I’m thrilled to have fellow YA Indie Carnival author Courtney Cole here on Laurasmagicday. Welcome Courtney! I was excited to hear that you completed The Bloodstone Saga and couldn’t wait to have you here to talk about My Tattered Bonds! Here’s what I’m dying to know:
Me: What was your favorite scene to write from My Tattered Bonds or from the entire Bloodstone Saga?
Courtney: Oh, wow. This one is a hard one, Laura. There were lots of really fun scenes to write. Yikes. I think I would have to say the end of My Tattered Bonds. My main character, Harmonia, had to overcome quite a lot throughout the four books of the series and it was really gratifying to pull everything together for her at the end. She deserved it.
Me: When did you know you were writing a series? Did you map it out from the beginning or did it just evolve?
Courtney: I knew from the beginning that it wouldn’t just be one book. I just didn’t know how many there would be. It kind of evolved as I continued writing…
Me: Tell us a little bit about My Tattered Bonds and The Bloodstone Saga? Can you share an excerpt?
Courtney: The Bloodstone Saga revolves around a girl who happens to be a goddess. Although, in the beginning, during the first book, Every Last Kiss, she doesn’t realize that. She thinks that she is a normal girl from Pasadena, CA. Her memories were stolen by the Fates and she was led to believe that she was something that she wasn’t— a keeper of Fate. As the other books continue, her true memories return and the importance of who she is in the entire scheme of things becomes apparent and the fate of the world literally sits on her shoulders.
My Tattered Bonds is the final leg of her adventure. Her daughter was stolen in the third book, With My Last Breath and so in the final book, she must travel to the Underworld to get her back. And I would love to share an excerpt of when she discovers that she must go to the Underworld.
In this excerpt, Harmonia has gone to seek out the advice of the Oracle of the Dead. She is accompanied by her husband Cadmus, her mother Aphrodite, her father Ares, her sister Ortrera (a queen of the Amazons), Ortrera’s warriors and Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. They are standing behind the ruined temple Necremanteion on the banks of the Acheron river in Greece. The Oracle has just appeared to them.
The Oracle was a frightening sight. She was as pale as a ghost, perched on a gnarled, tall stool that hadn’t been there just a scant moment ago. She seemed to almost float. She was naked, but for a dark, crimson hooded cloak. Her face was barely visible from beneath the hood. The cloak was wrapped loosely around her, so loosely that her naked body, riddled with blue scrawling veins, was apparent.
As she hunched over, she held the goblet of my blood in her hands and it was clear that she had drunk from it. My blood streaked down her chin. She slowly lifted the cup again and took another long sip. As she did, she moaned a long shaking sigh.
“I saw visions of you long ago,” she whispered. “So long ago. And now you are here before me. You are ready to fulfill the prophecy, are you not?”
Her whispers were quiet, but they held so much weight. They cut the air like a scalpel and we hung on every word.
She slowly turned her face to meet my gaze and once again, I wanted to gasp but did not. Her eyes were made from blood. They were not bleeding as the Keres did, hers were different. They had no pupil or iris or white. They were blood. My stomach turned queasy and I gripped my hands together tightly.
“Will you do what you must?” she queried. “No matter the personal cost, will you pay it?”
I paused. What would be asked of me? What did I have to give? But in that moment, a vision of my daughter’s young, innocent face formed in my mind and I knew that I would give anything. It did not matter what was asked of me, if I had it to give, I would.
“Yes,” I whispered.
“No matter the cost?” she persisted.
“No matter the cost,” I confirmed softly. My knees felt weak, but I did not flinch or move. I prayed that she did not sense my fear.
“You will face challenges that seem insurmountable,” she stated calmly. “You must focus on your purpose and on your strength and you will persevere. There will be times when you question even each other. Focus on the love that you have and you will overcome.”
I chanced a sidelong glance at everyone else. They were watching the Oracle in rapt fascination.
She drew my attention back to her in a raspy whisper.
“You may have one question answered, but only one. Choose wisely.”
My mind instantly whirled. What should I ask? Did I want to know if I lived or died? What obstacles would we face? No. I knew without question what I wanted to ask and I didn’t hesitate.
“Where is my daughter?”
She cocked her head and studied me.
“She is where you must go,” she answered cryptically. “When you reach her, you will find all that you seek.”
“But where is that?” I asked tremulously.
“You will find her in the Underworld.” The Oracle nodded slowly. And I thought back to the word Raquel had scratched into the sand in my vision. HELL. I gulped hard.
“And everyone else? They are in the Underworld also?”
“I am only able to answer one question,” the Oracle replied, her voice an eerie creak. “Only one. Have faith, Chosen One, and you will prevail.”
She began fading until only her eyes were visible, and then they disappeared as well.
“I will prevail,” I repeated. “But will I survive it?”
I turned and faced my parents, my husband, my sister and her warriors. They didn’t have an answer for me, but my husband’s jaw was clenched.
“Of course you will survive it,” he insisted. “I will make sure of it.”
I smiled gently at him. “We should go. Our daughter is waiting.”
I turned to Hecate. “How do we get there?”
She motioned to the old ruins. “This temple is an entrance to the Underworld. Follow me.”
“How convenient,” I muttered. But I stood aside and allowed her to walk past me into the ruins.
Me: Goblets of blood? I’m in! Creepy passage, perfect for Halloween. What struggles did you have to overcome to write My Tattered Bonds?
Courtney: The hardest thing for me was having to remember minute details from the other three books. I found myself constantly looking back through them, hunting for something that I had forgotten. I have a horrible memory. My daughter is always worried that I’m going to forget her someplace.
Me: Hee-hee, sounds like me:) What is one thing you’d like your readers to take away from your books?
Courtney: I try very hard to bring mythology alive–to make it interesting and to give the ancient gods and goddesses personalities all their own. So, I guess I hope that my readers decide that mythology is cool, after all.
Me: What’s the most awkward moment you had [and wouldn't mind sharing] in high school?
Courtney: Um, do I have to pick just one? There were so many! My best friend (she’s been my best friend since second grade so she knows everything there is to know about me) just reminded me the other night about something stupid I did—she still finds it hilarious.
We were driving my car, which happened to be a stick shift. A car full of good-looking guys pulled up next to us and we were flirting a LOT, thinking that we were quite the little hotties. The light turned green and I messed up shifting—not only grinding the gears, but I think I killed the engine too. Smooooooth, right? My BFF will never let me forget that one.
Something else that I’ve never forgotten… I was just coming in from Cross-country practice with a group of cross-country guys and another boy, a really shy boy, approached me in front of the entire cross country team. Why he chose that moment- in front of an entire sports team, I don’t know- but he asked me to an upcoming Homecoming dance—which I already had a date for. I knew it took a lot of guts on his part- because he was really shy. But I already had a date- so what could I do? I had to tell him that and he turned BRIGHT red and kind of shuffled away. I’ve never forgotten it- because do we ever really learn a graceful way to turn someone down?
Me: Awwww, poor guy! Thanks for sharing, Courtney:) What are you working on now? Can you share a blurb from your new book?
I would love to! I’m working on a spin-off series from the Bloodstone Saga called the Moonstone Saga. It follows one of the characters that I introduced in My Tattered Bonds.
Question: When your mother is a powerful witch and your father is a soul-sucking vampire, what does that make you?
With all the beauty and charm of a Siren, but cursed as a blood-sucking succubus, Empusa longs for love and a normal life. Neither of these can ever be hers, because the only thing she brings to anyone she loves is death.
This series is totally going to rock. I’m writing the first book, Soul Kissed, right now and I’m loving every bit of it. Empusa’s hiding out from her father in the mortal world, which of course brings with it a whole new set of problems. So much fun to write!
Me: What are you dressing up as for Halloween? Do you have any incriminating photos from years past that you might share?
Courtney: This year, in honor of my Bloodstone Saga, I am going to be Aphrodite (Harmonia’s mother). I thought about Cleopatra, because she’s in Every Last Kiss, but I’m way too tall to be her. I’m 5’10”! So, Aphrodite it is.
I have tons of incriminating photos from years past, but I can’t share them. I dropped my beloved Mac while moving it some months back and it broke! (Insert hysterical sobbing here). All of our pictures from the last 5 years or so were on it! I keep meaning to take it in to a shop somewhere to have them extracted, but haven’t gotten around to it yet….
Thank you so much for having me here, Laura. It was fun!!
Courtney’s website: www.courtneycolewrites.com
Her Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Courtney-Cole/e/B004Y4Z8ZU/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1318614296&sr=8-1