Thursday, May 15, 2014

"Life in the Palace" by Catherine Green

Life in the Palace
(The Palace Saga Book One)
by Catherine Green

Life in the Palace, the first book in The Palace Saga, is currently FREE (if it's not free for you on Amazon, try one of the other book retailers below). Also available: To Call Your Name (NEW RELEASE).

Life in the Palace is currently on tour with I Am a Reader, Not a Writer Book Tours. 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.

“We need to talk,” Tal said. Then I knew it was going to go badly. ‘We need to talk’ is the conversational equivalent of walking into your basement without turning on the light, on a dark and stormy night, when a known psychopath is on the loose. You might as well cut to the chase and slit your own throat.
Chloe Diaz assumed three things: that when Tal said that she was one of The People sent from heaven to maintain the cosmic balance, it was code for ‘I’m a pamphlet distributing, incense burning, religious weirdo;’ that the gorgeous Seth Wilks would never be her soul mate and that she’d never have to choose between them. Chloe was wrong.
Now the future of the world is in her hands, but what if price is too great to pay?

When Chloe met Seth (from Chapter 1):
Seth leaned over in my direction.
“Are you into extreme sports?” he asked softly. I caught my breath as his tone made a mundane question unbelievably intimate.
“Only vicariously,” I answered, and immediately congratulated my mouth for producing an answer worthy of the moment without bothering to bypass my brain.
He cracked a smile. His left cheek had a dimple.
He looked me in the eyes and I nearly died.
Why are you making this happen to me? We both know that I don’t date the untouchable guys. I date the normal guys, maybe the friends of the untouchable cool guys. I go to the movies, watch Kristen Stewart do what I can only dream of, and like any other girl I go home happy with the fantasy. But I won’t ever go home with Rob Patterson, so don’t ruin my dreams by making me hope.
“Are there any other pleasures you enjoy as a voyeur?”
Do you have no mercy?
“Line dancing; although, strictly speaking, it is an extreme sport.” My mouth was on a roll.
He smirks. “I haven’t much experience with line dancing.”
“I’m from Texas,” I shrug.
He’s not sure if I’m joking. “What do you wear to go line dancing?”
“Steel-toe capped boots, a floor length velvet dress and fake eyelashes.” It’s my turn to laugh. His face is a picture. “I’m actually serious. It really happened. I did say it was an extreme sport.”
He looks at me curiously, “And you made it out alive?”
I nodded. “Ok, I’ll tell you the whole story. My best friend back home is an uber goth: long straight black hair down to her bottom, porcelain white skin and enough eyeliner to make a drag queen proud. It drives her mother crazy. Her mother is this super southern-beauty-queen-Barbie-doll type. She decided that Spike and her needed to spend more quality time together so they went line dancing. Her current (and fourth) husband is some sort of line dancing champion. Spike said she’d only go if I went to.”
“Spike?” he raised his eyebrows.
“Her real name is Lauralee Crystabell. If she ever finds out I told you, we will both have to die.”
“I’ll take the secret to the grave. So you went all gothed up? Is that your usual mode of dress?” He looked me up and down.
“No… yes… sometimes.” I opened my mouth and said something I’d never admitted to myself before. “I pretty much just do it to fit in with her. Our other best friend, Jared, does too. Although in his case I think it’s just an excuse to wear makeup. It’s not that I’m not into it at all. I’m not a total wannabe. It’s just not really my identity. Although it can be pretty cool sometimes.”
I knew it couldn’t last more than about thirty seconds. I waited for him to turn away, now that I just admitted I’m a total loser.
He’s still staring at me.
I wriggled in my seat and shut my eyes.
When I opened them he was still staring at me.
I could feel my heart beating through my chest and there was too much saliva in my mouth. This has to be a dream. Any minute now I’m going to find myself naked in a room full of people.
But he’s still staring at me.
With any luck it could be one of those dreams.

Praise for the Book
"An interesting take on the paranormal romance genre. ... While other books in the genre have unrealistic buy in to the acceptance of someone from the outside entering a 'new world' Life in the Palace handled it from both the main character looking in and the dwellers of the Palace looking out at this person trying to enter their world. ... I am so happy to hear that there are more books in the series!" ~ Yonit on Goodreads
"I loved this world that Catherine Green created. I happily lost myself in the life & deep love between Chloe & Seth ... I loved the attention to detail, the fleshing out of the world around them, the obvious growth of all the characters. ... Even the heartbreaking choices made at the end. Book two I cannot wait to read!" ~ Ebon Darkmyth on Smashwords
"Loved it, great story line, fun characters and after reading it and thinking deeply about the duality of our lives, it made my prayers come alive!" ~ Rebecca Wittenstein on
"This book introduces you to a whole host of characters that you want to meet in real life. ... The action keeps you reading, while the budding love between Seth and Chloe makes you breathless. A great read." ~ Cypora Cohen on

Interview with the Author
Hi Catherine, thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, Life in the Palace.

For what age group do you recommend your book?
I wrote it aiming for the YA 15-24 year old market but some of my biggest fans are twice that age.

What sparked the idea for this book?
I signed up for Facebook, which put me back in contact with my high school friends. In the years between high school and my arrival on Facebook, I became religious. I realized my friends thought expressing belief in God through organized religion was synonymous for ‘had a full frontal lobotomy.’ I wanted to find a way to explain why a person might want to join a faith community, without sounding like a sales pitch.

So, which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
I had the idea that I wanted to write a YA fantasy series that talked about religion. Around the same time, I looked up the guy who’d been my BFF’s boyfriend in high school. Back then we thought he was the coolest guy in the world. I expected that by now he’d be fat or balding. Instead, he’s still amazingly good looking, has a very successful career, drives a fast car and has a bunch of blond hair, blue eyed kids. I started wondering what it was like to be seemingly perfect and who would you spend your life with if your external qualities were so impressive? That led to the creation of Seth and Chloe’s characters.

What was the hardest part to write in this book?
The ending. Even though I already had the basic story arch for the whole series mapped out in my head, it was hard to end Life in the Palace on such a cliff hanger. (Thankfully for readers, the sequel To Call Your Name is already on sale so they don’t have to wait as long as I did for the next installment.)

How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me year to write and a year to edit, mainly because I had a baby in the middle.

What is your writing routine?
I try to write for four hours in the morning, and then spend the rest of the time before my kids get home from school answering email, checking my social media accounts, and writing my blog.

How did you get your book published?
I decided to self-publish because the series doesn’t fit neatly into any of the traditional publishing categories.

What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
The best advice I received about self-publishing was to treat it like a business and be prepared to invest money in profession editing and an eye-catching cover.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Lol, ‘like to do’ and ‘have to do’ are not the same thing. When I’m not writing, most of the time I’m taking care of my kids and catching up on all the household stuff I didn’t do earlier because I was writing. When I’m not doing any of those things, then I started teaching myself to play the piano.

What does your family think of your writing?
My kids are somewhat confused about what I do and why my stories don’t have pictures. My husband hopes none of my characters are him.

Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I actually grew up in Melbourne [Australia]. Since leaving I’ve toured multiple different British colonies. I loved the freedom of my childhood, with a giant backyard and weather good enough to go out in it every day. When I later lived in Canada, I missed the ability to spend large stretches of time outside.

Did you like reading when you were a child?
As I child I loved stories, the ones I read and the ones I told myself. I liked the way a story can live inside you long after you finished reading.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I realized you could be paid to tell stories. I must have been about six.

Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Living in so many countries has made me ‘permanently foreign.’ I have an accent no one can place, an eclectic sense of humor and the ability to view the world through many angles.  

Which writers have influenced you the most?
Terry Pratchett, because he wrote outside the box and used fantasy to make profound statements about the real world.

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
The main characters in Life in the Palace have their own Facebook pages, where readers can see the series playing out in real time. Seth and Chloe ‘respond’ to their own posts (or I respond for them in character.) When anyone is talking to me, Catherine Green, usually it’s to ask when the next book is coming out.

What can we look forward to from you in the future?
A Life in the Palace companion novel, Jen’s Story, is due to come out in early July. It’s really book 1.5 of The Palace Saga and tells what happened between Life in the Palace and To Call Your Name from Jen’s perspective.  The third book in the series, Camp in the Shadow, is due to come out in September.

Sounds good, Catherine. Thank you for taking the time to stop by today.

About the Author
Catherine Green writes fantasy books featuring religious characters in a brazen attempt to make the people in faith communities seem less weird. She lives with her husband, children and three marginally neglected goldfish. When she’s not writing, or pretending to be one of her characters on Facebook, she has been known to cook dinner.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash.