If you were surrounded by a group of deadly creatures, with no one around to save you, and given two choices, none of which had a positive outcome, which would you choose? Would you choose death or life as a creature of the night?
Julieanne Lynch, who was born in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland and now resides with her husband Sean, four children, and pet Rocky in Southern Ireland, is a master at the craft of storytelling. Lynch weaves the concept of the supernatural and the human world so intricately that the reader truly believes in the possibility of the world she's created.
"Today I was reborn into a world full of darkness and horror. My place is unknown to me, but the desire to feed is my instinct."~Giselle
Imprisoned within the walls of her new makers Gothic Estate, 18-year-old Giselle Bergman -- the heroine of Julieanne Lynch's debut novel, In the Shadows -- spends her nights mourning the loss of her short lived human life.
After the betrayal of her boyfriend of four years, Giselle seeks revenge; but as most of us know, revenge is bitter. Seeking refuge, she falls into the arms of her best friend Alex, only to learn that most of what she's known about him is fallible.
Giselle's choices force her into a world filled with horrors she only believed existed on screen. As the truth of myths and legends is revealed to her, Giselle is forced to place her trust in strangers. Strangers who have their own agendas and who see her as merely a pawn in their game. Just when it seems her situation couldn't possibly get any worse, Giselle's world is ripped from under her and new dangers arise.
Lynch's take on the vampire world is unique and unlike any other I've read. In the Shadows is filled with passion, lust, and an array of alluring vampires (whom you both love and hate) with just the right amount of edge. The end will leave you frustrated but only because you're eager to know what comes next.
If your poison of choice is YA paranormal fiction than In the Shadows is the book for you. It will not disappoint!
- I’d like to ask you to tell us a little about yourself but I’m sure you’ve been asked that question more times than you wish to say. Instead, can you tell us one secret thing about you? Something people would be surprised to know.
Hmm, this is a hard one. I think people would be surprised to know that I was the lead singer in a rock band back in 2002/2003. I was the main song writer and it was my first ever experience of coming together with a group of strangers and actually creating some pretty great music. Needless to say it ran its course, one of the guys left to go back home, we got a replacement, but it just was never the same again.
- What scares you?
Not an awful lot. I don’t scare easily when it comes to movies, books or anything. But the thought of losing my children chills me to the bone. I believe that has got to be every parent’s number one fear.
- How does your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
My family has been very supportive of me from the beginning. My parents were a bit taken aback when they learnt that all my computer time was actually down to me writing a novel, but they’ve always known how creative I can be, so they weren’t surprised when they saw the finished product. My husband and children are great and have been very supportive and on days when I am feeling a touch burnt out, they just seem to perk me up and encourage me to continue. My friends in general are really happy for me and have all bought their copy. They know what I am like and know that whenever a spark of inspiration hits, they won’t hear from me for weeks. All in all, the support has been astounding.
- Did you always know you wanted to be a writer? How old were you?
Yes, I always knew that I wanted to do something within the arts, but was not sure if novel/story writing was the way for me. I have been penning short stories, lyrics, and poetry from the age of ten. At sixteen, I wrote my very first novel; ‘Dynamite’ which still has a fond place in my heart. Of course it was complete nonsense, but I wrote it all long-hand in a journal and have it stowed away, and often look at it just to remind myself about how far I’ve come.
- How did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always been a fan of the supernatural, paranormal, horrific worlds that some of my favorite authors create, and in a sense, they have helped shape my own unique writing style and have swayed my decision to write in a certain genre. My combined love of Edgar Allen Poe, Lovecraft, The Bronte’s, Stephen King, Alice Walker and Richelle Mead have all contributed to this. Of course, saying that I do have a varied taste when it comes to literature and would hate to be pigeonholed. I’d like to think that I have a lot to offer multiple genres and am on a mission to prove this to myself and my critics.
- When did you start writing In the Shadows and how long did it take to finish?
Initially, the whole concept for the book came to me a few years before I actually decided to write. I put it to the back of the drawer and left it until May 2010. It took me twelve weeks to complete the manuscript and a further month on edits and then it was ready for submissions and queries.
- Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Not an awful lot, but I did use my own battles with insecurity as inspiration with molding Giselle into the kind of person I wanted her to be.
- What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
I love the consecration scene, where we see Giselle blessed by the elders and then tying her bond with Alex, and of course, we get our first glimpse of the ever delicious Antoine, who just happens to be my favorite character. Why? Simply because of the gothic elements used throughout this scene. I love the use of colors and scents to draw the reader in, and of course, I love having Giselle thrown right into the deep end, and there is not a thing she can do.
- Which character spoke the loudest, to you? Did any of them clamor to be heard over the others?
Obviously Giselle was screaming to have her story told, but there was an array of different characters that spoke to me. I love Antoine and Atarah. They are like chalk and cheese and so very different that they made writing their scenes exciting. Afanas was a surprising character to create. He ended up being something quite different from what I had first intended, as was Alex, whom had a major transformation from my first outline of him. Originally, I had intended for him to be something nicer and calmer, but when I began writing Chapter 5, I knew I had to do something different with him. I HAD to make him sinister.
- Your protagonist, Giselle, finds herself in quite a bind throughout most of the book. Do you think you would have made the same decision she did that started it all?
Giselle is young and so very green that she just doesn’t see Alex for who he is. And if I was in her shoes, I would have probably yielded and gave in as well. But I think that’s what the endearing thing about Giselle is; she has faith in people, regardless of their misdoings, and tries so hard to trust. I believe any human being thrown into a situation like that would have no other choice but to say ‘yes’ – what choice did she have?
- What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
There has been some harsh criticism given to me over the years, but nothing that I haven’t taken on board. Anything said to me, that is given to me to help improve my writing endeavors has been accepted generously and I don’t hold any grudges. However, at a recent writing group, where a number of us submit work for critique and general feedback, someone did really offend me. I am in general a very robust person and accept all levels of criticism, but a line was overstepped and I took action against this person. It was with regards to a short story of mine, and the male reviewer told me, “It is really unbelievable that people read this tripe. How anyone publishes this work is amazing”. This coming from a man who has never heard of Polidori and has not got the first clue about supernatural/paranormal novels. Needless to say, his comments were retracted and I was offered a full apology.
- What has been the best compliment?
A young reader emailed me a few weeks ago and thanked me for introducing my world to her. She said my writing not only inspired her, but helped her make choices with regards to leaving home. How I did this, I have no idea. I am just thankful that someone out there saw refuge in Giselle’s story and appreciated my creativity.
- What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
I think a good storyboard or outline of all your major chapters is a great way to get started. You come to rely on these and if there is a time when you hit a brick wall, it is invaluable information to get your focus back.
Character, plot, setting, point of view, style and theme all are fundamental basics of good writing.
Check your spelling. Do not allow your MS to be filled with typographical errors and misspelled words. Remember that no spellchecker will catch every typo. For instance, if you use “there” in a context in which “their” is needed, your spell-checker will not tell you that you have misspelled a word! Be sure to proof-read your MS carefully, in addition to using the spell-checker, and make sure you get a group of trusted beta-readers and avoid paragraphs that go on and on.
- Where do you, as an author, draw the line on gory descriptions and/or erotic content?
With regards to gore, I don’t use gore for the sake of it. I see no point in blood being spilled or body parts being removed, unless they are a requirement for a particular scene. With regards to erotic content, I am quite liberal minded, so I have no qualms about drawing my readers attention to intimate scenes. However, when I write for a younger audience, I draw the line at mentioning genitalia or the used of expletives. I am not sure parents would be best pleased with me, but being a mother of a teen, I am aware of what content is appropriate and often get him to read through certain intimate scenes. I think adults sometimes forget that teens are more clued up than we give them credit for.
- If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
Legacy? Hmm, a legacy of purpose and love. People are most energized when they are using their strengths and talents’ for a purpose beyond themselves. If I were to leave a legacy of purpose, I’d want people to make their life about something bigger than them. Whilst none of us are going to live forever, we can live on through the legacy that you can make an impact on the world. When I think about my mother, I don’t recall her faults and mistakes, or the disagreements we had. After all, who is perfect? So I use my own mothers love for me to see the true meaning of life. What I want my children to remember the most is my own love for them. I’d like to leave them the legacy of love. I’d want them to share with others the importance of love and teach forthcoming generations to embrace love. What are we without love?
- Any exciting news you’d like to share with us or last thoughts?
Book two in The Shadows Trilogy series is due for release mid-December, and I am both excited and nervous to have my readers’ follow where I’ve taken Giselle and co. I’ve written it in a very different style, and hope that it goes down well with everyone. And I suppose the other exciting bit of news is that I am going to have a baby in early spring and I am so excited about meeting the latest edition to the Lynch-clan.
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**THIS BOOK WAS ORIGINALLY REVIEWED IN NOVEMBER 2011**