Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Man Torn Between the Sea and a Woman: An interview with Chrystalla Thoma Azure, a paranormal new adult romance

Although I'm mostly out of the interview game, today I wanted to give a chance to my friend Chrystalla Thoma to talk about her new paranormal new adult romance Azure as part of her current blog tour:

A terrible mistake haunts college student Olivia Spencer. To escape the past, she travels to the Mediterranean island of Crete, hoping for the courage to start anew.

By the sea, she meets sexy and enigmatic Kai. But there’s more to Kai than meets the eye — and nobody wants to talk about it. The locals shun him, accusing him of magic. Kai, apparently, belongs to the sea, no matter how crazy that sounds.

Kai isn’t free to be with her or live his own life, and this is how he will stay, unless Olivia can break his curse and save him — in doing so atoning for those she failed in the past.


1) Tell us a bit about your story overall. What makes it unique?

Hi, thank you for hosting me. And let me tell you about Azure.

Azure is contemporary romance but with a couple of twists. First of all, although my protagonists are college students, the story doesn’t take place in college but on the Mediterranean island of Crete. Each is there for different reasons, although both are running from their past. But that’s not all that’s unusual about Azure.

I mention in the book description that it’s contemporary romance with a smidge of paranormal, and the paranormal in it is not the typical kind. No vampires, zombies or werewolves were used in the making of this story. Instead I drew on local legends and Greek folklore for the magic of the story. Hint: it has to do with the sea...

2) Tell us about your male lead. What separates him from other male leads out there in New Adult books?

As far as I’m able to tell, male leads in New Adult books are usually bad boys, with tattoos and an attitude, running from a traumatic event in their past. Although Kai is running from his past, he isn’t your typical bad boy. He isn’t sleeping around and drinking himself stupid when Olivia meets him. But he’s a recluse, someone who has forgotten how to live, how to feel, how to laugh or cry, and Olivia is determined to break his shell and bring him back to life.

3) Tell us about your female lead. What separates her from other female leads out there in New Adult books?

Well, there is a huge variety of New adult romances, so such questions are tricky – but compared to most of the New Adult romances I have read, I’d say Olivia is stronger. She has her own demons and is struggling to regain balance and be happy, but she is determined to help Kai, no matter the cost to her own heart or her beliefs. She will go as far as believe in magic if it can aid him.

4) Crete isn't a setting you see in a lot of romance books. Why did you decide to set your book there?

I love Crete. I’ve visited the island a number of times – it’s not far from Cyprus where I live. It’s a stunning place, with its rugged mountains and fantastic beaches, the archaeological sites and the great food! It’s a magical place, and I’ve always wanted to set a story there, especially since my last trip in May. Every village, every hamlet has an ancient shrine, a cave where an ancient god or goddess was worshipped, a legend. I wouldn’t be able to imagine this story set anywhere but there.

5) Lot of possibilities in the Mediterranean. Will you be revisiting the area in the future? If so, can you give us any sneak peeks into any of your ideas?

Oh sure! Since I moved back here to Cyprus, my world setting has been more and more influenced by the area. I am planning a series about a cloned angel set in Italy and Greece, and a steampunk series based right here in Cyprus. I’m very excited about them both.

6) What was your favorite part of writing this book?

Part of it was reliving my Cretan experience – remembering the food, the atmosphere, the towns, the mountains, the people. Another part was writing about supernatural in connection to the sea. I love the sea and I’m happy when I find a way to give it a role in my stories. Finally I was excited about my heroes. I like them both, I like how they both struggle to keep afloat but need each other to make it through.

7) The "New Adult" genre/demographic/category/whatever-you-want-to-call-it to explode it has exploded in the last year or so. Why do you think all the sudden interest in this particular type of books?

I’m not sure. I’ve heard say Twilight started it, with its young but not-too-young heroes. Others say it’s because Young Adult became so popular and New Adult is its erotica counterpart... I bet there are many factors at play here. I feel that the age of the protagonists (18-25) is ideal for dealing with coming-of-age questions while being able to include adult themes, so maybe that’s where the appeal comes from.

8) Please tell us briefly about some of your other published works.

I have an urban fantasy/paranormal romance series called “Boreal and John Grey” – Season 1 is now out in complete If you like elves and mechanical creatures, then I think you’ll love this one. I also write dystopian science fiction, so if you like the genre check out my series “Elei’s Chronicles”.

9) Please tell us about your writing plans for the future. 

I have so many... Can barely keep track! I am finishing my dystopian series this month, and will be working on Season 2 of my urban fantasy. I have the series mentioned set in the Mediterranean mentioned further up, and loads of other books bouncing around in my head... Wish me luck!


Thanks, Chrystalla.

You can find more from her here, and enter a drawing for a copy of Azure here

Azure can be purchased from Amazon.


About Chrystalla Thoma:

Chrystalla is Greek Cypriot (hence the strange name) and likes writing about bratty, angsty boys and spunky girls in fantasy and science-fiction worlds. She writes mainly for a young adult public but not only (heed the warnings!) 

She's currently preparing a non-fiction book about dragons, because the truth must out, and is juggling two series ("Elei's Chronicles" and "Boreal and John Grey").

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Genocidal Cult, A Capricious Empress, and a Naive Magical Scholar: Mind Crafter

To be a crafter is to control the essences of the world. To be a crafter of House Lran is to control the very essence of being, the mind. Feared by others for their ability to read and alter minds, the Lrani are known across the Larangian Empire for both their powers and mental discipline.

Shala, a talented young Lrani scholar, is obsessed with her research and has little concern for the mundane banalities of the outside world. A chance trip to a market rips the woman out of her isolated life after she chooses to use her crafting to stop a massacre. When the eccentric Empress Tua Van orders Shala to investigate the involvement of the mysterious Cult of the Cleansing Gods, the scholar doesn't know if she’s looking into a centuries-old conspiracy or just the paranoid delusions of an unstable woman.

With an unpredictable empress, suspicious palace officials, and strange nightmares all wearing her down, Shala is determined to find the truth before she ends up disgraced or killed.


Mind Crafter is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Smashwords.

It will soon also be available at Apple/iBookStore and Sony.