Hello Readers! I’m pleased to welcome R. J. Garcia, Author of The Call of Death for an interview on Books Teacup and Review. Check out more about this paranormal YA book and author in this post. I have already read this book. I enjoyed it and gave it 5 stars.If you haven’t read my review here is the ➡ LINK⬅ .
The Call of Death by R.J. Garcia
Publication Date: November 5th 2019
Publisher: Parliament House
Genre: Paranormal / YA Romance
Fourteen-year-old Hannah Priestly crashes into a terrifying future. She wakes up in her dorm room now knowing the name of an infamous serial killer, Norman Biggs. He will attack her in the future unless she and her three male friends can change fate.
Hannah is an obsessive-compulsive California girl dropped off at an English boarding school by her celebrity mother. Hannah has difficulty understanding algebra, let alone her increasingly dark visions. Rory Veer is Hannah’s smart, easy-going and romantically challenged friend and school crush. When Norman Biggs unexpectedly appears in Rory’s reality, terror is set in motion. It is Rory who must acknowledge a past he has denied if the mystery is to be unraveled.
R.J. Garcia is a wife, and proud mom of two smart kids. She earned her MSW and worked with foster children and as a school social worker. Writing has been her other great love. She has published several non-fiction pieces. She has been writing short stories for as long as she can remember. To her amazement, those short stories became novels!
Can you tell readers a little about your book, The Call of Death? What they can expect from it?
Hannah Priestly is an obsessive-compulsive California girl attending an English boarding school with the usual teen problems. She doesn’t fit in at school and is falling in love with her best friend. But when she wakes up knowing the name of a notorious serial killer at large, Norman Biggs, her life goes from complicated to scary, and her visions only grow darker.
Rory Veer is Hannah’s easy-going friend and school crush. When Norman Biggs unexpectedly appears in Rory’s reality, terror is set in motion. It is Rory who must acknowledge a past he has denied if the mystery is to be unraveled.
Expect young love and a lot of twists and turns.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
When I wrote the first draft, I had just finished reading the Harry Potter series with my daughter. It played a part in my decision to have the setting an English boarding school. I have also spent time in England and have cousins there. I am also fascinated with boarding schools, and love books like A Separate Peace.
The television show Medium, which I watched in the past, also inspired me to write this story. A nightmare I had about seeing a man behind me in the mirror catapulted the book’s first chapter.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing The Call of Death?
I think finding time is always a challenge. Also, because I have dyslexia and had only written short stories and didn’t know if I was up for the challenge of writing an entire novel. Although it was something, I always dreamt about doing. I had this story for The Call of Death in my head and pushed myself. My teenage daughter and brother kept wanting to read the next chapter, and it propelled me to keep going.
What type of characters do you love and hate to write? What is your favorite quality in protagonists? Does anyone in real life inspire you to write them?
I love to write about imperfect characters and the underdog. I hate that muscled bond, cocky leading man type that would probably help me sell books. Yes, my characters are based on composites of real people. My other novel, Nocturnal Meetings, is inspired by a real foster kid I admired. He had been through a lot but had a lot of heart and resiliency. Hannah was a composite of a girl I counseled and a movie stars daughter I read about. The character, Hannah, had boys as friends like I did in high school.
The main character had the gift to see in the future, to smooth it and make it less crazy she called it premonitions. Have you ever had premonitions or experienced deja vu?
When I was in fourth grade, I was very close to my grandmother. She came to me in a dream to play and tell me she was going away. When I woke up that next morning my parents told me she had died. I really believe she came to me to say goodbye.
Other times I have also experienced a sense of déjà vu. I believe there is much more than just this life.
When writing, do you plot or go with the flow?
I plan out the main plot but let conversations and scenes flow. I am open to changing things if they don’t feel right on paper.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me six months to complete the first draft of the Call of Death. My current WIP took a little longer. I go through a week here or there where I don’t write at all. I get busy with work and family stuff. On top of that, I suffer from writer’s block sometimes.
Tell us about your journey to publication.
It took me many years to have the confidence to even write a novel. When I did, I queried The Call of Death to a dozen agents with no luck and focused on writing Nocturnal Meetings of the Misplaced instead. When I finished writing Nocturnal Meetings, I queried some small publishers and found a home for it at The Parliament House. So, it was my second novel, but the first I published.
What are your most favorite and least favorite things about being an author?
My favorite thing about being an author is coming up with ideas and writing. Then having people actually read and connect with your stories is amazing! Seeing the cover for the first time and holding your book is incredible.
Since my mom passed and will never read my stories, it makes it bittersweet. On a lighter note, another of my least favorite things is letting go of the characters once the book is published. As weird as it sounds I kind of miss them.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I do like to drink coffee and have it quiet or music on. Hearing others talking or TV distracts me.
What is your favorite childhood book?
My mom read Charlotte’s Web to me, and I loved it. It made me have a thing for spiders and farm animals. She also made up stories, and that may be where I got my love of storytelling.
What is the next project you’re working on?
I have a short story available March 31st in The Masks Anthology alongside some fantastic authors from Filles Vertes Publishing. My story, The Axeman Among Us, is inspired by actual events. In 1918, Two young teen boys encounter The Axeman of New Orleans, the most infamous serial killer of their time. Fearing the killer will return, they implore the aid of a voodoo priestess.
I’m working on a new novel too. It is about a teenage boy who believes his new house is haunted until he discovers a strange girl living there. A girl who brings evil and supernatural beings into his life.
When you are not writing, what do you like to do to relax?
I like to hang out with my kids and play games, watch Netflix or movies, and snack. I watch true crime as well as HGTV. I also ride my bike now and then, and go to plays.
Can you describe The Call of Death in five words?
Visions, young love, and murder.
And the last one, top 3 tips for aspiring authors.
1. Write the story you’re obsessed with.
2. Make sure you’re ready to query. (proofread and find beta readers.)
3. Most importantly never give up.
What do you think about the book and interview?
Have you read this book or any other by the same author?
Are you going to add it to TBR?
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