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Review and Interview w/ author Christina Harner!

Here is a review of the book Behind Every Illusion by Christina Harner. Christina was kind enough to do an interview with me so read on to see what she had to say!

Here is a summary of the book:

"Even timid eighteen-year-old Tatiana Lewis wholeheartedly accepts this logic. So when she begins to experience unusual changes, she has no clue where to turn and instead keeps her new abilities a secret. But her best friend and brother, Isaac, sees past her illusions and together they explore the significance of her differences and search out the meaning behind them.

Amidst tragedy, unimaginable transformations and an unexpected friendship, Tatiana has to learn to reveal the girl hidden behind her illusions and what it means to face the world in order to preserve not only the forest but her very existence."
 I received a copy of this book back in September from Christina Harner and Librarything. I didn't want to sit down and read it until I knew I would have time to interview Christina and post a review about it. I must say I thouroughly enjoyed this book. While the beginning was smooth, it was a bit slow for my taste but the end
really made up for it so i'm glad I read all the way through. The copy I received is a pre-published one so it is a little longer than the final product will be once it gets published, so maybe that will speed the beginning up a bit. The characters in the book are very realistic and relatable which is always something I look for in books.
Even though it is based in fantasy, the characters are written so well it feels as if they could just come to life right before my eyes. I loved how the book includes the Earth and protecting it. Harner did a great job of twisting the story of myth and the "save our earth" message together in one. As you read the novel you get sucked in and you just have to continue until your finished! Harner's debut novel is a must read and is a series that I will be following from now on.

This book has not been been published by a major publishing company yet but is still available for purchase if you go here ---> Behind Every Illusion.

A little bit about the author:

Christina Harner spent years studying the complexities of culture for her B.A. A lover of all things fantasy and creating imaginary beings and stories in her head, she is thrilled to finally blend her passions for anthropology, nature and the unknown realm of fairies together in her debut book. She wrote Behind Every Illusion while living in Louisville, Kentucky, with her husband and two children.
...and this is what Christina had to say!
1. Did you always want to be a writer?
When I was a kid, I only managed to write very bad poetry and one “choose your own adventure” book on a notebook involving Squanto and the Indians. It was very scary. So, no…I had no idea that writing would become my very favorite thing in all the world! I discovered my senior year of college, that not only did I like writing essays (at least, I could get A’s pretty easily), but I LOVED writing humorous papers. But if you’d asked me if I’d ever be a writer, like of a book (gasp!), I’d have laughed at you! And now, I wish more than anything else to someday have the title “bestselling author” in front of my name. I mean, it sends shivers down my back.

 1b. If not, what made you decide to want to be a writer?

Every since my preteen years, I’ve spent hours each day imagining stories in my head. Sometimes I had mind reading powers, sometimes I could fly, and sometimes I met someone with amazing abilities. Often I’d be inspired by a movie and then write “fan books” inside my head. But mainly, I created my own stories and worlds in my head at night as I fell asleep. And sometimes, especially when I had no friends after we moved to a new part of the country when I was twelve, I would pretend to be different creatures even during the day (yeah, like at school and the store and even while hiking with friends in the woods). But no one knew about this. In 2007—a few years after graduating from college with a Cultural studies degree, I gave my husband, Matt, a new laptop for Christmas. As I sat in bed that night (2 years ago to this very hour, in fact), staring at my old clunky laptop, I wondered, “Hmm, what could I do with a computer that only has Microsoft Word on it?” Hmm, indeed. So, I started typing. “This story is not a fairy tale...” and then I proceeded to write a fairy tale. Lol. But the truth is, I loved it. I mean, I really really loved it. I wrote my favorite scenes first (not advised!), and then other scenes that popped into my mind, and then I filled it in with tons of character developing plots. And I found that all those stories I’d perfected in my head over the past 10 years or so were all right there, waiting in line to be written on paper. And the romantic climax scene on the rooftop? Well, I’d been replaying that scene for years every night as I went to bed. In fact, I uncovered sketches of that scene all over my notebooks after I’d finished the book! And so, once I finished my first draft (6 months after Christmas), I started the “real” work: editing. And that took a year. But now, it’s finished and I’ve learned so much that I find I can write a lot faster now. And so, over the past few years, I’ve written 2 complete books and one half-finished book and I have LOVED every minute of writing. I told my agent I hope to have 2 books out a year once I get my debut novel out in the open. I now consider myself a writer and hope to never stop. Ever!

2. What gave you the idea to write about faeries?

Why not? Fairies are beautiful, subtly sexy, exciting, free-spirited creatures! I like that my fairies love nature and will teach others to love it. I love that my fairies can hide their true identity; I mean, what’s more exciting than that? And wings on a cute blond guitarist? Wow. Nothing better than that.

3. What's your favorite character from the book?

Oh, Isaac BY FAR. In fact, I based him (mostly—aside from what we learn in his diary!) on my brother, Daniel, who is one of my best friends and, although four years younger than I, is like a big brother to me. I love Isaac and it was hard to make the decisions I did about him.

4. What is your favorite book now, and growing up?

Ha! Favorite book? I read about 1 new YA novel a week and my favorites change all the time. But I’ll say that my “classic” favorite book is probably the Goblet of Fire. Brilliant characters, hilarious scenes and breathtaking writing. Before HP? Well, when I was growing up, Jane Eyre was my obsession. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s Twilight for the Victorian age teens. Seriously.

5. What are some authors that you enjoy reading?

Holly Black for serious fairy attitude (especially Ironside). Scott Westerfeld for making teens think deeper (take, Uglies, for example). Neil Gaiman for bizarre worlds (named my son, Tristan, after his Stardust character).

6. What can we look forward to in the sequel?

Hmm. First of all, I look forward to publication! My first one was self-published, but my agent would like to sell the series to a publishing house (yay!). Second, if you like Isaac, you’ll love book 2. It goes back in time a bit and gives his amazing story. I’m extremely excited about it; and although it may take a little while to come out (since I am getting another book published first), its halfway written. I hope to have two more after that in the series and I’m REALLY excited about book 4! It’s going to be AMAZING! In book 2, we’ll learn that not all these fairy creatures are the same; we’ll learn some of the history of nature and nymphs; and we’ll have another—even more—excited romance that can’t be missed!

7. Other than this series, do you have anything else in the works?

Yes! I just finished a book currently (but not officially) titled A Mermaid’s Tale of Dodging Destiny. Between finishing Behind Every Illusion and writing part of book 2, I procured my very own YA agent in New York City, who wants my “mermaid manuscript” to be my debut novel. The book is finished, aside from a few tiny edits (and yes, I am working on it despite the fact that its Christmas day!). I am very excited about it, and we will be working to sell it to publishers come first week of January 2010. So, be looking for a fun first-person YA (young adult) novel about a young girl who finds out she’s a mermaid (who can transform back into a human at will) who meets a dark handsome mermaid after she is already engaged to her best (human) friend. That’d be my book!
For fun:

8. What is your favorite type of snack food?

I don’t have a favorite snack food, but I’ll say that this week its jalapeno popcorn because that’s what I ate when I saw Avatar on the IMAX screen last week and so it will forever be the “snack I ate while watching my new very favoritest movie ever!” (I mean, they’re blue and beyond beautiful and they are connected to the earth. Can you ever go wrong with that?) Hehe.
Thanks to Christina for taking the time to share with us!
Sherry <3


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