Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Shadow of Time by Jen Minkman: Interview and Excerpt: Tour Stop


How did you start your writing career?

When I was ten years old, I dreamed about four girls and a UFO. When I woke up, I decided to write a book about it, and that became my first-ever novel. I taught myself how to use a type-writer, make and bind books and illustrate stories, just so I could write ‘Ann-Marie and the Flying Saucer’. I still have it! It is 35 pages long and pretty well-written for a ten-year-old.

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

My book ‘Shadow of Time’ is set in Arizona, and more specifically, Navajo Nation. It was originally written and published in Dutch (I am from Holland) and re-written in English so I could self-publish it in the US, too. Since I have never actually been to Arizona (or even the U.S.), I would love to visit the places I have written about in the book – Antelope Canyon, Rainbow Bridge and Canyon de Chelly.

Tell us about your current release.

‘Shadow of Time’ is a paranormal romance set in Navajo Nation. The main characters are American (Hannah, the girl) and Navajo (Josh, the guy). Hannah and her brother Ben are spending their summer vacation in Arizona. Josh is Ben’s best friend from the reservation, and Hannah hasn’t seen him in years. When she meets him again, she falls head over heels for him, but Josh is strangely distant and seems to be hiding something from her. When she starts to have strange nightmares about historical events in Navajo Nation in which Josh is always present, she is determined to find out what is happening to her... and what Josh’s secret exactly is. 

What is the hardest part of writing your books?

I think most writers will agree with me on this one – it’s deleting stuff! In order to write a good book, you always have to take out some parts at a later stage so your book will have a good flow and no ‘filler’ content. But of course, a book is kind of like a ‘baby’ – you love every part of it, because you created it. Writing is not hard, but editing is!

Does your significant other read your stuff?

Interesting question! My husband is Filipino and English is one of his native languages. He has not read my books in Dutch (because his knowledge of Dutch, he claims, is awful) so he is overjoyed my work is available in English now! He has read ‘Shadow of Time’ even though it is a ‘girly book’. :)  

Who are your books published with?

In Holland, my books are published with Ellessy Publishing House from Arnhem. Outside the Netherlands, my English books are self-published.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?
I write my own music while writing my books! In every book I write, there is a song (usually sung or composed by the main character). In ‘Shadow of Time’, both Josh and Hannah have a song. You can listen to them on my website.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was very young, I wanted to be an astronomer. I was fascinated by everything that had to do with the universe, the solar system and things ‘out there’. But part of me has always wanted to write as well. I could read when I was three years old, and I have never stopped reading since. I grew up with books. Nowadays, I am a teacher of English, just like both my parents and my sister. I guess it runs in the family!

All Hannah Darson wanted was a peaceful summer vacation after her first year of teaching in high school. She and her brother Ben are all set up for six weeks of relaxation in their mom's log cabin next to Lake Powell. Hannah hasn't been there for years, and when she runs into Ben's best friend Josh again, she discovers he has grown up... fast. The young boy from the Navajo reservation turns out to be the local heart-throb, and Hannah falls head over heels for him.

 But vacation in Arizona is not a bed of roses: after being stranded and harassed at Lake Powell in the evening, Hannah is plagued by terrifying dreams about war, a Navajo village from the past, and three mysterious shapeshifters who are haunting her in her nightmares and even seem to invade the real world.

 What is happening to her? And why does Josh appear in her dreams about the past, too..?
Ben didn’t reply. He was staring at the water. “Oh, I think Josh is on the beach.” He got up from his chair. “Hold on, I’ll tell him we’re sitting over here.” He walked off the deck toward the water. Hannah tried to see where he was going, but the beach was still quite crowded and soon she’d lost sight of him.
In one corner of the deck, a band of three guitarists and one saxophone player had set up. They started playing soft music, giving the perfect backdrop to a slow and warm summer night.
Hannah put her handbag on the floor and turned in her chair to see whether Ben was coming back yet. His glass of beer had been on the table for a while, and her brother hated lukewarm beer – with a passion. She spotted him down by the jetty with the small rowing boats, enthusiastically waving his arms and telling a tall guy next to him some elaborate story.
Hannah swallowed hard and squinted against the sunlight. That guy next to Ben – but that couldn’t be. She couldn’t believe her eyes. That was the Navajo guy. The guy who’d laughed at her poor attempt at singing. The guy who’d playfully said hello and given her this intense look, while she was gaping at him like a dumbstruck idiot. So Ben knew him?
Her heart skipped a beat when she suddenly realized why the local native hunk with the divine body was walking next to her brother.
That was Josh. 
This couldn’t be happening.
How could she have missed that it was Josh? Then again, he had changed in four years’ time. Nobody aged seventeen should even be allowed to look that grown-up. She had a freaking heart rate of one-hundred-and-sixty beats a minute, just because she had to talk to a guy who’d innocently helped her catch frogs with a small fishing net at this very spot only four years ago. Ben’s younger, scrawny Navajo side-kick was most definitely a thing of the past.
All of a sudden, she was painfully aware of the creases in her T-shirt, her poor excuse for a hairdo and the bags under her eyes. On top of that, there was sheer panic. Panic because all those trivial things apparently acutely mattered to her so much. She had to get a grip. He was seventeen and she was twenty-three. She was miles above all this.
Oh shoot, she was still holding her breath. Hannah forced herself to let it out, releasing her death grip on the table at the same time. Still turned around in her seat, she shouted to Ben: “Your beer is getting warm! Hurry up.” Then her eyes darted to Josh, who was now coming up to the table.
“Oh – hey,” she managed to say in a surprised tone of voice. Again, the same line. Sure, why not? Since it worked so well the first time around.
“Hey.” He sat down on the chair next to her. “Again.”
“So… I already met you this afternoon.” Hannah tried to give him a casual smile, quickly reaching out to shake Josh’s hand. He grabbed hers and she felt the water on his skin. He’d just been swimming in the lake. Drops of water still clung to his broad shoulders, and his hair was wet at the tips.
“Yep.” His grin suddenly made him look cheeky and young, but incredibly irresistible. “I must say, it was a touching reunion.”
Hannah laughed nervously. “So, you recognized me?”
“Of course. But I guess you didn’t see it was me.”
Hannah bit her lip. “No.”
“I see,” he said softly. “Is that why you blushed when I said hi?”
Hannah froze, praying to the heavens she wouldn’t blush yet again. Alas, the heavens weren’t smiling down upon her today. “Um, yes. I was a bit surprised, I guess.” She slowly pulled her hand from his – he was still holding it –  and quickly grabbed her glass to busy herself.
 Available on every branch of Amazon as a Kindle book
and on most Amazons as a paperback.
The book will also be available on Smashwords, Kobo,
Barnes & Noble and other stores from March 15th onwards.
Jen Minkman (1978) was born in Holland, in the town of Alphen aan den Rijn. When she was 19, she moved between The Hague, Salzburg (Austria), Brussels (Belgium) and Cambridge (UK) to complete her studies in intercultural communication. She is currently a teacher of English, career counselor and teenage coach at a secondary school in Voorburg, Holland. She tries to read at least 100 books a year (and write a few, too!). She is a published author in her own country, and translates her own books from Dutch into English for self-publication. In her spare time, she plays the piano, the guitar and the violin. For every novel she writes, she creates a soundtrack. 'I have always been drawn to writing. My first book was a sci-fi novel at the age of eight, which I painstakingly typed out on my dad's typewriter and illustrated myself. Nowadays, I stick to poetry, paranormal romance, chicklit and/or fantasy. In my home country, I am the first-ever published writer of paranormal romance, and I will gradually make my books also available in English (seeing I have to re-write and translate the books myself, this will take some time!).
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On the 2nd of January, 'Shadow of Time' kicks off with a release day party across 15 blogs. After that, the beat goes on:
January 3
Czech Republic
January 4
United Kingdom
January 5
United States
January 6
United States
January 7
United States
January 8
United States
January 9
United Kingdom
January 10
Finland / United States
January 11
United States
January 12
United States
January 13
January 14
January 15
January 16
The Netherlands
January 17
United States
January 18
United States
January 19
United States / Hungary
January 20
United Kingdom
January 21
United States
January 22
United States
January 23
January 24
United Kingdom
January 25
United States
January 26
January 27
January 28
January 29
United States
January 30
January 31
To go out with a bang, a final appearance will be made on Bitten By Books - I will answer questions during a live blog interview all day (U.S. time) and I will give-away a $40 Amazon Gift card to one lucky winner!

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