Friday, February 22, 2013

Author: Bella Forrest Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway!

I'm pleased to welcome paranormal YA author, Bella Forrest, to Books à la Mode today. Welcome, Bella! Will you please share a brief bio with us?

I've been telling stories pretty much since I could talk. Instead of having my parents read me bed-time stories, I would prefer to share with them my own made up tales.

As I grew older, I developed a passion for the fantasy genre, but more specifically vampires.

I had my first idea for a novel when I was sixteen, and haven't really stopped since.

My debut novel, A Shade of Vampire, was released on December 14, 2012. The book quickly became a #1 Christmas Bestseller in Vampire Romance, Paranormal and Fantasy.

That's amazing! Can you tell us a little bit about the book?

Page Count: 147
Release Date: 14 December 2012
Publisher: self-published
Genre: Paranormal, Vampire Romance, Young Adult

On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake. A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood.

She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine.

An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains.

Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince.

Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? Or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

How did you first get published? Tell us your call story.

I actually decided not to submit A Shade of Vampire to any agents or publishing houses. I chose to journey down the indie route. So there’s not much of a story to tell, except that it was pretty straightforward and easy!

Self-publishing is great because you have total control over your blood, sweat, and tears. How much of your actual life was written into this book?

Quite a lot. I draw a fair amount of inspiration for my characters from people I have encountered. There are also certain themes that run through the book that have significance in my own life.

That's something I can definitely relate to when I write fiction. What do you consider your biggest strengths and weaknesses as an author?

I think the biggest strength I have is my imagination. Storylines and plot ideas come very easily to me.

My weakness has always been organizing all my thoughts on paper for the initial outline; deciding which to keep and which to throw away.

I find organization extremely challenging, as well. How do you react to a negative or harsh review of your books?

I just remain grateful that they took time out of their lives to read my book.

If my story didn't captivate them, they have a right to say so.

Fiction is subjective. You can't expect everyone to love your book.

That's an incredibly mature and admirable way to look at it, and I agree 100%: as with many things, beauty in fiction is solely in the eye of the beholder, and it's impossible to please everyone. In A Shade of Vampire, what does Sofia do to win Derek over—to "get the guy"?

It's Sofia's compassion that really gets to Derek in this story, far more than her physical appearance.

Derek sees a humanity in her to which he craves to return.

Awww, that sounds like a really sweet, yet sort of tragic premise for the romance. Give aspiring writers a piece of advice you wish you had known before getting published.

Never think that a genre is too crowded or competitive for another book to shine through.

Your skill as a writer and the originality of your story are all that count.

I haven't heard that from other authors before, but it's really insightful, and seems accurate. There is no "mainstream" in fictional genres; all books are subject to being breakout bestsellers. Now give us your best personal advice—something you wish you had known when you were younger and would offer to your own kids.

Life's too short to work at a job you hate. It's better to follow your passion and, if necessary, learn to get by on less Americanflag

Fabulous words to live by! Where can you be found on the web?

It was wonderful having you over, Bella! Readers, here's an exclusive excerpt and giveaway...

I’d been walking along the sea shore for about an hour when I suddenly sensed that I wasn’t alone. Someone was approaching me from behind. My heart leapt. I was so sure it was Ben, that when a stranger showed up beside me, I couldn’t hide my disappointment.

He must have noticed, because a smirk formed on his lips. “Were you expecting someone else, love?”

I eyed him suspiciously, remembering how many times my father told me not to talk to strangers. I looked him over from head to foot, taking in his appearance. I held my breath. I couldn’t find words to describe how fine a man he was. He was almost beautiful. The first thing I took notice of was how his blue eyes were about three shades brighter than any I’d ever seen before. It was such a stark contrast to his pale – almost white – skin and his dark hair. I next noted how he was easily more than half a foot taller than I was. His height, broad shoulders and lean build reminded me of Ben, but he had a presence that was far more imposing than my best friend’s.

My gaze settled on his face.

I realized that he was inspecting me just as closely as I was him. His eyes on me suddenly made me feel uncomfortably vulnerable. I gave my father’s advice a second thought, but quickly canceled out all notions of heeding to his counsel when I reminded myself that he stopped caring a long time ago. I straightened to my full height and mustered all the courage I had to keep myself from running away from this stranger.

Big mistake.

The confident smirk didn’t leave his face for even a moment. “Like what you see?”

I frowned, annoyed by his audacity. “A bit full of yourself, aren’t you?”

He stepped forward, closer to me, and leaned his head toward mine. “Don’t I have the right to be?”

He knew he looked good and wasn’t about to act like he didn’t.

“Whatever,” was my oh-so-brilliant comeback.

My shoulders sagged with defeat as I took a step back, overwhelmed by how close he was. I rolled my eyes and did a one-eighty, not quite in the mood to play whatever game this stranger was proposing.

I would soon realize that I was about to play his game whether I liked it or not. He grabbed my arm and turned my body to face him. The motion alone made every single internal alarm I had go off in a frenzy.

This man was danger and I knew it. I tried to wriggle away from his touch, but I was no match for his strength.

“Tell me your name,” he commanded.

I was about to refuse, but was horrified to find myself blurting out my name in response. “Sofia Claremont.”

He traced his thumb over my jaw line. “Hello, Sofia Claremont. You’re one stupid girl for taking a walk alone at this time of night. You never know what kind of evil a pretty little thing like you could happen to come by.”

I found myself wondering exactly what kind of evil he was. But I was suddenly overcome by the sensations that were surrounding me. My senses took everything in at once. I heard the waves, felt the sand beneath my feet, smelled the ocean salt, tasted the flavor of cherry on my lips and saw the stranger’s manic appearance as he stuck a needle to my neck. The effect was instant. I was barely able to gasp, much less scream. I went from sensing everything to sensing absolutely nothing.

My last conscious thought was that I may never see Ben again.


Bella has been generous enough to offer one print copy of A Shade of Vampire to one lucky commenter, today. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment relevant to the book, interview, or excerpt. Comments like "Sounds like a great read," or "Thanks for the giveaway," will NOT be eligible for entry, so make your words count! Bella's and my followers will receive additional entries, which you can keep track of through the Rafflecopter form below:
Rules and Disclosure:
Giveaway ends March 9th at 11.59 (your time).
Open internationally. Woohoo!
Winners have 48 hours to claim their prize once they are chosen, or else their prizes will be forfeited.
Although I will be selecting the winners for both giveaways, I am in no way responsible for the prizes, nor for shipping and handling.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤ Plus you get extra entries ;)
Good luck!