Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blog Tour | The Awakening by Melissa A. Craven

The Awakening (Emerge #1)

Release Date: April 1st 2015

Summary from Goodreads:

2015 Dante Rossetti Awards Finalist
2015 International Book Awards Finalist
2015 USA Best Book Award Finalist

Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple. 
You’re born. 
You live. 
You die.
She has no cause to believe that equation works differently for her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah.
When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He doesn’t stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.
Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal and rides that high right up to her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special. 
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright. 
…only Allie hates to fight. 

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Excerpt from Chapter Two
Allie’s feet pounded against the hard packed dirt as she ran along the secluded trail, the sound of Saint Saeën’s Aquarium loud in her ears. It was still the middle of the night for most people, but she didn’t sleep much these days. She liked her new home on Kelleys Island, but the whole move to Cleveland, Ohio reeked of unanswered questions. Questions she knew not to ask.
Today was her first day at the prestigious Cliffton Academy, and she wasn’t looking forward to it. She’d changed schools often enough to know what to expect, and she hadn’t suffered from new school nerves in years. She just didn’t know if she had it in her to start over again.
Gavin would want me to try. She’d picked up the phone a dozen times over the weekend, but never finished dialing before she chickened out. She didn’t know what to say to him. In her mind, that door was closed. He was in the past, and as much as she missed him, she knew they both needed to move on. Calling him would only prolong their misery.
As the song changed to Pavane, Allie heard heavy footsteps echoing behind her. She had company. Another runner following at a discrete distance. He was curious and incredibly annoyed with her—if her instincts were right—which they almost always were.
She continued along the path, increasing her pace, but the footsteps grew louder as he left the trail to crash through the woods.
So much for my nice quiet morning.
She felt dizzy. Her head swam and her ears filled with a rush of white noise.
Should’ve had breakfast before I left.
Allie ran faster, hoping to push through the nausea. She looked over her shoulder expecting to catch a glimpse of him, but she crashed into something hard instead. She toppled to the ground in a tangle of tattooed limbs.
“Dammit! Watch where you’re going!” a gruff voice sounded in her ear.
“Your knee is crushing my spine, sweetheart.”
“Crap! Sorry!” She scrambled to her feet and reached to help him up.
His hand was warm and his grip, firm and confident. Allie waited for him to pull away with the flustered reaction she’d come to expect, but it never happened. She was completely thrown by his lack of response to her touch.
She met his steely gaze and her breath hitched in her throat. He towered over her—but almost everyone did. He was angry, but only one thought came to her mind.


Emerge: The Awakening is on sale for $1.99 during the tour!

Emerge: The Edge is on sale for $0.99 during the tour!

What Inspired Me to Write the Emerge Series?

The honest, quick answer to this question is I ran out of things to read.

It was the beginning of summer, I was in college taking a studio art course for six weeks, but it was my only class that semester. I had time to read, but when I reached for my bookshelf, there was nothing waiting for me. For the first time ever my TBR pile was nothing but dust bunnies and half read art history textbooks. For weeks, I searched for something fun to read, (and I was totally geeking for a YA fix) but everything I picked up just didn't do it for me. The female leads were just so ... annoying and the unrealistic romances were just killing me. I was so disappointed with the way young women were represented, and I was very vocal about it. A friend finally told me to stop crabbing and just write something myself. So I did, after a long argument with myself about all the reasons why I couldn't or shouldn't attempt it. I lost that argument and then I couldn't stop thinking about what my story would be--not that I ever thought I'd actually do it. I was in art school--which means I didn't sleep for four years. How was I going to write a book when my days were filled with four-hour classes and all-nighters spent finishing projects?? (Seriously, I used to wish for tests!)  
Later that summer, sitting in yet another studio art course, drawing for eight hours a day, I thought of little else. I was inspired to write a story that could show young readers that a strong female lead does not have to be strong to the detriment of her male counterpart. I wanted to show readers that men and women can be equally strong together, and that real strength does not mean a character must be hard and jaded.
I knew I wanted to do something different and I decided early on that my characters would be young Immortals with cool powers and that their parents would have amazing histories. I also knew that beneath all the supernatural elements, I wanted to create a dynamic of gender equality rarely seen in YA. Over the years, Emerge has gone through many different phases and it's light years away from my original draft, but that core message has been my motivation and inspiration since I wrote the first word on the first page.

Emerge: The Awakening Playlist on Spotify

(and Emerge: The Edge Playlist on Spotify) 

About the Author

Melissa A. Craven (the "A" stands for Ann—in case you were wondering) was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of seventeen. She still thinks of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there.
Today, she is back in Atlanta—for some reason she can't seem to stay away from the ungodly heat that makes her long for things like "lake effect snow" and wind that will knock you flat.
Melissa decided a long time ago that the “life checklist” everyone else was clutching so tightly in their fists, just wasn’t for her. She does everything backwards because she is weird like that, but then, she is an artist and artists are notoriously "unique" and "quirky."
She is an avid student of art and design, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia in 2009. She worked as an interior designer for several years, but she's always thought she might like to be a writer when she grows up.
In her spare time, if she has any, she enjoys shopping for derelict furniture she refinishes to exercise the interior design part of her brain.

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