Friday, October 26, 2012

Blog Tour, Author Interview & Giveaway: Viper's Creed

I am so excited to be apart of the Viper's Creed Blog Tour. I really love T. L. Shreffler's honestly great writing - you can simply tell that she knows how to tell a story honestly and fantastically at the same time which is a gift. If you haven't read Sora's Quest, the first book in The Cat's Eye Chronicles, feel free to check out my review HERE.

So to start off this tour, let me introduce you to Ms. T. L. Shreffler:

1. What or who inspired you to become a writer?

I was super inspired by Brian Jacques and J. R. R. Tolkien. I would say that most of this feeding-the-fuel inspiration started when I was around 8-10 years old. My dad would read to me a lot and then I got hooked on the Redwall series, and after that I was a fantasy aficionado. I was reading Terry Goodkind (900 pages) by 7th grade. So I was what... 12?

I started writing when the seeds were there. I had all of these great ideas for a book but I just couldn’t find “that” book on the shelf. So I decided to write it myself. I was around 13 years old. :)

2. What is your favorite YA book or series?

I was a big fan of YA before there was so much sex in the genre. So Animorphs, Tamora Pierce, Brian Jacques, Anne McCaffrey and Robin McKinley. 

3. I adored the unique cast in both Sora’s Quest and Viper’s Creed, how did you
create such interesting factions of mythical characters for the series? 

I think I was inspired a lot by Anime and videogames. Western fantasy seems to revolve around elves, vampires, fairies, etc. I never found any of that stuff interesting. In Anime you see a lot more creativity with different species and races. So, in essence, I made up my own. ;)

4. You obviously write some awesomesauce fantasy, but what is your favorite
genre to read?

I still love to read fantasy... but I’ve started reading a lot more fiction, especially stuff on the Fantastical side, such as Water for Elephants or Geek Love. I really like books that “push” the boundary between genres or those with beautiful writing, like Ursela K. LeGuin. 

5. If you had to cast Sora and Crash/Viper in an upcoming 2013 film, who
would you choose? (pictures please!)

Alright, after much deliberation, we have....

 Jake and Scarlett

                             Sora: a blond Scarlett Johansson          
          Crash/Viper: Jake Gyllenhaal as he was in Prince of Persia

6. Is there one character that pushes you to write more than the rest? Or one
that frustrates you most?

Crash/Viper really inspires me to write the most... his mystery keeps me intrigued. I am always discovering more about him. The most frustrating character is Volcrian, mainly because nothing goes well for him and I keep wanting to pair him up with a romantic “lady friend,” but that would complicate the plot far too much.

7. I feel that your writing style is very different than most authors in the YA
fantasy genre. You don’t seem to have a definitive stopping point at the end
of each book and it drives me banana sandwich (in a good way!) to wait for
the next book to be released. Is that an intentional selling tactic or just the
way your brain works as an author?

Well I don’t write series in the typical sense of the word... I am writing one very long story, you could say. And instead of releasing a 2000 page novel, I am breaking it up into chunks. So no, it doesn’t stop and start in the typical serial novel fashion. The stories of the characters move from book to book without coming to a complete stop. But I do try to stop and start in a logical place. For instance, there is a year between Sora’s Quest and Viper’s Creed. And between Viper’s Creed and Volcrian’s Hunt (Book 3), there is an entire sea voyage. So you could say that each book is marked by the passage of time

8. On that note, do you write with an outline, or just go with the creative flow?

I tend to use an outline. “Creative Flow” is fun on a first draft, but for strong editing you really need an outline. 

9. I know that you’ve written some explicit sexual scenes in some of your other
books (because I’m a creepy stalker), but do you see Crash and Sora heading
down that path? I mean, there is some definite tension there!

Well, there is definitely romance in the air!

I really don’t know how I feel about putting explicit scenes in The Cat’s Eye Chronicles. I personally am not a fan of “Mature YA.” YA is a style of writing--usually simpler for younger audiences. “Mature” denotes content. So what you’re really shipping is “Mature and Simply Written” which translates into “Poorly Written Smut.” If The Cat’s Eye Chronicles takes a turn for romance, then it will be within the bounds of YA Fantasy. So, if sex, not the gushy, juicy, humpy squirty slushy kind. More like the dark-alley-stolen-kiss kind.

As the series continues, there will be a lot of romance... not just between Crash and Sora, but tensions between other characters as well. Every book builds on the last. I see a few love triangles in the future that will probably cross into the bedroom... but not with the explicit detail of my romance series, The Wolves of Black River. Which is very... explicit.

10. What’s been the toughest criticism you’ve received as an author? The best

Reading reviews is like getting random, baseless grades on a test. You take a big exam and then every teacher gives you a different grade. Some readers give you an “A” and say the book was unique, exciting, well written... then another reviewer will give you a “C” because there wasn’t a sex scene. It’s very, very arbitrary.

I think the most infuriating criticism is the vague kind. Here’s a made-up example: “I gave this only 3 stars because, while I really enjoyed the book, I found the main character hard to relate to.” It’s like... why 3 stars if you enjoyed the book? “Hard to relate to” is so vague...

That being said, I love the reviews where people say they felt like they were “living” inside of the book. I think that’s the best compliment you can get as a writer. :)

Now for some quick fun!
1.You wander into the land of faerie and are given three wishes. They are:

1) excellent health
2) happy marriage

2.What scares your pants off?

SPIDERS! And getting murdered. It’s hard to explain..

3.Brunch or Brinner (Breakfast/Dinner)?

I’ve had some epic Brinner’s....

4.If you could be any mythical creature, what would you be?

I’d be a gryphon... I think they’re SO COOL. Part lion, part eagle. Rawr.

5.What sort of coffee would Sora, Crash, and Burn order at Starbucks (or
Dunkin Donuts if you prefer)?

Starbucks for me! Though I went to New York recently and was head-tripped by the number of Dunkin Donuts. At Starbucks, Sora would order a Vanilla Latte, Burn would have a tall White Chocolate Mocha and Crash would have a Caramel Macchiato... with whip cream.

Now for an exclusive excerpt from Viper's Creed: 
In careful detail, she felt one of his hands brush the hair back off her face and tilt her chin upward. She blinked through the tears to find his green eyes staring into her, bright against the night, as though lit from inside. She wanted to hide, to bury her face against something, to pull away—but she could do nothing. 
“I... I'm not strong,” she finally confessed, trying to excuse her tears. “I'm too soft, Crash. Maybe I am too open and trusting. I try to see the best in people. I'm not the right person for this journey-”
"Shush," he whispered, and pulled her to him. His arms went around her, and Sora found herself wrapped in heat. One arm went around her back while the other hand cradled her neck. Her head didn't even reach his shoulder, and she buried her face in his chest. He held her tightly.
“Why do you act so cold?” she said, muffled by his shirt. 
"It's been... necessary... for me to survive," he murmured. 
She understood that. A lifetime of killing couldn’t be easy; she wondered what kind of demons he lived with, if he had regrets, doubts. "I don't know why you're here," she said, struggling to speak past the lump in her throat. "Why you decided to help me. It's a suicide mission. Honestly, I'm terrified, Crash. I try not to think of it, but... by the end of this, I might be dead. It's crazy, isn't it? Am I crazy?" She looked up from her position, crushed against his chest. "I'm willing to die next to you—and I don't even know who you are. What is wrong with me?" 
Crash gazed at her for a long moment, his eyes shadowed. She felt like she was staring up at a dark tower, a vague light at its peak. "I don't deserve it,” he murmured. “I can't lie to you about that. I don't deserve your friendship or your sacrifice.” 
“Why are you here, Crash?” she asked, just like she had asked him once before, back in the gardens of the Temple. 
“To protect you.” 
She was silent. 
“Sometimes...” Crash started, then stopped. “Sometimes the heart doesn't make any sense. We don't know our own intentions. You're trying to help the world, Sora. I don't think it's just your Cat's Eye. But you can't do it alone.” He lowered his head slightly, and she felt his hand travel over her back. “You don't have to be strong all of the time. That's asking a bit much. You can be soft too, if that is who you are. I... I came to protect you."
Rating: 4.5 Star
Genre: YA Fantasy
BlurbSora is having visions. Strange, terrifying visions brought on by her Cat's Eye necklace, an ancient and magical device. Spurred to action, she leaves her mother's cabin to find Crash, the mysterious assassin who once changed her life. She is certain that together, they can discover what the necklace is trying to tell her.

Crash is still on the run from the dark sorcerer, Volcrian, but now a plague is spreading across the land. Volcrian's quest for vengeance has awakened something far more evil than himself; a force that could destroy the entire kingdom. Together, he and Sora must harness the power of the Cat's Eye and kill the sorcerer before it's too late...

This book begins a year after Sora's quest has ended. Sora's been busy learning and growing...but thoughts of her friends on the road are a constant reminder of what she lost - and may never have again.

More importantly, while Sora is learning the art of healing, she comes across a disease ridden with dark magic - one that can only be removed by her Cat's Eye. Further news has been spread that this plague is overtaking the land swiftly, wiping out entire villages. And this is what starts Sora's second journey.

Without going into too many details, Sora finds herself again on the road with Crash, Burn, and a new companion...who I just don't trust yet. Battling magic, bandits, and at times each other, they grow and we are able to really uncover more about each of them.

We are also introduced to a multitude of new mythical factions that I just LOVE! Great histories, unique ideas and magical attributes, definitely a joy to uncover. We're not talking vampires and werewolves people! (Although, I adore those guys too)...

I loved the inner-workings of this novel. Every page is written with purpose and each discovery adds richness, depth, and growth to the characters and their journey. I love the way that Shreffler builds her world. I can still picture the cities that the group stumbles through, the smells, the people, the buildings, just brillant.

Finally, the romance between Crash and Sora is almost tangible. I am really hoping for something big to happen in the final installment of The Cat's Eye Chronicles: Volcrian's Hunt coming out in 2013. 

This is definitely an epic adventure told in three parts. Each one is broken up at a point that makes sense however it's so addicting that not having the complete resolution to the series is KILLING ME! ;) I cannot wait to get my hands on the final book and know where all of this wonderousness is leading - and goodness knows there are going to be some major twists along the way.


Jenna Lynne

And finally - the giveaway:


  1. I haven't heard of this series before, but it sounds awesome!

    1. It's great! You should definitely check it out. :)

  2. Thank you SO MUCH for the awesome review, Jenna! I've shared it on my FB page. Thanks for joining in the blog tour, too! I'll see you for book 3... ;)


    1. Can't wait, T! You rock - and as always a pleasure. :) xo