Hex Breaker: An Interview with Taryn Noelle Kloeden


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Forced to decide between her happiness and her pack’s safety, Rayna Myana chooses to protect those she loves. But when shattered promises and dark magic collide, no one is safe…

For six hundred years, Fenear, a land where humans can take wolf form, has warred with Maenor, its neighboring kingdom ruled by a ruthless dynasty. The possibility of peace emerges when the Maenoren Overlord, Rhael, enters negotiations with Fenearen leaders Bayne and Silver, but their niece, Rayna, is skeptical. Yet, when Rhael proposes to her to strengthen the alliance, she agrees for the sake of her country, despite her family’s objections and a blossoming romance with her best friend. Suspicion of treachery changes Rayna’s decision, but before she can annul the agreement, powerful forces subdue her with a sinister hex. Separated from her pack with Fenear and everyone she loves in danger, Rayna must escape and travel to a distant realm to break the hex. Only then can she save her best friend and her homeland.

Lines blur between heroism and recklessness, dreams and reality, even life and death, and Rayna risks losing herself along the way.

1. Thank you, Taryn, for allowing me to interview me today!!! I am so excited to read your first novel in final form. It was awesome when I read it in draft form so I can only imagine how spectacular it must be now. Tell us a little but about it.

Thank you for having me! I can’t wait for you to read Hex Breaker either, as it has really evolved since those early stages. As you might remember, this novel is the first in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. Hex Breaker is a YA fantasy about a young woman with the ability to transform into a wolf who finds herself at the center of peace negotiations between her nation and their long-time rival. When she discovers all is not as it seems, she must undertake an epic quest to save those she loves. At its core, I’d say it’s a story about love, family, and the lengths we go to save those closest to us.

2. How did you get the idea for the book? Have you always loved writing or is this a new thing for you?

The earliest kernels of this story come from games I used to play as a child. I loved to play outside and since my siblings and other neighborhood kids were older and had “grown out” of such things, I had to come up with ways to entertain myself. So, I created characters and stories. A few characters in this book including Rayna, Channon, and Gar got their start out there in the woods. I started writing these stories down when I was in middle and high school, eventually leading to the first draft of this novel. I kept writing throughout college, but mostly short stories and creative nonfiction. But when I graduated and eventually joined a writing club, I decided to become more serious about this novel. A few years later, here we are!

3. If your book was made into a movie, what actors would be in it?

Haha, yes, one day perhaps Hollywood will come a-knocking and I’m sure the casting director will be happy to know I have this Pinterest board filled with ideas. Certain characters I’ve always sort of envisioned as specific actors. For example, I have always seen Seperun as Idris Elba and Kellan as Ben Barnes. Other characters though, including Rayna and Bayne, I have a very specific mental image for, and I’ve never quite found an actor that matches. Maybe that means the actors destined to play them just haven’t been discovered yet 😉

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4. Have you always loved animals?

Yes, absolutely. I drove my parents bonkers I’m sure with all my requests for various pets and my tendency to find strays and wildlife in need of rescuing. I was obsessed with Animal Planet growing up and the first job I ever remember wanting to be was a veterinarian (ended up as an anthrozoologist, so pretty close). I was lucky to live in a rural area with lots of wildlife and have many pets (mostly cats) over the years, and for me that love for nonhumans never faded and has become an integral part of my writing and my career.

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5. You recently graduated. What did you study and what is your 9 to 5?

Yes I recently graduated with my M.S. in Anthrozoology, which is essentially the study of human-animal interaction. I specifically am interested in understanding and helping to address instances of human-wildlife conflict. This built upon my undergraduate study in psychology and biology. I will be starting a PhD program in the fall, this time under the label of environmental science but plan to continue my anthrozoological research. One day I hope to be a professor but have held several animal related jobs over the past few years. I’ve worked at wildlife rehab centers and an animal shelter, and now I have a really fun job as a dog swim instructor!

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6. If you could wake up as any animal, what would it be and why?

That’s a tough question. My first instinct would be to say some kind of bird, because birds are absolutely fantastic animals with better eye sight than us and the ability to fly of course, but I also have studied birds enough to know how strenuous their lives can be. I’m not sure I’m hardcore enough to hack it as a bird! My second instinct is to say a wolf or a fox, but they also lead very intense lives, and as someone who only eats plant-based food, I don’t think I’d transition into killing to eat well either. So if we’re being honest, I think I’d do best as some kind of large herbivore, if I had to make the change permanent. If, however, I could shift back and forth like a Fenearen, I think I would have my other form be a wolf or fox 🙂

7. What else are you working on right now? Will there be more Fenearen Chronicles coming soon? And will those also be submitted through “The Tamara Effect”?

Right now I just finished up my Master’s thesis (yay!) so am decompressing for a couple of weeks. After that, I’m going to be working on Twice Blessed, the second in the Fenearen Chronicles trilogy. I hope to publish that sometime next year, and indeed, if she’ll have me, I hope to work with the fabulous editor Tamara Shoemaker once more! The Tamara Effect turned my first book into something far more amazing than I could’ve hoped, and I can only imagine the wonders it will do for my second. Besides this series, I am working on some short fiction and a science fiction project, but those probably won’t see the light of day for quite a while as I focus on finishing this trilogy and starting my PhD.

Thanks so much! This was really fun, and I feel I learned stuff about animals in the process! So excited to read your book!

Here’s where you can find out more about Taryn and her books!

Amazon short link: goo.gl/6M9tjo

Website: www.tnkloeden.com

Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest handle: @tnkloeden

Facebook: www.facebook.com/tnkloeden

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16521805.Taryn_Noelle_Kloeden

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Ariel: My Interview with Sydney Scrogham


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Back cover copy:  Abuse survivor Ariel Harte doesn’t need anyone. Ever. But her companion animal is infected with a dark, magical force. Only an ancient purification ritual, the mind link, performed with another human can cure this infection.

Ariel must ask her ex-boyfriend, Ryan Tracey, for help.

But she’s racing time. She’s infected, too. All the walls will have to come down so Ariel can heal or she will lose herself to the darkness forever. 

Ariel: The First Guardian is a story of true love that wins over time, the power of second chances, and redemption from abuse. This is a prequel to Chase in the Guardians of Agalrae series but can be enjoyed as a standalone novel.

Preorder it now on Amazon 
Hello, Sydney! I’m so excited about your new book, Ariel, that’s coming out tomorrow, June 17th. I’ve got some fun questions for you. Here we go!
What inspired you to write this book?
In all honesty, it was a bad breakup. Writing for me is a spiritual process transforming painful circumstances into something life-giving that I can understand. That’s exactly what I did with Ariel’s story. I won’t confess what parts are based on real-life events, but this story does hit close to home. As I wrote Ariel’s story and she got her happy ending, I did, too.
 
What other books/movies can you compare your book to?
When it comes to the voice of this story, definitely James Patterson’s Maximum Ride books. And then I took some of the romance aspects from my favorite TV show Castle. This was also kind of my way of ironically striking back at Fifty Shades of Grey. There are a lot of ironic connections between the stories for me, but I’ll leave it up to the reader to figure out how. (Don’t worry, Ariel’s story doesn’t contain any graphic sexual scenes.)
 
Is this the first book you have published? If not, what are some of your other books out there?
This is the second book for me. The first was Chase, published in August 2015 with Koehler Books.
 
I hear you have mild to moderate obsession with horsies…when did this all begin?
Probably when I started writing. 🙂 Actually, it was before then. There’s a picture floating around my family of me as a baby sitting on the back of a gray horse. (Yes, someone is holding me up there.) I got my own horse when I was 12, and I’ve had a horse ever since. Snowdy is my second four-legged child. I met him working at my college’s equestrian center. He picked me as his person, and when the college was ready to retire him from his school horse career, he came home with me a few months after.
 
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Explain the feeling you get when you are riding a horse.
It’s simultaneously peaceful and empowering. My mind silences to focus on a single thing-communicating well with my horse. A horse is always speaking to its rider if they have the ears to listen. When I reach that sweet spot where we’re understanding each other, I feel invincible.
 
What’s your favorite type of horse?
It’s never been about the “type” for me. It’s about the heart. That’s what drew me to Snowdy. He was a rather aggressive lesson horse, very unhappy with life, and I remember the days when people would refer to him with expletives I won’t repeat. That made me so angry. I could see something in Snowdy’s eyes from the beginning, even when he was angry. He was intelligent, always thinking, full of potential, but frustrated. All he needed was someone to believe in him. And in that moment, I saw myself in his eyes. That was it. I was sold. Long story short, I learned Snowdy is a Selle Francais (French Thoroughbred) with a fancy sire and siblings that have gone off to be big names in the show jumping ring. But that was never important to me in the beginning. It just so happens that he has incredible natural talent. He’s been with me for three years now, happy as can be, and though he isn’t mean anymore, he did keep his sass. 🙂 It’s amazing how sometimes all animals (and people) need sometimes is a little bit of love.
 
Finally, what song would play in the opening track of your book turned into a movie?
Funny you asked that. I asked Ariel the same thing when she was teaching me her backstory before I started writing. She told me that her opening song would be “Hero” by Nickelback. The rest of her playlist includes “Hero” by Skillet, “I Know” by Seventh Day Slumber, “Bring Me To Life” by Evanescence, “Invincible” by Crossfade, and “Erase” by Building 429.
 
For more from Ariel’s initial interview with me, check it out: http://www.sswriter.com/lions-tigers-characters-oh-my-interview-101/ 
Thanks so much, Syndney! Can’t wait to read the book!
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SYDNEY SCROGHAM loves creating happy endings. She started writing when she was 12. Her first book, Chase, was published by Koehler Books in August 2015. When she’s not writing, she’s at the barn with Snowdy or catching up on reruns of the best TV show ever – Castle. She lives in Harrisonburg, Virginia with an adorable dachshund named Zoe. To learn more, visit her website at sswriter.com.