An Interview with Safari Spell, Author of Long Live Dead Reckless - Talor Gardin may be a princess, but her life is no fairy tale. ***Giveaway***

Long Live Dead Reckless
Safari Spell
(Long Live Dead Reckless #1)
Publication date: July 19th 2016
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Romance

Talor Gardin may be a princess, but her life is no fairy tale.

A year ago, her mother died and her father burned down their house. Now with a father in and out of a mental ward, she’s working a minimum wage job to finish her last semester of college. To make matters worse, she gets itchy every time a guy makes a move on her. The itch could be anything, really: a desire to escape her haunted hometown, a financial windfall, the name of some vampire…or all the above. Whatever the reason, she thinks the answers are written in the freckle constellations of her cute new coworker, Sage Talis.

Sage is the quiet, polite type with plenty of secrets – like fangs and a price on his head – and Talor can’t figure out what makes him so irresistible until she hears him sing. But when cryptic letters appear on her wrist, Talor is thrust into a world where fantastic creatures lurk just below the skin, strangers keep calling her a princess, and everything she’s been through is nothing compared to what’s coming.

An Interview with Safari Spell
Author of Long Live Dead Readless

Welcome to JB's Bookworms with Brandy Mulder.

Tell us about your newest book.
In Long Live Dead Reckless, we meet 23-yr-old Talor, a college student who is dealing with some serious family issues. She has a hard time moving forward due to the trauma of the year before, but she tries to carve out as normal a life as she can. When Sage steps on the scene, she finally has something occupying her thoughts besides the death of her mother and the dire state of her father. For the first time in over a year, she feels some part of herself come alive as a result of meeting this quiet guy at work and she really wants to explore that. Little does she know how similar they – minus some major life-altering differences!

Writing isn’t easy. What was the most difficult thing you dealt with when writing your newest book?

Writer’s block, crushing doubt, emotional instability, temper tantrums, you know – the works. I had the full panel! Writing is hard for me because I don’t like that necessary error space we writers need to flesh out a story. Writing is messy and imperfect, but that’s the easiest part! Editing is a massive monster that you have to fight through to get the book into reader hands, and I hate it. When you’re editing, you have to be critical of your imperfect draft, and that can be taxing. I would say that editing is the most difficult part of writing by far, at least for me.

Tell us a little bit about your writing career.

As a teenager, I was really creative. Since I loved to draw and create characters, I made my own comic books! As I got a little bit older, I tried writing my first novel. While it wasn’t any good, that clumsy attempt did give me the chance to discover how much I loved writing. After college, I started working as a journalist for online newspapers and magazines. I liked it, but it wasn’t fulfilling. It was just a job. I’d never considered writing novels again until I had the idea for Long Live Dead Reckless, but since I’d already proven that I didn’t know how to do it (curse you, teen years!), I knew I needed some guidance.

I joined several local writing groups that helped me get that book in shape and spent four years workshopping it before I pursued publishing. I attempted the traditional publishing route but quickly found that to be a dead end. I hated the idea of putting my first book in the drawer, so I started considering indie publishing. I was intimidated at first, but the more I learned about it, the more it made sense in my situation. So I took a chance by raising money through a Kickstarter campaign and published! I really am so grateful to the early readers who believed in me and supported me through my stumbling first steps as an author.

They say Hindsight is 20/20. If you could give advice to the writer you were the first time you sat down to write, what would it be?

Keep writing. You’re going to get better with every word you write. Everybody sucks at the beginning, but no one has to stay that way. Don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing. Don’t follow trends or feel pressured to write something because it’s popular. No good stories come from that, just soulless pages.

What was your most difficult scene to write?
Geez, the end scene wrecked me. I remember sobbing in the middle of the night while writing it! My waterworks woke up my husband and he was very confused until I explained I was writing the end of the book. He was like, “oh…k” and went right back to sleep! Anyone who’s read the ending knows how emotional it is. I kept trying to find a way around that heartbreak for Talor and Sage, but I couldn’t. That’s the story, and that’s where the first book had to end. Trust me, it was as hard to write as it is to read.

Are themes a big part of your stories, or not so much?
I think so. Like many of authors, I draw a lot from my personal experience and reframe it in my novels. Some of the major themes in the LLDR series are loss, mental illness, love, and fear. I suffer from anxiety and depression, and writing a character dealing with those issues was a way for me to unload some of it, if that makes sense. I have a tendency to throw all my fears at my characters to see how they handle it. It’s a way for me to control uncontrollable things.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently slogging through the third and final LLDR novel, Dry Bones. And I do mean slogging. It feels like I’m in quicksand. I thought this would be the easiest book of all three to write because I have years more experience now and I knew how this series would end when I started it. But I’ve struggled much more with this novel than with the first two combined. I’ve been sitting on a messy finished draft for months, but I’ve had zero motivation to roll up my sleeves and start the weeding process – probably because this book is the biggest draft of all three at almost 130k words.

Is there a release date planned?
Originally I had a March release date planned, but I’ve had to push that back several times. Now I’m looking at late June. I still haven’t committed to a specific date because there’s tons of work to do in only a handful of months. It’s really risky trying to get a book out this summer because I’m pregnant and due in July! Being so off schedule with this third book has caused a good bit of stress, but I’m doing my best.

Congratulations on the new baby.

Who is your favorite character from your own stories, and why?

It just has to be Sage. I love his character so much. He treats everyone with respect, he’s gentle, cool-headed, and kind, and that feels kind of rare to find in a male lead. Also, he has freckles. Plus, he’s loosely based on my husband, so I’m pretty biased!

Most writers were readers as children. What was your favorite book in grade school?
Wow, that is an awesome question! I think it’s a tie between Misty of Chincoteague and Chasing After Annie. I remember telling my mom that I wanted to bring Misty of Chincoteague to heaven with me and I meticulously hand-copied Chasing After Annie when the librarian told me I couldn’t keep it (we didn’t have the money to buy books very often). 

What are your plans for future projects?
There are two novels I started a few years back that I’d love to revisit! Firewalk is a YA about familial love and sacrifice between a brother and sister, and Every Tear From Their Eyes is about a mother and her young child hiking the AT when the world ends.

Is there anything you would like to add before we finish?

Sure! I’d like to thank you for having me here on your blog. It’s so much fun to get a chance to talk about books with fellow bibliophiles!

You're welcome, and thank you for joining us today. Good luck with your series, and enjoy your new baby.

About the Author

Safari Spell is a native of Albany, Georgia. She has a BA in Journalism from Valdosta State University. She currently lives in North Georgia with her husband, hilarious daughter, and a backyard jungle harboring all the dinosaurs everyone thinks are extinct. Her dreams include chasing autumn around the globe, owning a wallaby, and riding a camel for at least nine seconds.

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