May 13, 2017

#AuthorInterview: with @JanelleGabay author of First Born

Janelle currently lives in sunny Florida with her husband, children, and dogs. She is an active member of Tampa Writers Alliance and supporter of the Florida Writers Association. She has currently published two books in the First Born Books trilogy of the Guardians of Dare Chronicles. She writes young adult. First Born and First Awakened are young adult fantasy fiction with sprinkles of science fiction, romance, thriller, and walking dead. The journey begins when Tarian discovers he is the first immortal to be born in over five hundred years. With Audrey's help, they discover the treacherous immortal who murdered Tarian's father and threatens to destroy the mortal race, if he can get his hands on Tarian's DNA. A few Death Serum needles, Wakers, cursed Malditos, Chinese Preta, and a Bruja Blanca later, and you've got quite an immortal tale unlike any other. 

Fantasy/Contemporary/Adventure/Young Adult

At nineteen-years-old, Tarian Prescott is under attack for the immortal DNA he didn’t know he possessed. Audrey, his Cadet Sergeant, rescues him from an air strike on the Entente Military Academy. She takes him to the magical Guardians of Dare village, where he discovers his true identity. It is here that he learns about the secret society of immortals that run the government and keep the Entente of Nations safe. But the immortals are mysteriously dying, and Tarian’s miraculous birth nineteen years ago may be the link to their survival. Being the first immortal to be born in over five hundred years, his DNA holds the answer to the reproduction of his kind. But in the wrong hands, his existence may lead to something far more destructive.

While his superiors debate over his role as the First Born, he seeks only revenge. His father was the first immortal killed by Death Serum. Now that Tarian knows the truth about himself and his dad, he will find the murderous traitor and bring him to justice. But Tarian is young, and his immortal gifts have not matured. With the help and guidance of Audrey, he may have a chance.

Tarian’s journey is both a physical challenge as well as an emotional coming of age enlightenment. His path of self-identity braids through the mortal and immortal world. With breath catching character revelations turning enemies into friends and friends into enemies, he must fight to save his loved ones and secure the two worlds he has come to love.

First Born mixes fantasy with action adventure set in a near-future North America on the brink of a Border War offering a unique twist on an immortal tale. Interesting historical facts weave cleverly throughout the narrative providing extensive character background and playful speculation. Combining romantic fantasy with aggressive action think the All Souls trilogy meets the Divergent Trilogy.

Janelle Gabay
Where can readers follow you?

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?

No, I wanted to be an actress.  From as young as I can remember, I loved performing in front of my parents and friends.  When I was very young, I played a game called animals (I have no idea who came up with the concept or name, but we had a blast playing it).  We’d pretend to be particular animals, usually big cats.  I think I enjoyed this because it was acting, pretending to be something other than human.  In college, I switched from theater to literature and began my journey into the exploration of the written word in novel form.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?

The minute I finished First Born.  I had written before, immediately after college, but never took the time to master the craft or polish my stories.  Back then, I probably thought I was doing my best, but now that I’m older and wiser, I realize I was only practicing/dabbling at writing.  I knew First Born was special, so I immediately set my mind to believe that I was a published author, I was successful.  I’d read and heard many people explain how important it is to truly believe in your goal even if it hasn’t happened yet. Visualization is important.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

My latest book is titled First Awakened.  It is the sequel to First Born.  Here’s my 20-word summary: Death comes to immortals in the form of sleep. If awakened improperly they become blood-thirsty, and the only thing capable of killing an immortal.  Okay, sorry that’s 24 words.  

What can we expect from you in the future?
ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?

More of the same and hopefully a few YA Romances.  First Born and First Awakened are part of the First Born Books Trilogy, which is part of the Guardians of Dare Chronicles. The trilogy is set in the near future, 2111-2113.  Once this trilogy is complete, I plan to go back to the very beginning, 1529, when Audrey discovers she’s immortal.

What genre would you place your books into?  

My books are Teen Fantasy Fiction, but I’d have to add Science Fiction, Romance, and Thriller too.  Some of my reviews label them as Dystopian, but I don’t see it that way.  My world is speculative – it’s different but not repressive.  

What made you decide to write that genre of book?

My decision to write YA Fantasy stemmed from what I was reading and watching with my preteen and teen kids at the time.  We were falling in love with Harry Potter, Twilight, and Hunger Games, and of course, I’d been a huge Star Wars fan from age six.  Now, I’m veering away to more YA Romance with some comedy.  We’ll see what I make of that next.  

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?

I do read and enjoy all of my reviews.  So far the readers have been extremely generous with their compliments, and the criticism has been constructive.  I’m waiting on more reviews of First Awakened.  So far: one 3-star, one 4-star and one 5-star.  I like that.  The only review that bothered me was actually just a rating - the one out of the fifty-four ratings that were a 1-star.  But I have a 4.19 rating on Goodreads, and I’m proud of that. As an author, reviews are important and very much appreciated.  

  How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?

One of my favorite series is the All Souls Trilogy.  The Roanoke Colony is mentioned in passing during a scene in book 2 Shadow of Night.  I had never heard of the Roanoke Colony, and my curiosity piqued.  As soon as I read that the Roanoke Colony came over to the new world from England and then vanished without a trace, I had my immortals’ tale.  That was it.  The name Guardian of Dare comes from Eleanor Dare – an actual historical figure.  I took the true historical version of the Lost Colony of Roanoke and elaborated on it, and poof, I had a background story for my immortals.  They were all born around 1450 to 1568, fled the Elizabethan Era witch-hunts to the new world and disappeared on purpose.  Now, that I had their history I had to select English names and names that existed during 15th – 16th Century England.  The mortal character names I had more leeway with and selected based on meaning and sound.  It’s important to try to avoid names that sound similar.  It can get very confusing if both of your main characters names start with the same letter or sound.  As for the name of my nation – The Entente – I needed a name that meant unified since North America was no longer split into three countries.  In my future world, North America is one nation surrounded by a border wall and cut off from the rest of the world for a reason, until…  

Which do you prefer? . . . . .

Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate or White Chocolate?

Dark Chocolate all the way!! Love it!! I usually have a bar of Lindt Excellence with sea salt in a drawer or two!!

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