Interview with YA fantasy author Natalie Wright

Please welcome YA author Natalie
Wright to Reviews and Interviews. Natalie is in the midst of a virtual book tour for her newest fantasy novel, 
, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles.

Natalie will be awarding an
autographed copy of Emily’s House, a handmade Celtic-inspired armlet (similar
to one worn by Emily in the books) and book swag to one randomly drawn commenter
(US only — an e-book of Emily’s House will be substituted as the prize for an
international winner). To be entered for a chance to win, leave an e-mail address with a comment below. And to increase your chances of winning, visit other tour stops and leave other comments.
is the author of The Akasha Chronicles, a young adult fantasy trilogy. When not
writing, blogging, Facebooking, Tweeting, Wattpadding, or eating chocolate,
Natalie nurtures her young daughter, feeds her dog too many treats, and can’t
resist watching Ancient Aliens, no matter how absurd the show becomes.
enjoys travel, good wine, and excellent food shared with family and friends.
She was raised an Ohio farm girl, now lives in the desert Southwest, and dreams
of living in a high rise in a big city.
are my friends, ideas my passion.”

Welcome, Natalie. Please tell us about
your current release.
My current
release is Emily’s Trial, Book 2 of the Akasha Chronicles. Emily’s Trial picks up with Emily two years after her adventures in
Book 1, Emily’s House. She’s now
sixteen and finds herself bored with her role as resident circus freak, showing
off her magical powers for the entertainment of others. And she is inexorably
drawn to Wheaton High’s most sought after senior, Owen Breen. Yes he’s hot, but
he’s not really her type. Why, then, can’t she stop thinking about him? And
will she use her powers in a forbidden way, just to please him?
What inspired you to write this book?
The first
book in this series,
Emily’s House,
was inspired by a vision I had while in therapeutic hypnosis! I saw a golden
arm bracelet hovering over rolling green fields. I couldn’t shake that vision,
and it eventually led to the idea for a hero quest with a young teen
protagonist who learns of her ancient Celtic heritage – Emily’s House!
I intended Emily’s House to be just
the one book. But when I won a trip to Ireland (yep, WON it!), on the plane
ride back three titles popped into my head: Emily’s
, Emily’s Trial, and Emily’s Heart. I wrote down an outline
for two more books on that plane ride. I knew that I wanted to test Emily in
book 2 – to throw hard stuff at her and see what happens. Poor Emily!
And I’m not
sure where this came from, but on that plane ride, I envisioned Emily in a
world where nightmares came true. That idea came to me in the fall of 2010, and
that core idea never changed. Emily’s
is indeed about what happens when Emily and her friends end up in a
world where their worst fears become real. It was deliciously fun to write!
Apocalypse didn’t start with four horsemen, harbingers of the horror to come.
It didn’t start with a plague, or pestilence, or even zombies rising from the
came slowly and without warning. It crept up on people in the shadows, no more
than a vague darkness that spread like an unseen cancer.
And it
wasn’t set into action by a divine hand. A teenage girl was the catalyst for
the End Times.
should know. I’m the one that started it.
I didn’t
plan to. I didn’t want to start the End Times, and I’m not evil.
Wong taught me to tell the truth, and so here it is. I’m the one responsible
for the Apocalypse. And this is the story of how I unwittingly unlocked the
door to the darkness; of how a Priestess of the Order of Brighid, entrusted
with powerful magic that was supposed to be used for the benefit of all
humankind, unleashed a force that would destroy it instead.
And it
all began with desire.
I sat
at our usual lunch table with Jake, Fanny and my ever-present lunchtime
entourage of sycophants. I had become Emily, the lunchtime Circus Freak.
torc was still wrapped around my arm, still welded to my soul by the faerie
magic that had created it. The torc still feeding my powers.
was I out saving old ladies from muggers? Did I use my powers to fight evil,
like some teenage superhero? No. I used the torc’s power to levitate objects in
the lunchroom and eavesdrop into the minds of others.
I had
become notorious. But notoriety is not the same as popularity – or acceptance.
When we
got back from Europe, I stopped hiding my abilities, and I told my story to
anyone who’d listen. Sure, people were amazed – in awe even. But the more I
told the truth of who I was – really
was – the farther away I got from acceptance by ‘them’.
Breen was one of ‘them’. On the other side of the lunchroom at the table where
he held court. He was in a whole different hemisphere from ‘us’. Owen’s
hemisphere consisted of the popular seniors and a few of ‘them’ from the junior
class. My hemisphere was filled with ‘us’, the freaks, the geeks and others on
the fringe.
It had
all started with desire, and Owen Breen was the well of desire from which I
wanted to drink.
sneak looks at him every chance I got. I felt pulled in by his dark, chocolate
eyes. I wanted to dive into those eyes.
What would happen if our hemispheres
meet? What would it be like to kiss his full lips?
was yelling my name.
Earth to Em!”
It was
hoarding the salt. Pass it over.” She said it extremely slowly, as if she was
talking to a small child.
Sure.” The clear shaker lifted in the air and floated across the table to
“You could
use your hands, you know,” Jake said.
“I can, it’s just more fun to do it with my
He rolled
his eyes at me.
were you?” Fanny asked.
If you only knew!
weren’t eavesdropping in someone’s head again, were you? ’Cause you agreed that
was rude and you’d stop,” Jake said.
“No, I
wasn’t reading any minds.” But that’s an
excellent idea. What’s in Owen’s mind?
One of
the freshmen at our table, a kid called Skip, whined at me. “Emily, we’re so bored. Show us something. Something big.”
He was bored. He didn’t know anything
about boredom. None of them did.
years ago, I flew on a plane with Fanny and Jake – no parents – to Ireland,
went to another dimension, fought supernatural ninjas, met alien entities, and
– oh yeah – saved the world from a runaway black hole! And here I was, playing
at being the lunchtime circus show, plodding through the days, waiting for
something to happen. Anything.
did they know about boredom?
on, Emily. Show us something.”
Fine. They want a show. I’ll give them
a show.
looked around the room for something to use as a demonstration. Something to
please the gawkers.
there she was. Perfect.
walked from Owen’s table, with two of her friends beside her. She carried her
half-eaten salad on a tray, the leftover greens drenched with dressing.
been a while since I attempted a levitation from so far away. I wondered if I
could do it.
heard Madame Wong’s voice in my head. “Time,
distance – no matter. All things are one with Akasha.”
I took a deep
salad bowl lifted off her tray. She didn’t seem to notice it at first. But whispers
started, then kids were pointing to her, and some were laughing.
I saw
Greta look around. Her face changed to a grimace when she realized the
whispers, laughs and pointing were aimed at her. She stopped in her tracks,
looked around and then noticed her salad bowl was missing. She followed the
finger pointing and glanced up.
salad bowl was perched about six inches above her head, waiting for my command
to dump the oily contents all over her. If I chose to give the direction.
face flushed. She glared at me with utter venom in her eyes.
you dare, Freak Girl!” she screamed.
are you doin’, Em?” Jake asked.
was a buzz of noise rising in the cafeteria.
some fun.”
“I don’t
think you should do this,” he said.
Because it’s not befitting a Priestess of Brighid? Because it’s bad manners?”
yeah, for a start. And maybe because you don’t need to go starting a war with
dismissed Jake with a roll of my eyes. The salad bowl still teetered over Greta
as she stormed toward me.
tired of you telling me how to be a Priestess, Jake. I didn’t see you in the
Netherworld, getting rapped with Madame Wong’s staff or sliced by her sword.
You’re not the one who saved our collective bacon. Just leave me alone.”
got up from the bench and picked up his tray. “Fine. I’ll leave you alone. Do
what you want. You always do anyway.” He huffed off.
Man, he’s snippy at me lately! What’s
up his butt?
on, Em. You’ve had your fun. Jake’s right about Greta. You don’t need to start
anything with her,” Fanny whispered to me.
She’s taken plenty of shots at me over the years. Why shouldn’t I get a little
could feel Fanny staring at me, waiting for me to turn to her. When I did, her
eyes were set and hard, locking with mine.
you’re better than her.”
it, I hate it when Fanny’s right. And she was right. I didn’t need to stoop to
Greta’s level. I’d show her that I could be the bigger person.
was almost to our table, the salad still obeying my order to hover over her
head. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw Owen walking my way too,
down the aisle between two sets of tables.
eyes were magnets drawn to his eyes. His lips were pulled into a half-smirk,
half-smile, revealing a small dimple in his right cheek, but not his left. That
little asymmetry made it all the more adorable. I wanted to kiss that dimple.
And his lips. The soft pout of his lower lip made me want to …
A loud
scream pulled me out of my daydream, then laughing and applause erupted. Dang
it. I’d lost my concentration on the salad bowl, and it fell, landing first on
Greta’s head. It spilled greasy dressing all over her head before dropping to
the floor.
not sure what made her angrier. The oily dressing covering her head and
shoulders, a bit of it dripping down her forehead, or the applause erupting
from the crowd and cheers for me.
is such a crazy thing. Most of us want to be the popular kid – be a Greta or an
Owen. But when a popular is taken down a peg, we cheer. Go figure.
stopped and took in the scene, then continued walking the five feet or so he
had left to get to my table, then he stopped.
stood across from me and stared. His face was framed by his dark, wavy hair. It
looked soft and was just long enough to run your fingers through. Owen looked
me straight in the eyes with his smoldering, dark ones. He held my gaze, our
eyes locked.
heart began to beat faster, my stomach roiling. Was he going to scold me for
humiliating one of his posse? Or was he going to … what?
he said, “Take a bow, Miss Magic. That’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long
time,” as he cocked his head toward Greta.
first, my legs were frozen. I sat numbly, unable to speak. Then I found the
ability to do what he said. I got up and bowed first to my left, then my right,
the applause growing louder.
When I
raised my head, Owen was gone, already pushing his way through the doors out of
the lunchroom. But Greta was there, standing right across from me. Her neck,
face, and ears were a red flame of anger. Her icy blue eyes, framed by strands
of greasy hair, shot daggers at me.
regret this, Freak Girl.”
I said and laughed.
didn’t laugh. She stood there, stinking of garlicky Italian dressing, her hands
still gripping her tray.
may think you’re all that because you’ve got some stupid powers. But you’re still
a freak, and that’s all you’ll ever be.” Then she stormed off, her two lap-dog
friends on her heels.
loud, I laughed.
I wondered if what she said was true. Greta knew how to push all my buttons,
how to bring out every insecurity I had. Could I ever be more than a side show?
And could a guy like Owen ever be interested in a freak like me?
stormed off. The show was over, and the bell would soon ring. The buzz of
talking and laughter began to die down as people packed up their stuff and
shouldn’t have done it,” Fanny said.
know. I didn’t plan to. My concentration was … broken.”
what? You’ve never dropped anything before. You’ve levitated me for close to an
hour. Don’t tell me Greta rattled you enough to drop that bowl.”
wasn’t her. She doesn’t rattle me.”
Yes, she does.
whispered low, so only Fanny would hear. “Owen Breen,” I confided.
Breen? You’ve gotta be kidding,” she shrieked.
I put my finger to my lips. “This is between just you and me, okay? Don’t tell
“Oh, I
won’t tell Jake. It would crush him.”
for supposedly being an enlightened person, you sure are dense sometimes.”
what’s that supposed to mean?”
bell rang. Time for chemistry class. Greta was in that class. I hoped she didn’t
show that day, covered in grease and stinking of Italian dressing. It made my
gut feel sick to think about it.
didn’t say anything to me as we headed to our lockers to get stuff for the
afternoon. What had she meant about Jake being crushed if he found out I had a
thing for Owen? And was Owen really out of my league? Even though we lived in
two different hemispheres, couldn’t we meet somewhere around the equator?
As I
walked to class, I decided to put Owen out of my mind. He’d laughed at my silly
parlor trick, but he’d never look my way again.
*           *           *
you’re as wrong as a left turn on red.
What exciting story are you working on
Right now
I’m working on the third and final installment in the Akasha Chronicles/Emily
Adams series. It’s titled
Emily’s Heart
and should be out mid-2013. I don’t want to say too much and spoil either
Emily’s Trial or Emily’s Heart, but in book 3 Emily has her work cut out for her!
Book 3 includes a lot of world building, so it has been great fun imagining the
changes to our world that come about as a result of the things that happen in
book 2 😉
And I
continue work on a new speculative fiction series titled H.A.L.F. It’s about
government conspiracy, alien-human hybrids, and three teens that get caught up
in something bigger than themselves, making choices that will change their
lives forever. It’s very different from the Akasha Chronicles, and I’m having a
blast with it. The female main character is spirited, her love interest is hot,
and the antagonist is a complex and feisty woman who can go head to head with
my female lead. I can’t wait to get this one out to readers!
When did you first consider yourself a
When I was
five! Really. When I was a child, I wrote stories, poems, and plays. I always
said I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
But then I
began to grow up! And I became more interested in pursuing the “back up plan”
than pursuing my art.
When my
daughter was born about ten years ago, I once again found myself pursuing my
creativity. At first I just dabbled. I began to write consistently and
seriously in 2007.
Do you write full-time? If so, what’s
your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find
time to write?
I still
have that “back-up plan” day job! But I’m fortunate to be able to work part-time
in my day job so that I can devote time every day to writing and to my writing
career. I generally write new material 2-3 hours per day. The rest of my
writing day is devoted to revision and editing of my work, and then to social
media and my blog.
If I’ve had
a really busy day with my day job, kid, household, etc., I’ll write for a while
before I go to bed. I have found that often some of my best stuff is written in
the hour or so before I go to sleep.
What would you say is your interesting
writing quirk?
writing quirk? I’m not sure if this qualifies as a quirk, but I have found that
I can write just about anywhere and anytime, so long as I do two things. First,
I have to be listening to music. If I’m at a coffeehouse or café, I wear
headphones and crank up my music so I can’t hear anything else. Second, and
this one may look a bit weird to people if I do it in public, I must meditate
for a while before I write. It’s a way of clearing everything else out and
inviting the muse in. So I sit with my eyes closed and breath in and out, in
and out. If I’m home, I’ll add some sun salutation yoga stuff to get my blood
flowing to my brain, but I don’t subject the public to seeing that!
So if you
ever see me out and about and I’m sitting very still with my reading glasses and
headphones on, eyes closed, ignoring everything going on around me, you’ll know
that I’m preparing to write!
As a child, what did you want to be
when you grew up?
A writer!
And now I’ve become that, isn’t that cool?!
But for a
long time, I didn’t live my dream. And I was pretty unhappy in my job. But when
the awful tragedy of 9/11 happened, I began to think about my life and what was
important to me. That time spent soul-searching resulted in a baby and a
writing career!
Life is
short, isn’t it? Too short to deprive ourselves of our dreams. So I went after
it. Little by little, bit by bit. It’s still unfolding, and I’m loving every
minute of it 😉
Anything additional you want to share
with the readers?
I enjoy
chatting with readers, so don’t be shy about reaching out to me. And I don’t
bite, unless you’re made of chocolate, then I make no promises.

Thanks, Natalie. Readers, don’t forget about Natalie’s giveaway! Leave an e-mail address with a comment below if you want to be entered for a chance to win.

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