Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Indie Author Spotlight: Samantha Manuel

In a not too distant future, the world is divided into east and west by fear of a race of half-demon, half-humans, the Daemoni. Some believe that the Daemoni race was annihilated. Others believe that they were ever just a hoax to bolster political agendas. When Eve has a chance meeting with X, the last remaining Daemoni, she must put everything on the line to find a way to help him waylay the coming war from the bowels of Hell.

Revelation was definitely an interesting read. I loved the way the world was split into two basically opposing hemispheres. One was a thriving society, the other a crumbled shell of a formerly great society. That struck me as unique since usually with books like this it’s either all or nothing. The action scenes were well written, and kept the story moving along at a good clip. I think one of the things I liked the most was the flourishing romance between Eve and X. It’s been my experience with YA books like this that the romance is over-the-top cheesy and kills the rest of the book for me. It wasn’t like that in Revelation though. It seemed natural, a bit conflicted, but generally it worked well and that’s a huge plus for me.

Overall, Revelation was a really fun read in the YA genre. #Recommend

Buy your copy here!

Now let’s meet the author!

Samantha Manuel grew up in rural Oklahoma and is the author of Bone House, an online collection of poetry for young women. Revelation is her first novel in the Revelation trilogy. She has several other novel story lines in the making, all of which focus on the themes of life, death, and purpose.

In addition to being a writer, she is currently a high school English teacher in Oklahoma and, most importantly, a mother.

You can check out Samantha’s blog here.

First things first, give us a Tweet synopsis of the book (140 characters or less):

Eve, Jeremy, and X, a hybrid human-demon, must stall Hell's agents for as long as they can, before the world drowns in a flood of darkness.

Revelation is a blend of dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels with a bit of a biblical spin on the whole thing. Where did this idea come from?

Revelation didn't come about from any morbid curiosity about the end of the world or even from some religious twitch I once had, but rather, I had a dream. How many authors are inspired this way? I'm sure it is quite a few. But about eight years ago, I had a dream that I was standing in a twilit, red-dirt field, a lone, dead tree beckoning me. As I approached, I saw a child's cold, lifeless hands emerging from the ground beneath the tree. Horrified I jumped back, and then I saw him. He stepped into view and I knew he would make the perfect protagonist (or one of them) for a novel. It was the character who would soon become X, in all is dark, sensuous glory. The moment I woke, I began writing ideas down for the novel; however, I could never make it more than a few pages into writing before I would give up my attempts. I let the idea slip out of mind for six years, and then one day, it just hit me. All of the pieces fell into place, and I was also much more advanced as a writer, much more confident in my skills.

What was the biggest challenge you faced as a writer when basically destroying the world?

Writing is never difficult. Finding time to write is difficult. While juggling being a teacher, a mother, and a graduate student, it is sometimes hard to stay motivated. But once I am writing, it comes to me easily.

Eve is a strong female protagonist. Was it important for you to make her independent and self-sufficient instead of relying on X to keep her safe?

I think that in this day and age, we feel the need to make sure that all of our female protagonists have a strong sense of self, so yes, it was important to me. Eve is not a reflection of myself, although I have certainly always valued independence, but later in the trilogy, it will become quite clear why I created her this way. She is a tribute to womanhood--woman's redemption for an age old lie about the "original sins" of her sex.

Revelation is a fast-paced, action-packed story. Do you think you could survive a day in Eve’s and X’s life?

I would hope that I could survive. I certainly have the strong will necessary for such tasks, but just as they couldn't succeed without the help of some friends in high places, I know I couldn't do it alone. Now as far as any combat training, well let's say that I might need more than just a couple hours of knife-throwing practice in an old barn to prepare for what these characters face.

You mention on Goodreads that you once dreamed of being an archaeologist. Is Indiana Jones your hero or what?

I did love Indiana Jones, and I can thank my dad for that. But even more, I love the thrill of the potential to find hidden or lost items, especially if they are of an historical significance. But even the worthless excites me. Have you ever tried digging for diamonds or salt crystals? My family has had to drag me away from those excursions a few times.

Tell us a little bit more about you other book, Bone House.

Bone House is a collection of poems that I wrote during my first couple years of undergraduate school. This was during an emotional time in my life, when my mind was overflowing with creative energy and near constant poetry. At that point, I had a difficult time writing prose, but poetry flowed from me like flood waters. Funny thing is, I can't write poetry anymore, now that I am content with life. But what I did write back then I am extremely proud of. I call Bone House my "baby." It really gets to the root of my soul, not only including love poems about those who must not be named, but it also displays several poems about my son, who, of course, is the love of my life, and those about my maternal grandmother, my idol, and to whom I probably owe any success of my imagination.

What can we expect next from Samantha Manuel?

I still have a long road ahead of me concerning the Revelation trilogy, so you should certainly expect two more books. But I am also very excited to begin work on an unrelated title that centers around three generations of females, each having had their own trouble with men in their lives. It will be a women's comedy of an odd type, but let me tell you, the grandma is going to be the knight in shining armor. Of course, this novel won't be all giggles. Some of the themes and events may be a little on the morbid side.

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