A small-town girl from southern Oklahoma—we are talking one red light that may or may not work depending on the day of the week—Siren-exclusive author Gabrielle Evans believes in taking chances and pushing boundaries.
Gabrielle’s best-selling series are driven by her belief that everyone has a happy ending waiting to happen, even if it’s found in a seemingly unconventional way. When she’s not busy writing her next anxiously awaited book, she’s living her own happily ever after, married to her high school sweetheart. For now, she parks her car in central Indiana, but who knows what tomorrow will bring.
HAVEN 8: FOUR-LETTER WORDS
COMING MAY 16th FROM SIREN-BOOKSTRAND!
Zasha Gershwin lives a rigidly controlled life. He doesn’t see anything wrong with being prepared and organized, and he certainly doesn’t have time for such frivolous things as love. He cares for Thane, and he’s certainly attracted to the witch, but that’s just how the mating bond works.
While his mate may not remember their previous life together, Thane Braddock has no trouble recalling every moment, right up to their tragic end. Now, he has a second chance to make everything right. Unfortunately, he’s making all new mistakes this time around.
Evil lurks to the west, spreading its shadow across the desert, and the races hover on the verge of war. When the Braddocks are called to answer the rising threat, Thane and Zasha’s turbulent relationship will be pushed to its breaking point. Can they rekindle the old flame before it’s too late? Or is history destined to repeat itself?
WHAT IS LOVE?
“He cared very much for Thane, but he didn’t know that it was love. Hell, love was such an abstract concept. There was no tangible proof that it existed. He couldn’t see it, touch it, taste it, or hold it in his hand, and he was skeptical about this very human convention.
Zasha wasn’t convinced two people needed to love each other to be happy together. Fate threw them onto the same path because they were the best possible match, and from there, well, they just had to find a way to make it work.
There wasn’t anything he wouldn’t do for Thane, and the thought of losing him pierced his heart like a jagged, rusty dagger. He’d heard humans speak of many types of love—unconditional love, a mother’s love, true love, eternal love, and the ever-popular love at first sight. Sometimes, he envied them and their ability to find joy based purely on faith.
Of course, he’d heard paranormals speak about love as well, but mostly, he felt they were just confused. Their compatibility with their mates, a healthy dose of pheromones, and some animalistic instincts did not necessarily equal love in Zasha’s opinion.”
Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines love as:
(1) strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties <maternal love for a child>
(2) : attraction based on sexual desire : affection and tenderness felt by lovers
(3) : affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests <love for his old schoolmates>
When I began writing Four-Letter Words, I encountered something that had never happened to me before. I suddenly found myself with a character who fully and unashamedly refused the ideals of love. Once I stopped to research the definition, I began to understand why.
Now, of course, we love our family members. The real question is why. A better question might be how. When did we form this type of affection for our mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers? Are we born with love coded into our DNA? I’m pretty sure scientist would have discovered that chromosome by now if that were the case. We live together under the same roof with our immediate family for eighteen years, give or take. Is what we mistake for love really just a sense of comfort, safety, and familiarity? I believe not, but again, what is love?
“That wasn’t even the point he was trying to make, though. “Thane, I don’t believe in all this fairy tale, happily-ever-after, true-love-will-find-a-way stuff.” Sighing under his breath, he reached out and cupped Thane’s cheek. “I’m not trying to hurt you, but if you’re waiting for me to fall in love, I’m sorry. It’s not going to happen.”
Thane didn’t appear offended or even upset. In fact, he was smiling from ear to ear. “Why do you want to go with me to hunt the witches?”
“Caring about your happiness, safety, and general well-being does not equate to love.”
If that was really the extent of it, then doctors would be in love with their patients. It was like darkness. People talked about the dark as though it was a physical thing, when in actuality, it was as abstract as any emotion. There was no way to measure the darkness, only the absence of light. There was no way to measure love, either, yet people tried daily to quantify it.”
We can’t measure love. There is no way to quantify or even qualify it. In the second definition, we see that love is compared to affection brought on my sexual attraction, but isn’t that simply lust? Then there is affection based on admiration. However, it stands to reason that it is not love, but simply…admiration.
So, if we can’t measure love, can’t hold it in our hands, taste it on our tongues, or see it wrapped around us like filmy haze, how do we know that it even exists? The very simple answer is faith, the belief in something without tangible proof. More importantly, we feel it. We know the difference between lust, admiration, infatuation, friendship, understanding, sympathy, and love because of this little thing called the human condition.
Love is the most powerful emotion we can feel, even greater than grief or fear. It is the emotion that propels a mother forward into oncoming traffic, sacrificing herself to protect her child. It is love not grief that drives a man to his knees at the death of his wife.
In the end, no matter how we think we feel about the subject, love will always find a way.
“Love is everywhere,” Zasha whispered. “It’s so intricately woven into the very fabric of time that there is no hope of escaping it. I thought love couldn’t be seen, but I see it every time you smile. They say you can’t taste love, yet it still lingers on my tongue.” He paused, pushing up on his elbows to lick at Thane’s lips. “I thought if I couldn’t touch love, it couldn’t be real.” He pressed his hand to Thane’s cheek and caressed the skin with his thumb. “Yet here I am, holding love in the palm of my hand.”
Love never fails.
INQUIRING MINDS WANT TO KNOW
Q: Thinking back on your first book, is there anything you would have done differently?
I don’t think I would have changed anything. I hope since writing Leap of Faith, my writing abilities and storytelling skills have improved, but as far as the core of the story, I don’t know what I would have done differently.
Q: Has your perspective on the writing process changed since you became published?
Until I was a published author, I don’t think I truly realized how much went into the process. Sure, I knew I had to write the book, and then there would be edits, blurbs, and filling out cover requests. There’s so much more, though. I have a website to maintain. There’s my blog. I try to keep readers updated via Facebook and Twitter. I host contests and guest bloggers. I guest blog with other authors. Last year I attended three conferences, and let me just say that the lead up to those is a job in itself. On an average day, I work approximately fourteen to sixteen hours. Maybe about 20% of that time is spent actually writing.
Q: Do you work best on a deadline, or do you need freedom from time constraints?
I need deadlines, even self-imposed deadlines. Working from home, it’s very easy to become distracted and push things off. Then the next thing I know, it’s been days since I’ve written anything. So, yes, deadlines are a must.
Q: Is there a word or phrase you catch yourself overusing?
Yes, but it varies by book. Sometimes, they’re everyday words like “either.” When I was working on the fifth Gods of Chaos, it was “cowboy.” Then there are other times when the repetition is done purposely because it comes as dialogue and fits with my character’s personality.
Q: How do you know you’ve written a good book?
I have no ego to speak of, but I’m also not the type to think that everything I write sucks. Honestly, though, I don’t have a good answer. “Good” and “bad” are so subjective, so while I’m thinking this is the most awesome thing I’ve ever written, there is a good chance readers will think it’s crap.
So, there you have it. I don’t know if I’ve written a good book until my readers tell me. With that said, I will think I’ve written a good book if I can re-read the story during edits and laugh, cry, and want to strangle my heroes as a reader instead of the creator.
Q: How do you keep your characters and stories organized?
I have about a million character charts. One for each book, and then an all-encompassing chart for every series. There are currently 25 sticky notes on my desktop, a dozen or so post-it notes pasted to the wall over my desk, and six whiteboards hung in various places around the house. It drives my husband crazy. Heehee!
Q: Are you a Swooper (write first, edit later,) a Basher (edit each sentence as you go,) or both?
I’m a Swooper. As horrible as it sounds, 9 times out of 10, I won’t self-edit before submitting my manuscript. Thankfully, my editor is pretty understanding about this, because the truth is, I suck at self-editing, especially when the story is so fresh in my mind. If I put it aside and wait until I receive content edits from my publisher, I can more easily see my mistakes. While I’m writing the story, though, I know what it’s supposed to say, and I have a tendency to read it that way, even if that’s not exactly what went down in the manuscript.
Q: What is the one thing you must have to be able to write?
Quiet and my computer. Now, the last one sounds like a no-brainer, right? My computer is more than just a tool I use to get my words down on “paper,” though. I can brainstorm ideas with another person. Inspiration can hit me at any moment, and I’ll have an idea for a story spin out in my mind within minutes. Nothing—not setting, world building, or characters—ever come fully developed, though.
When I get stuck and I’m not sure how to move the story forward, I can’t take a walk or a shower. I can’t settle down on the sofa and think through my problem. Every time I try, I end up thinking about a dozen other things that have nothing to do with writing. Did I remember to wash my son’s soccer uniform? What am I going to make for dinner? I should probably clean out the bird cage this weekend. Crap, I need to go to the post office. On and on it goes, but it’s never about my story. I have to be sitting in front of my computer with my fingers on the keyboard before the ideas will flow.
Q: Did you have any bad habits when you began writing? How did you correct those habits?
I fully admit that I had an addiction to adverbs when I first began writing. I also had a tendency to overuse endearments. Rhetorical questions were another big, bad habit of mine. It still takes a conscious effort to refrain from using endearments every other paragraph, and it probably always will. The adverbs and rhetorical questions were a little easier to redirect. When I catch myself about to use “quietly,” I stop and decide if there is another way I can describe what’s happening without using that adverb. When I type a rhetorical question in narrative, such as, “Am I really that big of a dick?” I immediately smack myself in the forehead and yell at my character. “Why the hell are you asking the reader? They don’t know!” And then I proceed to change around the wording and sentence structure to convey the same message.
Q: When and where can readers look forward to seeing you this year?
I’ve decided to take the year off from conferences and book signings this year. With ten unfinished series, eight new series planned, and a couple of joint projects in the works, I really just want to focus on my writing for now. I do have a few different things planned for 2014, though. J
Q: Do you prefer to write 1st or 3rd Person POV? Why?
For me, I prefer 3rd person. I don’t need to know what every single character is thinking, but I do like to have at least two sides of the story. As a reader, I enjoy either, but as a writer, I feel more in tune with my characters when I can get into both of their heads. I fully admit there are things I don’t write as well, and 1st person would be one of those things. I need to know my characters, and I don’t feel like I can really understand them without seeing the world through their eyes.
Q: What do you feel are the most important aspects to a good romance?
Trust and physical chemistry. Those are the two driving forces behind any romance. The story starts with a physical attraction that gradually blossoms into something more than, “Wow, you’re hot. Let’s bone.” The romance has no hope of progressing into affection or love without trust, though.
I think one of my characters actually said it best.
“If I can’t trust you with something as simple as keeping your dick in your pants, why in sweet fuck would I give you my heart?” –Detective Chris Sine, Salem Nights 2: Lifeline
Q: Are you always in the driver’s seat? Or do your characters drag you along for the ride?
I never have control. Never. I want my characters to go one way, and they will be bound and determined to go in the opposite direction. I want them to have a sweet, tender moment, and they decide it would be a good time to engage in the battle royal of arguments. I am constantly frustrated with them, but at the same time, at least it never gets boring. Most of the time, I’m just as surprised by what comes out of their mouths as readers are.
Q: What are you currently working on? How is it different from other books you’ve written?
I’m working on a fairly big project that I should have finished this summer, with a release date planned for October. I had hoped to finish it before spring, but well, life happened. It’s darker, grittier, and a little more grab-you-by-the-throat than my other series. It pushes the envelope, but at the end of the day, I think that’s what will make it stand out from the rest.
And just because I’m nice, I’ll give you a little teaser blurb. *wink*
“Born the seventh son of all male siblings, London Montgomery’s very existence could bring about the end of the world. The Devourer is coming. An evil as old as time, hungry for revenge against the warriors who entombed him, the Devourer needs only a piece of London’s soul to bring about the destruction of life as we know it.
When all but one Guardian mysteriously disappear, only London can find the six warriors lost to time and awaken the sleeping heroes. In a world ravished by plague, famine, war, and evil, these heroes will need more than courage to vanquish their enemy.
Victory will require an act of Uncommon Valor.”
Victory will require an act of Uncommon Valor.”