Today we welcome Emily-Jane Hills Orford to the blog. She’s sharing with us an excerpt from her latest book Beauty in the Beast and then letting us get to know her better through an author interview. And don’t you just love this cover? I think it is beautiful. Be sure to leave her a comment because she loves to hear from readers! Follow the tour for even more. And then best of luck in the giveaway!
Priya, a name that suggests beautiful. Amell, a name that suggests all powerful. One is a beautiful young lady; the other a beast. Their paths have crossed before, only Priya doesn’t remember Amell from her past. Or does she? And what does it all mean? The Amell she meets is part beast. So are the others at Castle Mutasim. Is she one of them, too? How can this be? What manner of creature would experiment on other living creatures, to mutate them into something bizarre and, sometimes, downright dangerous? Priya has to know. She wants to know. And she wants to make things right.
Read an excerpt:
“Amell,” she screamed. “Amell. Help me.” She was pinned in a hunk of metal, the world around her growing darker by the minute. And it was cold. Bitter. Bone-chilling. A soft tongue licked her cheek. Whines and a warm breath slipped into her ear. Bear. Her three-year-old mutt, a Border Collie-Black Lab mix. Black and white. Full of love and mischief. Her strength in a time of need. Like right now. She had rescued Bear. A puppy tossed in a dumpster. Left to die. The two were inseparable. Now, she was failing Bear. And they would die. One final scream, “Amell.” “I’m so sorry, Bear,” she whispered. As she slipped into oblivion, she felt a fog of confusion slither through her brain. Who is Amell?
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Describe your book in one sentence or fewer than 25 words.
Priya, a name that suggests beautiful. Amell, a name that suggests all powerful. One is a beast, or both of them beasts?
What was the inspiration behind this book?
I have always loved a good fairy tale. It’s not the happily-ever-after romantic lure that attracts me, but rather the fantasy elements, the battles of good against evil and the triumphs of all that is good. I love the beautiful, strong female character who epitomizes all that is good. “Beauty and the Beast” is perhaps one of my favorite fairy tales. I wanted to recreate this romantic original, and the crime-stopping 1987-1990 television series, “Beauty and the Beast,” and suggest that there is some merit behind the many legends that inspire the mythical ‘beast’ in so many cultures, like the D’Sonoqua and Sasquatch which I used in this story. And then there’s the possibility, with growing advancements in science, to create test-tube babies that are really mutants with multiple genes from various creatures. Science fiction and fantasy at its finest. I love a good ‘what if’ theme.
Tell us about your other published works.
I began my writing career writing creative nonfiction, stories about real people, mostly people I had the privilege of knowing. I still write these kinds of stories, but I’ve branched out considerably. Since I read a lot of different genres, I wanted to try writing in some of my favorite genres, including fantasy, science fiction and historical fiction. I love combining genres. My award-winning novel, “Queen Mary’s Daughter,” combines time travel (science fiction or fantasy?) and historical fiction, following one of my favorite historical characters, Mary Queen of Scots. I continued this mixed genre with “King Henry’s Choice.” I have a couple of other books (not yet published, but in the works) using this combined genre: “Anna Regina: Daughter of a Queen” and “The Door, the Key and the Kingdom.” I also combined genres in my “Piccadilly Street” series. Using stories from my own childhood, memories of growing up in a haunted house, some of the story is creative nonfiction, whilst other parts are pure fantasy and paranormal. The series began with one book, “Mrs. Murray’s Ghost,” and continued with “Mrs. Murray’s Hidden Treasure,” “Mrs. Murray’s Home,” and “Mr. Murray’s Gun.” Still in the works is the fifth book of this series, “Mrs. Murray Goes to High School.” I think combining genres makes my writing unique and it certainly allows me to explore my many preferences, both in reading and writing.
What is your writing routine?
I’m an early riser. Before I even think about breakfast, I do some serious writing. This includes my daily journal entry (very important for a writer). I always write in my journal first thing in the morning because if I leave it until the end of the day, I’m too exhausted and I tend to find excuses not to do it. I rely on my journal entries to confirm ideas and events that I want to include in my stories. Then I do a quick glance through my emails and take care of immediate queries. The third portion of my morning writing routine is actually writing, working on my current work-in-progress, whatever novel I’m working on at the time. Right now it’s “Mrs. Murray Goes to High School,” Book 5 in the “Piccadilly Street” series. Satisfied that I’ve nurtured my creativity and awakened ideas left dormant overnight, I finish getting up, having breakfast and walking the dog. Then it’s back to writing. This is usually the time when I work on my book reviews (I write a lot of book reviews – it’s a great way to hone the craft of writing and improve my writing skills and to promote myself as a writer) and my short stories, creative nonfictions stories and nonfiction articles. If there’s some editing I need to look after, this is when I do it. I take a break to care for the dog and other mundane household tasks. Then I spend some time reading (for pleasure, not for book reviewing) – always an important part of a writer’s growth. I finish my day with more writing, more reading, and lots of thinking (for without that creative thought process, there is no writing).
What is the best writing advice you ever received?
Write, read and write some more. Never give up. Don’t allow rejections to get you down. A rejection doesn’t always mean the writing is bad; mostly it means you haven’t found the right market for your work.
Who is your writing muse?
My dog. I even wrote his story, “To Be a Duke”. Sadly, it’s out of print.
When not writing, what can we find you doing?
If I’m not writing, I’m either working in the garden (outside in the fairer months and inside during the cold, winter months), working on my needle-art projects and reading. Always reading.
What is something on your bucket list you have accomplished? Want to accomplish?
What every writer wants: to be a bestselling author.
What would you do if you won the lottery?
I would start my own book publishing house and only cater the new and rising stars in the world of literature. I would also have a tearoom where I can share special baked goodies, fine teas, and lots of good conversation (always about books). Oh! And my tearoom would have its own bookstore featuring books produced by my publishing house. It’s fun to dream, isn’t it?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I love to hear from my readers. I have a fan in Australia who loved my earlier novels. I hear from her on occasion. I appreciate all the comments and reviews people post on Amazon and Goodreads. It helps. It really does.
Emily-Jane Hills Orford is a country writer, living just outside the tiny community of North Gower, Ontario, near the nation’s capital. With degrees in art history, music and Canadian studies, the retired music teacher enjoys the quiet nature of her country home and the inspiration of working at her antique Jane Austen-style spinet desk, feeling quite complete as she writes and stares out the large picture window at the birds and the forest. She writes in several genres, including creative nonfiction, memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction. http://emilyjanebooks.ca
Emily-Jane Hills Orford will be awarding a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway