Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Spotlight: Diane Farr, The Spellspinners Series!!!

Meet Zara Norland, your typical teen...yea, not at all.  Zara has always felt out of place and has hidden a secret from those that she loves for quite some time, including Nonny, her guardian.  Zara has a unique set of abilities that set her apart from everyone else.  She has been safe for most of her life, until she goes against her own rules and uses her powers to save her best friend’s brother from a fall.  Her powers have now been recorded for television and her world is about to implode.  Do I have your attention now?
When Lance Donovan, a young, sexy stranger, shows up in Zara’s life, she instantly knows that he is just like her...if she could only figure out what exactly SHE is.  Lance knows what they both are: Spellspinners.  He tries to teach her all that he can about their way of life and warn her that her existence could bring her demise, but Zara fights back, unable to accept that her life among the “sticks,” their term for humans, is over.
As Zara learns more about her true identity, and the fact that she shouldn’t exist, she is pulled further into Lance’s grasp.  She is wary of him and these people who hold those she loves in contempt, constantly trying to keep him at arm’s length.  What will Zara do, now that she knows what she is?  Will she be able to accept her new life? Or will she go down fighting? There is heartbreak and betrayal around every corner for Zara...
I loved the concept that Diane conceived for this book.  It is fresh, original, and an all-together FUN read!  These Spellspinners are not witches, just to be clear about that.  They have many amazing abilities, such as skatching, which is the ability to basically teleport to their destination, but there are rules that go along with it.  There are so many twists and turns in this novel that I was literally DYING to know what would happen next.  The ending leaves you craving the continuance, which is good for ya’ll since it’s now available! Make sure you grab this series!! I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who loves paranormal reads that are both intriguing and fun!

Review of SCARY COOL
SCARY COOL picks up where WICKED COOL left off.  Zara thinks that she is rid of Lance and the rest of the Spellspinners but finds out that she’s officially in over her head.  When Lance returns to town, he brings his uncle back with him.  One Spellspinner in town is bad, but the more that come, the worse it gets. 
The Council knows of Zara’s existence now and they are not happy!  She shouldn’t exist and throws the balance of their entire group out of balance.  She is also VERY powerful; more so than any other Spellspinners, but that is because of a secret that is shared with Lance.  (I won’t tell what it is because that is seriously something you should read on your own!)  The Council believes that Zara is a threat, scared that she and Lance will take over now that they are so powerful, but she only wants one thing: to live a normal life again.
Zara must now fight to keep Nonny and Meg (her best friend) safe from the people that have come to town.  She must also team up with Lance, whom she still doesn’t trust, in order to survive.  They want her gone, but will Lance’s feelings for her be enough to save them?  Will Zara and Lance be able to get past their own problems to work together to survive?
If you thought I loved the first book, you haven’t seen anything yet!  The second book in the series keeps you on your toes, from start to finish.  You can’t help but fall in love with Lance yourself, and yet you still know that he is conniving and dead-set against “sticks.”  Yes, Lance is one of those characters that you wish you could meet in real life: gorgeous, sarcastic, and oozes sex appeal.  Okay, well, he’s one that I wish I could meet in real life, lol. 
I give both of these books 5 Stars Each! I know, I don’t normally do the whole star thing, but these books were just too fabulous not to.  If you’re looking for a fun and exciting read, pick up Diane Farr’s WICKED COOL and SCARY COOL now! You won’t be disappointed! And if you do read it, make sure you send her some love on Facebook to tell her what you thought of her books! I KNOW you’ll love them as much as I do!

Top Five Signs Your Boyfriend is a Spellspinner
By Zara Norland (with help from Diane Farr)
If you’ve read Wicked Cool or Scary Cool—and some of you may have read both—you might be wary of strangers these days. Trust me, I know the feeling. You meet the perfect boy and catch yourself thinking he’s a tad too perfect. If a boy seems too good to be true, guess what? He probably is.
In these circumstances, you need to know: Could my boyfriend be a spellspinner? I’m not saying it’s a good thing or a bad thing, either way. Maybe you want a spellspinner boyfriend. Maybe you don’t. I’m just saying … knowledge is power. So here are the top five signs you should look for—the tell-tale, sure-fire “giveaways” that will tell you if that too-perfect boy is a spellspinner.
1.   He has no tan lines.
Unfortunately, you may not be able to thoroughly check this out until you’ve already reached relationship-commitment stage. But basically, if your boyfriend gets tan, freckles, or sunburns—heck, if he even gets a zit occasionally—chances are he’s NOT a spellspinner. On the other hand, if the guy has perfect, unblemished, unchanged skin, even after a long day at the beach, beware. You may be dating a creature of power.

2.  He’s always on time.
Okay, some people are naturally prompt. But those people tend to be the nervous, obsessive type. If your boyfriend never seems to worry about anything, and yet somehow always arrives just at the perfect moment, that’s not normal. Be on the lookout for particularly suspicious arrivals—like, you could swear he wasn’t there a minute ago, or you are quite certain he’s miles away, but then he suddenly walks through the door. With not a hair out of place. This is a dead giveaway. Mr. Perfect is probably a spellspinner.

3.  He’s lucky. He’s really, incredibly, lucky.
Does your boyfriend invite you on picnics, hikes, or other outdoor activities without bothering to check the weather report? And when you check the weather report and say, “Oh, no, it’s going to pour on Saturday!” does he just smile and say something idiotic like, “Trust me”-? As if he could control the weather, ha, ha? Better put that to the test. Go with him on that picnic. And if it doesn’t rain after all—or, worse, pours everywhere except your picnic site, which remains miraculously dry until you leave, at which point the clouds move in and it pours there, too—be suspicious. Be very suspicious.

4.  You’ve never seen eyes quite like his.
Your boyfriend has gorgeous eyes, like jewels. They might be blue or green, but they’re like no blue or green you ever saw—or maybe they’re some color human eyes don’t come in at all, like purple or yellow or red. He probably tells you they are contact lenses. Yeah, right. Ask him where he got them, because you want some, too. Better yet, ask him to take them out so you can see them. Because if those sparkling, gem-like eyes are real? Major spellspinner sign.

5.  He gives you everything you want.
See, some girls actually want spellspinner boyfriends for this reason alone. Even though they know spellspinners are cold, uncaring users who will dump them for the next shiny object they see, they love being the shiny object for as long as they can. Because while you are the focus of his attention, you pretty much get the shoes and the perfume and the jewelry and—let’s face it, even the car of your dreams. Whether your parents let you keep these items, of course, is another question entirely. But he can get them for you, no sweat. So if your boyfriend showers you with material things and you’re not quite certain how he pays for them, look out. You’ve either got a spellspinner or a master criminal on your hands, and either way, you’re in trouble.

Good luck.

Interview with Diane Farr
Can you tell us an interesting fact about you, your writing, or anything at all?  Or, is there anything in particular you want the readers to know about you?
There is nothing particularly interesting about me, but if you like I can make something up. I’m good at making stuff up.
When did you first know that writing was what you wanted to do as a career?
I started telling stories before I could talk. Seriously. I recently came across a tape my father made of me at about 9 months old, babbling away in my playpen. No words, but you can tell by the inflections of my voice—and the fact that occasionally I crack myself up—that the baby is telling a story. Must’ve been a pretty good one, too. Too bad I don’t remember it!
When you are working on a book, do you plan ahead, or do you let the story flow as you write?
Ah, yes, the age-old question of “plotting” and “pantsing” (flying by the seat of your pants). I’ve used both methods. I think my favorite way to work is with an outline. When I do an outline, it’s very detailed; 20 pages or more. Then writing the book is like playing connect-the-dots.
There’s not much difference between Plotters and Pantsers, in my view. After all, Plotters are pantsing while they connect the dots.
Is there a special place in your home that you work at?
I have a wonderful office with a beautiful cherry wood desk and two windows. It’s painted in a lovely orchid shade to promote creativity. My father’s portrait hangs over the desk, and on the opposite wall is the oil painting of the cover art for my first book (The Nobody).
I love my office. It’s the perfect writing space for me. But I haven’t used it for years.
My husband is an engineer. He doesn’t “get” the writing thing. Whenever I retreat into my office and get into the writing zone, he calls my name from the other room. It’s hard to write with someone plaintively bellowing, “Diane? Diane?” in the background. (“Diane, where’s the mustard?” “Diane, what’s this receipt for?” “Diane, did you already feed the cats?” etc.) So now I sit on the couch in our family room with a laptop and write while my husband watches football.
Are any of your characters in your books based on people that you know in real life?
A couple of my Regency heroes express affection by teasing. That’s a Farr family trait. But the only character who is really based on a person (sort of) is George Carstairs, Lord Rival, who first appears in Falling For Chloe and gets his own book in The Fortune Hunter. He is based on Sean Connery’s James Bond. So now you know who to picture while you are reading those books!
I was watching Goldfinger with my husband one night, and marveling over the fact that Mr. Connery’s Bond was the sexiest man imaginable —and in real life, you would HATE him, because he’s a total jerk! To him, women are completely disposable objects; use ‘em and lose ‘em. And you just know that every woman he flirts with and/or beds is thinking she is going to be the one who breaks through; he’s going to fall in love with her. And it never, never happens. So I said to myself, “I’m going to take this sexy scumbag, put him in Regency clothes, and drop him into a book. And then I’m going to force him to fall in love.”
Falling for Chloe was one of the books I “pantsed.” I had no idea how it was going to turn out while I was writing it. I let the characters lead. Needless to say, Lord Rival took over; his personality is so strong it overwhelmed the book! But my cute little heroine was no match for him. I was hoping he’d fall in love with her and be taught a valuable lesson when she chose the nice guy instead of him. It didn’t work. He needed someone much stronger.
So I wrote The Fortune Hunter. And sure enough, he finally found his match!
Do you have an interesting writing quirk? Maybe something that you have to do while writing, or something that you have to do before you start writing?
No. Shall I make something up?
What is your opinion on Indie publishing versus mainstream publishing?
Well, as you know, I’ve done it both ways. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. I talk about this a lot on my blog! (http://www.bestbyfarr.com) Traditional publishing still has a cachet that indie publishing will probably never have, since anyone can publish now. It’s nice to have that “stamp of approval” from an outfit whose business it is to skim the cream off and throw the rest away. (“Hey! I’m cream!”) On the other hand, traditional publishing—until lately—has been an emotional roller-coaster for most authors. The euphoric high when you say “yes” is almost immediately followed by a series of soul-crushing maneuvers on the part of your publisher, because it has always been in their best interests to keep authors down. Publishers are businesses. Their job is to make money. The more they can make you feel like a worthless, powerless nobody, the less you will expect to be paid. They’ve gotten really, really good, over the years, at making authors feel like worthless, powerless nobodies. This is not a pleasant way to feel. Authors put up with it because there was nowhere else to go.
Until now. The great thing about indie publishing is, you never feel like your fate is in the hands of people who don’t really know you or care about you. It’s in your own hands. You can treat yourself really, really well. You love all your ideas. You think about you first, not all those other authors. You pay yourself promptly. You return all your phone calls and emails right away. You give yourself veto power over the cover art…the whole experience is just wonderful. <G> The downside? No advance. And if your books aren’t as good as they should be, no one will tell you or help you fix them. If they are full of errors, they get into the hands of readers with the errors intact, making you look like an idiot. Your books aren’t eligible for awards. Readers who might love your book if they read it will never read it, because they only buy books at grocery stores, airports and bookstores and your books aren’t in grocery stores or airports or bookstores. Et cetera.
So, advantages and disadvantages, both ways.
Do you hear from your fans a lot? If so, what are some of the best & worst things that you have heard?
It’s always fun to hear from fans, and sometimes it’s even useful! I do take fan suggestions, sometimes, so keep ‘em coming! A lot of readers of The Nobody wanted me to write a book for Ned and Serena, but I couldn’t because they were already leaning toward each other at the end of The Nobody. To write a book featuring them, I would have to break them apart and have them come back together, and I didn’t want to do that to such lovely people! But one reader asked for a book featuring the dreadful Duchess of Arnsford and her snobby daughter, Lady Elizabeth, two characters she “loved to hate.” That sparked the idea for Once Upon A Christmas. Sadly, although I thanked this reader in the book, I don’t know if she ever discovered that. Her email address was defunct by the time the book came out, so I had no way to tell her.
What does your family think of your writing?
It doesn’t seem to surprise them much.
How has being published changed your life, if any way?
Well, it’s obviously nice to have an income. Apart from that… getting published by one of New York’s “Bix Six” is a bit surreal. A week after The Call, you are the exact same writer you were—if you sucked a week ago, you still suck; if you were good before, you’re still good—but everyone views you differently. Suddenly you have credibility. Other writers turn to you for advice. People stop rolling their eyes; they listen respectfully when you talk about writing. You are no longer “an aspiring writer.” You’re a writer. You know perfectly well that you were always a writer, so it’s unsettling to discover how many people thought of you as a hopeless amateur.
What are you currently working on?  We would love to know what is coming next from you.
I just published Scary Cool, book #2 in my “Spellspinners” series, so I am taking a breather! The sales will determine my next move. I have another Spellspinners book I could write; I also have a couple of ideas for Regency stories. I plan to try an audiobook, perhaps; maybe recording one of my Christmas books to see how that goes. And then I’ll start writing my next book—whatever it might be!
What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a writer?
Read. Read voraciously. Read everything. Then write. Write a lot. Try a bunch of different types of writing. It’s not enough to know you want “to write.” You need to find out whether you are a journalist or a poet or a novelist…there are lots of different kinds of writing, and if you start down the wrong path you will be miserable. And probably not successful.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me, the beginning pours out, and the ending pours out, but that long, slow slog through the middle is tough!
What hardships have you encountered while writing your books?
There were a couple of years when I had to support my entire family with my writing. That was scary, but we made it!
What books (or authors) have influenced you the most during your career?
Georgette Heyer and Meg Cabot.
Fun Questions:
Favorite flavor of ice cream: butter brickle, and you just can’t find it anymore
Favorite color: purple
Favorite animal: pig
Favorite season of the year:  spring
Favorite Author: Georgette Heyer – if I MUST choose!
Favorite drink: coffee with just the right amount of milk & sugar
Favorite food: the crab & macadamia nut wontons at the Hula Grill on Ka’anapali Beach
Favorite Halloween Candy: anything with Reese’s on the label

Diane Farr was first published at the age of eight when the local newspaper printed one of her poems. She has spent most of her life with her nose in a book -- sometimes reading, sometimes writing. Eventually she produced eight historical romances and a novella, all published by Signet Books. Her latest adventure is a teen paranormal series: The Spellspinners. All her books are available on Kindle.

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