Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Earth Painter by Melissa Turner Lee: Character Interview and Excerpt: Juniper Grove our Stop



Khai-Ree-Hloa-Theo a side Character from The Earth Painter

Where do you dream of traveling to and why?

*Sigh* I’ve seen it all. One place is the same as any other. Especially now that humans have paved it all. If I had to choose, perhaps the Amazon, some place still untouched by people. My master loves the people. Always chooses to put us somewhere close to them. He loves to observe their behavior. Not sure what he finds so amazing about the whole lot. They waste and destroy everything, including their own lives.

Tell us about your family.

I don’t really have one. Not the way humans have them. I am Khai-Ree-Hloa-Theo. That means assistant painter to Theo. He is a great artist. I’m sure you’ve seen his work, if you’ve ever looked out a window or walked outside. I’m not sure how he comes up with it all. I know I never could. There are other Khai-Rees. Khai-Ree-Hloa-Walden and I see each other on occasion when our painters visit.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

I would have to say the ending of The Earth Painter book. I cannot tell you very much except that my painter was changed and I had to also. But I’ve never changed before. We have never changed. But he needed me and I am his Khai-Ree. I assist him so I did.

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

I was never a child. What an absurd question. I’ve always wanted to be what I am, Khai-Ree-Hloa-Theo.

What are your favorite TV shows?

TV? Is that the screen with the keyboard or the screen with the remote control? I know humans spend ghastly amounts of time staring at both. I have too much work for either.

What group did you hang out with in high school?

The artists and the Theatre students

What are you passionate about these days?

I like things put in order. I recently received a label maker from my master. I’ve labeled everything. My master didn’t like waking to find himself labeled but considering what he did to me for years, it was appropriate.

What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read? 

The Earth Painter of course. I’m in it.

The Earth Painter Cover

When a self-conscious young woman discovers the boy in drama class is actually the immortal who painted the world into being, she becomes the target of another painter who hates humanity.

The Earth Painter is a Young Adult Supernatural Romance set in the small mill town of Chesnee, SC. It revolves around Holly Scruggs, whose family has just moved back to Chesnee after her dad lost his job along with pretty much everything they owned. Her image conscious parents correct her to the point of brokenness until she meets Theo. He is the artist responsible for all the beauty of the land and he thinks Holly is beautiful, too. Together they will fight against Fritz, the water painter, who hates humans and is hiding a secret under the high school.

Title: The Earth Painter
Author: Melissa Turner Lee
Published: February 28th, 2013 by AltWit Press
Word Count: approx. 66,500 words
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance


My mouth fell open. Was he nuts? How was I supposed to answer a question like that?

I balled my hands into fists and put them on my hips. “What’s the matter with you?”

When he put his hands on his hips, I got upset for a moment before I realized he was still doing the mirroring exercise.

Ms. Jones suddenly yelled and clapped. “I love this. Love it! Everybody look at Holly and her partner. They aren’t just moving, they are conveying emotion with it. Brilliant!”

I went back to doing normal movements. And Theo continued to stare at me. “You look so familiar. I heard you say you just moved here, but did you move back? I mean, did you live here before…a long time ago maybe?”

“No.” I half-smiled and then bit my lip.

He was exceptionally good looking. I’d been too irritated to notice at first, but the more I looked at him the warmer my cheeks grew. The way he stared at me didn’t help. It was intense and inquisitive, and he was too close. We weren’t touchy-feely at my house so this invasion into my personal space was especially uncomfortable.

“So you’ve never been here before?” His gray-blue eyes studied me even more.

“Well…um…I’ve been to Chesnee before—to visit my grandmother before she died. Maybe you saw me around town then.”

He shook his head. “No, that’s not it. I’ve seen you up close, like this. I remember your eyes. They’re the color of the sea—just inside a coral reef, and your freckles are the stones of a volcanic island scattered along the sand. Your hair is like the sun setting over the water, shooting out orange rays in all directions.” He stared into my eyes even deeper. “You’re very pretty.”

The impact of his words slammed into me. I’d braced myself for an insult. That’s what I was used to. This was either the way he came onto girls for a hook-up, or more likely, some mean joke to get a good laugh going with the other kids. Anger bubbled up. I knew those kinds of tricks. Those were the kinds of things the kids I used to hang with did all the time. They played them on me too, when I no longer belonged in their circle.

My hands trembled, and my lips drew up to hold in the anger, but I refused to cry in front of this boy. I wanted to call him on his prank. I knew better than to think it was a real compliment, but I couldn’t think of anything clever to say.

The tears burned in my eyes despite my efforts.

“Forget this!” I shouted as I ran off the stage. Everyone’s stares bore into my back as I grabbed my backpack and made for the door. My head throbbed from ear to ear. I was dropping the class, and that was final.

Melissa Turner Lee holds a BA in Communications with a concentration in Journalism from the University of South Carolina. She has studied fiction writing since 2008, attending various writing conferences and workshops, along with guidance from professional writing coaches. She resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband and 3 sons.

The Earth Painter by Melissa Turner Lee tour schedule:

The Earth Painter Giveaway


Shadowwolf said...

This is an awesome interview. That is exactly how I would expect Khai-Ree to respond. :)

Fran Swarts said...

Would love to read this. Thanks for the giveaway.


I love to read, growing up we didn't have any, but, I enjoy every one today

Mel said...

thanks for giveaway!!