Interview & Giveaways (US/Int): Laura Kaye talks happy endings and hard choices in East of Ecstasy, the final story in her Hearts of the Anemoi paranormal romance series
GT: Hi Laura! Welcome back to GraveTells! I think this might be the first time you’ve visited us without a character or two in tow.
LK: Hello! And thanks for having me here! I totally think you’re right *looks around nervously for characters*
GT: What a crazy rush these past few years have been! North of Need, the beginning of the Hearts of the Anemoi series, is what really put ‘Laura Kaye’ on the map for me; our team loved it so much it was chosen as our 2011 Book of the Year! Since then, I know a lot has happened for you personally and professionally. Tell us a little about your journey from Owen til now and how your experiences have influenced the path of the Hearts of the Anemoi series.
LK: Wow. You’re so right, the past few years have been a total and amazing whirlwind. I went from writing one series to writing four (each in a different romantic subgenre!), and the Hearts of the Anemoi is the first one I’ve ever finished entirely. From the beginning, I knew a lot about what would happen throughout the entire series. I always knew certain characters would die, for example, and that other characters had particular wounds that would shape their story. I always knew East of Ecstasy (the last book that just released) would be about Devlin, which made it totally fun for me when, after the third book released, readers were debating whether East would be about Devlin or his father, Eurus. So a lot in this series was pretty well set before my writing career really took off. I just really wanted to give the series–and the readers who have been so loyal to it–a good send-off with this last book.
GT: You’ve had to make some pretty tough decisions with where to take the overarching storyline in this series, particularly in book #3, South of Surrender. How difficult is it for you to make those hard choices and are you ever tempted to try for a ‘happy ever after’ for everyone?
LK: (I’m going to try to keep this answer spoiler-free for anyone who hasn’t yet read the earlier books!) This series has had some very difficult scenes to write. I mean, scenes that made me sob until my shirt sleeves were soaked kinda difficult. But I always knew those moments were coming. I knew the character that died in South of Surrender would do so from the beginning. Did I want him to have a happy ending? 100% yes. Would the warfare plot that runs through this series have been realistic if there were no casualties or sacrifices? I don’t think so, especially given the yin-yang balance idea that runs through Greek mythology. You don’t get things without giving something in return. Frankly, South of Surrender would’ve been significantly less emotionally impactful without that character’s death, and without what his death means for another major character in the series.
GT: East of Ecstasy departs from the pattern set by the previous the books, in that Devlin is a brand new Cardinal Anemoi and his motivations and loyalties have at times been unclear. What challenges did you face while writing him and pointing the reader in the right direction to support the emotional arc of the story?
LK: Actually, I’ve always thought of East and Devlin’s character in particular as following in the footsteps of Owen Winters’s character, who starred in the first book without being the actual Cardinal Anemoi of his season. One of the biggest challenges in writing Devlin was that, since his father had isolated him from the rest of his Anemoi family, he didn’t have a lot of first-hand knowledge of events that had happened. So the entire book couldn’t be in his point of view, which is why we get scenes from Owen’s perspective. Although, as a fun matter of trivia, one of the gods of the North had a point of view in each book in the series (this wasn’t a coincidence… *grins*). Plus, for the first time in East, I was writing about someone who was not only an Anemoi outsider but also critical of the Anemoi, so it was interesting to flip everything I knew around and look at it from the opposite perspective. Probably the single biggest challenge of the book was keeping the Anemoi Zephyros, who has a very good reason to hate Devlin and the East, likeable given how hard he rode Devlin throughout the first half of the book.
GT: What does Devlin look like? I bet you have a heartthrob muse for him! What are his most defining physical and personality characteristics?
LK: Here’s how heroine Annalise Fallston describes him:
Like the compulsion that forced her to paint these images, Anna couldn’t help but return his stare and memorize his masculine features. The sharp angles of his face, the harsh set of his mouth, the dark shadows around his even darker eyes. Black eyes. Blades of black hair hung low over his forehead and just touched the hooded shirt he wore under his short, scuffed leather jacket. He’d crossed his arms over his chest, and the position caused his biceps to bunch up under the worn leather. In fact, everything about him appeared worn—the coat, the threadbare jeans, the scuffed boots. None of it struck her as the kind of shabby chic you could buy in some upscale store for a small fortune, either. The whole effect was rough. Dangerous. Deprived.
Deprived? What a strange way of describing him. But as Anna’s gaze swept over him again, the thought stuck. For his height, he seemed thin, with his lean hips, clad in old black jeans, a trim waist, and pronounced cheekbones. Her fingers twitched around the nearly forgotten paintbrush. What would it feel like to cup that harsh face in her hand?
GT: Psst – check out Laura’s Facebook page for inspirational photos of Devlin!
GT: East of Ecstasy is the fourth book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series. Each book has focused on a deity from one of the four Cardinal directions. Quick math tells me this one must be the series finale, which makes me a little sad! Can we expect to see more of this story universe or is it time to say goodbye?
LK: For now, I’m saying it’s time to say good-bye. I’ve loved writing this series, but I have several other series going at the same time, and there really is a natural ending point at the end of East of Ecstasy. It’s super hard to think I’ll never write about Owen again, though!
GT: If Devlin could give the GraveTells readers a message from the (meaning his, obviously *wink*) heart, what would it be?
LK: I know exactly what he’d say: never let anyone tell you you’re not good, you’re not beautiful, or you’re not worthy of love.
GT: Is there anything else you want to tell us? State secrets? Upcoming projects? Your most guilty pleasure book boyfriend? And Zsadist doesn’t count, because we all know about him! *wink*
LK: LOL! Hmm…upcoming projects: look for my super sexy Brazen novella Dare to Resist on May 12 (about childhood frenemies who get stranded together in a remote motel in the desert). Plus look for more Heroes novels and Hard Ink books in 2014. Most guilt pleasure book boyfriend – just one??? I really liked Jared from Penelope Douglas’s Bully and Until You. And Zsadist always counts!!!
GT: Hah, fair enough! Thanks so much for being our guest here on GraveTells today! It’s always such a pleasure to have you visit. Give Chrysander a kiss for me!
LK: I’m always psyched to come hang out here! Thanks so much to GraveTells for always being such amazing supporters of this series!
She’s the only one who can give him the strength to save them all…
Annalise Fallston made peace with postponing her big-city dreams to care for her ill father, but lately she’s been filled with a restlessness not even her beloved painting dispels. Worse, the colors don’t speak to her as they always have, and all her efforts produce dark, foreboding images of a dangerous man and a terrifying future.
Devlin Eston, black-souled son of the evil Anemoi Eurus, is the only one who can thwart his father’s plan to overthrow the Supreme God of Wind and Storms. But first, Dev must master the unstable powers he’s been given. Distrusted and shunned by his own divine family, he never expected to find kindness and passion in the arms of a mortal.
But Devlin’s love puts Annalise in the path of a catastrophic storm, and in the final Armageddon showdown between the Anemoi and Eurus, sacrifices will be made, hearts broken, and lives changed forever…or lost.
About the author
Laura is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over a dozen books in contemporary and paranormal romance. Growing up, Laura’s large extended family believed in the supernatural, and family lore involving angels, ghosts, and evil-eye curses cemented in Laura a life-long fascination with storytelling and all things paranormal. She lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.
Tour-wide, Laura is giving away a set of four signed books (each book in the Heart of Anemoi Series) and swag in a basket. Leave a comment or question on this post for Laura then fill out the prize widget below to enter.
Laura is also giving away a tote bag and swag just for you awesome GraveTells readers! To enter, assuming you’ve already left a comment for the giveaway above, just fill out the prize widget below. Good luck!
Follow the tour
April 21 – GraveTells (Author Interview)
April 22 – Hesperia Loves Books (Review)
April 23 – Smut Book Junkies (Excerpt)
April 24 – Nose Stuck in a Book (Review)
April 25 – Book Lovin’ Mamas (Playlist)
April 28 – Reading Between the Wines (Guest Post)
April 29 – Novel Broads (Review)
April 30 – Crystal’s Random Thoughts (Review)
May 1 – Read-Love-Blog (Review)
May 2 – Cocktails & Books (Review)