Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Redemption by J. R. Turner: Interview, Excerpt

Half-angel Savannah Mantas smells the sulfuric stench of wrath when it enters her city, Iron Point. Resurrected by the archangel Michael, she’s hunting for redemption and half-demon Nico Montenegro is her prey. He comes from the Fringes, the border between the city and the toxic wasteland beyond. When they meet, Nico tells her a story, one of genocide and confiscated bodies. Not revenge, but justice is his purpose and his target is the most admired family in the world–Commander Hathaway and his daughter. Hathaway’s soldiers are slaughtering Fringers and secretly feeding them to Revenants, mutants who survived the bio-bombing of 2120. They have a twisted idea they can train these clever creatures like dogs and keep them out of the city long enough to mobilize an evacuation for the wealthy and well-connected. Savannah knows better. Revenants are what killed her. When they attack, the last of humankind may be wiped out completely. Stopping Hathaway might just be enough to gain her redemption and escape a hellish fate.


"In a bleak, post-apocalyptic world, what happens when a half-angel searching for her redemption meets a half-demon hellbent on revenge? If it's J.R. Turner's world, major sparks fly. Redemption is a heady mix of action, thrills, and sizzling romance. Half-angel Savannah Mantas is both a kick-ass heroine and a complex character. Immortal yet deeply wounded, she searches for the redemption that will allow her to ascend and leave behind the blasted, dying Earth. But she never expects to find that redemption in the arms of half-demon Nico Montenegro, a man who should be her mortal enemy. Turner's urban fantasy is a fast-paced thrill ride that wrestles seriously with questions of good and evil, guilt and innocence, to deliver a satisfying, multilayered read." ~Nancy Holzner, author of the Deadtown Series

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(This is an excerpt from Redemption. Savannah has been killed by Revenants, mutated creatures who live in a toxic wasteland and feed on human flesh. She has just finished being returned to her body and the healing is complete.)

Before me stands the most beautiful man I've ever seen. His blond curls are brushed back from his face, white shirt pressed and neatly tucked into a pair of grey slacks. Soft looking leather shoes cover his feet and he leans against a crumbling wall, arms crossed. Eyes so pale they are almost white shine like silver. Widening my gaze and squinting alternately changes nothing. There's more to this man than arms and legs—he has wings.
"You never did listen to your mother, Savannah. Close your mouth now, before you draw flies."
I'm flabbergasted and covering myself the best I can, I swivel until I'm sitting cross legged, shredded fabric between us and the sun warming my back. The prisms of light I saw when I was dead are still visible to me, though at a much lower wattage. Maybe human eyes suck at seeing the light.
"Do you know what's happened to you?" He straightens from the wall, extends a wing and shakes it the way a cat might shake its tail while it stretches.
I can hardly drag my gaze away from the wing to look him in the face. "I was dead."
He nods but continues to wait.
"And now I'm not."
"Yes," he smiles. "Good. At least you understand that much. You wouldn't believe how many mortals end up insane after a resurrection. Truly sad."
His smile doesn't dissipate and I'm so struck by the wrongness of all this I forget this being is more powerful than I can imagine. Dryly, I say, "Yeah, sad. You look truly upset."
Now the smile falters and he comes closer. Large wings extend behind him. They cast brilliant light over the daytime foliage I've never seen, with or without the filter of a face mask. Flowers bloom larger than a man's hand, green and purple leaves grow unfettered, the drooping trees full of strange fruits. The squidplants, such an ugly thing in the harsh glare of manmade lights in the night, spread like gorgeous cords of ruby crystals. Is this supposed to be paradise?
No, I answer myself, remembering the Reves scampering for the shadows like exposed insects. I ask, "Who are you?"
"I am Michael."
"Michael? Like the Michael?"
He nods and spreads his wings further. "Do you need more proof than your own healed body and what you see before you?"
I'm not given time to answer before our surroundings are replaced by the bedroom I once had as a child. The painters haven't come to create the pink and frilly environment I chose when I was seven. I stand, uncertain, my legs shaky and nearly bare. Only from digipics do I know the dark wooden furniture, the cheery yellow and pink stripes, the ballerina mobile over my crib. Dancing teddy bears march along the wall beyond the crib. Inside, a soft cooing ensues. I draw near, my rapidly beating heart a reminder I'm no longer dead.
I peek over the rails of the crib and see a nearly bald baby with blue eyes sucking on its fat fist, the pink shirt shoved high on its sturdy belly. Michael stands at the foot of the crib. Gone are his wings and bright glow. He's still beautiful and his nails gleam when he wiggles his fingers at the baby…at me.
My baby self gurgles and kicks her legs, shoving the light blanket further off her lower half. "Little Savannah," he soothes, "sweet baby Savannah."
His gaze turns to me. "You don't recall this visit, do you?"
I shake my head afraid to move closer, to touch anything. My boots crush the soft carpeting.
"Don't be ashamed. All your kind have difficulty remembering unconditional love. He designed you to love Him freely, by choice."
The baby glances toward me, as if following Michael's line of questioning, but I can tell she/me doesn't see me/her standing there. Her/my gaze is unfocused. This doubling of myself is unnerving and my head begins to ache. "Why?"
Michael pays attention to the baby again, winding the mobile so the haunting strains of the melody can echo in my memories, a sort of freakish stereo. "Why what?"
"Why did you visit me?"
He looks up and the room dissolves, returning us to the rubble of the toxic garden and the remains of the world that once was. The sickness I've fought returns and I swallow bile.
He's as I first saw him–a model of the perfect man but without the wings or glowing light. "Because you were chosen, of course."
"Of course," I say, my illness adding to my irritation. "How was I chosen? God just picked my name out of a hat?"
"You're angry. Why are you angry?"
I wave my one free hand. "Why shouldn't I be angry? I escaped all this. I was gone and you dragged me back because someone decided to choose me for something. Talk about non- answers. Did you expect me to fall to my knees and cower, be grateful I'm back in this Hellhole?"
His face doesn't register surprise, just contempt. "We have no desire for your worship. We are unworthy of your faith. Therefore, it is beneath me to wish for your groveling. Leave that for the fallen."
He didnt answer. "Why the Hell was I chosen and for what?"
"You've been given a chance for redemption, Savannah Mantas, to complete the task you were chosen to accomplish. Your remorse for your sins granted you the life necessary to gain redemption, but your gift of free will gives you the power to decline. If you choose to decline, I will leave you."
"Leave me? What do you mean? Are you going to let the Reves come for me or let this toxic air kill me–again?"
He shook his head. "Once you've been resurrected, it cannot be undone."
"What do you mean?"
"You have eternal life."
"Eternal? As in forever and ever?"
He frowns at me and pauses like he's searching an angel-to- human dictionary. "Yes. That is what eternity means, correct?"
I can't die.
Would he have visited me sooner, before the Reves ate me or I knew the joy of ascension, I might be more ecstatic about my inability to succumb to death. Now, however, it's like stealing food from the starving.

Hello J.R., Welcome! Thanks for stopping by.  What is the hardest part of writing your books?

Getting started! I get sucked so deeply into my books that I sometimes put off getting started because something is coming up—a trip, a birthday, etc. Sometimes I put it off so long that I get really cranky and then have to just start no matter what is happening.

What do you think makes a good story?

Triumph and romance. I prefer my stories on the action/violence side, even if it’s not directly described in graphic detail. I hate an unhappy ending though, so all that mayhem needs to end in triumph, and hopefully, endless love—because, you know, that goes so much better with chocolate!

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

Yes—all the time. I have a great playlist that I’m constantly updating and changing as I hear new music when I travel. Right now, I’m especially enjoying The Black Keys, but my tastes run from Rhianna to Drowning Pool.

How do you develop your plots and your characters? Do you use any set formula?

I always free write the first three chapters to see if I like where the story is going and the characters involved. Sometimes it sort of fizzles out because the idea wasn’t big enough—these I save for later when I can combine a few into a book. Most of the time, they become novels and when that happens, I stop and write a rough synopsis to follow.

What book are you reading now?

I recently got hooked on Charlaine Harris and I just started Dead in the Family the 10th book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Harris is a remarkable writer because she manages to make writing look easy while telling an amazing story in a believable way. That’s just plain genius.

Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?

Write what you love to watch on television, see at the theater, read in your spare time and do so with a joy. Keep yourself so enthralled with the story that you can’t stay away from it and you know your readers will not be able to put it down either.

Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?

I got this ancient piece of wisdom in a fortune cookie once:

Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.
I’ve always loved that!

Jennifer Turner lives in central Wisconsin with her loving, red-headed Texan husband, Eddie and three exuberant children, Dustin, Molly and Matthew. In her spare time she enjoys arts and crafts, traveling, and movies. Few things in life compare to her passion for the written word and time with family and friends, except perhaps the pursuit of chocolate.

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Enter for a chance to win a Print copy of Redemption PLUS a stylish Book Thong.
Open Internationally!
 Three other winners will win a Book Thong. 
Comment on this post for a bonus entry.
Follow the author on Twitter for another bonus entry.
Giveaway ends September 8th 11:59 PM Central Time



J.R. Turner said...

Thank you TONS for having me here!! :) I'm so thrilled to have you celebrate the release of Redemption with me. I hope everyone enjoys the excerpt and finds they simply must read the rest. Looking forward to finding out who wins the giveaways!


Joanne said...

This book sounds fantastic. Can't wait to read it. Thanks for the great excerpt, interview, and giveaway.


J.R. Turner said...

So sorry for the late reply! :)

Thanks so much for leaving a comment Joanne! It's much appreciated :) I hope you enjoy Redemption very much!


Goha said...

Thanks for the international giveaway!! The book sounds great and it's now on my TBR list:)

Amanda Engelkes said...

Sounds interesting, I look forward to reading it :)

Anonymous said...

The book sounds interesting. Michael is my favorite angel.
I will definately read this book.

D Mason said...

Looks great!!

Goldenmane said...

I love paranormal and this sounds like a book I really must read.

Karielle Stephanie said...

Can't wait to try Redemption. Sounds like such a great read!

Eli Yanti said...

i'm curious about this book now :)

thanks for the chance to win this giveaway

Charlene Kuser said...

I would love to read this book,it sounds hot and heroic