Thursday, May 17, 2012

Gifted, a Donovan Circus Novel by Liz Long: Interview & Excerpt

Even in a world of freaks, being a Firestarter is considered a dangerous Gift.

Lucy was born with the ability to create and control fire. She longs to leave the human world for one filled with Earthshakers, Transporters, and Chameleons, to name a few. When she rejoins the circus, it's everything she hoped it could be - new friends, a potential love interest or two, and a place where she can be herself.

When troupe members begin turning up dead, however, Lucy is suspected of foul play. She must not only prove her innocence but also realize the full extent of her power. To find the real murderer, she must uncover the truth behind her father's fiery legacy while figuring out whom to trust within her new circle. Little does she know the history of the Donovan Circus and its enemies might actually destroy the entire gifted world.

I turned my attention back to the field’s center. The two Firestarters faced off and stood maybe ten feet apart. Keegan warmed a fireball in his right hand and Nikolas flicked his lighter on to catch a flame. For a heartbeat, nobody moved; dead silence filled the air as we all held our breaths. It felt like more than just playful competition. If I didn’t know better, I would guess that someone was about to get seriously hurt.
Nikolas struck first. He wound up his arm and a blazing hot fireball flew out of his grasp and towards Keegan. This was why Firestarters were so dangerous to others; anyone not possessing this gift, and with it the fireproof body, would be killed. Anything near contact with fireballs could easily catch flame and whole structures destroyed. In a human’s world, explosions and fires were typically accidents or arson; in our world, it was a Firestarter’s emotions.
Too late, Keegan ducked; his shoulder caught the brunt of the fireball and he was thrown backwards.
“Two points!” Bianca shouted.
Before I could glance at her, Keegan was back on his feet, a maniacal grin on his now dirt-streaked face. He pitched his own fireball to Nikolas, who leapt to the side to avoid singeing. The fireball hit the dirt ground, dissipated into smoke. He and Nikolas had to aim carefully to keep their fireballs from going too far and hitting someone.
Nikolas flicked his lighter and lit another giant fireball into his palm. I barely saw his arm pull back before he flung it at Keegan. Quick as a snake and far more dangerous, he wasted no time in a good offense.
They kept at it, jumped and dodged each other’s focused scorches. Bianca screamed points as they got pelted with flames. They had obviously done this many times before; they were comfortable with a duel and still controlled their own fireballs. With enough concentration, the owner of the fireball can make it do whatever they want, including fizzle out. They were so fast, however, neither had much chance to do anything besides hurl them at each other. They made sure that no matter the size of the fire, it would fizzle out before reaching anything outside the circle of dirt they competed on, even if that meant they took the brunt of one to protect it from getting too far.
They rolled on the ground, spun and threw in midair, all the while keeping it contained. As I watched, it was easy to see Nikolas was the aggressive one, whereas Keegan had to be on the defensive. Rarely could he get a fireball off without first blocking one from Nikolas.
Nikolas caught a fireball in the shoulder, which knocked him off balance. Then Keegan threw the rest of his energy out. Keegan threw out his hands to throw a fireball which Nikolas tried to avoid, but Keegan didn’t release it; this left a giant line of flames between the two men. It pushed Nikolas backwards, but he managed to shake it off only after he launched himself out of the way.
Keegan managed to throw a zinger that hit Nikolas square in the chest. Nikolas was thrown back several feet, but managed to keep his balance at the last second. Bianca yelled “Twenty points!” and it looked as though Keegan would win the fight. Just then, Nikolas gave a kind of primal yell and created an orange fireball the size of a couch above his head. I hadn’t even blinked before he released his grip and it went flying at Keegan. It hit Keegan’s chest and I expected him to be tossed back, but instead, the fireball Nikolas created was so large and hot that Keegan caught fire. Flames encased his whole body. I heard Keegan curse. Nikolas had won; while Keegan knocked him off guard, Nikolas was clearly the better talent.

Tell us about your next release.
Currently titled “Super Nova” (not totally set on that), it’s about a 17-year-old girl named Nova. They live in a fictional city, Arcania, that’s being taken over by criminals. A supremely bad guy named Fortune kills her little sister, sending Nova on a quest for justice (or revenge). The catch? Nova’s got her own superpower. It actually is set in the gifted world, but completely different characters and storyline. So the readers will recognize the world and certain traits, but be taken on a totally new adventure.

How do you describe your writing style?
Pretty straightforward, really. I'm not quite as succinct as Hemingway, but I tried to keep it short and to the point, without leaving out details and settings. It's..."direct" I think.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A vet, for about a second before I realized all the math involved. Honestly, though, I always wanted to be a writer. Like so many authors, I was crafting unicorn rides and troll contracts since the first or second grade.

What are your favorite TV shows?
I watch too much TV for someone claiming to be a writer. 30 Rock, Parks & Rec, and Community are all up there (so thanks for your announcement of axing them next season, NBC). I also love Grimm and Revenge.

What group did you hang out with in high school?
I was that innocent, naive nerd who didn't know she hung out with the potheads (even though I didn't smoke, I promise Mom!). But I also joined up with Colorguard to become weapons captain and became a band geek my last 2 years. Thank goodness for my fellow nerds--they made high school bearable.

Are the names of the characters in your novels important? How and why?
I like unusual names. I'm not looking for outta-the-blue names (Apple or Inspektor Pilot for example), but not necessarily Brittanys or Steves, either. They're totally fine names, but all authors want their characters to stand out more than the norm. I especially knew my names in Gifted had to be unique because they're circus folk. Plus "Brooklyn" and "Keegan" just sound cool.

Who should play you in a film of your life?
I'd probably go with Emma Stone--her hair's certainly redder than mine (well, most days), but I think we have similar personalities--usually pretty cheerful with a large dash of witty thrown in. Plus I think she could conquer my crazy speak when I get excited about something.

What are the most important attributes for remaining sane as a writer?
Learning to make time for yourself---making sure to take breaks away from the computer screen to enjoy what you want to do, even if it's just watching a movie. If you let yourself become consumed, it won't be as fun after a while. Fans might be rabid for a new book, but every once in a while you gotta take a mental break and just relax.

Morning Person? Or Night Person? How do you know?
Night person. My mom's called me a Grump Queen since I was a little kid when it comes to my morning attitude. And I don't really drink coffee, so it's a waiting game for me to become all shiny and cheerful. Plus I do my best writing at night when it's quiet and I can really think things through without distraction.

What one word best describes you?

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?
It's like the X-Men meets the circus. That's pretty fun, right?

You just won a huge lottery what is the first thing you'll buy?
I'm so dull--I'd totally pay off my school loans and house first. After that, I'd probably buy a new MacBook w/ all the cool stuff on it (and then never leave my office!).

Liz Long has been writing fantasy stories since she could spell the word "unicorn" (second grade). She fears a zombie apocalypse, though admits it would give her a good reason to stay inside and write as long as she wanted. She is a proud graduate of Longwood University with a degree in English.

Liz lives in Roanoke, VA with her husband Jason and their Jack Russell terror, Fisher. For more about Liz, please visit her website:

Twitter: (Handle: @LizCLong)  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads


Courtney Wyant said...

Thanks for the giveaway!! I love this blog to death!!

Red Headed Bookworm said...

I am getting ready to review this ebook, but I would love a print copy! Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I love this blog, too! There are a lot of giveaways!



Kimberly Lim said...

Thanks for the giveaway

Holly Bryan said...

Ooohh, this one sounds great!! And let's hear it for those of us who are night owls :)

Kara D. said...

Sounds like a great read!

Jennifer Haile said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Suz said...

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Suz Reads