Today, this blog is lucky to be a stop on the Keepers of the Zodiac Blog Tour. This YA Fantasy has a fascinating premise!
The stars have shifted and the Earth is rapidly moving into the throes of chaos. Four god-like beings known as the Zodiac High Council, send their winged herald, Syrie, out with twelve sealed envelopes. His mission? To bring a chosen group of thirteen future Zodiac Keepers, including a set of mesmerizing twins, to the Isle of Oriba for training. Syrie never could have imagined that he would fall in love along the way—ultimately forcing him to choose between betrayal and death. Keepers of the Zodiac is an enthralling tale of obligatory fate, temporary hope, and impossible love.
And here’s an interview with the lovely author, Sharon Wood:
Thanks for having me, Emily!
Can you tell us something about your book we wouldn’t know from the blurb?
Keepers of the Zodiac is what I like to call a bubblegum book. It’s sweet, not too serious, and you can savor it for a while. It’s pretty much a book to set the stage and introduce the characters, with an interesting love story and an unexpected twist. By contrast, the sequel, which I am currently working on, is a lot darker and adventurous.
Fill in the blanks: Keepers of the Zodiac is like [TV show/book/movie] meets [TV show/book/movie]. (For example, Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones is like Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere meets Harry Potter)
Keepers of the Zodiac is like The Hunger Games meets Twilight. Like The Hunger Games, there is a larger group of young adults going away to train for something of importance of which they themselves did not choose to do. Similar to Twilight, my book is reality with touches of fantasy. Both books also have love triangles, which mine has as well.
You have quite a cast of characters in your book. How do you keep track of all of them?
There are definitely a lot of characters in the book. I will say though, that each character has his or her own interesting back story–enough to where people should have no problems differentiating between them and getting to know them. Being that everyone has a sign, I am hoping that readers will also identify with one or some of the characters. Some characters are an exaggeration of their sign, however. For instance, Cassidy, my Aries, is a complete jerk. She does not have a single nice moment in the entire book. Because she is a fire sign, not to mention that Aries can often be pretty sassy and outspoken, it was easy to make her the villain. I happen to be an Aries, and know I can be a pain, but also know that it is not all that defines me.
Who do you think readers will like most?
I think that most readers will like Syrie, since he is always in the mix, and is a likeable character. The twins, Raquel and Simone, should also be favorites. They are identical in looks, but have such contrasting personalities. I am sure most people will be rooting for Simone.
Do you have a favorite character?
My favorite character is Simone, because I relate most to her. She is the type of person that is willing to sacrifice her own happiness just to make it easier on those she loves. She is also sweet, smart, and fairly independent. She is put in some unfavorable circumstances, but still manages to remain true to who she is.
Were there any specific music or artists that you listened to when writing/planning this book?
I did not listen to any music before or during the book writing process to find inspiration, because I didn’t know how I would be able to concentrate on the story. However, after hearing that so many authors do it, I decided to try it out for the second book.
Is this a stand alone novel or the first in a series?
This book is the first in the series. I am not sure how many I am going to end up writing, but there will for sure be one more since this one ends on a cliffhanger.
What do you want to leave readers with after reading your book?
The biggest thing I hope that my readers will get from this book is an entertaining story. If they can put the book down at the end thinking that it was a fun read, then I will be happy.
Excerpt from Keepers of the Zodiac
It was around four in the morning, and Gabe was having trouble sleeping. Rather than lie in bed and toss and turn, he decided to get an early start to his chores. Before heading outside, he stopped in the kitchen to pour himself a glass of milk. Staring out the window into the darkness, he saw something bright fall from the sky and land in the field. Grabbing the same rifle that had been pointed at him not too many years ago, Gabe ran out to, thanks but no thanks to the moonlight, find a naked man standing before him. He cocked back the gun and pointed it at the trespasser.
Knowing that Gabe normally didn’t start working until six in the morning, Syrie hadn’t even settled on an outfit for the day yet, which explained his lack of clothing. Hands up in surrender, Syrie carefully said, “I’m just going to reach over here and grab my clothes.” In reality, there had been no clothes on the ground, but just by thinking about them, he made them appear. He reached for his new pile of clothes, and, hesitating a bit, said, “Now, I’m going to put them on.” Gabe nodded an approval, and although he wanted to turn away, he wasn’t about to let the naked man out of his sight.
Syrie finished dressing into his plaid and flannel shirt, tight jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hat. He couldn’t help but be annoyed with himself for his outfit choice, but as he had had little time to think at the moment, he’d just thrown the word cowboy out there, and those were the clothes that appeared. He would really have loved a pair of underwear, seeing as how the jeans were so tight, but knew that beggars could not be choosers when one had a gun staring them in the face. Pointing to the gun, he asked, “Do you think you can put that thing away?”
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