Spring has sprung! Which means it’s time for kidnapping and shifters and horror!
…Okay, no it doesn’t, but Lisa and the crew here at The Novel Approach Reviews have once again allowed Genre Talk to run amok, so that’s what you get. Today we have DSP Publications author Lex Chase here to tell us about her new release, Chasing Sunrise, so before we get into all the whys and wherefores, let’s have a look at what it’s about:
The once glorious aisa kingdom of Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Sevon endures unrelenting abuse and is used as a scapegoat by Lord Dominic Ravensgrove, who rules Darkmore from the shadows. Coping by dressing in gowns and jewels, the effeminate king relishes the scraps of freedom he is given to be himself.
As a verkolai, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift provides a chance for escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. When Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous shifter land of Priagust, he manipulates Sevon’s desperation for his people’s survival. Out of options, Sevon has no choice but to cooperate.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men abduct a shifter named Jack. Despite being tortured for information, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s history unsettles Sevon, and a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame the beautiful king’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom.
As war looms, Sevon fears Jack’s kindness is another trap. Conflicted, Sevon wonders if he should risk chasing the sunrise or remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
Carole: Sounds like there are lots of intriguing twists and turns to this one. So why don’t you start by telling us about the genre(s).
Lex: Chasing Sunrise and the Darkmore Saga takes High Fantasy, Horror, and Paranormal—three genres that are very complimentary of one another—and puts them in a blender and presses frappe. It takes the various mythos of all things we know of paranormal and reinterprets them in a different context. In one corner we have the aisa, a cannibalistic race. In the other we have the windigo, a race of shifters living in an entirely alternate world outside of time.
It’s a story about the struggle to survive, from escaping domestic violence to surviving impending genocide. It’s the story of how far would you go if you were pushed, if you would fight back, or if you would crumble. It asks what is the cost of freedom, and how love makes monsters of us all.
Honestly, I love books like that. I love complicated stories that ask big questions and demand much from the reader. I need books that challenge me, make me uncomfortable, and make me think. Sure, the fluff has its place, and I enjoy it (I even write it!) but give me something with meaning.
Also toss in a bunch of explosions and I’ll be good to go. Who doesn’t love explosions? Am I right?
Carole: Well, depends on where you’re standing, I bet. 😉 Okay now we know to expect the unexpected in general, so tell us about Chasing Sunrise in particular.
Lex: Chasing Sunrise may be a high fantasy tale, but it’s a very human tale and how people can be very complicated individuals.
Our hero, aisa King Sevon Maraté isn’t the standard rough and rugged alpha male. He’s delicate, highly effeminate, and a full-time cross dresser in gowns, corsets, jewelry, and makeup. He identifies completely as male, he just prefers women’s clothes. Which in his mind are just clothes.
When we meet him, he’s in the middle of enduring a horrifically abusive relationship with the villain Dominic Ravensgrove. Sevon is trapped in that place of knowing something has to change somewhere or he’s going to die.
I draw on my own experiences as a domestic violence survivor for some of Sevon’s traits. How readers can see right in front of them things happening around Sevon that he himself doesn’t see. Readers, like those that care for him, can only sit and wait for him to “wake up” and realize it’s time to act.
Sevon may be a delicate little bird, but he will find it within him to be the tiger that protects his own.
My goal for the book was twofold. First, show domestic violence survivors someone gets it and those still enduring it I see you and you can get out. Second, for those that have never experienced domestic violence to show what it’s like. To finally answer all the questions like “Why did they stay?” or “Why don’t they say anything?”
Carole: Those are some heavy and noble goals, and not something just any author—or publisher—could tackle. Chasing Sunrise is being published through DSP Publications, Dreamspinner Press’s imprint for genre novels that don’t necessarily focus on or even contain romance. Tell us about the relationship in Chasing Sunrise and why it doesn’t fit the accepted definition of Romance in the M/M genre.
Lex: Chasing Sunrise as well as the rest of the Darkmore Saga has quite a bit of romance in it. It’s just a very realistic one where Jack waltzes into Sevon’s life, it’s a little “lust at first sight” and then that great oh fuck moment when they discover each other’s baggage. It’s like any relationship, there’s great times, good times, bad times, and the times where you can’t stand to look at each other.
The Harlequin types of love stories don’t do it for me. That whole running through a field of daises shouting odes of love thing just… what? I want relationships that aren’t perfect, with deep flaws, with such issues that it’s going to take time and effort that they may or may not be strong enough to get past.
The series is also dark, graphically violent, and has been described as very intense. Not a very hearts and flowers story. There are some hard hitting topics, and it doesn’t pull punches. And I don’t think it should. The story wouldn’t be what it is without it. And I think it’s worth opening a dialogue about.
Carole: And we’re sure many would (and do) agree. And now that we’ve made everyone sob a little into their coffee, let’s lighten up a bit. What do you do for fun?
Lex: I’m a huge TV and movie junkie. I actually have to make a monthly budget for IMAX 3D movie tickets because I go see a movie every week. And those things aren’t cheap! I write reviews for them on my blog. My surprisingly favorite movie so far of 2016 has been Disney’s Zootopia. Now I loved Deadpool, who didn’t? But Zootopia was amazingly clever. I also rather enjoyed the Revenant, but damn that’s a hard movie to watch.
Carole: No kidding! And the bear attack was the least of it. Speaking of furry things, do you have a pet who supervises your writing? (And hopefully doesn’t maul you while doing it?)
Lex: I have two fuzzy meowing children named Rembrandt and Pootie.
Rembrandt or Remmi for short is a tubby tuxedo girl and while roly-poly and adorable has the capacity to be the biggest brat. She’s also creepy levels of smart, a puzzle solver, and knows how to be manipulative. She gets shut out of my room a lot, and then I am the World’s Worst Mommy because OMG MAWMEE YOU ABANDONED MEEEEE. You’d think her little legs are broken under a steamroller with how loud she can get.
Pootie is our little ol’ lady cat. She’s a calico and mostly shy, but Mom is apparently her person. Pootie just looks at me with this disinterested expression that says “Oh. It’s you. The one that opens my food can.” All it takes is for Mom to be on vacation for more than a few days and she realizes she has to be social to get affection. Once Mom gets home, I’m off Pootie’s buddy list again. Cats are assholes.
Carole: But furry adorable assholes. 😉 So what projects are they “helping” you work on now and what is coming next from you?
Lex: Urban Fairy Tale, the final Screw-Up Princess and Skillful Huntsman book will be out late summer. I can’t wait to see what readers think. I’m not going to lie, I read the very last line and sobbed hysterically. I hope it touches people and bears the same significance as it did for me.
And for DSP Publications, you can expect the next book in the Darkmore Saga, Glass Moon to be in your face in October. Just in time for GRL! I want to say so many things about it but must stay mum.
Carole: Augh, fine, be a tease. :p
Thanks to Lex for coming by today, and thanks to you, Awesome Readers, for taking the time to visit with us. Chasing Sunrise is out today, so stay tuned for buy links!
Author Bio: Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
Lex is also running a giveaway on her own blog here:
She’s giving away a super awesome $25 USD Amazon Gift Card! What do you have to do? Leave a comment down below and click the giveaway graphic to follow Lex on Twitter and Facebook or Share, Tweet, or Hashtag! So many ways to enter!