Undertow (Undertow #1)
High school senior Eila Walker knows that good luck skips over her like an Easter Bunny on Speed. So when she inherits her grandmother’s million-dollar Cape Cod home, she is downright shocked. And yeah, her new town isn’t perfect: the cheerleaders are heinous clones, the local undertow can kill ya, and her Great Grams was supposedly fried by lightning in the harbor square. Still, Eila is hopeful her luckless days are in the past . . . until history decides to repeat itself.A self-proclaimed loner and previous-social reject, Eila thinks she’s hit the jackpot when drool-worthy Raef O’Reilly becomes her friendly, yet weirdly protective shadow. But being hauled beneath the waves by an unnatural undertow slams the brakes on bliss – especially when Raef storms to her aid with coal-black eyes and iron-like strength.Eila, entirely freaked, demands an explanation and Raef comes clean, revealing that neither of them are average humans but rather the genetic remnants of an angelic pissing-match gone wrong. Eila supposedly can channel the power of human souls, while Raef is quite adept at stealing them. Even worse, the legend about her ancestor isn’t such a myth, since Eila’s grandmother was one kick-ass warrior until her lightning-like power backfired. A power that is written all over Eila’s DNA.Now sought by Raef’s own family for her destructive ability, Eila must trust him to watch her back. But when a quest for information goes terribly wrong, Eila is suddenly left with only two options: become a weapon for the enemy or follow in her Gram’s fearless footsteps to save those she loves. Unfortunately she needs a willing enemy to ignite her suicidal energy and the only one she trusts has been guarding her butt and scorching her lips.
Q & A with KR Conway
If you could be any character in your book (and receive their powers as well, if they have any), which would you be and what would you do?
Oh dang . . . Ummm. I’d be Ana Lane I guess – car fanatic, surfer girl, and basically an emotional psychic on crack who is pursued by a gorgeous and devoted guy named Kian. But I am lucky enough to have a real crew of teenaged models who I get to see on a regular basis. I found Cape Cod teenagers from the real Barnstable High School on Facebook that looked like the characters (at least, in my mind) and they were brave enough to become the models in a fancy-shmancy studio we use. So yeah – Raef, Kian, MJ, Ana, and Kian text me all the time – LOL. The entire “cast” will be at Stormfront’s book launch on August 3rd here on Cape Cod (yup – you can get an early copy on Cape Cod that night, otherwise it is August 13th).
Do you incorporate yourself into your characters’ personalities? If so, which character are you most like?
I think all authors pull from what they “know” so yeah, I’d say Eila’s dry humor is me, the craziness of MJ is me, and Ana’s take-no-crap attitude is me. Of course, all those personality traits help in my other job: driving a school bus.
What do you aim to teach your readers through your books?
Strength, perseverance, and devotion. I want my female readers to be bold and strong, and my male readers to understand that being protective does not equal being controlling. I want teenagers to see relationships painted in a positive light and that every relationship must be a balance of one another.
Where did you get the inspiration for your characters’ names? Kian, Raef, and Christian were all on my list of boy names for my son (he ended up as “Finn”). Jesse was a dear friend in high school as was MJ. Nikki is my niece’s name, and Mae is my daughter’s middle name. Ana, Eila, Rillin, and Collette were all just made up, though they seemed to fit the characters.
Have you always known that you wanted to become a writer?
HAHAHAHAHA – NO. I have a degree in Forensic Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (Criminal Minds type-thing), but while I was in college professors would say I had a “knack” for writing (I figured they were all high on something). Then I came out of college and was asked to interview an artist. From there other magazines and newspapers began approaching me. That was 16 years ago and the rest is history. I now teach fiction craft to teenagers at libraries and high schools. Truth = no one is born a writer, but you CAN be born a storyteller. Learning HOW to tell the story – that’s what I teach.
Do you have any routines before writing to get the creative juices flowing? Walking and driving actually allow my mind to wander and thus, begin writing in my head (I occasionally have missed a bus stop or two, LOL). I am a rocker-girl at heart, so I listen to music non-stop while I write and blog. I just saw Paramore, Fall Out Boy, and New Politics in Mansfield. AWESOME!
Which scene(s) did you enjoy writing the most? — in Undertow or Stormfront, or both. Oh man . . . The bonfire scene in UNDERTOW I enjoyed writing because I had just been at the boardwalk the night before with my daughter. It is also that crazy turning point in the book when readers suddenly realize I am a seriously deranged writer. I had a lot of fun writing STORMFRONT, but I laughed myself silly writing the scene where MJ convinces Eila to become a criminal. I also spent a great deal of time writing a certain scene between Eila and Raef on the yacht. I think I rewrote it 10 times. The next book I hope to have out is Kian and Ana’s story known as CRUEL SUMMER.
If you could give one advice to every human on earth, what would it be?
Never judge someone if you have never walked in their shoes. So much hate is based on ignorance of the other person, race, or country. All it takes is a moment to step back and realize you may not know where the other person is coming from and that your hate is unwarranted.
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