Renee Writes

Posts tagged Author Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Into the Air by A.K. Downing

Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today I have A.K. Downing visiting with her fantasy novel, Into the Air. She has been kind enough to do an interview with me, so keep reading and enjoy!

A. K. Downing author of Into the Air

A.K. Downing grew up in the hills of southwestern Pennsylvania and spent her summers exploring the fields, woods, and orchards of her grandparents’ farm. She studied graphic design at Kent State University and currently works as a Creative Director. Her young-adult, dystopian fantasy novel, Into the Air, was a category finalist in the 2017 National Indie Excellence Awards. The story follows teenager Mia Bryn and her father as they escape the safety of their underground compound and try to survive in a world no one has inhabited for more than a hundred years.

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About the Book

When Mia Bryn escapes her underground compound, she never imagines her world will explode. Separated from her father and attacked by lethal creatures she never knew existed, Mia tries to survive in a dangerous land she’s only dreamed about. As she battles for her life, Mia finds an abandoned girl, discovers a link to her mother, and is captured by Archer, a cunning, golden-eyed guard. Together, Mia and Archer unravel an evil plot to overthrow the Provinces and Mia realizes she must find a way to save herself and those she loves…or die trying.

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Keep reading for an interview with the author:

What is your favorite book?

I love to read different genres, but YA is my guilty pleasure. A few of my favorites are: City of Bones | A Court of Thorns & Roses | Life of Pi

What is the most recent book you’ve read?

I’m finishing “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas. Somehow I JUST discovered Maas and can’t seem to get enough!

Who is your author role-model?

I love the wit of Charlaine Harris, the epic story telling of Diana Gabaldon, and the teen-age angst of Cassandra Clare.

Where is your favorite place to write?

In the car. It’s when my head is clear and the ideas flow. Ideas do come to me all the time, though. I keep notebooks everywhere!

How do you read a book – cover-to-cover or last page first?

I read cover-to-cover, although I skip ahead sometimes to make sure someone isn’t dead!

What is a writing goal you have?

To finish The Air Series before my daughter is in high school. Look for the Book 2 in Spring 2018!

If you could sum up your writing style in a word or phrase what would it be?

Into the Air doesn’t neatly fit into one category. It’s a post-apocalyptic story, but takes place a century after “the catastrophic event,” and focuses on a healing earth. It’s science-fiction in the sense that it takes place in a future world, but it doesn’t rely on new technology. And it’s fantasy because my main character has “powers.”

Your book has such a unique plot. Where did you find your inspiration?

A few years ago, my husband was watching “prepper” shows. During one episode, a man built an underground compound for his family in case there was a “catastrophic event.” The idea stuck with me and filled me with questions: How long could people survive underground? How would they know it was safe to enter the outside world again? Shortly after, I started writing “Into the Air.”

Will we get to read more about Mia and her adventures above ground?

Yes! There are two more novels. The second will release Spring 2018 and picks up a week after the first ends. Mia struggles with her increasing importance, grows closer to Archer, and is reunited with someone she thought was dead.

How do you describe Mia’s experience in the air?

Mia’s experience is a contrast in opposites. She’s thrilled to escape her compound, but almost dies trying survive in the outside world. She’s terrified that her father has been taken, but discovers a connection with Archer. She thinks her life is ordinary, but discovers she’s more important than she ever imagined.

I am rooting for Mia and Archer. What’s next?

Mia and Archer come from two different worlds. In some ways their worlds collide and in other ways, they remain separate. It’s a romance that will keep you guessing.


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Author Spotlight: MIND: The Beginning – A #SciFi Novel by Jenn Nixon


Welcome to this week’s Friday Author Spotlight! Today I’m happy to welcome Jenn Nixon to my little home on the net. She’s here to share her science fiction novel, MIND: The Beginning with us. She has also shared an excerpt, but first, let’s learn more about her.

Jenn’s love of writing started the year she received her first diary and Nancy Drew novel. Throughout her teenage years, she kept a diary of her personal thoughts and feelings but graduated from Nancy Drew to other mystery suspense novels.

She often adds a thriller and suspense element to anything she writes be it Romance, Science Fiction, or Fantasy. When not writing, she spends her time reading, observing pop culture, playing with her two dogs, and working on various charitable projects in her home state of New Jersey.

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About the Book

Dina knew being a psychic meant her life would always be different and dangerous. After she loses telepathic contact with her twin brother and stumbles onto his covert government group policing psychics, she thought she’d seen it all. Then she meets Liam of Shria, a self-proclaimed “alien”, and with his help learns she’s much more than the typical psychic.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

“I had a feeling I’d see you again,” the voice called.

Dina looked around the wooded area, feeling confused for a moment. It seemed familiar. Across the marsh, Liam was leaning against a tree, casually dressed, hair slightly less shaggy than it had been last time, hands shoved in his skinny jeans. A light mist lingered over the grass, a taste of salt in the air. How did she get here?


“Didn’t think it would be this soon,” he replied with a shrug.

The Gut surrounded her. She didn’t remember coming here, yet she was in the Bay Hook. Solid ground beneath her feet and the stench she breathed in, all real. “Why, uh . . . did you come back?”

“The real question is why did you call me here?”

“What are you talking about? You were already here, and I didn’t call. I don’t even have your number.”

“Want it?” he asked, smirking, then shook his head. “No, wait . . . oh. Uninhibited speech, foggy backdrop, extra flirty. I get it.”

“Get what?”

“We’re dreaming. You’re asleep right?”

“No,” she spat, spreading her arms, twisting in place. She pulled a cattail-punk out of the ground and shook it at him. “We’re in the Hook, hello, don’t you see the trees? Can’t you smell the marsh?”

“You must have been thinking about me, which is normal, frankly, given the circumstances. But how the hell are you keeping me here?”

“I’m not doing anything.”

“Dina, did both your parents have psionic abilities?”

“Only my father, why?”

“Curious,” he said, moving toward her, gray eyes sweeping up and down. “What about his parents, either of them?”

“I don’t know. What does it matter?”

“People don’t normally share dreams. You’re strong—”

“Why does everyone keep saying that?” Dina threw her hands up in the air and walked away. “Who cares if I am or not? There’s some dude out there burning up people, and I don’t have time to tramp around the swamp with E.T.”

“What did you say?”

“Nothing. Doesn’t matter. I’m outta here.”

“Wait, Dina,” he said, catching up and surpassing her. He grabbed both her arms to stop her. “You really are dreaming.”

Everything around her was too real to be a dream. She felt the pressure of his fingers, even the sinking feeling of her feet on the soft ground. “So this isn’t the Gut, it’s a dream? Right, and you’re sharing it with me, sure.”

“You’re amazing!” He laughed boyishly. “Even after all you’ve seen, you’re still questioning everything.”

“Then prove it to me. Call me, here’s my number,” she said, mentally sending the digits to his head.

Liam smiled at her. A sweet, sincere smile that made her smile back before shrugging.


Her eyes popped open. The ceiling of her bedroom stared back. “Oh, what the hell?”

Dina sat up, brow furrowed. She reached toward the nightstand for her phone. Was it going to ring? It had felt as if she had been there, standing in the grass with Liam. She shut her eyes, trying to bring the images back, but they were already fading.

Had she just shared a dream with Liam?



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Author Spotlight: Londinium by Debbie Manber Kupfer


Welcome to another Friday Author Spotlight! Today I’ve got Debbie Manber Kupfer returning with the latest book in her P.A.W.S. saga, Londinium. She’s shared an excerpt from the book as well, so keep reading!

Debbie grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!

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About the Book

“The pea soup has spoken,” said Caradog. “You are destined for Londinium.”

“Londinium?” asked Miri.

“It was the ancient city from which London sprang. The P.A.W.S. Institute of Londinium is the oldest in the world. It started before the city of today existed and straddles the old and the new. Unfortunately, today it is run by a fool.”

Join Miri as she continues her journey through Umbrae and Londinium with the help of werecats, wild warlocks, an old dog, a duck, and a whole lot of pea soup.

The P.A.W.S. Saga continues with Londinium.

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Keep reading for an excerpt:

“Hellooo,” said Precipitous. “Whatever are you doing in there?”

“I was a duck,” said Xavier. “But now I’m not.”

“Well,” said Precipitous. “Do you want to be a duck?”

“Oh, yes, I liked being a duck,” said Xavier, sniffing.

“Well, come out of there, lad, and we’ll see what we can do.”

Xavier pulled himself out of the bush and stood up in front of the odd-looking man.

“Come with me,” he said, and Xavier followed. They walked through the park until they came to a large horse chestnut tree. The ground in front of the tree was filled with discarded sticks. It was conker season, and Xavier only yesterday had been throwing sticks up at this tree trying to get them down.

Now as he watched, the odd man picked up one of the discarded sticks and traced the letters P, A, W, and S on the trunk of the tree. His eyes widened as a green door appeared in the trunk, and the man opened it.

“After you,” he said. Xavier walked in and the man followed. He flicked a switch on the wall and revealed a row of buttons. He pressed one, and a voice echoed into the small room. “Who is it?” the voice croaked.

“Precipitous Brew and, um, a duck!”

“Very well, bring them down here.”

“Come on, lad,” said Precipitous and led Xavier through another door and down a long spiral staircase. Xavier was breathing heavily by the time they reached the bottom, but the old man seemed barely winded.

They were met at the bottom by an even older man with a croak in his voice. “Follow me,” he said.

They walked down a long corridor, and Xavier noticed carvings of all kinds of animals on the walls: cats, dogs, weasels, squirrels, and birds a plenty, and even a camel.

At the bottom of the corridor was another door, and the older man turned to Xavier. “What is your name, lad?”

“Xavier Woods,” said the boy.

The man took out what appeared to be a silver wand and pointed it at the boy and intoned a spell:

“Xavier ut iam intraret in anatis P.A.W.S. of Londinium.”

Xavier gazed at the wall by the door and noticed a new carving. A large, fat mallard duck.

“Xavier Woods, you may now enter P.A.W.S.,” said the man, and the three of them walked through the door.

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