Sunday, December 30, 2012

Owlet Blog Tour: read-along excerpt, interview & giveaway

Owlet by Emma Michaels
YA fantasy *eBook*Pages: 170
Publisher: Tribute Books*Release: October 13, 2012
Kindle | Nook | iBookstore | Smashwords | PDF | GoodReads 

Somewhere between falling and flying… there is a girl.

Iris has a secret. She lost her memory eight years ago and never told a living soul. After an asthma attack one night she finds out that her dreams of a strange house on a snowy island may be a memory resurfacing but the more she learns about the past the more she realizes the life she has been living is a lie. As the façade her father has built starts to crumble around her she will have to decide which means more to her; the truth or her life.

Excerpt for the read along:

Falcon watched Iris as he spoke, “I couldn’t sleep for a week after the first time Caleb explained what splitting my soul was doing to me and how it worked; that half of my soul was falcon and the other half was human. He told me about how the mammalian reflex works on Stryx. How it is because of their human weakness. The soul of the bird can handle the frozen water but it can’t stay connected to the human half, making the body go into shock and the human soul retract...leaving you with nothing.”

“Did he tell you why? Why he wanted to train it out of you? Why he felt you were special?”

“He said that he had always been curious about something. He wanted to see if he could make a person more bird than human. He said that it would make them stronger and they wouldn’t have to worry about their human side.”

“That doesn’t make sense. As a group we all feel trapped, we all feel like we spend our lives searching for more and wishing we were flying. If the human side were to retract any more, then the balance would shatter. Our two sides make us whole. The bird would be trapped in a human body alone and unable to ever fly or dream. The human side would eventually disappear. It wouldn’t make a person stronger, it would drive them mad.”

“Luckily it didn’t work. Every time he tried to split me, to make my falcon take over, the two sides changed and started to mend and become interlaced instead of separate. I still have my balance but the side of me that is falcon is no longer purely falcon and the side of me that is human now has a piece of falcon to accompany it at all times.” Falcon walked to Iris’ side and sat down on the bed. He had never told anyone what had happened to his soul, seeing as that Elena and Roger had already known. He wasn’t sure how Diana would react. He knew what he had told her earlier would have given most of it away, but he wanted her to trust him and so was speaking with her openly about it. She had done so much for Iris and was so important to her that he felt like it was the right thing to do.

“Our souls are only meant to guide us, not have any true control or ability over our bodies. Has that changed for you? Can your falcon still guide you?” Diana wasn’t looking at Falcon. She was looking at Iris with concern radiating in her eyes.

“I let my heart guide me. It does change but not in the way you would think. It feels like it is more...oh, how do I explain it? Connected. I feel more connected to my falcon and more in-sync with him. He isn’t just the other half of my soul. He is a part of me, the way it was supposed to be originally. We both...” He stared at Iris.

About the author:
Emma Michaels

Emma Michaels is the author of the ‘A Sense of Truth’ and ‘Society of Feathers’ series. Her goal with her latest YA novel 'Owlet' is to give others what she did not have growing up; a strong female protagonist with asthma.  While her previous aspiration was to be a lady knight she realized that not being able to run more than a few feet might become a hindrance so turned to writing instead. Her day jobs include being a cover artist, marketing consultant and silk screen designer. 

As the founder of The Writers Voice blog she loves to connect authors and readers. As a book blogger turned author, she was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, until she moved at eighteen to Washington State. Suddenly, the world was a new place filled with tall green trees that reached further for the sky with every moment, making her want to do the same. Ever since, she has tried to make her life something new and different from what it was before, pursuing her future career, setting high goals and reaching for them. With the support of her fiancé, Chihuahua, and her amazing blog followers and fellow bloggers, she wants to prove to the world that anything is possible and help inspire fellow literary lovers to reach for their dreams.

An interview with Emma Michaels

1) When did you get the spark of an idea for a story which then became
I had a dream about a girl reaching for an owl, grabbing a part of the soul of the owl and being able to fly. The dream reminded me that I love ornithology and because I have always been the type of person who scribbles in notebooks in bloomed into an idea. The harder part of the inspiration was trying to decide if I should write Iris as an asthmatic. It has always been something I am passionate about because I have been a lifelong asthmatic but I wasn’t sure I was good enough to do it. Finally my now fiancé told me that I didn’t have to be J K Rowling to at least try so I did.

2) What is Owlet about? How did you go about crafting your worldbuilding?
Owlet is about Iris and originally she and Falcon were the two characters that came to me first. Then Roger and Jarem, and Caleb and Nathaniel. This may sound weird but as soon as I started drawing Iris and Falcon I drew a picture of Roger and Jarem, staring each other down but with a lot of brotherly love in their faces. It was almost like through the course of a few months I had all of the characters introducing themselves to me and it was up to me to put together the puzzle of what had happened.

3) Iris is asthmatic. Why choose asthma? Also, I was wondering if you were starting a charity or aligning with an organization with the publication of your book and what readers could do to support it?
To be honest, I wrote an asthmatic character because I was tired of waiting for someone else to do it. I know I am no J K Rowling and no Tamora Pierce whose words have always been able to move the hearts of others but I wanted an asthmatic character who could show that you don’t have to be able to run across the world to be able to have an impact. I had a moment when I was about ten where I was reading a book and the main character ran for five days to get to the man she loved. I was heartbroken after reading it because I knew I couldn’t run. For most of my life running more than 4 steps or so has made me wheeze. I always had to keep a steady pace, always had to keep my emotions very carefully in check and felt like it held me back. I wanted to write a leading female that could make other girls not feel like they had to go it alone. Like sometimes the world really won’t give you lemons so what do you do? Plant a tree.

I have struggled to the find the perfect organization to support because there are so many. The organization that saved my life time and time again was because I simply couldn’t afford my inhalers but have always had severe enough asthma that one night without them meant going to the ER. I want to support that foundation because they saved me but I am also on the hunt for another foundation that has a wider target and is smaller and more personal but with goals I feel are headed in the right direction with focuses on knowledge, research and helping those who have asthma. I try to post on my blog sidebar anytime I find a charity I feel very passionate about so feel free to stop by for updates as I hunt.

4) Which character came easily for you to write? Were any difficult? Did you have any 'surprises' while writing (any new characters/situations/conflicts arise)?
I had many surprises while writing, especially my final draft. Suddenly key plot elements were changing on me even after years of working from my outline. So I threw the outline out the window and followed my heart. I don’t regret it a single bit.

5) I'm always curious why authors choose to write for the young adult audience. Did you start out writing primarily for this market and why? What's the best part of being a YA author?
Ahhh VERY good question. When I was younger people had to try VERY hard to get me to read. Until I hit about 10 and was given a young adult novel. Suddenly my love for reading took off. No one had to worry about the content of what I was reading because they put their trust in the YA authors and so I was able to read anything and everything YA. While my family encouraged me to read adult novels (especially my father who is a fantasy and romance fan) I just loved the captured essence of when a child becomes an adult, when their emotions are at their highest along with their confusion. It is a hard point in anyone’s life simply because it is so different and confusing. YA novels helped me and I want to get to do the same for others.

6) It is an exciting time to be a writer. I believe I read you started as a blogger. Can you share a little of your journey.
Yes I did. I wasn’t sure I wanted to put my work out there but I knew I wanted to get to talk about books because I love them so much and wanted a chance to share that love, to spread the word about lesser known novelists I was finding and a way to keep track of the multitude of books I was reading. I started blogging and about a year later decided to take the big step into the publishing world when I found my first publisher Bokheim Publishing. From there it went on and now here I am publishing with the amazing Tribute Books!

7) Are you a 'pantser' or 'plotter'?
A mix of the two. I start as a plotter as I get to know my characters and the overall story arc then in my second draft, things get crazy and I end up flying by the seat of my pants. :p

8) Since this is a series, what can readers look forward to in the next book?
Iris isn’t going to just prove that she won’t let her asthma get in her way, there is so much more trying to stop her from who she is meant to become. We get to find out more about the Eyrie with Iris and she isn’t going to follow in the footsteps of another when it comes to Caleb. She isn’t the type of girl to run from someone she knows wants to hurt those she loves, no matter what the consequences might be.

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  1. Laurie, thanks for inviting Emma by for a great, in-depth interview about 'Owlet.' Very enjoyable! Happy New Year :)

  2. This book sounds really cool! Even though the summary isn't long, it's got me hooked! Hope I win!

    1. Marie @ Marie's Bookworm Blog