Interview with Amanda Bonilla plus giveaway
Amanda Bonilla has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Not only is she one of the nicest people you will ever meet but she is also a very talented and kick ass writer. She has recently released the first book in a new series and she is here to chat about it today. Welcome Amanda!
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today, Julie! XOXO
You have a shiny new series out! Tell us about Sentry of Evil.
The Sentry of Evil series focuses on McCall, a small town in central Idaho. A secret supernatural organization known as the Sentry polices the supernatural population in the world and this territory is protected by a Waerd, or hunter, and her counterpart called a Bearer. The story follows Jacquelyn and Micah who are thrown together in a sudden working relationship as they try to navigate the waters of who and what they are, all while trying to keep innocent people safe from the baddies in the world.
The first book, Vengeance Borne, was released September 3rd. (You should all read it, by the way. It’s a good book!) What can you tell us about book one in your series?
VENGEANCE BORNE is really just an introduction into the Sentry world. Jacquelyn is trying to get by at a minimum wage job all while dealing with her breakup from her boyfriend, who also happens to be her partner. Then, I’ve thrown Micah into the mix. He doesn’t realize he’s a Bearer, and he’s running away from his life. He stumbles into McCall and Jacquelyn and becomes a reluctant participant in the Sentry’s duties. I wanted to give readers just enough to acquaint them with the world building because I plan to unravel it slowly as the series progresses.
In your story you have Bearers and Waerds. I think it’s easy to understand why you chose the name Bearers for Micah, Finn and Trish seeing how they can bear the stress and emotion of the hunters but where did the word Waerds come from? And can you explain exactly what a Waerd is?
I’m such a word nerd and I’m always studying the etymology of certain words. I found an early form of the word for Sentry or protector that was weard, but my crit partner suggested that it read too much like weird and it tripped her up. So I changed the spelling to waerd, making the pronunciation more that air than ear. I think it sounds a lot better now. LOL!
A Waerd is essentially a tool of the Sentry. They’re trained killers who’ve been tasked with the job of eradicating evil creatures and protecting innocent humans. As for what exactly a Waerd is… well, you’ll have to continue on with series to find out. 😉
Bearers and Waerds are governed by the Sentry. You essentially describe the Sentry as being a group of bad people who kidnap babies and don’t care for their ‘workers’. Is that really how they are or will we be seeing a new opinion in future installments?
I plan to reveal more about the Sentry as the series progresses. They certainly come-off as heartless bastards in VENGEANCE BORNE but I want readers to question their motives along the way. Are they heartless, or just doing what has to be done? Who are they? What do they know? And why do they give Bearers so much freedom while keeping Waerds on such a tight leash? I know this doesn’t really answer your question, but I can’t give too much away at this point. Sorry, Julie!
Let’s talk characters. Finn. While I liked him, I feel we didn’t quite get the ‘real’ him in this book. Am I right?
Honestly, I never intended for readers to like Finn. He’s definitely not himself in VENGEANCE BORNE but that has more to do with his dynamic with Jacquelyn and their breakup as well as the disruption in their Waerd/Bearer connection. Finn is certainly arrogant and has been a big fish in a small pond for a long time. When Micah comes along, who happens to be more powerful than Finn, it’s going to leave him feeling a lot more vulnerable. And unfortunately, Finn gets a little surly when he’s threatened. Hehe.
Micah is quite tortured but not in your usual “my daddy never loved me and my mommy left me” sort of way. He is haunted by visions via dreams and tries to drown them out with medication and he is inundated by emotions without knowing why or how. Since characters who are written as being as lost as he is are often difficult to relate with( yet you did a great job!), did you ever feel you were walking a fine line where his character is concerned? To find that balance between tortured and relatable?
Micah was tricky to write. I wanted to do justice to his character and what he was going through without offending anyone who suffers from anxiety or depression. I tried to draw on my own experiences with anxiety and people who I know that have dealt with it. I think when you’re dealing with those sorts of issues, it’s important to show them in a realistic light without going overboard. I was constantly walking a line with him and I hope that readers will be able to relate to him in some way.
Jax. You made her out to be a bit of a mystery. You threw in hints here and there about her but by the end of the book we know there is so much else to learn about her. In fact, what clues you did give were along the lines of: “She doesn’t know what she truly is or what she is capable of”. Tell me, do you cackle like a madwoman while writing passages like that knowing you are teasing your readers in the very best of ways?
I might snicker, but never cackle. LOL! I really like readers to make discoveries right along with my characters. Part of Jacquelyn’s mystery lies in her parentage, and her upbringing by the Sentry. There’s a reason why Waerds are taken as babies and raised by their keepers so to speak. The Sentry doesn’t keep the Waerds on tight leash for no reason, but I will say that while Bearers have a lot of freedom, they’re used by the Sentry as well and it all boils down to the Bearer/Waerd connection. Knowledge is power and right now, the Sentry has all of the knowledge and Jacquelyn has very little power.
At the heart of this book is a mystery plot. People are dying and Jax needs to figure out who is responsible. I was very impressed by how you wove the mystery in this story. You added hints that were sometimes spot on and other times used to purposely mislead your readers. You did a great job throwing us off course. What do you think are the key elements to writing a good mystery?
Every time I start a book I think to myself, Can I pull this off? I really admire writers who can craft a good mystery and while I’m still working on my own skills in this arena, I’m always hopeful that I can keep the reader engaged. While I’m not intentionally trying to pull the rug out from under the reader, it’s the sliver of doubt that keeps the flow going. I don’t want readers to feel they’ve been tricked by any means. I just want to give them options to keep the tension nice and tight.
There is definitely going to be a book two in this series and it will be released sometime in 2014. Can you give us hints as to what the story will be about in the second installment? And will there be a book three and maybe even a book four? *crosses fingers*
I have books two and three in the Sentry series outlined, and I want to write past three books if I can. Book two will focus on Libby, Jax’s best friend who’s wound up the target of McCall’s latest supernatural baddie. Book two will also revisit Jacquelyn’s past, the accident that killed her former partner, and the Sentry will really begin to makes its appearance in the story. Jax is going to start asking some questions about her heritage and origins and the Sentry isn’t going to be too happy about it.
Okay, since this is the second time I’ve interviewed you, I am going to ask you a different set of Flash Four questions:
Do you need to have coffee in the morning to function?
YES! I’m useless until I’ve had at least a cup. I’m a caffeine junkie. LOL
What’s your favorite flavor of potato chip?
Probably cheddar and sour cream. Potato chips are soooooo addictive. I LOVE them! But the hubs and I are doing a low-carb diet right now, so no chips for me. *sob*
Diet Cola or regular Cola?
Again, the hubs and I are avoiding soda for a while *double sob* but my all-time fav is Coke Zero. Love it!
If you weren’t allowed to write Fantasy, Contemporary or Paranormal Romance books, what genre would you most likely try?
Hmmm. That’s a toughie! Maybe upmarket fiction. Something that was serious , deep, and emotional. Whether or not I could actually pull it off is another story, though.
Thank you so much Amanda for stopping by the blog today. People, Vengeane Borne is a really good book. If you are a fan of urban fantasy you really have to give it a try. Personally, I can’t wait for more.
Thanks, Julie! And please post more texts from the dog on Facebook! LOL!
Giveaway time! Amanda is offering a digital copy of Vengeance Borne to one lucky winner! To enter, leave a comment below by Sunday September 22nd 11:59pm EST and that’s it! Giveaway open internationally. Good luck to everyone and thanks Amanda for offering up this awesome giveaway!
Here’s where you can buy Vengeance Borne –