Tuesday, September 9, 2014

"Twinfinity: Nethermore" by Chris Podhola

Twinfinity: Nethermore
by Chris Podhola

Twinfinity: Nethermore is currently on tour with Bewitching Book Tours. You can get it ON SALE for only $0.99 for the duration of the tour. The tour stops here today for my interview with the author and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Whitney Leighton has a secret. She is both blind and deaf but that’s not what she’s trying to keep hidden. Her secret is that she can both see and hear through her twin brother Tommy. They call it piggybacking because she can shift her consciousness into her brother’s mind.
Whitney’s not the only one with a secret; Tommy has one too and it’s Whitney that he’s keeping it from. His secret is that Whitney isn’t who she’s supposed to be. He has dreams of her, but in his dreams she has tattoos, battle-scars on her face, and a formidable look of determination. If Tommy’s dreams come true then Whitney is in serious trouble and so is everyone else. The simple Whitney that is, doesn’t stand a chance against the evil that exists in his sleep, and the world will be thrust into chaos.
The teen twins end up at Camp Tumbling Waters and Lake Amicolola where something is waiting for them. Something as dark as Whitney’s vision and as insane as Tommy’s dreams and IT needs Whitney to escape the prison that IT calls … Nethermore.

Book Video

This excerpt is from Chapter 10 of Twinfinity: Nethermore.  In it the main character, the blind and deaf Whitney Leighton, is preparing to make a physical statement to her summer camp peers. They are all gathered at the obstacle course located in Camp Tumbling Waters and the group is divided. Half of the campers blame her for the recent troubles in the camp, and the other half believe that she is the solution to those problems. Whitney knows that she needs to prove a point to all of them in order to unite them.
Whitney had been a little surprised by how clearly her course could be directed through her imagination and memory.  Every step, and every move had been based on what she remembered from when she was piggy-backed with Kat, but she had been able to lay everything out in her mind with near perfect clarity.
She had been sitting on the bench brooding over her conversation with Kat.  She was mad all right, but little Mike had changed her mood.  She couldn’t see the fear in his face, and she couldn’t hear if he had said anything, but she had seen his shadow approach the wall and she had waited with anticipation for his shadow to ascend into the air.  She might not be able to see it with her eyes, but she would have still felt pride for him as he succeeded.  She could see that climbing it was important to him, and Kat had insinuated that it was so important that he had spent a year trying to get himself ready for it.  His body appeared to be weak and frail and Whitney had searched Kat’s mind for an explanation for that.
He had an accident when he was younger--a tragic accident that had broken many bones and left him in a wheel chair for years.  He was just getting to the point that he could walk again.  And, according to Kat’s memories on the subject, climbing that wall was his motivation—his driving force.  It was the thing that he talked about last year that inspired him to work so hard in his recovery.  He wanted to do it, but he was afraid.
Like she was afraid.
He backed off and someone else was approaching the wall in his place.  She didn’t want to sense someone else climbing the wall.  She wanted to sense him doing it, and she didn’t think it was right for everyone else to just shrug it off.
When she first got up from the bench and started walking toward the group her intention was to find a way to convince Mike to make his climb.  She was only vaguely aware of the clarity with which she could visualize her course.  She could see every clump of dirt, every stone that could make her stumble, and she could even remember seeing a Twix candy bar wrapper as she walked by it.
Her mind was more focused on how to convince Mike to make his climb.  By the time she got there she had figured it out.  She would lead by example.
It was after Kam had put the safety harness onto her and attached the safety line onto the clip on the back when she knew she had to take it off.  It was doing its job.  It was making her feel safe.  There was no danger.  The spotters were trained to make sure that she wouldn’t be injured if she slipped.  It was crazy, but she didn’t want to feel safe.  She wanted every handhold and every foothold to be risky and she wanted to feel the danger of it. 
Most of all she wanted to rely on others to catch her if she did fall.
She had been playing it safe all of her life and for once she wanted to leave safety behind her.  She had never let herself rely on anyone but Tommy - who she depended on vigorously for help in almost everything and she was done with that too.
She had chosen the members of her net the way she did because she wanted to show everyone that she trusted them even if they didn’t really trust her.  She didn’t just want to convince Mike to make the climb.  She also wanted to find a way to bring the group back together again.  She had divided everyone, and so she’d have to be the one to link them back together again.
She was a couple of levels off of the ground when the idea of the teambuilding element began to form in her mind.  The concept was simple enough.  You had to trust in the members of the team to catch you if you fell backward into them.  That teambuilding element was about a three foot drop into the arms of your team.  What if someone did it from the top of the climbing wall?  It was a scary idea, but if that didn’t make an impact on the crowd than nothing would.
Whitney ascended the wall.  Despite her nearly perfect memory of every hand and foothold her fear was a very tangible and real thing.  Slipping off and falling was still extremely dangerous even with the group below her because she might not be able to control how she landed and a broken leg or arm or even both was a probability.
She reached up and grabbed the next handhold, brought her leg up, and hauled herself up another level.  She had made it halfway up and she could feel her nervousness increase with her height.  She was about fifteen feet off of the ground, and her limbs began to betray her.  She was getting tired and her muscles were beginning to tremble despite her desire to remain steady and calm.  She was no athlete and it was beginning to show.
This was stupid she thought to herself.
If she fell from that distance and they didn’t catch her she may or may not break a limb.
Just do it now her mind begged.
And she knew she could.  She could steady herself, lean back, and fall into the arms of her safety net.  She could do that safely and no harm would come to her.  Her point would even be made pretty clearly.
But wasn’t Erik’s speech, as corny and predictable as it was, about just that?  Wasn’t it about pushing past your fears even though they sometimes seemed like an impenetrable wall?
She could make her leap from that point but if she did wasn’t she still relatively safe?  If so then was she really making her point?  Wasn’t her point to go beyond safety and to leap when the outcome wasn’t predictable?
She reached up for the next grip-hold and brought herself up to it.  Her nerves began to betray her even more.  She had never been this tired before in her life.  She had already exerted herself beyond exhaustion and she knew, from that very moment, that she needed to start training her body for more endurance.  She was never again going to let herself tire out this easily.  So much for being lazy, because she knew that those days had to be over.
She was three quarters of the way up but her muscles were aching and she was losing her breath.  On top of that she wasn’t sure if making it to the top was even going to be possible.  No matter how bad she wanted to get there.
She sucked in a deep breath, gathered her determination, and made two more handholds in quick succession.  Her fingers began to throb and go numb.  Her leg muscles were screaming at her to stop and her arms felt like rubber bands stretched out to their maximum.
The only good thing was that she only had three levels to go.

Featured Review
To be truthful, I bought this book because I read a short story on the web which was an another part of the same story. I bought this book before that story had finished posting because I wanted to read more. I am glad I did, because it was a VERY good read.
Tommy and Whitney are twins, adopted by their mother's twin after she died. Tommy seems normal, though intelligent, although he has some mental powers that his parents don't know about. He is also plagued by disturbing dreams about him and Whitney. Whitney was born deaf and blind, although she can see and hear by 'piggy-backing' in her brother's mind, and there are hints that that is not all she can do. Whitney has had almost no social interaction with others and is not very confident in herself.
The story is about what happens when they attend a summer camp which has a 'bad spirit' which has awakened after many years, and centers around Indian legends and 'The Great Owl'. Guess who turns out to be the 'Great Owl'. See how their powers develop and Whitney's confidence improves as they save the camp.
At the camp work two Indians whose legends involve animal guides. The twins also meet another set of twins, Kat & Kam, who also have a big part in Tommy & Whitney's lives and become their first friends. All the characters are well developed and there is a lot of playful conversation between the 2 sets of twins.
The author knows how to tell a story and does not bog you down with a lot of details. A lot of questions are not resolved, which is to be expected, as this is just the first book of a series. Besides that, there is a good ending to this story.
Anyone who enjoys a good mystical or fantasy story should definitely read this one. I would rate it a 10 out of 10 on all writing categories. I certainly intend to get the rest of the series.

Interview With the Author
Hi Chris, thanks for joining me today to discuss your book, Twinfinity: Nethermore.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
The book is age appropriate for any reader above the age of 13. I do, however, reserve my recommendations to any reader above the age of 16. I have had readers as old as 70 tell me that they enjoyed it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
I wanted to write a story about a pair of twins, originally born in another dimension, who were reborn into ours, and to tell the story of how both worlds, and the involvement of the twins, unfolded.
So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
With Twinfinity it was a little of both, I guess. In the beginning I knew a little about both. I had the basic premise in my mind of the story, and I also had the beginning vision of the twins.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The antagonist parts. I didn’t write them until the rest of the novel was completed.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that readers enjoy the adventure and become attached to the twins. That’s how I was affected by it.
How long did it take you to write this book? 
Including cooling off periods, it took me 1 year. (After I began the first rewrite).
What is your writing routine? 
When I’m really into it and I’m not working a lot of hours at my day job … I usually write three to four thousand words per day. Sometimes those words are typed and sometimes they are hand written, depending on my mood.
How did you get your book published? 
I published through CreateSpace and Amazon. I thought about trying to go the traditional route of finding an agent and or publisher, but I really liked the idea of doing it myself, so I did.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Write a lot. That is the key to getting it right. Every time I sit down at my computer I feel like what I’ve written has evolved just a little bit more. I can already tell the difference in my confidence and my writing from when I first began Nethermore. Every time I write I become a little more "seasoned".  
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I like to golf, and sometimes I play the guitar (although I’m not very good at either).
Sounds like my husband ... What does your family think of your writing?
When they first read what I wrote they were stunned. In the beginning I treated writing like a bad habit. I kept it hidden, secretly writing without anyone around me knowing that I was doing it. It wasn’t that I was ashamed of it like a bad habit but, for me, the idea of being a writer was so fragile, that a bobby pin could have popped my ego. It wasn’t until I began to write things that I thought might actually be good, that I risked telling anyone what I was doing with my spare time. They didn’t know I had it in me.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in the country, wearing jeans, t-shirts, and work boots. I was definitely a country boy.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Not until I was about thirteen or so. My Aunt Linda introduced me to reading at about that age and she did it without even knowing she did it. She was so enthusiastic about reading and, prior to that, I thought books were just something that movies were made from. That’s how I looked at it. I was having that very discussion with her one day while I was over her house. She argued that movies were nothing compared to the books that they were written from, and I didn’t believe her so I took one of hers, without her even knowing it, and began reading it. The book was The Gunslinger by Stephen King.  And she was right. There was never a movie made from it, but that book had me hooked from page one. 
Fantastic. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I made my first attempt at writing the first year that I began to read. It was horrible and I was fragile, so I didn’t write anything again for at least ten years but I often thought about writing. I even had dreams about sitting in front of a computer typing things. I never knew, in these dreams, what I was writing, only that I was writing something. 
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Of course. As a matter of fact the obstacle course in Nethermore stemmed from some adventures I had in scouting as a kid. I have many fond memories of participating in operation C.O.P.E. (Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience), and it was these experiences that made me want to include them into Nethermore. I thought that having a blind and deaf girl face one of these obstacles would be interesting. She does and it is one of the better scenes in the novel.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Stephen King has, by far, been the biggest influence. I have read more of his novels than any other writer.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear from them quite often. Mostly regarding the short story prequels to Nethermore, but so far, virtually all of the comments are positive.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I am about 15,000 words into the sequel to Nethermore. So far it is coming much quicker than Nethermore did. I hope to have that available for purchase by Christmas. That is a lofty goal, but it is what I am striving for. After that, who knows. I will either continue with Twinfinity, or take a break by writing something different. (A vampire story has been toying with my mind).
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today, Chris. Best of luck with your future projects.

About the Author
The author is a 43-year-old United States Air Force veteran of the first Iraq War. This is his debut novel in the Twinfinity urban fantasy series. He was born and raised in south-eastern Michigan and served his country in California, Germany, and Turkey. 

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