Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Telesa The Covenant Keeper by Lani Wendt Young

Welcome to Author Lani Wendt Young

Lani is a Samoan-NZ writer who blogs as a (slightly Demented) Domestic Goddess at Sleepless in Samoa. Her award-winning short fiction has been published in collections in NZ, Australia and the UK.  In 2009, Lani was commissioned to research and write her first book, the narrative non-fiction account of the disaster which devastated the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Northern Tonga.  The printing of ‘Pacific Tsunami –  Galu Afi’  was funded by the Australian government and all proceeds from the book go to survivors who shared their stories for the project.

Lani is married to Darren Young (who is probably the most patient man alive) and when she’s not writing blogging, Tweeting, Facebooking, getting depressed about a two star book rating on Goodreads, and ecstatic about a rave review on Amazon – she’s the full-time mother to her five fabulous children. (Who are also very patient people).

If you were stranded on a desert island what 3 things would you want with you?
My Kindle (fully loaded), permanently chilled Diet Coke and Hermione’s Magic Camping Supplies bag.
If you could have any superpower what would you choose? 
Storm’s weather control powers in the X-Men world.
What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? 
Chilled papaya with a squeeze of lime. Cold pizza leftovers is the next best choice.
Night owl, or early bird? 
Night owl.
One food you would never eat? 
Sea cucumber innards. Yep. It’s a delicacy in Samoa, called se’a. Basically, you grab a rubbery black sea cucumber, squeeze the intestines out into a bottle, add some salt water, let it marinate for a while and then enjoy. Ugh. I will NEVER eat it. Ever.
Skittles or M&Ms? 
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Because its paranormal fantasy romance WITHOUT vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves or mermaids – instead its got ‘telesa’, environmental warrior women inspired by Pacific mythology. (Oh yeah, and did I mention its got bronzed-rippling-tattooed-muscles – green eyed Daniel?) 
Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
The teenagers in my book are high school seniors and attend Samoa College – which is a real place and happens to be my old high school as well as the first school I worked at as an English teacher. It was a special experience for me to return to Samoa College as an author, to address the students and share my book with them. To see their excitement and enthusiasm for this novel was a very humbling thing. I speak at a lot of local schools and my goal is to encourage our youth to have the courage and determination to pursue their dreams, even when faced with challenges and rejections.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen? 
As a young teen, my favourite books were the Narnia series. I longed to find a wardrobe that would take me to a fantasy world.
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters? 
Eminem and Rihanna’s song – ‘I love the Way you Lie’. Its passion, anger and fierce intensity captures the Telesa women in the book.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors? 
Don’t aspire. Just be. Call yourself a writer and write. Everyday. About anything and everything. Build a writing habit until you live and breathe stories. 
Who are your favorite authors of all time? 
Too many. C.S Lewis, JK Rowling, Suzanne Collins, Maya Angelou, Stephenie Meyer, Toni Morrison,  Sophie Kinsella, Sia Figiel,  Marian Keyes, Raymond E Feist and Jenny Wurts
Can you see yourself in any of your characters? 
My main character, Leila’s quick readiness to condemn people and go on defensive-offensive attack mode, is a lot like me when I was a young adult. Thankfully, I had no fanua afi volcano powers or else I would have been sizzling people left and right during my early years…lol. All the rest of Leila is bits and pieces I’ve taken from various women in my life. Same with the Sisterhood.  I have three sisters and tons of cousins and so I have an endless array of inspiring sources for my characters. 
What was your favorite children’s book?
‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak.
Favorite Food? 
Octopus baked in rich coconut cream with onion, salt and garlic. Faiai fe’e  my fave dish from home,Samoa.
If you were a super hero what would your kryptonite be? 
Boston Cream donuts
What do you do in your free time? 
When you have five children you don’t have ‘free’ time. You have stolen time. When I steal some, I like to bake desserts. Its very relaxing. And I love dancing. So a good zumba class is always a buzz. 
If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be? 
Sleepless in Samoa
How did you celebrate the sale of your first book? 
I took the Fabulous Five to McDonalds. (my children) 
What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit? 
I have been known to watch SpongeBob with the children…complaining the whole time about how dumb it is.
TV or Movies? 
Hot or Cold? 
Cold. When you’ve lived in sweltering tropical sauna temperatures for as long as I have, you long for cold.
Black or White? 
Black. Of course. For its slimming effect. Combined with silver jewellery and  can take on the world. (Or at least pretend to.)
Print or Ebook? 
E-book. Im tired of lugging around armfuls of books everywhere I go.
Chocolate or Vanilla? 
Vanilla. Preferably with red jello.
Regular or Diet?  
Coke or Pepsi? 
Coke. Pepsi is a bad word in my universe. And Pepsi drinkers will be shunned. 
Horror or Romance? 
Romance. Always. Theres enough horror in the real world. Who needs more of it in our fiction. Ugh.
Action or Drama? 
Drama. Unless its action that involves Hugh Jackman or Ryan Reynolds or Jason Momoa. In that case – bring on the action. 
Pizza or Pasta? 
Pizza. All the time. Anytime. And cold for breakfast the next day. Delish.
Sweet or Salty? 
Both. That’s why I love ‘lolisaiga’. A candy from my childhood – plums dried and preserved in sugar, salt and licorice. 
Summer or Winter? 
City or Country? 
Doesn’t matter. I don’t like leaving the house anyway.


When Leila moves to Samoa, all she wants is a family, a place to belong. Instead she discovers the local ancient myths of the telesa spirit women are more than just scary stories. The more she finds out about her heritage, the more sinister her new home turns out to be. Embraced by a Covenant Sisterhood of earth’s elemental guardians – what will Leila choose? Her fiery birthright as a telesa? Or will she choose the boy who offers her his heart? Daniel – stamped with the distinctive tattoo markings of a noble Pacific warrior and willing to risk everything for the chance to be with her. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper? A thriller-romance with a difference. If you enjoyed Twilight, then you will be enthralled by Telesa as it blends the richness of Pacific mythology into a contemporary young adult love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.

Giveaway Details
1 copy of Telesa
Open Internationally
Ends 9/24/12

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