Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review, Interview & Contest! The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

**This post will stray from my normal format because instead of just a review it will have a little bot of everything! After the review, check out my interview with the author, and then enter for a chance to win an autographed copy of the book! **

Summary: To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves

Review: I enjoyed this book. Admittedly it took me a fair bit to get into. I thought that at the start it seemed a bit contrived, with the main charecter, Julia, being able to sense other people's emotions and the brooding, mysterious vampire coming to her rescue and changing her life. However, once I got into the book, I saw the similarities to other vampire books fade away, and a good read emerged.

Julia is trying to find her place. She has the gift, to feel emotions, and this enables her to sense danger before it gets to her. There were moments that I wanted to scream at Julia, at her stupidity (heading into the woods, at night, alone...not smart) or the way she was pursuaded my the bad guys so easily. Still, I thought that the charecter was written in a way that made it realistic to how a 16 year old might react if the world she had always thought existed, was really so much more. She also grew alot during the book, and I have high hopes that she will emerge stronger and smarter in the next book in the series. Nicholas, our badboy vamp isn't quite all that he seems. He holds the key to the night that Julia's mother dissapeared, and he is turns out to be a stand up guy. Plus, not only is he half-vamp, he is also a vampire slayer, a combination that really intrigued me!

One thing I always like to mention is the parents. So often we see absentee parents, who leave the children to fend for themselves, making stupid mistakes. Here, while the mother has dissapeared, we do get some great parental involvment from Julia's father, and also her brother. While their not all clued in to who and what Nicholas is, they are present and concerned about Julia and her welfare, and I really enjoyed that.

I'm looking forward to continuing the story when The Sapphire Talisman comes out this winter, and I think that fans of vampire stories would enjoy this addition to the genre.


Instead of my normal "about Brenda Pandos" section of my review, I was lucky enough to interview Brenda. So we can hear all about her and The Emerald Talisman straight from her!

That was the inspiration for The Emerald Talisman?

The inspiration came from making lemon-aid out of my lemons. When our oldest son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, my life came to a screeching halt. Two months later, his little brother was born. My routine became 24hrs of caring for a newborn, and having therapists come into our home 35 hrs a week to tutor our oldest. So, to keep my mind busy and have something fun to think about, I decided to write my own vampire story, never planning for it to see the light of day. I’d gotten the idea after I’d begun to read Twilight and Stephenie’s bio, and thought I’d try writing myself. I put down her book, and started my own.

Your book delves into the world of vampire’s. With all the other vampire books on the market, were you worried about making your book stand out?

You’re right. It’s hard to stand out when there’s a lot of vampire books to choose from that all touch the same types of elements. I haven’t even read many vampire books to know but I only hoped to compliment what’s out there, giving readers hungry for more vampires stories a new one to feast upon.

Nicholas is not only half-vampire, but a vampire slayer as well. What was your inspiration for Nicholas?

Nicholas is all encompassing good bad-boy. He’s attractive, fearless, there when you need him, but mysterious, haunted and not around when you want him. I thought I was being super creative with the ½ vampire thing, until I realized it’s pretty common. The slayer part came around somewhere in the creation of his character. He’s just the kind of guy I’d like to rescue me.

Your main character Julia has some powers of her own. Did you know right away what “super-power” she would have?

I wanted her to feel the blood-lust of the vampires, and be confused, but not know why they felt that way. But the power fed into other areas of her life, creating unique parts of her character and I liked how that ended up playing out. I’d like to say “Yeah, I had it all figured out from the beginning” but I didn’t. Her past and interactions with people developed into deeper things as the story progressed.

One thing I liked about The Emerald Talisman was the mix of action and romance. Which was your favorite to write (or was there something else that you like best)?

I enjoy both. The mixture is like a dance during an earthquake. You don’t know what’s about to happen, so you hang onto each other and prepare to roll with it. I have a short attention span, so for me, books or movies must have the element of suspense and the carrot of romance, or I might put it down and never pick it up again.

Is this book the first in a series? If so, do you know how long the series will be?
The Emerald Talisman is the first book of a potential trilogy. The Sapphire Talisman is scheduled to release this December 2010 which I’m super excited about it. The third, yet to be named, should be out sometime in 2011, I’m not sure the date yet.

Did you always want to be a writer?
No. Actually, The Emerald Talisman is my first attempt at writing anything. Its crazy I’d discover in my 30’s that I love to write as much as I do but I’m happy it happened the way that it did. I enjoy keeping busy and get bored easily, so this fits perfectly into my life with my boys and being a SAHM.

What are some of your favorite books and authors?
Chantain’s Guardian by Robin Hardy, The Harry Potter Series, Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton and John Grisham’s books are some of my all time favorites. Since becoming a writer, I’m reading more YA these days and recently read and enjoyed The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and Knight Angels by Abra Ebner.

Do you have any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
I do plan to write more fantasy for my next series but not about vampires and I’ve been mulling over a more serious story involving Autism, but I need to write book 3 first. We’ll see.

And now- How about a contest!! This contest will open now and run through Thursday (9/16) at around 11:00. This contest is open in the US only and the book will be mailed directly from the author, so any information shared with me, will be shared with Brenda. Please see my complete Contest Policy for more information.
Fill out the form below for your chance to win!