I'm super excited to have Carmen Fox here today. Carmen is a blogger and a huge supporter of authors. Her first book, Divide and Conquer, was just published by Champagne Books and I'm thrilled to share it with you. Carmen will be answering a few questions, but before we begin the interview, let's have a look at her book:
Divide and Conquer (Champions of Elonia, Book 1)
by Carmen Fox
Two women. One prophecy. Zero places to hide.
Flung from her mundane Seattle existence into a world of magic, scientist Lea struggles to make sense of a destiny she doesn’t want. The moment she finds comfort in the arms of a man who appreciates her inner nerd, a new magic sweeps the realms.
Nieve, Lea’s instructor, may be seasoned in the art of war, but she’s clueless when it comes to romance. To save her world, she allies herself with her enemy, a kindred warrior soul, who leaves no doubt he’s after more than her cooperation.
As each tick of the clock swallows another person’s memory, Lea and Nieve will do anything to hang on to theirs, but betrayal drives a wedge in their friendship. Can they reconcile and rally the troops before the magic wipes out their pasts?
Interview with Carmen Fox
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
I was a bookish child, at any one time either getting lost in some fantasy adventure or learning new facts. Some kids take comic books into the bathroom, but according to my mother, I insisted we keep an encyclopedia by the toilet. I also had a creative streak. Writing poetry for Christmas, painting in oil, pastels or chalk, setting up a detective agency with my best friend, or practicing circus acts – I loved trying new things. In a way, many of these traits survived into adulthood, except nowadays I channel my creative urges into writing.
When did you begin writing?
When my Nana lent me money so I could buy a car, her condition was that each repayment was to be accompanied by a story. Over time, these chapters morphed into a book. After my nan died, finishing the story was too painful a prospect, but the seeds had been sown. Writing became the perfect outlet for my overactive imagination.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
DIVIDE AND CONQUER is the story of two women caught up in one destiny. Since Lea and Nieve are fundamentally different, their path might be the same, but their journeys aren’t. Saving the world would be so much easier if they could just get on with it, but the men they choose have their own agendas that tend to get in the way. Lea and Nieve have to overcome external roadblocks and do some soul searching before they even have a shot of getting the job done.
How did you get the idea for the book?
The most exciting aspect of writing is to try something new. First off, I wanted to write a buddy story, like ‘Lethal Weapon’ with chicks. Next I wanted to explore a situation in which the heroes fail. I’m not talking about a setback, but the complete and utter failure of what they set out to do. Bit by bit, DIVIDE AND CONQUER fell into place.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
Are you asking me to choose a favorite child? I guess I admire Nieve for her willingness to re-evaluate long-held beliefs. I identify most with Lea, though, because she’s a geek, trying to find purchase in this world one way or another, but always being the odd one out. That said, Kirk, the chain-smoking gargoyle, steals the show for me.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
Using alternating points of view meant that Lea and Nieve had to have distinct voices. They have different experiences and different goals in life, so for them to establish any sort of partnership or friendship, they needed to share a sense of humor. Balancing the two was quite a tight-rope walk.
What is your primary goal as an author?
To write stories that challenge me about characters that readers can connect with.
What projects are you currently working on?
In July, my next book GUARDED is due to be released. It has quickly become a beta reader favorite, so I’m currently writing a novella set in the same world.
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?
Learn. Practice. Repeat. I’m still doing that. With luck, I’ll be able to look back at my work in ten years and cringe at how bad it is.
About The Author
Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.
She writes about smart women with sassitude, about pretty cool guys too, and will chase that plot twist, no matter how elusive.
Expect to be kept guessing.
Visit her blog at www.carmen-fox.com.
Excerpt from Divide and Conquer
I dropped my magical defenses, allowing my luster to envelop me in a powerful light. Without the sun’s ready supply of energy, that meant using some of my precious resources.
“Holy crap.” Lea jumped out of her bed and squeezed against the far wall of the room.
Finally, some reaction. “It’s called luster.” I twirled to prove I wasn’t hiding a flashlight behind my back. “It’s a by-product of an Elonian’s affinity with light. Anyone sensitive to magic can see it unless I suppress it.”
In my mind, rows of thick bricks piled one on top of another around me, extinguishing my luster.
“A-are you an angel?” Her airless voice barely traveled the distance between us.
I kinked back my head and laughed. “Definitely not.”
She unglued herself from the wall and took a few steps toward her bed. “You said I’m an Elonian. Why don’t I shine?”
“You can’t see your own luster, but it’s there. Without the training to suppress it, you’re a living flame to the Shades. It’s the reason they call us Sparks. It’s also how they’ll identify you. You know, before they kill you.”
Lea picked up a sweater from the floor. Her focus went distant, no longer in this world. Something I’d said must have triggered a switch in her brain. Not a day too soon.
I trotted to the corner by the window and picked a collection of stuffed animals off the armchair. From the deep V between Lea’s brows, I concluded her thought processes weren't going anywhere fast. Once the toys occupied the windowsill, neatly arranged by height, I sat.
With her dark lashes, a tiny nose and a sprinkling of freckles, she looked so young and so…Kindred. Unexpected sadness ripped through my chest. The misery pressed onto my diaphragm, making me feel like I was an evil monster come to chop up her innocence like next week’s firewood.
Even though she was predicted to be my ally through the dark days, she was still a total stranger. Yet her pale, elfin face stirred something in me, some glimmer of recognition, of familiarity even. My childhood friend Belinda had a similar innocence about her. She’d chew the end of her pen for hours while pondering her words. Her poems were meant to bring joy to a war-torn land. They burned with her when Galleo invaded her village.
Lea would not share Belinda’s fate. I’d see to that. By the end of her training, she’d be able to take on a whole battalion of Shades by herself. I squinted at her short stature and took a sobering breath. If not a battalion, then a group of ten.
Grab a copy of Divide and Conquer at Amazon US