Psst! Jesi Lea Ryan here. Shannon is off writing her new contemporary romance novel right now, so while she’s not looking, I’m taking over her blog. Hopefully, by the time she notices, I’ll be long gone. (Hee, hee!)
Most people who experience death don’t live to tell about it.
When sixteen year old Arcadia “Cady” Day wakes in a hospital after experiencing what can only be called a psychic episode, she finds her family in tatters. With her twin sister gone, her dad moved out, her mom’s spiraling depression and her sister’s boyfriend, Cane, barely able to look at her, the only bright spot in her life is Bryan Sullivan, the new guy in school. When Bryan’s around, Cady can almost pretend she’s a regular girl, living a regular life; when he’s not, she’s wracked with wild, inexplicable mood swings. As her home life crumbles and her emotional control slips away, Cady begins to suspect that her first psychic episode was just the beginning…
I am so excited to share this book with the world! Cady is such an amazing character. I think what I like best about her is that she has to deal with some seriously heavy family issues in addition to her new gifts. Because of this, both teen and adult readers will be able to find different ways to relate to her on an emotional level.
Where did the idea for Arcadia’s Gift come from? I honestly don’t remember. I knew I wanted to write a young adult paranormal, since I read a lot of young adult literature. Vampires are a tad overdone right now and werewolves just don’t appeal to me. (Hello? Doggy breath is NOT sexy!) I seem to recall the character of Cady forming in my mind first. I wanted her to be as realistic as possible. I truly believe some people have psychic abilities, so it seemed natural to develop them in Cady. Once I figured out what those abilities would be, the story of how she got them unfolded naturally.
Why set the story in Dubuque, Iowa? My first novel, Four Thousand Miles, was set in England. While I have been to England and all of the places in my book, I had to do a ton of research into the setting, the culture and the speech. With Arcadia’s Gift, I chose to set the story in my hometown of Dubuque where I am intimately familiar with the city. Cady goes to the same high school I attended, lives in the neighborhood I used to live in and hangs out in the places my friends and I used to haunt on Saturday nights. What I discovered is that I felt a greater emotional connection to this story because I could draw on my sense of nostalgia.
The other reason I chose Dubuque is because it hasn’t been done before. I can’t think of another young adult novel set there, can you? Bordered by the Mississippi River on one side and the Great Plains on the other, Dubuque is unique to Iowa for its incredible bluffs and hills. It truly has a natural beauty. The landscape plays a strong role in the plot of the novel.
What’s next for Arcadia? Nice try! I’m not giving you any spoilers. I can tell you that Arcadia’s Gift is the first in a planned trilogy. The second book, Arcadia’s Curse, is planned to release in May or June 2013.
I think I hear Shannon coming, so I have to dash! Before I go, I’ll leave you with an excerpt from my novel.
Tell me what you think of it in the comments and leave your email address for a chance to win a copy of Arcadia’s Gift!!
~Jesi Lea Ryan, Future Bestselling Author and International Hijacker of Blogs
It felt like ripping… ripping through me, ripping from me. A deafening roar reverberated all around as I lay flat on my back, drowning the shrieks and screams echoing on the river valley walls. My eyes were wide open, unblinking, but all I could see were abstract forms in shades of black, gray and red. A searing burn cut across both of my thighs as if I’d been struck by a flaming hot iron. My flesh melted and bubbled, absorbing the phantom burning metal and shattering my femur bones like glass. Although I was screaming as loud as I could, the sound was distant, like someone screaming under water.
A hub of activity swirled around me, but I had the distinct feeling of being alone… alone in hell. I groped around on the cool soil at my sides, sparse patches of long grass and loose gravel, trying to remember where I was and what had happened to me. The pain prevented any coherent thoughts.
Voices. Panic all around me. Yet I was alone in my hell.
A flash of heat seared through my head, pounding rhythmically. Rust coated my tongue. The heat began to sink down my torso, leaking out of the stumps left under my hips. I sucked in jagged breaths as I realized that the heat was my blood, pumping through my arteries and spilling onto the cool ground.
No! I don’t want to die! Again, the screams tore out of me. No one answered my cries.
My body grew colder. The pain faded to numbness. They say when you know that you are dying, your life flashes before your eyes. I knew I was dying, but curiously, it was my twin sister Lony’s life that came to me in last minute mourning, not mine. I saw her love for me, even if we fought more than talked these days. I saw her fierce hope that our parents would reconcile their failed marriage and reunite, before nothing remained to salvage. I saw her boyfriend, Cane, and the lost promise of young love. A swell of love and pain filled my chest when I pictured Cane. It made no sense…I didn’t even like him.
The forms in my vision began moving more slowly, becoming even darker. I struggled to reach out to them, but my arms were as heavy as iron weights. I opened my mouth to scream again, but only rust flavored foam escaped my throat and rolled down the corner of my mouth and into my hair. The skin on my face broke into a cold sweat as I steadily bled out.
It was almost over. I wanted my mom.
A shock of pain ripped through my chest as my heart raced, running out of blood.
The faster my heart pumped, the less time I had left. My back reared up, head scraping the ground. My lungs heaved, panting. The forms in my vision swirled so dark they blended with the night. I reached out desperately with my hands, fingers not even finding a hand to hold. Breath rattled in my chest as it left my body for the final time and the whole world faded to black.
Arcadia’s Gift is available for purchase at the following retailers: