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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Interviewing Jes Young about her new urban fantasy release, Underneath

I'm pleased to be able to bring you my interview with Jes Young today. Be sure to check out her new UF release and the great giveaway contest at the end of this post.

Thanks, Marsha, for having me over to talk about my new urban fantasy, Underneath. I’m excited to answer some questions about this book and the Princess of Twilight and Dawn series of which it is a part. Ask away!
At the age of twenty-five, Tab Bennett discovers she is actually an Elvish princess, the daughter of the Dark King, Daniel, and the Light Queen. Being raised in exile, away from family, Tab harbors anger and blame for her father. Why was she exiled?
Maybe exile isn’t the right word. It’s more like she was raised in hiding. Right after Tab was born, her mother died. She was taken from the Inbetween by her guards to protect her from her father, who planned to use her to take over the light Elvish kingdom so he could rule both.
Tab learns that King Daniel is responsible for her mother’s suicide and her sisters’ murders. Is the king a ruthless leader? What is his personality like? Does Tab fear him?
Tab describes Daniel as a “beautiful monster” and that’s a pretty apt description. (I picture Jared Leto when I’m writing about him. If you’re interested, you can visit my Characters board on to see what everyone looks like.) King Daniel is mercurial, needy, and a little unhinged. In his own kingdom he’s also pretty much all-powerful and like everyone who rules unopposed, he’s gotten used to getting what he wants. When he doesn’t—well let’s just say it’s not pretty. His temper tantrums tend to end in bloodshed. Tab is (wisely) afraid of him but she’s also determined to get what she came for—namely revenge. When he visits her in a dream, she tries to kill him. Daniel finds her spunk amusing, up to a point, and every time they interact after that it’s sort of a war of wills.
Tab’s anger turns to vengeance, and she seeks the help of Finnegan Blackthorn, an Elvish warrior. How might he be able to help her?
Tab has already asked everyone she knows to bring her Underneath to meet her father and they’ve all said no. When she meets Finn Blackthorn, she senses he’s got his own agenda and that he might be willing to help her because of it so she makes one last, desperate effort. Here’s how she does it.

“I need a favor,” I said.

As my eyes adjusted to the dim light, I could see his shoulders and the smooth expanse of his chest. His hair was tousled and perfect at the same time. He was propped up on one elbow, resting his head in his palm.

“What kind of favor?” he asked, as I sat down on the edge of the bed.

“A big one.”

I knew that if he said no, there would be no one left to ask. But something in his voice, when he said that he would have voted for war, made me think he just might do it.

“Do you know who my father is?”

He sat up and turned on the bedside lamp.

“Do you?” he asked.

I nodded and forced myself to look into his eyes. “I want you to take me to the Underneath.”

“Why?” Unlike everyone else I’d asked, his reaction was calm. He seemed interested, open-minded. He seemed ready to hear me out.

“I want to meet him.”

He nodded. “What if I told you that King Daniel is an egomaniac with delusions of grandeur and a God complex?”

Honestly, I expected nothing less. “I’d still want to meet him.”

“Would you still want to meet him if I told you he has a shitty sense of humor and bad breath?”

“Yes.” I laughed.

Finn lay back against the pillow, putting his hands under his head while thinking it over.

“Let’s say I agree to bring you to the Underneath to meet your father, even though everything I’ve said about him is true. What will you do then?”

“I’ll kill him.”

I didn’t have to read Finn’s mind to know that my answer surprised him.

“He has to answer for the things he’s done,” I said, careful to keep my voice steady. “He has to answer to me.”

We sat there for a moment, both of us quiet.

“If I take you,” he said finally, “Nicholas is mine. He has to answer to me. And if we make it back, you make me General of the Queen’s 500 no matter who the Council of Generals name as their pick.”

The bit about “if we make it back” gave me pause; it made me consider that it was much more likely that Daniel or Nicholas would kill me than it was that I would somehow get the drop on them. Of course, the smart money would have said the same thing about Estella and me—and you know how that turned out.

“Deal,” I said.
Together, Tab and Finnegan travel into her father’s kingdom in the Underneath. There she is seduced by the nature of the Darkness and her own inherited power. What do these forces feel like, and how does Tab react? Is she confused or frustrated by the pull of the dark forces?
I think this brief excerpt does a pretty good job of explaining how Tab feels about her father’s power.

There are lots of things in the dark; many of them are scary and violent. Some of them can eat you up whole and are just waiting for the chance. But, there’s another side of it too, a softness that comes in the night; it offers a certain kind of peace and forgiveness that can only be found in places where the light can’t reach. Darkness can be seductive too, when it wants to be.

I should have told Daniel to go to hell. I should have told him that I’d rather be his prisoner than his daughter, and that I’d rather be dead than sit beside him on his throne. I’m ashamed to admit that something inside of me—something small and very deep inside my heart—didn’t care about right and wrong. It just wanted to stay, to see what it would be like. It’s hard to admit, but I would have stayed with him anyway, even if he didn’t add, “If you do as I ask, I will let Finnegan Blackthorn live.”

Briefly describe the magical systems of your world. How do those who are empowered, the rulers and warriors, gain their abilities?

In my world, Magic is passed from mother to daughter. (It’s explained that Daniel is something of an anomaly.) The light or dark monarch is the source from which their people draw power. All of the Elvish have a gift or two and they can all appear or disappear at will. This is an excerpt from my first book, Tab Bennett and the Inbetween, that explains how the Elvish get their gifts.

The magic grew and swirled around me, swelling to fill every available inch of space. It crushed against me, leaving little air or room to breathe. Then in an explosion of color and heat, like fireworks, it collapsed on itself, becoming a concentrated point of light that burned in my chest. I could feel it there, slicing through me like a knife, like something sharper that makes a cleaner cut. I fell to my knees, driven there by the kisses of flame that raced up my spine. The magic spread like wildfire down my arms, blistering my palms, scorching them. The heat tore through me, white hot, but it wasn’t entirely unpleasant and I was never afraid.

When the pain was gone, burned through, a light, bright and gold spilled from my hands, filling the room, changing everything. It lasted a second, then disappeared.

Alex knelt beside me. “Aurora?” he asked, his voice soft and full of awe.

“Did you feel that?” My voice sounded a little weak.

“No, but watching you experience…. Once I realized what was happening to you….” He looked like he’d just witnessed a miracle. “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen.”

He smiled at me, laughing as he pulled me into his arms. “That was your power emerging. You are now in possession of your Elvish Gifts.”

“Seriously? That was my magic?”

“What did it feel like?” he asked, helping me to my feet. “We all experience the advent of our Gifts differently. Sometimes they come as fire, sometimes as rain. Sometimes they come wrapped in sex and love, sometimes tangled in violence and hate. Some of us are born with our powers already manifest and for some they do not come until the very edge of death.”

“Mine was fire. Definitely fire.” I looked at my palms, expecting blisters at least, but they were unscarred. “How did your gifts come?”

He looked away but he was smiling when his eyes found mine again. “In a kiss.”

“Of course they did. I almost burn to death and you get a kiss.”


Princess of Twilight and Dawn Book Two

By Jes Young 

Six months ago, when her long-hidden heritage came to light, Tab Bennett reluctantly let go of her past and embraced her future as an Elvish princess on the cusp of her gifts and the edge of her destiny. She never wanted a fairy tale life, but as the daughter of the Dark King and the Light Queen, that’s exactly what she got.

Raised in exile away from the kingdom of the Inbetween, Tab has never even met the parents who ruined her life. Her mother is dead, but Tab’s father, Daniel, is alive and well, the mad ruler of the kingdom of the Underneath. He’s made it clear he wants to meet her and now that she knows all the sadness and heartache in her life can be traced directly to the Dark king’s door, Tab wants to meet him too. After all, it's because of him that the first twenty-five years of her life were a lie. It’s his fault she gave her heart to Robbin when she should have been saving it for Alex, the prince who is destined to be her Homecoming. But, most importantly, King Daniel is the one responsible for her mother’s suicide and her sisters’ murders.

Now Tab wants justice – but she’ll settle for revenge and Finnegan Blackthorn, an Elvish warrior with secrets of his own, is going to help her get it. Together, they’ll embark on the dangerous journey to her father’s stronghold in the kingdom Underneath. Once she's there, far away from the Light in which she was raised, Tab will be forced to confront the seductive nature of Darkness and her own potential to truly become her father’s daughter.

About the Author: 

After graduating from Emerson College with a BFA in creative writing, Jes Young was a copywriter at Random House (Ballantine Books and Crown Publishing Group) for nearly ten years. Currently she is the development manager of a small non-profit and the mother of two children under the age of ten. Her writing is done primarily between the hours of 11 p.m and 3 a.m.

My blog: 
Twitter: @JesYoungWrites

Giveaway for each stop: a set of Tab Bennett and the Inbetween and Underneath. Comment to win!

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Marsha A. Moore is a writer of fantasy romance. The magic of art and nature spark life into her writing. Read her ENCHANTED BOOKSTORE LEGENDS for adventurous epic fantasy romance: Book One, SEEKING A SCRIBE, Book Two, HERITAGE AVENGED, and Book Three, LOST VOLUMES. She has also authored the Ciel's Legacy series, with fast action mermaid/pirate storylines: TEARS ON A TRANQUIL LAKE and TORTUGA TREASURE.  For a FREE ebook download, read her historic fantasy, LE CIRQUE DE MAGIE, available at Amazon and Smashwords.


jes young said...

Thanks again for having me over, Marsha!

cmalbertwrites said...

Serious drool worthy cast of characters. I could totally see Jared as Daniel. I'd love to REALLY see him fly off the handle and magically control Finn - that would be fun! (Well, not for Jessica.)Great interview & blog post!