The Novel Approach is pleased to welcome author Jason N. Smith today to chat about his upcoming novel Awakening: The Blood Rock Prophecy. Jason’s offering not only an exclusive excerpt from the book but is also giving the chance for one reader to win a PRINT copy of this Young Adult Fantasy (**no residency restrictions apply – contest open world wide**). To enter for a chance to win, just click on the Rafflecopter widget below.
Why I chose this excerpt:
I chose this excerpt because it shows the dynamic both of my main characters and several other characters are facing in my debut novel: coming to terms with who you really are as a person. I have learned from experience the difficulty in self-acceptance. I struggled as an adopted, gay youth in the South, but have grown beyond that fear and depression with the help of my friends and family. Today I have a great husband and a wonderful life.
I wanted to use my own personal experiences to help others come to terms with accepting themselves wholeheartedly, while understanding that it is not always easy and rarely ever “quick”. My characters run the gambit of personality types: some are go-getters and others wait for things to happen, at least at first. I added in the Wiccan, specifically the Salem Witch Trials, and Native American aspects, because I have always been interested in those two aspects of our history. I also think they are amazing examples of people fighting back against discrimination, hate and bigotry.
We first have to learn to love and accept ourselves before we can put that same love and acceptance back out into the world. For me personally, I have often found my greatest struggles in life have produced the greatest rewards. Life is not easy, and as soon as I learned this valuable lesson, I have been a happier person. Each of my characters faces, and will be facing, incredible difficulties, but, in the end, will never give up in the face of such discrimination and resistance.
To promote these lessons of self-acceptance, I am signing all of my books with the following message: “Love and always be your truest self.” Each of us is unique and each of us deserves the right to persevere. I hope my readers see this lesson when they read my debut novel and come away with a greater sense of the importance of self-acceptance.
Excerpt – Beginning of Chapter 3: IT WAS ONLY TWO in the morning, the clock mocking me with its neon blue numbers. I lay there wide-awake. Why did I incessantly run away from every opportunity to be honest? That’s just who I was and had always been. I’d struggled so long and hard with life, with being honest with myself, with being . . . Ethan. How could I truly be myself after putting up a front my entire life? Do I continue to lead others to believe in a persona, which only bared the slightest resemblance of the truth or, am I honest and forthcoming despite feeling nauseous at the very thought of doing so?
I always took the route of plausible deniability. I lay there on my bed being quite the successful insomniac, hands behind my head pondering how to proceed, sometimes if to proceed. I saw myself as part of that magic act where people were sawed, not only in half, but also in multiple pieces. Here, everyone, here’s a little bit for you, and you, and you too. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting to feel I had no choice but to deny myself the freedom to be open with others. I was quickly approaching my breaking point and didn’t know what would happen when I finally broke. I was seventeen, athletic, smart (albeit a little lazy on the academic side of things), popular, and good-looking, but it wasn’t enough. Most guys, and girls, my age and in my position, the star athlete and all, would be reveling in life and moving forward with a much clearer vision of their future than I was.
Blurb: Addy and Ethan are the best of friends, who happen to be cousins, and who live in the outskirts of the town of Salem, MA. The beginning of their senior year is rocked by the brutal ritualistic murder of two twins in the woods near their homes and the Achachak River. At a school assembly concerning the horrible murders, Addy suffers a seizure and falls into a coma. Her best friend and cousin struggles to find a way to help her while struggling with his own identity in the face of pressure from those around him and the strange dreams and experiences he keeps having. After a week of being in a coma, Addy wakes and is able to go home only to have a strange vision that leads her to her fathers study. As if by some otherworldly connection, Ethan arrives at her front door and together, they discover an ancient book of magic, or grimoire, in a hidden panel in the study. The tiny room explodes in light: unknown words and symbols painting the wooden walls. Suddenly, there is a knock at the door. A man they know, a detective from the SPD, attacks the two of them. In their struggle, they both uncover they have supernatural abilities and hold off their attacker. In the wake of the initial attack, their principal, McIntyre, arrives just in time to chase the attacker away. Can their principal really help them and why did his partner attack two innocent teenagers? A prophecy, once thought improbable, comes to the surface. An ancient rivalry and damning legacy quickly make their presence known, forcing the two young friends to escape to the White Mountains of New Hampshire with their principal. There they discover a history, family and magic they never dreamed possible. Can their new friends who are part of the Abenaki tribe and Rowan Coven provide them with the answer they long for? Who will survive the disturbing magical reality of being witches and the coming of age of two strong-willed teenagers?
About the Author: Jason Smith is a self-proclaimed nerd and has been writing since he was a child. He believes growing up in a small town in west-central Alabama founded by Napoleonic refugees sparked his love of French and history.
After graduating high school, Jason continued his studies at Auburn University, earning Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing and French before completing his Master’s in Spanish. He now teaches French and Spanish full time in Atlanta, Georgia. Jason lives with his husband and their four furry children, while working on a Master’s in French at New York University’s Paris campus during the summers.
For as long as he can remember, Jason has been writing. However, his interest in writing turned into more of a passion after finishing his post-graduate work in Spanish. Since then, he’s been writing poetry in Spanish and his first book of Spanish poetry, En ser vivo, was published in November 2013. In the near future, Jason plans to translate those poems into both English and French, releasing companion editions. He is also working on several other fiction projects at the moment.
It had long been Jason’s dream to write anovel, which has finally come true with Awakening , the first book in the Blood Rock Prophecy series. He is excited to share these characters and their story with readers. He is very thankful to be working with the amazing team at Mascot Books to make this dream a reality. Look for the next book in the series, Origins, which is slated to be published in late 2016.