Today, I am happy to welcome author Chanelle Gray to YA Highway. Her debut, My Heart Be Damned, will be out this summer, and today is the reveal of its lovely, lovely cover. Since I know everyone probably scrolled down to the cover the moment you saw the post title, I will just put it right here at the top of the post:
It's great, isn't it? My favorite part is the awesomely creepy and very relevant graveyard. And what is My Heart Be Damned about, you might be wondering? Here's the summary:
If you're a Hunter, there are only three things you must know about the Damned. The Damned can't lie, can't live without a body, and can't leave you alone.
Amerie Carter has the blood of a Hunter, unfortunately. She is one of a rare line of women who, upon her sixteenth birthday, will come into extraordinary powers used to hunt the Damned; escaped souls from Hell who take up residence in human bodies. It's supposed to be her sweet sixteen, but Amerie has never dreaded a day more, and her worst fears are confirmed as the celebration turns tragic when her mother is killed.
Grief-stricken, Amerie vows to never hunt a day in her life. She's determined to hide behind normalcy, attending school, hanging out with her friends and working an after-school job at The Hut. All Amerie wants is to be left alone. But try telling the Damned that. The harder Amerie tries to ignore her powers, the more the Damned come looking for her.
When an attack leaves one of Amerie's friends in the hospital, and endangers the lives of her fellow students, she knows she has no choice: Hunt or Be Hunted. Thankfully, the gorgeous, secretive, and so-off-limits Marshal offers to train Amerie to take out her supernatural enemies. But training with Marshall means lying to her friends, her family, and confronting the mysterious circumstances surrounding her mother’s death.
Amerie soon discovers she’s not the only one with something to hide; Marshall's secrets might kill her before the Damned get the chance.
If you are a fan of urban fantasy or paranormal romance, this is definitely a book that will interest you. And you can look to Goodreads or Chanelle's blog for more information. (By the way, she's doing a pretty awesome giveaway on her blog to celebrate her cover release.)
Chanelle was also kind enough to let me interview her, and she had some great answers to my questions:
What is your favorite thing about writing YA?
All those lovely hormones! No, I'm joking. With YA, I find that the community are great, which is important, and it's a chance to go back to your teen years and reminisce through the stories of others. Teenagers are still learning who they are and making mistakes and starting their life properly. Learning independence and experiencing first love. It's great to write about.
What inspired you to write MY HEART BE DAMNED?
I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy. I love reading books and watching TV about girls who can kick some serious ass, but while they have this supernatural power, actually they're still human underneath it. I knew I wanted to write about that kind of girl and it took me a while to think of a plot to go with it, and when the idea of souls from Hell 'Damned' came to me one day, it was like a bulb went off in my brain!
The easiest thing was writing the plot, actually! The hardest thing was making sure the romance, while there, didn't overpower the storyline. The characters kept wanting to go off and just have a romance story together!
If you could give aspiring authors one piece of advice, what would it be?
I know 'don't give up' is the standard answer to this, but actually I want to add that you should be really well read in your genre. If you want to write a romance, read a lot of romances. See what works and what doesn't work. See what's been done to death and do something different. But most of all, just write what you feel passionate about!
Relatedly, what is the best piece of publishing advice you ever received?
I suppose to not give up!! There were a lot of times during my journey to publishment that I nearly quit. A lot! But then my writer friends (which you all should have - I demand it!) convinced me to keep trying and then it happened! Rejection happens to us all. You can't let it get to you because it really does only take one yes.
What book--or author--has inspired you the most, and why?
It's an obvious and well used answer, but JK Rowling. The most inspiring part of her journey was that she came from barely anything, wrote one amazing story and completely changed my childhood! Without her and the Harry Potter books, I would never have started reading. And my love of reading turned into a love of writing. So thank you, JK!
Thanks for having me, YAHighway!
And thanks for joining us today, Chanelle!