Playing the role of a knight in shining armor is more complicated than it seems in the storybooks, as sixteen-year-old Joy discovers when she repeatedly comes to the rescue of a fifteen-year-old human. But when she meddles in the girl’s social life, Starra sends her packing.
Starra is determined to completely dissociate herself from the subterranean creature that has manipulated her life and cast her into the limelight. However, her resolve is soon tested when she becomes involved in a critical situation where supernatural assistance can enable her to carry out a daring plot.
Eventually, Starra’s involvement with her new other-wordly friends extracts a heavy price when she is beset by challenges that range from the down- to-earth struggles of a typical teenage student, to the realm of the fantastic. Nothing prepares her, however, for the ultimate challenge.
Author Loren Secretts
Loren Secretts was raised in a book-filled home, in a sleepy east coast suburb of the US. These factors are undoubtedly responsible for her early design of a number of exciting imaginary worlds that she could escape to from time to time during her childhood.
In her teen years, between schoolwork and lending an ear to her friends, Loren had less opportunity to go AWOL. Instead, her experience as a confidant to others inspired her to major in psychology in college and earn her M.A. in the field on the west coast.
As an adult, Loren has found fulfillment in her work with children and families for more than a decade. Her passion for writing was revived when she discovered that she enjoyed delving into the human psyche to write psychological reports.
But clients’ reports are safe with Loren, who guards secrets fastidiously. Indeed, one of her aspirations is to work as a psychotherapist for the CIA, but since she now lives with her family in Canada, that dream will have to await its turn…
What inspires you to write young adult fiction?
You never forget your first love. The books I read when I was a girl are what kindled my reading passion, and my loyalty remains with the MG and YA genres.
I love reading and writing about young adults for the way they live in the moment and invest their all into the story’s conflict. Adults have lost that type of focus; there’s too much distraction going on in their lives.
Another reason I gravitate to featuring young adults in my writing is the same one that motivates me to prefer working clinically with children rather than adults. Change is so much more probable with children and teens.
Neither can adults compete with the authenticity of youths, whose emotions are so raw, and who view the world through glasses clear of the shades of film that accumulate over adults’ throughout the years.
What did you want to be when you “grew up”?
It’s a cliché, but I truly did want to become an author, and create more of the magic that enchanted me so. However, in high school, I was a confidant to many friends, and that’s how I became infatuated with psychology. As it turned out, I did indeed study the field in college and graduate school.
What’s one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
I don’t feel qualified to answer this question, but this much I’ll say: whenever you reach a milestone in your writing goals (e.g. first draft), take a moment to give yourself a pat on the back. Recognizing your achievement and acknowledging it will not only boost your sense of accomplishment, it will increase the quantity and quality of your writing output too.
Who are your favorite authors of all time?
Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Fydor Dostoyevsky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, O. Henry, Elizabeth Gaskell, L.M. Montgomery, and J.K. Rowling.
One of the characters you created comes to life through the power of your story, and in gratitude, grants you a million dollars (with the stipulation that you don’t save any of it). What do you spend it on?
Years ago I fell in love with ASIMO, Honda’s household robot.
My best friend (from high school) deserves a home.
If anything is left over, I’d treat myself to a self-parking car (you don’t want to run into my car in the lot), and lifetime passes for my family to Disney’s parks all over the world.
Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?
Most definitely. One of my top priorities as a writer is to create authentic characters. What better way to do that than to analyze friends and foes and replicate them in my works? Now you understand why I write under a pen name…
If you could leave this world for your “book world,” would you?
I don’t think I’d choose my own. I’m too familiar with everyone’s personal lives, and that doesn’t make for healthy friendships or pleasant neighborly relationships. But I’ve been searching for the general alternative reality of “book world” since I was a kid. If anyone should discover the location, please drop me a line. I’ll cover your transportation costs if you take me along with you (but I have to be home in time to serve the kids dinner).
I guess you haven’t read the book yet – vanilla, of course.
Favorite hot beverage. Why?
There was a coffee shop in SoCal that had the best hot chocolate, and when we moved to Canada, I went on a quest to find their match.
My efforts were futile.
Last year, for my b-day, my husband surprised me with a huge tub of the hot chocolate mix that coffee shop uses! He managed to procure it from the store’s supplier and imported it. It ranks as one of the top birthday gifts ever in my book.
Now, snow or shine, my day can’t end without a hot chocolate. It’s warm, relaxing, sweet, and never fails to hit the spot.
What’s your favorite candy?
My addiction to candies prevents me from choosing just one. I have designated treats to different activities. For example, I refuse to do carpool without a stash of Jolly Ranchers in my purse. But in case of an apocalypse, I’d pick Jelly Belly’s for the wide variety of authentic flavors.
What’s your favorite flower?
Although an iris (the flower of San Loretta Island) is on my book’s cover, it’s not my favorite. That distinction is reserved for the pink rose.
My earliest memory of flowers is my mom’s bush of pink roses, and I associate it with her TLC. But in case someone is thinking of sending me one, please don’t. Flowers yanked from their life source depress me. My family knows to buy me balloons instead.
Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?
I’d say ebook, but now my Kindle is wasting away, and I have to fill in the blanks on the top third of each page. Basically, I’m rewriting the story; it’s a new kind of fan fiction.
Beach or Pool?
Both my grandmothers lived near the beach (different oceans, though), so I associate the beach with warm memories. However, I’m not so fond of swimming at the beach ever since I took Ecology back in college.
Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
Scents and Senses will educate you on the thrills and dangers of befriending supernatural creatures;)
What is your favorite part about the writing process?
The surprises that come along with it. Often, I have the same feeling when I have to break from writing as I do when I get stopped in the middle of a book —I need to resume ASAP to discover what happens. The suspense kills me.
On that note, I particularly enjoy creating characters, throwing them into complex situations, and seeing how they surprise me.
What word in the English language do you wish you had invented?
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