Saturday, January 21, 2012

Author Interview: David Estes + Giveaway

David Estes author of Angel Evolution, which I absolutely loved and have reviewed here. Angel Evolution is the first novel of The Evolution Trilogy. He has been kind enough to provide me with an interview and is giving away an Angel Evolution ebook to 5 lucky winners. 

I was born in El Paso, Texas but moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania when I was very young. I grew up in Pittsburgh and then went to Penn State for college. Eventually I moved to Sydney, Australia where I met my wife. A reader all my life, I began writing novels for the children's and YA markets in 2010. I'm a writer with OCD, a love of dancing and singing (but only when no one is looking or listening), a mad-skilled ping-pong player, and prefer writing at the swimming pool to writing at a table. 

The Interview:

David, can you tell us a little about yourself?
Thank you so much for taking the time to review my book and interview me. I was born in El Paso, Texas, but my family moved to Pittsburgh when I was very young. I grew up in the Steel town and am a fierce Penguins and Steelers fan. A loss by one of them is like a dagger through my heart (although being halfway around the world slightly eases the pain nowadays ;). I went to college at Penn State and studied accounting and then got a job at one of the big accounting firms. Accounting never really excited me but it was a “safe” job. In the back of my mind, I always had this crazy notion that someday I would write books for a living, but I always found some excuse not to write. I moved to Sydney two and a half years ago for work and met my wife, who helped convince me to start writing. Now she can’t get me to stop!

I love, love, love reading and I will never stop no matter how busy I am. I sneak it in whenever I can. My wife calls me ‘Brick’, after the child character from the TV show The Middle. In the show, Brick is constantly reading no matter where he is. That’s me. We’ll be watching TV and then a commercial will come on and Adele will run back into the kitchen to get a drink, and when she comes back, I will have my book out, trying to sneak in a page before the show comes back on! So while I don’t have nearly as much time as I used to because I work full time in addition to my writing, I still manage to read enough to satisfy my addiction.

What book are you reading now?
Divergent by Veronica Roth. Depending on the project I am currently working on, I try to read books in the same genre that will help inspire me. As my current project is a YA dystopian trilogy, I thought Divergent would be the perfect accompaniment, especially because it’s been compared to one of my favorite books of all time, The Hunger Games, which I hope my new trilogy will be compared to one day!!

What inspired you to write your first book?
I was inspired to write Angel Evolution by my wife, Adele. Before I met her, I never believed I would have an idea good enough to write about. She convinced me to pursue my first idea and just go with it and see where it would take me. The Evolution Trilogy was born! When I first started writing Angel Evolution, I had no clue that it might turn into a one thousand page trilogy. The more I wrote, the more the story took on a life of its own and some of the characters changed in ways I never expected.
I’ve officially caught the writing bug and have written eight books in fifteen months!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Very good question. Because I’ve managed to work on so many projects in such a short time, it wasn’t long after I began writing that I considered myself a writer. Although I’ve heard various points of view on the matter, I believe that you’re a writer if you want to be a writer and are actively writing. I read somewhere that you’re not really a writer until you’ve written one million words. By that measure I’m just half a writer at the moment, so hopefully in a year or two I will meet the criteria!

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I first started writing in September 2010, in between jobs. I caught the writing bug almost immediately and finished Angel Evolution in 6 weeks. I’ve since written 8 books in 14 months and am 95% through my 9th. Thus far, I have only published the Evolution Trilogy, but I hope to publish the others soon!

Do you work with an outline, or just write?
As Angel Evolution was my first book, I actually didn’t have much of a plan. I had an initial idea and just started writing. I wrote from start to finish, basically building the plot as I went, and thinking of new characters along the way. Because of my poor planning, I essentially went back and rewrote large portions later (including the first 60 pages). Since then, I have written nearly 8 other books, so my planning has greatly improved, and going into Demon Evolution and Archangel Evolution, I had each and every chapter mapped out, characters well-developed, and key scenes outlined. My writing process improves with each book I write.

Do you ever experience writer’s block if yes, how do you cope with it?To be honest, I find the writing part quite easy. I have a nutty imagination that works overtime, so I don’t really get writer’s block or anything like that. My wife always says how she’s amazed how I can just sit down and start writing. I read the last paragraph or page that I wrote, and just get going. I don’t worry too much about getting every word perfect, that’s what rewriting and editing is for; rather I focus on moving the plot along, feeling the emotions of the characters, and enjoying the ride. Occasionally, I will just have a little trouble getting started at the beginning of a writing session, but it’s usually because I’m not in the right state of mind. To fix it all I need to do it listen to a song I like or read a book I’m enjoying. That’s it!

Do you have any writing rituals?
Sort of, but not really by design. Because I still have a day job, I do much of my writing to and from work on the ferry. I almost always sit in the same seat and play my favorite playlist on my iPhone. Same goes during my lunch break, where I have a coffee with two sugars while I work. Other than that, you might find me writing in a lot of different places: on my bed, on the couch, at our kitchen table, at the pool…

What time of day do you write?
During the week I write in the morning on the ferry to work, at lunchtime, and early evening on the ferry ride home. On the weekend it varies. I usually have a great plan to write 4,000 words by lunchtime, but most of the time I start a bit later, when my wife goes to do her laps at the pool in the afternoon. I rarely burn the midnight oil, although I’ve tried it a few times. Every time I do I can’t sleep because my characters are running amok in my head. Ideas will keep popping into my mind and I’ll have to quickly type them into my iPhone before attempting to sleep again.

Who is your favorite character in Angel Evolution and why?
Great question. In Angel Evolution I liked writing from Gabriel’s perspective. In the first book he’s such a conflicted character, who really can’t decide what’s right and what’s wrong. I thought it was fun to start him as a pretty evil character and slowly morph him into something better (although I won’t give away whether he ever makes it to the good side!)
In Demon Evolution I preferred writing Taylor’s character because I think her personality picks up quite a bit. She is a sarcastic person by nature and she has quite a few zany thoughts that show her good sense of humor a bit.
Lastly, my favorite character of the whole trilogy doesn’t really come out until the third book, Archangel Evolution, although he is involved in all three books. Gabriel’s brother, David (named after me, but hopefully not like me at all!), is probably the most interesting (but very scary) character. I’ve had one of my beta readers suggest I do a spin off series that is all from David’s point of view. I really hope that readers decide to read all the way through to the end of the series if only to get a chance to appreciate David.

What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
In Angel Evolution it would be the final battle scene. I’ve always loved action and suspense in books and I wanted to be sure that mine had plenty of it in addition to the dialogue and romance. I think the suspense builds throughout the entire trilogy, which will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
However, in the entire trilogy, my favorite parts to write were the ones from David’s (Gabriel’s younger brother) point of view. Anyone who has only read the first book will wonder what is so intriguing about David, as he has a very minor role in Angel Evolution. Trust me, his role gets much bigger, becoming quite important in Demon Evolution, and crazy-surprising-vital to Archangel Evolution.

If your book were made into a movie, who do you picture playing each characters part?
First of all, I wish! Although unlikely to ever happen, my wife, Adele, and I have talked about this several times just for fun. I’ve also had quite a few people say that my books would make good movies. Honestly, I think I would go with actors/actresses who are relatively unknown, similar to the way Twilight was cast. I wouldn’t want a hugely popular actor or actress to come in and reshape the characters based on their own image. I would prefer it if my characters shaped the actors, if that makes sense. So I know I didn’t answer your question, but I think the actors/actresses would be unknowns who would hopefully become known after starring in my movies!!

What type of environment do you write in? Do you use a pen and paper or laptop? Quiet room, TV, or music playing, what type of music? Whatever it takes for you to be productive.
I bring my laptop with me everywhere and am on it so much that I think I’m getting some serious carpel tunnel! When I’m writing to and from work it’s noisy so I just pop my headphones in to block it all out. At lunch I sit in an area at my favorite cafĂ© where it is usually empty and quiet. I tend to have a slightly easier time writing when it’s completely silent, although at the end of a three hour writing session I am usually completely blocking out everything around me. Definitely no TV, it’s just too distracting! In terms of the type of music I listen to when I’m writing, it’s pretty varied. My writing playlist has anything from Gaga to Rascal Flatts to Metallica.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
While I don’t particularly enjoy promoting my books, I really enjoy connecting with my readers. I do it via my blog, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Book Blogs. See below for links to where you can find me at all of those places. If you send me a message, I will respond. (I take this promise more seriously than any other!)

Like me on Facebook:
Follow my Blog:
Follow me on Twitter:!/davidestesbooks
Follow me on Goodreads:
Friend me on Book Blogs:
Oh yeah, and my books are available on in print and anywhere e-books are sold (Kindle, iBooks, Nookbooks,, etc.)!
Happy reading!

Fun Questions:
Chocolate or vanilla? Chocoholic!
Light or dark chocolate? Dark—the more bitter the better!
Favorite color? Eh, I don’t get too excited about colors, but I guess I tend to be drawn to blue.
Dogs or cats? Allergic to cats so gotta be dogs, but I think cats are pretty funny too!
Tea or coffee? Tea at home, coffee out—not sure why

Giveaway: See details below
  • 5 winners will receive an ebook of Angel Evolution by David Estes.
  • Your information will be sent to the author if you win. 
  • Open internationally
  • Giveaway ends 02/05/2012. 
  • You must leave an email address in a comment so you can be contacted if you are chosen a winner.
This is a great book so make sure you enter and spread the word!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Angel Evolution by David Estes

Book Review: Angel Evolution by David Estes
   (Evolution Trilogy #1)

Angel Evolution by David Estes
Published: Oct. 10, 2011
Young Adult Fantasy

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Angel Evolution- the first book in the young adult fantasy trilogy: The Evolution Trilogy... When Taylor meets Gabriel at college, she is in awe of the subtle glow that surrounds him. No one else, not even her best friend, seems to notice. Something about him scares her. Is all as it appears? While Taylor struggles for answers, she finds herself in the middle of a century old war centered on one miraculous revelation: evolution.

My Thoughts:

The cover is gorgeous and had me interested. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but I am a sucker for great covers. 

I was not sure what I would think of this book in all honesty. I had not yet found a book in which Angels vs. Demons could keep my full attention. Angel Evolution by David Estes has changed my previous statement. This book kept me on the edge of my seat. 

I will not give anything away in this review because that will take the fun and the ride out of the book.

Angel Evolution does not have a religions views which is very refreshing when reading about Angels vs. Demons. What your mind tells you should be good and bad, just forget it because David Estes has found a way to make you think, "What...... Really...... But how can that be?" How he could have the imagination to come up with that?

The plot kept me interested throughout the entire book.

 I feel as if I am still getting to know the characters, but I believe that is what David Estes planned on. You never know what to expect, what's coming next and who to love and hate. It is quite amazing in my opinion. I do not like reading a book and have it figured out in the middle of the story, there is no way I could have figured this one out. 

My favorite laugh out loud moment: 
             While he read out the digits, she typed his number into her iPhone under "Gabriel Glow-worm". 
If you have not read Angel Evolution I would highly suggest reading it..

I will gladly give 5/5 rating. 

I received a complimentary copy from the author for review but that does not alter my reviews in any way. . 

You can buy Angel Evolution at the following sites: 


Friday, January 6, 2012

Hushed by Kelley York

              Kelley York

From Goodreads:
He’s saved her. He’s loved her. He’s killed for her. 

Eighteen-year-old Archer couldn’t protect his best friend, Vivian, from what happened when they were kids, so he’s never stopped trying to protect her from everything else. It doesn’t matter that Vivian only uses him when hopping from one toxic relationship to another—Archer is always there, waiting to be noticed. 

Then along comes Evan, the only person who’s ever cared about Archer without a single string attached. The harder he falls for Evan, the more Archer sees Vivian for the manipulative hot-mess she really is. 

But Viv has her hooks in deep, and when she finds out about the murders Archer’s committed and his relationship with Evan, she threatens to turn him in if she doesn't get what she wants… And what she wants is Evan’s death, and for Archer to forfeit his last chance at redemption.

Rating 5/5

My Thoughts:

I have to admit that Hushed had me stealing every moment possible for just a few more pages. This type of book isn't  normally what I would read, but it sucked me into the story. Hushed has a dark tone and full of twists and turns that I certainly did not expect. If you want to read a book that is predictable Hushed is NOT the book for you. 

Hushed is not a traditional book with traditional characters. This is the first novel I have read with a homosexual main character. Archer is deeply in love with Vivian but as the story unfolds he develops feelings for Evan and it was a surprise to myself when I was rooting for Archer and Evan. A very emotional ride with characters that are broken and some of them finding themselves.

Hushed is dark and and deals with rape, domestic violence, murder, and homosexuality but Kelley York pulls it off perfectly to make Hushed a must read.

Hushed, by Kelley York
Published by Entangled Publishing, December 2011