Steena dropped by today and answered a few questions along the book tour for her novel, DEVIL UNKNOWN.
Welcome, Steena! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Steena: Thanks so much for having me here on your blog! I’m a passionate chocoholic (which pretty much says it all - lol).
Jae Lynne: In which genres do you write?
Steena: This is my first thriller, but I have also written women’s fiction and (shhh) I write erotic romance under my pen name Anya Winter.
Jae Lynne: I do like erotic romance and will be sure to look for your titles! What inspires you to write?
Steena: Passion. A passion for life. For circumstance we find ourselves in. Passion for the stories we read.
Jae Lynne: How do you choose names for your characters?
Steena: They kind of just ‘come’ to me. I have a character in mind and play around with names until I find the right one. Nathan’s name (and story) came to me in a dream.
Jae Lynne: What is your favorite type of character to write?
Steena: I love to write a character with issues. Someone who is ‘real’ in their life’s journey.
Jae Lynne: Do you have a personal favorite amongst your own characters?
Steena: In Devil Unknown, I have to admit that Morax - the fallen angel - is my favorite. There’s so much to this character and being able to write his story is exciting.
Jae Lynne: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Steena: If you have a passion to write - then write. Do whatever it is that you are most passionate about. If you’re passionate about it - then it will be noticeable in how you tell your story - and that will catch readers. It’s a road with major u-turns and detours, but if you keep the end prize in sight, you’ll do fine :)
Jae Lynne: Who is/are your favorite author(s)?
Steena: I LOVE Karen Marie Moning. Her Fever series are amazing. Ted Dekker is another all time favorite.
Jae Lynne: How do/does your favorite authors(s) impact your writing?
Steena: I ‘hope’ it makes me stronger. I know that after reading and re-reading their stories my imagination runs wild. I get a creative streak that can only be tempered by writing.
Jae Lynne: If you were stranded on an island with one character from any book of your choice, who would it be?
Steena: Any of my books? Hmmm ... well, Anderson from The Master would be a good choice if I had to be alone with a handsome man ... George from Devil Unknown would be able to do all the cooking (since I burn water) so he might be a good choice too.
Jae Lynne: Hollywood called! They want to turn your novel into a movie or television series. If given the choice, who would you cast as your characters?
Steena: Hmmm, good question. Okay, Rachel would be Saoirse Ronan, Nathan would be Bradley Cooper (sigh), and Morax would be Johnny Deep or Gerald Butler.
Jae Lynne: Now THAT'S a movie I'd rush to see! So...Tell us about your novel!
Steena: Secrets. Every town has them, but you’d never expect your pastor to have a hidden side to him - especially ones that bring demons to town. I also knew I wanted this to be a thriller – something totally different from the erotic romances I write under my pen name. When Morax’ story – Nathan’s father, who also happens to be a fallen angel – winds itself into the story, the added thriller element is crucial.
I don’t know about you, but when I find out someone has a secret – I immediately want to know what it is. Especially when it’s my own characters I’ve created. Nathan’s secret took on a whole new direction when I realized his wife found out what he was hiding. They say she committed suicide, but would a pregnant mother so excited to have her first child really kill herself? Maybe if she found out about Nathan’s secret. Or maybe she was killed by Nathan’s father? You never know, those windy mountain roads can sure be dangerous when demons play on the guard rails.
By Steena Holmes
Genre: Supernatural Suspense
A Bandit Creek Thriller
Available at Amazon and Smashwords
Blurb: “Each generation, evil takes form and steals the soul of the most devout.”
A long forgotten myth holds the key to the evil descending upon Bandit Creek. When the town turns to their beloved former pastor for answers, little do they realize he may be the evil they fear.
Nathan Hanlin is at a crossroads. His soul is in jeopardy, and he doesn’t know it. Yet. He thought leaving the church would be easy, but when demonic crows start talking and demons reveal a secret about his past -- he realizes turning his back on God might have been a mistake. A ripped page from a journal holds the key to discovering why the supernatural are appearing in Bandit Creek but it’s too late. The myth is real and the only person who knows the answer is missing. Can Nathan save the woman he loves...or is he the reason her life is in danger?
Excerpt: He stood motionless in the cold, sparse room. Perfect for his plans.
The rat droppings were fresh. His intended guest would have more company than first thought. The stench of mold, urine and sulfur filled the air. The aroma aroused him.
He rubbed his hands together as he viewed the room. The scorched cement blocks were a nice addition. The fingers of long ago flames licked the walls and left burn patterns snaking towards the ceiling. The little cracks in the floor crisscrossed each other until the kaleidoscope of weeds peeping through the cracks decorated the floor. Ants and other insects scurried away from his boots as he walked around the room.
Chains anchored in the walls promised torturous delight. Exactly what his guest deserved. Saliva pooled and dripped from his lips as he imagined the hell he was about to create for her.
It was all for her.
A gift. For him.
Rotting carcasses littered the path to home.
Nathan Hanlin entered the twilight zone as he drove along the curving mountain road towards home. The remnants of ominous music played in his mind. If he didn’t know better, from the dark swelling clouds filling his rearview mirrors to the dust swirls up ahead, Nathan would think he’d entered his own private hell.
Sentries of large black crows faced him on either side of the highway.
His worst nightmares come true.
For the past week his dreams were filled with the disgusting birds circling over a car wreck. Nathan shuddered at the memory. He’d heard that crows were once used as messengers from the spirits, but if they were trying to tell him something, he wasn’t sure he wanted to hear it.
He rolled his shoulders, trying to ease a kink that had set in more than an hour ago. The highway from the city to Bandit Creek stretched on forever. Ahead was the pass but at the rate he was going, it would be night before he reached it.
Swerving to miss another dead animal, Nathan’s grip tightened on the steering wheel. The crows’ beady eyes followed him as he drove past. It was unreal how they perched there, their black wings tucked tight against their slick bodies.
Only their eyes moved, as if tracking him.
He could have sworn they were looking directly at him. Not his vehicle. Him. As if they knew him.
The archway to the Pass approached in the distance. Nathan pushed his foot until the speedometer inched higher. Thirty feet ahead a barricade of large black crows were positioned beneath the large metal sign with the aged black letters - Crow Mountain Pass. Swirling clouds of dust sheathed the birds’ movements, creating an illusion of a huge black dust storm. Hundreds of eyes stared at him.
You need us.
Nathan jerked his foot off the pedal. What the…?
He must be more tired than he thought. Not a good thing to be on this road. He’d conducted too many funerals from late night driving accidents on this windy road.
His vehicle inched its way along, coming to a full stop right before the crows as their deafening caws filled the air. The side windows and windshield cracked as the multitude of crows flew at him, their screams filling the air. Nathan ducked his head to his steering wheel, hands over his ears. The glass shook from the impact. Nathan was sure his windows would break. He didn’t understand what was happening. His skin rippled from the onslaught of the invisible beaks poking at his skin. Fingers of dread tunneled through his brain. Nathan cried out in anguish, begging God for help.
Raising his head, he jammed his foot on the gas and accelerated until he drove past the swirling cascade. Gasping, Nathan struggled to regulate his breathing, failing with each inhale. Once he made it beneath the archway, he glanced in his rearview mirror. Nothing.
No crows, no swirling dust, nothing. The chaos had vanished.
He hit the brake, his toes cramping from the quick movement. He leaned forward and rested his arms on the steering wheel. Scratch marks ran along the hood.
Nicked, dented and littered with stray feathers, his truck looked like it had been dragged into hell. Nathan reached for the door handle then stopped. His arms collapsed and chafed against the leather edge of the wheel before they fell onto his legs. His body shook as if an earthquake erupted beneath his feet and there was nothing he could do to stop it. Pools of sweat poured down his face as they mingled with his tears.
What just happened?
Jae Lynne: Are there any other projects you’re working on?
Steena: I have a few erotic novellas coming out this month. I am also working on series with Nathan, Morax and Joanne being the central figures. Their story isn’t over and when Nathan finds out just what he really is, his whole words gets turned upside down. I’m so excited about this story and can’t wait to publish the next book!
Jae Lynne: Where can our readers find you?
Steena: Devil Unknown is part of a the Bandit Creek series - I would love it readers would check out these stories. I can also be found at my website - www.steenaholmes.com and on http://twitter.com/#!/Steenaholmes.
Jae Lynne: Thanks for stopping by, Steena! Good luck with the rest of the tour!
Steena: Thanks so much Jae Lynne for having me on your blog :) It was a pleasure!
About the Author:
Two words can describe Steena. Chocolate and passion. Passion for life. For love. For adventure. For chocolate.
Weaving stories with passion for life flows through all of Steena’s stories – whether they be erotic romance under her pen name Anya Winter, in her women’s fiction or in her thrillers.
Join her in discovering the passion for life.
Bandit Creek Books: www.banditcreekbooks.com