Keeper of the Gate: Interview

For those of you that missed it, here is an interview I did as part of a blog tour for Keeper of the Gate. It’s fun to look back! Enjoy!

It’s All About the Book…

Please tell us about your current or upcoming release. (Title & Blurb)
Keeper of the Gate follows Annalisa Harold a high school student who struggles with self esteem issues and depression. She’s never really felt as though she belongs among her peer group. Over the years, she has had several relationships but none of them ever lasted or felt right. Devin, a mysterious dark hair senior with luminous aqua eyes, comes into the picture and Anna feels strangely drawn to him – this type of connection has never happened for her before. Anna soon finds out there’s more to Devin than good looks and his weird obsession with the Bible, and the sense of loneliness she felt her entire life is finally explained. Anna spends a good portion of the book searching for answers about her past with Devin and struggling to accept her true identity. Amid this turmoil she begins an adventure into the City of Fire to reseal the gates of Hell. The story is a roller coaster and I won’t let you off until the very end so hang on!

What is this book’s genre? Is this the genre you usually write in? Are there any genre’s you haven’t written that you’d like to try?
Keeper of the Gate is a paranormal romance/fantasy. If you’ve read any of my other novels you’d know I’m slightly obsessed with all things paranormal so yes, this is the genre I usually write in. I would LOVE to try my hand at Science Fiction and have had an idea for a story floating around for a few years.

What inspired you to write this book?
I talked about this at length in another blog visit. My oldest daughter was the one who inspired me to write this story. When I told her I was going dedicate my latest book, Keeper of the Gate, to her because she had inspired me to write it, she crinkled her nose and said, “Book? What book are you talking about?” I had to laugh, and hold onto the nearest solid surface. The heated conversation we’d had so many years ago about what type of book I should write next was just a fleeting moment in her life. She had no idea I’d spent the last two years writing a story based on her desire to read a love story with angels. After some prompting and bugging – and possibly some tap dancing and head stands – Kristen finally nodded weakly and smiled.

“Oh sure, Mom, that’s right.” Her eyes skirted as she struggled to recall any memory of the conversation we’d had. “That book. Now I remember. I thought it was about ghosts are something?”

Boy oh boy the things we do for our kids!

How did you pick its title? Did it come first or did you have to write the story first?
The title for Keeper of the Gate actually came well before I had the idea for the book. Many years ago, when I worked in a call center selling credit cards, there was a term we used to describe people who screened our calls: Gate Keepers. Every time I heard someone say this, ideas for stories would start. I guess the title has been on the back burner for over ten years!

 Who is your favorite character of this book and why?

I think this is a tossup between Devin and Anna, the main characters. I love Devin because he is utterly devoted to Anna and suffers so much for her. Anna is flawed, much like most of us, and I love how real that makes her.

 What was the hardest part of this book to write? Can you share an excerpt from that part?
Without giving away too much, one of the most difficult parts to write was when Anna secretly follows Devin one day, determined to get answers. She does get the answers she wants but ends up witnessing something horrible that changes her forever. The torment Devin endures for Anna really tears at my heart. It was difficult to see him suffering.
Excerpt:
“Please, Father.” Devin looked up at him, body shaking uncontrollably as he pulled his arm from the old man’s grip. “I must continue. If I do not. . .” he paused, head wavering as though he were going to pass out. The old priest moved forward but Devin held a bloodied hand up and boomed. “No! Stop! Do not assist me.” Silence. I held my breath as he continued. “If I do not show penance, I will not be able to stay here. She needs me, until she is strong enough to come back to us.”
What is your favorite part of this book? Can you share an excerpt from that part?
Questions like this are tough because I have many favorite parts. I had to scan through the manuscript and the following section really stood out because it happens not long after the excerpt in the previous question. This really showcases Anna’s stubborn side.

Excerpt:
Devin shook his head and stared at me through the hair hanging in his face. Face stained with tears, eyes puffy from crying, in an instant my heart melted for him and I felt like crying again. Damn mixed-up emotions. He frowned and wiped his hair out of his eyes with trembling fingers. “You shouldn’t have come.” Voice quavering, he gestured to the door. “Just go. I . . .” he stammered. “I don’t want you to see me like this. I-I’ll be fine.”
“No!” I stomped my foot like a child. “There is no way I’m going anywhere before I know you’re okay.” I drew a shuddering breath. “And while we’re on the topic?” I crossed my arms after tucking my hair behind my ears. “What was that? I’m not leaving here without answers! No chance!”
Screw him.
“You don’t need to worry about that. Forget it.” His beautiful liquid eyes held mine. “It’s time for you to leave now. I––I’m going to be okay. Okay?”
Narrowing my eyes, I shook my head. “No! I’m staying.”
“Why do you have to be so stubborn?”
“Because,” I fired back. “There’s something seriously wrong with you.” I held his gaze challengingly and he looked away defeated. “I’m not leaving until I know you’re okay. Until I get the answers I came for . . . until, until . . .” I was stammering and clenched my fists at my sides to ground myself. “I’m not leaving. Deal with it!”
Did you have any special rhythm or quirks while writing this?

As a writer I find I’m inspired by music – new stuff and old. Often times, if I’m suffering from lack of motivation or even the dreaded writer’s block, I scan through the songs on my i-pod until I hear a song that propels me forward. If this fails, I’ll plug in my i-pod and take a long drive with the music cranked. My parents live 50 minutes from us so that’s a great reason to jump in the car. It might seem strange but my quirk would be that I’ve worked out more than a few issues driving on the highway. For Keeper of the Gate I found myself on many cross country drives as I tried to work out tough spots. My parents loved all the visits!

Is this a stand-alone book or is it part of a series? If so, we want to hear about it and what’s next in the series. If not a series, what comes next to be released?

When I started writing this book I wasn’t thinking far beyond the first one. As I neared the end, however, it became apparent I had to write more books. There are so many possibilities for sequels I’m grappling with where to start. I really miss Devin and Anna and feel like I need to get them back right away.

Thanks so much for having me!

Keeper of the Gate: Interview with Devin

Hey everyone. I just came across an interview Devin did in early November. It sounds like him and Anna have been busy – I sure would like to hear about those beaches!! Enjoy the read – I sure did.

Devin: Thanks so much for having me. I’m a little nervous as this my first interview.

What attracts you to Anna?

“Without giving too much away, if you’ve read Keeper of the Gate you’ll be better able to relate to this, what I find most attractive about Anna is her stubbornness. I love a woman who knows what she wants and she definitely knows. Oh and the suit she wears certainly doesn’t hurt either.” (Smiles and winks) “But don’t tell her I said that.”

What repels you about Anna?

(Gets more comfortable in seat and scratches at his temple.) “I’m going to go right back to my last answer and say the same thing. Her stubbornness can be a real turn on, and I love her for it, but sometimes it’s also a huge turn off.” (Looks around) “She isn’t in the building is she? I know I’m going to get it later for saying this.” (Clears throat). “There are days when I want to tell her to chill out and let someone else take the reins for a while. This rarely happens with her though and once she has her mind-set on something, it’s pretty hard to change it.”

What word best describes true love?

“Perseverance. If you can stick it out with someone despite insurmountable obstacles or odds, then you may just have found true love. More and more often I see couples give up without even trying to make it work.” (Smiles and his eyes take on a far away look) “Look at what Anna and I have been through – I don’t think a relationship can get any crazier than that!”

What’s your ideal romantic evening?

“A walk on the beach at night. It’s an opportunity to get close to nature and away from the distractions of everyday life. Anna and I have spent a lot of time exploring different beaches and we love to just sit in the dark and enjoy the sound of the surf. We have a strict no electronics policy, our attention is totally devoted to each other. Actually, we’ve visited some pretty awesome beaches over the years. I’d love to share some of our beach stories another day if you’re up for it.” (He winks) “I’d have to run them by Anna first to make sure she’s okay with sharing.”

What’s the perfect Valentine’s Day gift?

“Flowers and chocolates have been way over done so scratch those off right away. I like the idea of a quiet dinner in a cozy café somewhere. Anna and I have done that for the last few years actually. I like the challenge of finding a café we haven’t been to and that meets all our valentine day criteria. I’d like to share what that criteria is but I’ve been sworn to secrecy.” (Grins). “Jewelry is another one of my favorite gifts to give and really, how can you go wrong? Women love jewelry.” (Smiles widely) “Guess I’m getting in good with the ladies saying that – the men probably not!”

What is an absolute deal breaker in a relationship?

“Wow, intense question.” (Takes a sip of water and places the glass back on the table beside his chair). “Relationship apathy. If both partners are remorseful and focussed on the same end, a serious committed relationship can survive a lot of hurdles – even cheating. Apathy, on the other hand, is a deal breaker for me. If my partner no longer cares about me or fails to show any interest in our relationship then I think it’s pretty much over.”

Who made the first move you or Anna and what was it?

(Laughs loudly and runs both hands through his hair) “I guess if you’ve read Keeper of the Gate you’d know the answer to that question! For those of you that haven’t had a chance to take a look at it, I don’t want to give too much away.” (pauses) “I think it’s probably fair to say Anna made the first move and that fits in well with stubborn personality. She is a woman who knows what she wants and thankfully I was one of those wants! I can’t really talk about the what though because I don’t want to ruin it for those of your that haven’t read the book yet.”

“Thanks so much for having me here! I would love the chance to come back and talk more about the beaches Anna and I have explored.”

Fantastic Review: Keeper of the Gate

I received an early Christmas gift from Rhonda over at http://www.vampireromancebooks.com. What an amazing review!!

Story of good vs evil with characters that stay with you long after the last page,December 21, 2014

This review is from: Keeper of the Gate (Kindle Edition)
Let me preface this review by saying that I hardly ever read Young Adult novels. One of the exceptions I make is for novels by Paula Kennedy. I loved her last series and was excited to read this one when she asked me to review it for her. Keeper of the Gate starts out with an awkward high school girl just trying to find where she fits into the world. Plagued by an emptiness that she’s never been able to figure out, never able to find a guy, Anna can’t believe it when her head it turned by the new guy, Devin, only to find out he’s a bible obsessed weirdo. Just her luck. Devin seems to know more about her than he should and his vague warnings and Jekyll and Hyde behavior towards her should have her steering clear of him, but she can’t stay away. Her whole life changes when the truth of her past if revealed to her and the fate of the world is left in her hands. Devin was a complex character that both irritated the hell out of me as well as pulled at my heartstrings. His passion for his lord was palpable and his feelings for Anna were obviously a source of much heartache.

I absolutely loved this book! Kennedy again has developed characters that seem to have a life of their own. She was able to show Anna as an awkward teenage girl yet at the same time have her be a thousand year old (making an assumption on age) bad ass demon destroying warrior. The underworld she describes left a vivid picture for the reader as a backdrop to the breathtaking story of good versus evil and those in the middle that are charged with keeping the balance. Devin and Anna haven’t left my mind and I want to know more about their past, their future, and the history/future of the other Keepers of the Gate. This is a young adult book but I think any age from 14-adult would enjoy. I read this with my daughter (12) and she enjoyed it immensely and wants more!

*reviewed for VampireRomanceBooks