Interview w/ Jasmine Angell, Author of LUMINOUS

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clip_image004Title: Luminous
Author: Jasmine Angell
Series: The Psyne Series (#1)
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Saga Ventures, LLC
Release Date: Aug 12 2013

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What would you do if the world you loved was taken from you forever?

…and what would you sacrifice to get it back?

Magical, Mythical, Mesmerizing…

A powerful race of beings lives and works among us and we don’t even know it. To us, they are known as mermaids, sirens and water nymphs, but they call themselves the Psyne. They have lived on Earth since ancient times, wield powerful magic and have only one weakness—love.

When Psyne suddenly start disappearing around the globe, the remaining aquatars are evacuated to their home world and a ban is placed on Earth. Ilauria, a devoted servant to the Psyne Council, can’t abide abandoning the missing eight, and with the help of her long-time friend, Shivan, and a subversive member of the Venvian Psyne named Adante, she embarks on a harrowing rescue mission to uncover who or what is powerful enough to subdue her kind.

What Ilauria discovers will cause her to question her loyalties, re-examine her dual nature, and will shake the very foundations of the truths her society holds dear.

Where were you born and where do you call home?

I was born in Tucson, Arizona (Go Cats!) but have called Salt Lake City, Utah home for the last 14 years. Being fair-skinned with freckles, I find that the climate in Utah is much more forgiving. After so many years in the Arizona sun, I’ve enjoyed trading the desert for the mountains and I actually love the snow!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Even though I’ve written stories all of my life, I never felt like a bonafide writer because I’d always put authors on pedestals. It wasn’t until after I completed the sequel to Luminous entitled, Prism, that I truly felt like a writer. I had spent two years writing Luminous and went through three drafts. It was hard work but I still felt like I was only “playing” at being a writer, it didn’t seem quite real to me. Writing the sequel took half the time and the validation I felt at completing a second novel was immense. My craft was evolving and more importantly, I was finally taking myself serious as a writer.

What do you hope readers will take away from reading your book?

First of all, I hope they fall in love with mermaids all over again. Second of all, I hope they feel that, for a short time, they were part of a fantastic world where mermaids really exist, magic and danger wait around every turn and that no matter how enormous the obstacles they face in life are, that they can draw on their inner strength and courage to overcome them.

Which character speaks the loudest, to you? Do any of them clamor to be heard over the others?

Ilauria speaks the loudest to me. Her love for the Earth and the loyalty she feels towards her missing sisters is what drives her, the need to discover what has befallen them has an incredible intensity to it and the leap of faith she takes in order to rebel against the leaders of her society is compelling.

Do your characters try to make like bunnies and create ever more convoluted plots for you? Or do you have to coax them out of your characters?

I’d say I’m the one trying to steer my characters here or there but they are very dead set on the path they know is meant for them in order to tell their story and so they are the ones who steer me the right direction. They are constantly reminding me that I’m only the instrument that brings their story to life. Make no mistake about it—they are the ones in control of their story.

Do you have a specific writing style?

For Luminous, I utilized four points of view written in third person. It was a bit like juggling a set of fine china while snowboarding down a hill of black ice at 50 mph, or at least what I’d imagine that would be like. I found it interesting to be in all three of my mermaids’ heads because their motivations are all so different and it was important for me to have the reader see the mermaids through the point of view of, Gavin, who is human. Again, each of my characters like to take over and demand their own time in the spotlight.

How did you come up with the title?

The word ‘luminous’ has many definitions, one of which is being full of light. Ilauria is a beacon of light as she uncovers the mystery surrounding the missing mermaids. As she learns who or what is behind their disappearances, she is shedding light on vital information that had previously been hidden from her people. Knowledge is always a candle in the darkness: enlightenment. On a more literal level, each mermaid possesses an intricate design called a ‘luminaea’ across their back which is the source of all of their magic and it glows each time they perform a spell. Every book in the Psyne Series will have a title that incorporates light in some way that ties directly into the story.

Who designed the cover of your book?

The wild
ly talented artist, Joanna Bishop, designed the cover of my book. She created the custom font for the title and I feel it perfectly embodies what the book is all about. Abigail Sloan is the artist who painted the “portrait” of my main character, Ilauria, and Joanna added the subtle effects to make her skin appear to be glowing. I couldn’t be happier with it!

Do you prefer ebooks, paperbacks or hardcover?

There is nothing like holding an actual book in your hands, I prefer paperbacks because dust jackets just seem to get in the way while I’m snuggled under a blanket reading a book. But my husband recently convinced me to get a Kindle Fire and I’ve become very spoiled with not having to hold the pages open. So it’s a toss-up!

Have you ever suffered from a "writer’s block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?

I suffered from it for eight very long, frustrating years. For me, it was my fear of failure and I was trying to write a literary novel when that was soooooo not me. To get past it, I finally had to embrace the possibility of failure and write what I wanted to write, not what I thought I should be writing, there’s a big difference between the two! Now when I’m writing, if I hit a block, I do some cardio to get the endorphins flowing and that clears the fog in my head right up. Then the story comes like an onslaught.

If Luminous was made into a movie, which song do you think should be on the soundtrack?

Oceans by Evanescence

Do you write under a pen name?

I do. Angell is my maiden name and when I changed my last name to my husband’s (I find it deeply romantic for a woman to take her husband’s name), I vowed that when I published my novels I would use Angell in honor of the little girl that I used to be who dreamed of being an author when she grew up. I’ve finally grown up—took long enough!

Vanilla or chocolate ice cream?

Chocolate – more specifically, triple chocolate chunk with chocolate chips, brownie pieces and absolutely smothered in chocolate sauce.

One of your favorite quotes

For all you dreamers out there: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” – Albert Einstein

An actor you have a crush on

Total crush on Henry Cavill, most recently known as the Man of Steel, previously of The Tudors.

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series?

Luminous is most definitely part of a series. I adore reading books in a series because of how invested I get in the characters and the same goes for the characters I write about. The sequel entitled, Prism, is in the final stages of editing and will be released May 2014. At the moment, I’m in the throes of writing Book 3 of the Psyne Series which should be released at the beginning of 2015.

What sets Luminous apart from other mermaid novels?

Most mermaid fiction is either predictable romance novels for adults, typical YA fare where the teenager learns she’s half-mermaid or the tired story of the innocent mermaid who goes inland for the first time and falls in love with a human. As one reviewer of my book put it, “This novel is a bold re-imagining of the mythological icon…” My mermaids are thousands of years old and know Earth better than we do. They are strong, determined and capable. They are mermaids for modern readers of today. I say that you don’t have to outgrow your fascination with mermaids and why should you have to? It’s time to get your mermaid on!

Where do you see yourself in five (5) years?

Up to my waist in my published books! By then, I’ll have three separate fantasy series established in the publishing world: my Psyne Series about mermaids, my Cursed Series about vampires and a third series where I’ll get to indulge my love of horses, feature strong heroines, and include lots of magic (of course). So many books to write, so little time! But I adore fantasy, that is where my heart is and that is where I’ll continue to stay.

Anything else you’d like to add?

It’s my hope that Luminous brings mermaids off the literary sidelines they’ve been relegated to for far too long and puts them center stage where they belong. There’s much more to fantasy than vampires, werewolves, angels and wizards. Mermaids need their time in the sun and their time is now!

Thank you for stopping by today, Jasmine! Can’t wait to read your story Smile

THE LIVING MYTH

The breeze sailed through the branches causing the afternoon light to glisten off something shiny and smooth. The glimmer caught Gavin’s eye and he approached the thicket with caution. He quickly dropped to his knees, peering into the bushes. His eyes adjusted to the dimly lit underbrush and danced across a shiny area of blue-green fish scales.

His breath stuck in his throat as he followed the scales upwards. They gave way to a narrow waist of milky skin that led to the torso of a woman with long, red curly hair. He swallowed hard as his eyes took in the woman curled up on her side and the glistening fish tail undeniably apart of her.

The same memory from before of the woman in the ocean flashed across his mind. The soft glow of her skin contrasted against the water as her black hair streamed behind her. Her blue eyes sparkled like flaming sapphires and her fish tail swayed beneath her.

Gavin’s heart pounded against his chest as he attempted to steady his breathing. When he shook his head and focused on the woman before him, he couldn’t believe he was staring at a living myth right before his very eyes.

In stunned silence, Gavin spread the branches apart and crawled into the thicket, pausing to take in the spectacle of the mermaid before him.

The luxurious flukes of the abundant fish tail were curled beneath the woman’s body, pressed into the moist earth and wrapped around her hips. The delicate blue-green tail reminded him of the showy dorsal fins of Siamese fighting fish. Smaller fins adorned the sides of her slender hips and the iridescent scales of her tail faded below her navel, giving way to smooth skin that covered the rest of her body. Her hair obscured her face and her thin arms were folded against her chest with her hands wrapped tightly under her chin.

Hesitantly, he touched the shiny scales of her tail and goose bumps broke out on his arm.

“Oh my God,” he whispered.

She was cold to the touch but she was real, as real as he was.

His mouth hung open in disbelief as his mind raced, struggling to process what he saw before him. The seconds ticked by but only one thought hovered in his mind: he had to get her out of there and he had to get her somewhere safe.

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clip_image005Jasmine was born in Tucson, Arizona, the oldest of two children. She spent her teen years living in Phoenix, Arizona and then attended the University of Arizona in Tucson where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing. She married and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where her husband attended graduate school at the University of Utah. There she adopted a love for the changing seasons, snowboarding and the beauty of the mountains.

She spent several years working on a literary novel but found her heart wasn’t in it. Finally she quit her day job to write full time and embraced her life-long love of fantasy fiction. She wrote Luminous, the first novel in the Psyne series (pronounced "sign") and followed it up with the sequel, Prism, due out the summer of 2014. With a third series novel in the works and no end in sight, Jasmine will be spending a great deal of time in the Psyne Universe over the next several years. When she’s not writing or spending time with her family, she loves to horseback ride, dance, make elaborate costumes just for the fun of it, and is always planning her next decadent tea party.

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