Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Hollow of Mont Noir by Jennifer Krey

Allison just wanted to be a typical teenager. But with a missing brother, a beastly stalker and the possibility that she's not completely human, her life was anything but typical.

Allison Spencer was no stranger to the paranormal. An animal empath, she had the unique capacity to sense the feelings of animals around her - an ability she liked to call "Crittervision." She had never met anyone else with unusual powers and had gotten used to the fact that she was just an eccentric in a world full of normal people.

Allison lived an otherwise ordinary life and was looking forward to finishing high school along with her friends and her boyfriend in her hometown of Ocean City, Maryland. But when her older brother, Logan, suddenly disappeared from a small college town near the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York, Allison's entire world was turned upside down.

Logan still hadn't been found after several months, so Allison's parents decided to move the family to the Hollow of Mont Noir, New York to look for him themselves. In addition to leaving behind her home and her friends and being dumped by her boyfriend, Allison suddenly had to deal with life in a small town, a strange creature that seemed to be stalking her, a new school full of cliques and cattiness, parents who were preoccupied with her missing brother, and an illogical fascination with an outcast boy who didn't talk to anyone at school.

As Allison settled into her new home, she began to realize that not everything - and everyone - was what they seemed. She soon learned of the existence of supernatural creatures living side-by-side with humans and was faced with a whole new set of questions - and some shocking answers - about herself and her family.

This excerpt is from Chapter 5:

The following morning was Saturday, but since I was still in summer vacation mode, days of the week had little meaning to me. I stretched and looked at the clock. Six o’clock in the morning. I actually longed for the days when Mom would come in my bedroom at ten o'clock with the vacuum, pretending the cleaning couldn’t wait. She was really there to jar me from my sleep and prevent me from sleeping the day away. It was a rather annoying way to be woken up, but I realized then that it was better than tossing and turning all night and then finally getting up before the sun.
I sat up reluctantly, not quite ready to start the day. I had gotten only a few scattered, strange dream-filled hours of sleep, but I was bored of lying in bed, hoping for sleep that would never come. I went to the balcony door and stepped outside. At least it looked like today would be a nice day. The sky was clear, the sun was beginning to rise, and the air felt warm and dry.
I considered an early morning jog, then looked down at the ground and thought again. The grass in our backyard was patchy at best, and there were large areas of bare dirt that were now soggy mounds of mud, thanks to several days of rain. I could just imagine my sneakers squishing down into the mud while it sprayed up on my legs and back. No thank you. Maybe a full day of sunshine and warmth would dry the puddles so I could give it a go tomorrow.
I left the balcony doors open to enjoy the fresh air and went back inside with the intention of reading for an hour or so until my parents got up. I grabbed my book from my nightstand and, of course, in my sleep-deprived haze, knocked everything else from the nightstand to the floor. I groaned and hoped that I hadn’t broken the mirror in my compact. Seven years of bad luck was just about all I needed. I figured I’d already had my share and then some.
I reached under the bed to grab some of the fallen articles, and my hand brushed something fuzzy. And warm. And possibly moving. My heart started pounding, and I told myself to calm down. My field hockey sticks were tucked away in my closet, so I grabbed one and began to gingerly poke at whatever was under my bed, fully expecting to get in a good laugh at myself when I found that I had been terrified of a menacing cashmere sweater or a ferocious fuzzy slipper.
I did not expect what came next.
Something large and furry shot out from under my bed with a growl, moving with such speed that I might never have known what it was had it not stopped just before the balcony door to turn and look me right in the face. In the space of a fraction of a second, I tried to convince myself that it was a German Shepherd, all the while knowing darn well that I was staring into the yellow eyes of a wolf. Then, just as suddenly as it had darted out from under my bed, it turned and ran out the balcony doors and jumped over the railing without hesitation. Without even consciously knowing that I was doing it, I let out an ear-piercing shriek that didn’t end until Mom and Dad came running into my room.

Today, I have the pleasure of having Jennifer Krey as a guest on my blog.  Welcome, Jennifer! So, tell us how did you start your writing career?

A long time ago, I had an idea for a children's book about a little boy who is afraid of the dark.  I tried writing it a few times, but it never seemed quite right, so I temporarily gave up on it.  I started thinking about it again last year, and the concept evolved into a young adult paranormal romance story, but I was kind of intimidated by the idea of writing a full-length book.  When I was pregnant with my second son, I had insomnia for the entire first trimester, where I was only sleeping 1-2 hours per night.  That gave me a lot of time to just lie in bed and think.  I started fleshing out the characters and making up dialogue to entertain myself while my husband slept, and I ended up writing "The Hollow of Mont Noir" in my head while I should have been sleeping.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

I would love to go to Ireland because it is such a beautiful place and has such a rich culture.  Both my husband and I are part Irish, and we would love to see the places where our ancestors lived.  I just love all things Irish - the music, the food, the dancing.  If I ever have a daughter, I am going to sign her up for Irish dance lessons and get her the whole costume, with the dress, the shoes and the adorable curly wig.  I probably won't force my boys to do it, but they will score some major brownie points if they do it voluntarily.  Also, lycans originated in Ireland, so maybe I could do some research while I'm there and call it a business trip!

Yep, good luck with that.  I think Ireland would be a great place to visit, too, and honestly, I had no idea lycans originated there! How cool! What can you tell us about your next release.

My next book release will be called "Ochre Sky," and it will be Book #2 in the HOWL Series.  It will be set in Ochre Sky, Pennsylvania and will pick up pretty much where "The Hollow of Mont Noir" left off.  The first book was centered around the themes of hope, love, loss and family, but the second book will be more about growing up and finding out what you really want vs. what you think you want.  I don't want to say too much more about it because (a) I don't want to give away the ending of "The Hollow of Mont Noir" and (b) I haven't finished "Ochre Sky" yet, so it's still subject to change.  I am also working on a short story that is a fairy tale with a paranormal twist.  I'm not sure whether I'll complete that or the book first... I just need a good case of insomnia so I can do both!

LOLSo, the easiest way for you to plot out your books is putting your insomnia to work for you. Whats the hardest part?

The hardest part for me was just finding the time to write.  I am a stay-at-home with two little boys (5 months and 2 1/2 years old), so I'm pretty busy during the day, but they're both great sleepers, so I have been able to get a lot done while they are asleep.  The second hardest part of writing was naming the characters.  It was actually easier naming my kids - my husband and I had names picked out even before I was pregnant!  With the book characters, though, I changed some of their names multiple times, and I still sometimes catch myself thinking of them with the wrong names.  The character of Samantha Bellamy started out with a different name that I just picked randomly.  One day I was reading a friend's post on Facebook and I just happened to see a post from another girl I knew from high school.  She had gotten married and her new name was exactly the same as my original name for Samantha.  That was totally weird and unintentional, and I changed the name of that character.  It would have been kind of creepy and stalker-ish to name a character after someone I haven't seen in years, especially a character like Samantha, who isn't the nicest girl in Mont Noir!

Do you have critique partners or beta readers?

"The Hollow of Mont Noir" is my first book, so I didn't have an established network of people to read and review my work, but I knew I needed some extra eyes to look at it. My husband read it first, then I posted a plea for help on my Facebook wall and I was shocked by the huge response I got! I ended up sending the manuscript out to classmates from high school and college, former colleagues, and friends.  It was a diverse group that included attorneys, teachers, marketing professionals, small-business owners, and stay-at-home moms.  I was so nervous while waiting to hear back, but everyone was very kind.  My reviewers were so incredibly helpful, I can't thank them enough!  They caught typos that I had overlooked, even after reading it fifteen times, and they helped me improve parts of the story.

Beatles or Monkees? Why?

Definitely Monkees!  When I was growing up, the television show "The Monkees" was on reruns, and my sister and I loved it!  We even went to The Monkees reunion tour in the mid-nineties.  It was pretty awesome, even though they were all in their fifties by then, a shocking contrast to the young faces immortalized in the shows from the 1960s.  I was so saddened by the recent loss of Davy Jones.  He really made The Monkees what they were.  I'll always be a "Daydream Believer."

Where are your fans most likely to find you hanging out?

Well, since this is my first book, my entire fan base so far consists of my husband and my mother, and they usually know where to find me.  If anyone else is looking for me, though, I'm probably in the kitchen or out with my kids.  They love the library and the playground, so that's where we spend a ton of time.  My two-year-old is just elated that the weather is starting to get nice because it was such a disappointing winter in western New York this past year - it only snowed about four times the whole winter.

Its been such fun finding out a little more about you and your busy life. Thanks so much for coming by.  I am looking forward to reading The Hollow of Mont Noir as soon as I can whittle my current list down a bit more.

Jennifer Krey resides in New York State with her wonderful husband and two adorable little boys. She is a stay-at-home mom who enjoys swimming, cooking and reading, and she also likes to write in her free time.

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Sarah Elizabeth said...

I love how you thought of part of this book whilst you were trying to sleep! I used to keep pen and paper by the bed because things always came to me when I was either falling asleep or waking up! Looking forward to this book! I love YA paranormal romance!

Gale Nelson said...

I love anything paranormal and this one sounds good, thanks for the great giveaway! Gale