shift consciously rather than having the ability manifest only in her sleep.  The scene is flirty, risky, and magical.  I really enjoy talking about the philosophy behind the magic.


What are you working on now and when can we expect it to be available? 

I am writing the sequel to When in Gnome, which is called No Place Like Gnome, and aiming for it to be available before the end of the year.  I’m also finishing up a fairy tale for children, but it will be published under a different name in order to keep the age groups separate.


What do you like to do when you are not writing? 

Sleep is a favorite pastime.  :)  When I’m not at work or writing, I talk to friends or work on art.  I stay pretty busy during the week with no time for TV, so I tend to binge-watch on weekends.  I’ve watched the first two seasons of Mozart in the Jungle and Outlander.  I’m about to start Game of Thrones.  Sometimes I play video games, but I haven’t had much time for those lately.  Or, I’m hanging out with family.


What is one interesting fact about you that readers don’t know? 

When I was twelve, I rode my bike up to the local newspaper office and asked the editor to publish my partially written story.  He was really nice, but he didn’t. 


About the Author:
Emily Night grew up in a series of small towns in Mississippi. The youngest of four children, she dreamed of being a writer from the moment she wrote her first story in the fourth grade. At the age of twelve, she rode her bike up to the square of a small town and asked the editor to publish one of her stories. While the editor did not, he was very kind and encouraging. She graduated magna cum laude from Mississippi College and later obtained a Master's from Belhaven University. She prefers reading and writing fantasy because fantasy allows her to test the modern-day limits of what is possible.


Tour giveaway:
5 signed copies When In Gnome  
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