Wednesday, November 4, 2015

REVIEW & AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Splintered Souls / Erica Lucke Dean

Paranormal Romance

Disclaimer time! Erica and I share a publisher (Red Adept Publishing), but this in no way affected my review. I received a free pre-release copy of Splintered Souls in order to offer my honest opinion, and I liked the book enough to blurb it. What follows is basically the review to back-up that blurb.

In Erica Lucke Dean's New Adult paranormal romance Splintered Souls, a centuries-old curse envelops a contemporary college student in the love triangle of love triangles. When college freshman Ava Flynn begins seeing a mysterious, leather-clad hottie hanging around campus, she's instantly intrigued. Little does she know that Maddox is bound to her by forces beyond this world... and that he's not what he appears to be.

Splintered Souls is a romance novel at its heart, centering on the delicious drama that ensues when Ava finds herself at the center of a conflict begun before she was even born... with two hotties who would each do anything to win her heart. The magic and time travel add and element of intrigue and adventure, sending Ava on an unexpected journey across decades as she tries to unravel the truth.

As a protagonist, Ava is easily sympathetic and relatable. Flawed in her own ways yet fiercely independent, she's determined not to let anyone decide her fate for her. As for the two love interests... They're the kind of shameless romance novel bad boys readers swoon over. And to those of you naysayers who dismiss romances novels, I say WHATEVER. Women are allowed to like what we like, and there's nothing you can do about it! And sometimes, what we like involves leather-clad hotties with superpowers going out of their way to impress the heroine. This book is sexy and addictive... lovers of epic romance, prepare to eat this up!

While the setting is mostly contemporary, there are some elements of historical fiction through the time travel aspect. I can't say too much without spoiling the plot, but let's just say we get to see the initial curse that envelops Ava (and Maddox and the other love interest, whose identity I won't reveal because that would be a total spoiler) and travel into the past. And future books promise more time travel to come, so yay!

My one beef with Erica is that the book ends on a devastating cliffhanger, and she's not yet done with Book 2! Erica... how dare you do this to me! Of course, the story ended where it needed to, but you don't expect me to be PATIENT about it, do you? ;-)


When Ava Flynn walks away from a scholarship to Georgetown and moves into her grandmother’s abandoned summer home in coastal Maine, she steps into the center of a centuries-old curse. On her first night, she notices a mysterious leather-clad stranger looking up at her third-story window. For weeks, everywhere she goes, Ava catches more
glimpses of him, but she can never get close enough to find out who he is. 

Over three hundred years ago, Lady Catherine Fairchild risked everything to protect her unborn child, sending a ripple through time that would change Ava’s future. As the mystery unravels, the horrifying consequences of Lady Catherine’s choices drag Ava deeper into a world she never knew existed, trapping her in a conflict that’s been raging since before she was born. A winner-take-all battle for her soul.

10 questions for Erica Lucke Dean

Hi Erica! Welcome to Zigzag Timeline! You’re a very prolific author with a number of romance titles under your belt, both contemporary and paranormal. Can you tell us a bit about your publishing road so far?

It’s been a long and winding road, littered with potholes and detour signs, but somehow I’ve managed to travel this far. Thankfully, Red Adept Publishing saw something in To Katie With Love (my first book) and ours has been a beautiful relationship ever since. RAP will be publishing my 9th book in early 2016, so I guess their opinion of me hasn’t changed… yet. LOL

Your latest release, Splintered Souls, is a New Adult paranormal romance about a girl who discovers she’s at the center of a centuries-old curse. What inspired this story?

I have a fascination with time travel. I think it has to do with getting older and trying to relive my youth. Maybe a bit of a desire to change events of the past. I guess that fascination (obsession, whatever) led to this story. 

Can you tell us a bit about your protagonist, Ava? What was the inspiration behind her character?

There’s a little bit of me in all my characters, and Ava is no exception. I basically dream up things I wish I’d done or said and create entire stories around it. LOL. Ava’s a little more sure of herself than I was at that age. 

What was it like writing in the New Adult category and having your story take place on a college campus?

I’ve actually written a few books that centered around college age characters. The novellas in my Jewels of Desire series are all New Adult romance, so I did have some experience with that. And as the mother of a trio of girls in that age group, I consider myself an expert on the warped mind of the teenage girl. I’m kidding about the warped mind. Sort of. My kids always had friends around when they lived at home, and I’m a good listener (eavesdropper, whatever.)

What drew you to writing romance? What’s it like writing paranormal vs contemporary romance?

I don’t think there’s much difference between paranormal and contemporary romance at all. Love is at the core, you’re just changing the details. With romance, the key is to create believable characters. If people connect with the characters, you can do just about anything to them. 

Let’s talk about guys. How do you go about craftingyour dudely romantic leads?

I basically create the guy I’d like to fall for. Sometimes that’s realistic and sometimes not so much. But this is fiction, right? If we were creating real guys, they’d all be sitting around in ripped boxers playing video games and eating wings out of take-out containers. 

I’m going to get a little mean now… Of all your books, which one was the most fun to write, which one’s your personal favorite, and which one was the most challenging to tackle? And yes, you have to pick!

Is this like Marry, Fuck, Kill the book version? LOL. Ok, most fun was Suddenly Sorceress (who wouldn’t want to turn their cheating ex into a skunk?) Most challenging was Ashes of Life (anything with that much heartache requires you to dig deep and feel things you might rather leave in the past.) And my personal favorite would still be To Katie With Love (Katie James is totally my alter-ego. And I love Cooper. Seriously. L. O. V. E. him.)

Of all your protagonists, which one was the most fun to write, which one do you relate to the most, which one was the most challenging to get right? 

As much as Suddenly Sorceress was my most fun book to write, Katie James from To Katie With Love takes the cake as most fun character. I got to be more myself than with any of my other characters. The most challenging to get right would be Maddie from Ashes of Life. She was basedon my 17-year-old stepdaughter, but she isn’t my stepdaughter. She’s actually a mash up of all three of my girls, so walking that thin line was a huge challenge. 

You’ve got a fine stable of romantic leads in your titles. Of all your boys, which one was the most fun to write, which one is your personal favorite, and which one was the most challenging? 

You like to ask the tough questions, don’t you? Most fun is Jackson Blake. He isn’t quite as perfect as my personal favorite, Cooper Maxwell, but he’s easily as hot. And most challenging would be Maddox and Laith in Splintered Souls. They’re twins so they have to be alike, but different, and that can be challenging to show those subtle differences. 

What’s next? Working on anything new?

My next book is Suddenly Spellbound, the sequel to Suddenly Sorceress, due out in early 2016. After that, hopefully we’ll see the next in the Flames of Time series (tentatively titled Scattered Souls.) After that? Who knows. It really all depends on what I can come up with. Something brilliant, I hope.

After walking away from her career as a business banker to pursue writing full-time, Erica Lucke Dean moved from the hustle and bustle of the big city to a small tourist town in the North Georgia Mountains, where she lives in a 90-year-old haunted farmhouse with her workaholic husband, her 180lb lap dog, and at least one ghost. When she’s not writing or tending to her collection of crazy chickens and diabolical ducks, she’s either reading bad fan fiction or singing karaoke in the local pub. Much like the main character in her newest book, To Katie With Love, Erica is a magnet for disaster, and has been known to trip on air while walking across flat surfaces. How she’s managed to survive this long is one of life’s great mysteries.

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