Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Elemental by Kelbian Noel : Interview and Excerpt

Background purchased from DepositPhotos
Baltimore Land is a typical teenager whose parents embarrass her completely. She wants nothing to do with her family's beliefs and is convinced their silly rituals only exist to make her life miserable. All she wants is to be normal, but the fact that her parents are witches seriously messes with her social life.

She's doing alright, with a boyfriend who seems to like her just the way she is and an awesome best friend who is fascinated by her lifestyle. But she's not the most popular girl in her small Utah town. In fact, she's kind of the town freak.

When her boyfriend's ex tries to win him back, Baltimore's emotions get the best of her and she soon realizes her parent's beliefs aren't so silly after all--they're just the beginning.

Baltimore is visiting her boyfriend, Toby, the morning after a car accident has put him in the hospital and his ex-girlfriend, Kara, on the missing persons list.

I clear my throat and stick out my chin. Not this time.

“All I want to do is forget this happened. You’re mad and I can’t blame you. When you get out of here and you’re off whatever meds are making you act like this, we can talk about where we go from here.” I stand up and loop my purse over my shoulder. “I’m going to let you get some rest,” I add as I walk toward the door.

“I don’t think there’s anywhere to go.”

I stop in mid-stride on my way to the exit. “You’re breaking up with me?”

Toby’s tone is less scathing now. He speaks as though he’s filled with relief. “I’m waking up, Baltimore. I don’t know what you’re capable of, but I have a pretty good idea. And after last night, I’m not sticking around to find out.”

I turn to face him. “What are you talking about?”

“They’ll never find her.”


“They’re looking in all the wrong places.”

What kind of painkillers is he taking?

“Kara’s gone.” He closes his eyes, then turns his head to face the wall and avoid my confused stare.

“The whole town is looking for her,” I say. “They think she may have wandered off or something. Maybe picked up by a stranger. They’re searching all the area hospitals. But there was a lot of snow so she could be—”

“They’ll never find her.”

“Of course they will.”

“She’s not out there buried in the snow or in some stranger’s car.” 

“But she could be, maybe someone dropped her off at the hospital—”

“And what drove her all the way to Salt Lake? Why not just bring her here? It would have been closer.”

I drop my bag and walk back to the bed. “Then where is she?”

“Why don’t you tell me?”

“How would I know where Kara is?”

 “I don’t know, Baltimore.” Toby’s voice is calm and quiet. “But weird things happen when you’re around.”

My nose tingles and I rub the tip of it with the back of my hand. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I don’t know what happened at your house the other night, but—.”

“The earthquake? Bridgett says earthquakes happen in Utah all the time.”

“Not like that they don’t.” Toby turns back to face me.

“So what are you saying?”

“I think you know. Just like you know what happened to Kara.”

“She was in an accident.”

Toby snorts. “There was an accident alright. My ex girlfriend disappeared in front of my eyes and the next thing I know I’m in a ditch, with a truck on top of me. Is it supposed to be a coincidence that you two had a run-in the same night?”

 “Maybe you’ve had one too many painkillers. Last night, you were in a car accident. The car went off the road. Kara was ejected. Now she’s out there somewhere and the whole town is looking for her. End of story. Clearly someone needs to learn how to drive.” I regret it as soon as I say it, but he’s pissed me off. How can he be blaming me for an accident that I was nowhere near?

“Nice one, Baltimore. The door’s that way.”

“How do we know this isn’t your fault? From what I hear there were three kegs of beer in the back seat.”

“Don’t try to turn this around on me. I know what I saw. They’ll never believe me, but I know what you did.”

“And what is that exactly?”

Toby clears his throat. “I guess you did some kind of spell. Something to get rid of her.” His voice is so quiet, I barely hear him.

When I realize what he’s said, I laugh out loud. “Yes, Toby. I said abracadabra and caused Kara to disappear into oblivion. It was all my fault.”

“Admission is the first step.”

“You’re such a jerk.” I march over to where I dropped my purse, pick it up and head to the door.

“What other explanation is there?”

“Intoxicated people shouldn’t drive.” I throw the comment over my shoulder as I reach for the doorknob.

“I wasn’t drunk. And you’re a witch.”

I whirl, glaring at him. “No, idiot. My parents are and it’s a religion not a super power, so grow up.”

I turn on my heel, battling a breakdown as I rush down the hall. I bypass the elevator and burst into the stairwell, in my haste to freedom.

Freshly, fallen flakes tumble off the vehicle as I slam the passenger door. I slump in the seat and stare out the window. “Get me out of here, please.”

“That bad, huh?” Bridgett turns the key in the ignition and switches on the windshield wipers.

“He finally wakes up and I come all the way out here to be lashed out at. I must be some kind of martyr.” My voice cracks on the last syllable and I continue to stare out into the parking lot, willing the tears at bay.

“What did he say?” Bridgett asks in a quiet voice.

“Apparently, he thinks I’m some kind of freaky witch. And now, he wants nothing to do with me.” I plant my chin in my palm. “Let’s just go.”


Welcome Kelbian!  Thanks for taking time to visit my blog.  It's great to get this chance to chat with you and find out a little about you.  How did you start your writing career?


By trade, I’m a grant writer and editor. So writing is a huge part of my life on a daily basis. My journey to creative writing is a little more interesting though.


I started writing when I was eleven. We lived in the country back then and behind our house were two places I spent most of my free time: a cemetery and a cow pasture.


In the summertime, I was always in the cow pasture. There was this huge oak tree and I would sit under it and write with a red pen and loose-leaf paper. I was an avid reader of Janette Oke and L.M. Montgomery, so most of my stories were historical romances with an interracial twist.


I’d also wander through the cemetery reading the headstones and imagining what the people must have been like. It played well into my supernatural obsession! For a while there, I thought I’d be the youngest writer in history, but eventually I got distracted with eleven-year-old life.


I didn’t start writing again until decades later. I had this dream that was so vivid, I never forgot it. That was in 2005. I plotted the story about werewolves in San Francisco but never got around to writing it until four years later. By then creature books were saturating the industry, so I gave up and decided to write other things. It was around this time that my love for creative writing reignited and I started to seriously consider it as a career.


What inspired you to write Elemental?


Being original as a writer is nearly impossible, but one thing I realized lent to my success was writing what I knew. That’s how the idea for this book came about.


I grew up in a strictly religious home and I was also the only black kid in my class for most of my formative years. It was, in a word, awkward. I thought it would be cool to write from that perspective. In the publishing industry, the black experience is very one sided and it’s not my experience at all. I didn’t live the “urban life” or in the tight knit black community. My life as very country, small town and kind of boring. But I had buddies like, Bridgett and crushes on guys like Toby, so to me this was very real.


Of course, I absolutely adore all thing supernatural, so I had to throw that element in. So I thought to myself, what’s weirder than a black pastor’s daughter living in an all white town? The black daughter of two witches trying to pull off the same.


What makes your main character relatable?


Baltimore is a real girl. She has real insecurities, real problems and she looks, well, normal. She’s not impossibly beautiful, she doesn’t have a ton of friends (in fact, she only has one) and she really doesn’t fit in. But she desperately wants to. She’s a normal teenage girl. Not the one we all wish we were.


Is this a stand-alone novel or part of series? If it’s a series can we get a little sneak peak?


This is the first in a five book series. Readers will get a chance to meet more girls like Baltimore, with their own issues, secrets and challenges.


Do you have critique partners or beta readers?


I do. And thank God! I’m a member of YA Fiction Fanatics. It’s an awesome crit group I joined a year ago. My writing has improved immensely because of these wonderful ladies. Every writer, no matter how talented, should join a crit group.


Who is your favorite author?


Octavia E. Butler. She took a genre and turned it on its ear. She took unlikely characters and inserted them in worlds they’d previously been barred from.


Who are your books published with?


I’m a self-published author. I do a lot of things on a whim. This was one of them. I’d queried Elemental for two months. Sent out 10 queries, gotten two positive responses. Awesome feedback from a couple of well respected agents. One of the main concerns was that the market was filling up with witch books.  In the end, I didn’t want to sit on it. So I jumped on the self-publishing ban wagon.


What makes you happy?


Writing. No matter what the day brings, entering my characters’ worlds takes it all away.


I've been an avid reader, for as long as I remember. Growing up I wasn't allowed to indulge in "secular" books. So I settled for Prairie Romances like Anne of Green Gables and Love Comes Softly. Mom sold books, so there was never an end in sight. But, whenever I could, I'd sneak the latest Fear Street novel home from the school library.

When R.L. Stine became less creepy at night, I latched on to Christopher Pike and Annette Curtis Klause. By the time I'd graduated from high school, I was obsessed with all things supernatural, especially magic (the Hollywood kind) and ghosts. Most people find it impossible that I've never read a Stephen King novel. I've seen many movie adaptations but I guess, because my book growth was stunted by extremely religious parents, I never got there. But there's always time and what is that they say about saving the best for last?

Now in my thirties and a mother of two little kids, I have a lot less time for reading, though I still do it when I can. Mostly on my Kindle app. What I really love to do is write. I guess you could say my love of reading branched into writing around the same time I discovered R.L. Stine. Late at night, I put my imagination on paper. I've written a few novels, and recently self-published one. Of course it's about witches, with a little teen angst thrown in for good measure. I'm proud of my first published work and I look forward to continuing to explore that world.

Kelbian lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with her two children.
Website  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads  |  Amazon

a wiccan pentacle key chain, wiccan pentacle earrings, and a 5ml bottle of lavender therapeutic grade essential oil
Enter for a chance to win a gifted Kindle copy of Elemental plus a cool witchy mini Swag kit.
This Prize is Open to US/CAN Shipping.
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow the author on  Twitter for another  bonus entry.
Giveaway ends August 29th 11:59 PM Central Time.


Kelbian Noel said...

Hi Laurie! Thanks for having me on your blog today and for hosting this giveaway! :) Good luck to everyone who enters :)

PuttPutt1198Eve said...

Love the cover picture! Got my attention right away.

woodytobiasjr said...

Great contest.Hope I win!

Hellabee said...

Enjoyed the book and can't wait to found out more about Baltimore's "sisters"

Kelbian Noel said...

Good luck, PuttPutt & Woody!

Hellabee, I'm glad you enjoyed the book :) If you get a chance, check out the website (kelbian.com) and you can meet the girls there. Book 2 comes out in February :) Thanks for checking out the series!

Karen Arrowood said...

Thissounds like such an interesting book! Can't wait to read it. Thank you for the opportunity.

Kelbian Noel said...

You're welcome, Karen :) Thanks for checking out the interview! And good luck :)