I’m happy to welcome Amber Garr, an amazing Urban Fantasy author. Her latest release, “Touching Evil”, introduces us to Leila Marx – and a brand new series ripe with demons, sorcery and the struggle to stay alive.
Amber, The Syrenka Series bore a mythological feel with Mermaids, Selkies and creatures of the sea. I’m sure your marine biology background helped in researching those stories. This time, however, you’ve delved into a darker subject with demons, sorcery and psychic gifts. How did you prepare for the Leila Marx Novels?
No, marine biology didn’t help me on this one! I have always been a huge fan of vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. and have read a ton of stories with mythology of these creatures intertwined and tweaked to the authors taste. I researched my supernaturals, used what I liked and created what I didn’t. I think I will always need the explanations of their powers or characteristics to make sense scientifically. So as the series continue and we learn more about the other characters, I’ll have a chance to get creative. Leila’s gift is evolving, especially after her experiences in Touching Evil, so it may call for some more research or more creative flexibility!
I love the wonderful blend of a thriller with paranormal elements. Was it difficult writing
about the technical side of a murder investigation?
Thank you! I love reading detective/mystery novels (like Jonathon Kellerman, Patricia Cornwell, etc) and am a fan of many of those TV shows. I should probably say that I spent some time in a police station doing my research, but really I used what I’d developed in my head from all of those resources. It was a little difficult…I didn’t want to go full Grim on it, but still wanted to get the supernatural crowd interested.
You’ve written for both YA and the adult market. Which do you prefer and why?
Tough question. I wrote the adult novel first, but enjoyed living in the head of teenagers for a year and a half. I’m looking forward to writing more of Leila’s story and although it’s pretty tame right now (due to her mindset), I’m excited to see where I can go with characters in their late 20’s. So you might need to ask me that again in a year.
The bio on your website says you obsess over the unknown. What kind of answers are you
seeking, and why?
Well, as a scientist, I am always asking ‘why’ and ‘how’ when it comes to the animals and environments I work with. So in that respect, I get paid to obsess over the unknown! But I also want to know why my cat sits and stares at the same corner on the ceiling every night like she’s watching something (or someone). Or why I’ll dream about a person being pregnant and it often turns out to be true. I recently posted a story on my blog about an experience I (well, more my cat) had in a cemetery, and it makes me question a noise, a shadow, or those creepy feelings. My imagination is always working!
Your books play with a bit of “fear factor” in some characters. What scares you?
Flying and heights. And sometimes a lot of ants. I’d like to think that I’d stay calm if I ever met a supernatural being, but I don’t know if I would.
I’ve also heard you have a love for dancing. What style of dancing do you enjoy? Have you
taken lessons or are you a free spirit who lets the tune move you?
I was a classically trained ballerina for a very long time, and at one point thought that’s what I’d be doing professionally. But I enjoy all styles of dance, although I’m really bad at hip hop – something about that ballet training! Now I get to teach and choreograph and I love it. Dancing will always be a part of who I am.
What can we expect from Leila Marx in the second book of the series?
Ooh – I have such plans! Her experience with the demon will have a lasting impact on her abilities. Some of the unresolved matters with her fiancé’s murder will return. Conner will be back, and we’re going to spend more time with the vampires, werewolves, and fae. I can’t wait to get started!
And now for a little fun. If you could morph into any mythological creature, what would it
be and why?
I would want to be immortal. History is so cool, I think it would be the neatest thing ever to experience multiple generations of change. Of course there is still a part of me that wants to live underwater…
Genre: Urban Fantasy
ISBN 10: 1480021598)
Number of pages: 326
Word Count: 81,000
Cover Artist: Amber Garr
Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/1z7SEGu0jwo
Leila Marx is trying to put her life back together after her fiancé is murdered. Her book illustrating career has limited her social contact and nightmares have trapped her in the past. When a police acquaintance enlists her help with a difficult case, Leila is surprisingly thankful to have a purpose. Not only will this help to keep her mind focused, but she will be able to use her talents as a touch clairvoyant that are frequently dismissed by skeptics. Leila and Detective Garrick Pearson delve into the mystery behind a series of missing teenage girls and mummified corpses while fighting their own growing attraction to each other.
Conner Hoffman is an intriguing lawyer and striking half-demon who enters Leila’s life unexpectedly. Although her visions are terrifying, she is fascinated by his charm and his legacy. When it becomes evident that the murders are linked to a paranormal event, Conner introduces Leila to a world unbeknownst to ordinary society. She suddenly finds herself immersed in supernatural politics, sorcery, and danger as she becomes the killer’s next target. Staying alive will mean relying on friends, accepting the unbelievable, and trusting in her heart again.
What does one wear when they commit the first felony of their life? I probably spent two hours going through my closest trying to find something criminal. It had to be black. Yes, definitely black. I finally settled on a turtleneck, spandex workout pants, and the only pair of black sneakers I’d ever owned. They were left over from my waitressing days and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were still in good shape, even if they did smell a little like grease.
I just finished pulling my hair back into a low bun, like spy girls do in the movies, when the doorbell rang. Conner was here and my heart fluttered instantly. Last night had been a lot of fun and I really enjoyed my evening with Garrick, but this was the first time any man had been to my house who wasn’t a part of the police force since Russ was killed. This was also the first time I’d ever had a half demon in the house, at least as far as I knew. After another quick glance in the mirror, I bounced over to the door.
And as soon as I opened it I realized how much of a dork I must have looked like.
There was Conner, in a regular pair of jeans and a college sweatshirt doing all that he could not to laugh at me. I glared up at him.
“What? No one told me what to wear so I had to improvise.” He started laughing but then choked it back down when I tried to close the door on him. His foot shot out and blocked my attempt.
“I’m sorry. You look good. Really.” He smiled fully at me and then bowed his head as he put his hands together in a prayer-like position. “May I have permission to enter my ninja warrior princess?”
I could see his shoulders shake with amusement again and I refused to be embarrassed. With an exaggerated sigh, I walked back into my bedroom, leaving Conner to let himself in. I decided that he should wallow in uncomfortable silence for a while, although when I came back into the living room and saw him flipping through some of my illustrations, I realized he was unfazed.
“These are really good. You’re quite talented.” I stood there, leaning against the wall for a few seconds trying to judge if he was being serious or not. Just as I started to give him the benefit of the doubt, he arched an eyebrow my way and said, “A much better artist than fashionista.”
I threw the sweatshirt I had in my hands at him and stomped over to the kitchen. His laugh consumed the room and I was surprised to find a smile on my face as I opened the refrigerator.
“Should we take snacks?” I asked. We were going to drive to a spot close to the house and wait until it was clear. I’d been told that it might take several hours and I didn’t want the cambion getting hungry while we waited.
“Sure, if you want. Maybe some water would be good.” It was obvious that he enjoyed my lack of stake-out abilities.
I grabbed one of my reusable grocery bags and filled it up with water, crackers, and Twizzlers. All of the essentials. I briefly considered grabbing a bottle of wine to control my anxiety, but decided against it in the end.
“So, are we ready to go?” I asked as I hoisted the bag on my shoulder and grabbed the sweatshirt back. He studied me for a moment and then pulled an object from his back pocket.
“Not until you put this on,” he said as he tossed something small and black at me. It was a ski mask, one of those ones that covered everything except for your eyes. I pulled it over my head and batted my lashes.
“Am I ready now?”
He laughed and took the snack bag off my shoulder. “Yes, Leila. I think you’re ready for a life of crime.”
Amber Garr spends her days conducting scientific experiments and wondering if her next door neighbor is secretly a vampire. Born in Pennsylvania, she lives in Florida with her husband and their furry kids. Her childhood imaginary friend was a witch, Halloween is sacred, and she is certain that she has a supernatural sense of smell. She writes both adult and young adult urban fantasies and when not obsessing over the unknown, she can be found dancing, reading, or enjoying a good movie.\Website