Friday, September 26, 2014

Cover Reveal & Author Interview: RUNNING AWAY by Julie Hutchings

Today is a very special day.

Approximately six years ago Julie Hutchings started writing what would become her debut novel, Running Home.

Pictured: Fantastic, Unique Achievement
Julie is a phenomenal human being, exemplary mother, and to say she is a talented author is a gross understatement.
Pictured above: My gorgeous friend, Julie
Julie’s debut novel, Running Home, giving you vampires with a Japanese mythology pants kicking is available through Books of the Dead Press. Julie revels in all things Buffy, has a sick need for exotic reptiles, and drinks more coffee than Juan Valdez and his donkey combined, if that donkey is allowed to drink coffee. Julie’s a black belt with an almost inappropriate love for martial arts. And pizza. And Rob Zombie. Julie lives in Plymouth, MA, constantly awaiting thunderstorms with her wildly supportive husband and two magnificent boys.

So imagine how honored I am to have her as a guest on the blog today.

We're here to celebrate the release of the sequel to Julie's first novel Running Home which is entitled Running Away, and reveal the cover!!!

Unfamiliar with Running Home? Here. Educate yourself.

I was (am) one of the first to be critical of "vampire books". Julie didn't write a vampire book. She wrote what those books aspire to be. Rooted in Japanese mythology the Shinigami series is the most original take I've seen on the creature-of-the-night mythos. The woman's words and creativity are treasures.

I asked Julie if she would be amenable to doing an author interview for the cover reveal for Running Away and she was gracious enough to clear out a piece of her schedule for little ol' me.

Without further adieu please welcome Mrs. Julie Hutchings:
Let's just dive right in! Okay so, Running Away is the second part of a trilogy. In the first book you rose above the traditional and trendy vampire formula to create this fantastic mythology and these breathtaking characters - what do you hope the second book accomplishes aside from driving the story forward?

Gah, thank you! I was determined to one up the first book. I really wanted to give you the same level of unexpected, how the hell is she going to get out of this moments but make sure the characters grew powerfully. I didn't want to give more of the same. I wanted to give deeper. Hehehehe

Ah, I don't think anyone here as an objection to giving deeper ;-) What is the most surprising thing you learned while writing Running Away?

That I could make up a man that made me turn my head from Nicholas!
Blasphemy! If I recall, Nicholas looks something like this:

There's no turning your head away from that, but I'll take your word for it.
Being as spoiler-free as possible, what are you most excited about the audience seeing/discovering/experiencing in Running Away?

Ooooooh, I can't wait for everyone to see Eliza change. *zips mouth*
You terrible tease (don't stop!)
From the beginning you knew Ellie's story was going to be a trilogy. How did Running Away evolve from what you initially thought it would be to what it is now?

Oh lord, so much more than I ever thought possible. I had no idea how strong a vampire she was going to become. She's a powerful person, and it makes her a kickass vampire. I also had no idea I was going to wind so much more mythology throughout. I had no idea Kieran was going to EXIST.

Rumor has it that a portion of Running Away takes place in Japan, what did you do to research that aspect of the story? What is the most unexpected or fascinating thing you learned?

The whoooooole thing is there. Oh lord, you name it, I researched it. People thought I was nuts for looking up seasonal fruits of Japan. The train stations and stops. How to behave when you enter a temple. The language, the differences between the trees on different sides of the mountains, I stopped at nothing. I have a notebook full. I loved learning about what a person in mourning is viewed like in a ceremonial temple! I won't tell you, but wow.

The tone of Running Home shifts at the end more toward the Dark and Twisty. How would you describe the overall feel of Running Away? And as a writer, where did this story take you emotionally?

Dangerous. Grim. Unsettling and sexy. This story was important to me because Eliza really takes control and questions her life, seeking answers instead of being at the receiving end of them. It was really difficult to watch Eliza cut her losses and leave New Hampshire, to never fully win, but I'm so proud of her for becoming who she has that it still chokes me up.

What is the one thing you think readers will enjoy most about Running Away? What is something you hope they'll notice?

I really think readers are going to enjoy Kieran as much as I do, and the way he interacts with the other vampires. And I hope people notice the possibility of one or more side stories that might become something more.  

Now THAT makes me sit up and take notice. All eyes are going to be on this mysterious Kieran.
I love the author's personal connection to their characters. Truly these people who exist only in pages and words become every bit as real as each of us. When Eliza looks in the mirror who does she see?

Grim though it may be, death. She sees someone that carries death with her before she sees the person Nicholas fell in love with and the person who will change a race of vampires. But I will say that before the end of this book, the first word that pops into her head when she looks in the mirror is Shinigami.

What is a question you've wanted to answer that hasn't been asked?

"How much money can I give you and will you please take all these reptiles and keep them forever?" My answer is you can give me all your money and I'll take care of you and I'll take all the reptiles to keep forever.

Ha! Keep writing books like this, and you can have all of my money. I'll gladly hand over all the reptiles. *shudders*
The fun question: A Genie appears and offers to grant you three wishes...what do you wish for?

I'm such a jerk, I totally would wish for immortality for me and everybody I love, including you. (This clearly comes with a huge amount of money because of all the years between us and all, so I don't have to eat up a wish on THAT. And YES I would absolutely feed the world and build all the homeless homes and take care of everyone.) I'd wish to be able to fly. And I'd wish for everyone to have one day with a person they never thought they'd meet or never thought they'd see again.
That last wish gives you a perfect insight into this woman's incredible heart. Thank you Julie. There aren't enough superlatives to convey how truly tremendous you are.

Now for the thing you all came to see...

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the COVER for Running Away by Julie Hutchings:

"Eliza Morgan is desperate to escape the horrors of her mortal life and understand why death follows her, leaving only one man, Nicholas French, in its wake. He’s the one she loves, the one she resents, and the one fated to make her legendary among the Shinigami– an ancient order of vampires with a “heroic” duty to kill. He’s also decaying before her eyes, and it’s her fault.

On the ghostlike mountaintop in Japan that the vampires consider home, Eliza will be guided by the all-powerful Master for her transition to Shinigami death god. When Eliza discovers that sacrificing her destiny will save Nicholas, she’s not afraid to defy fate and make it so—even when Nicholas’s salvation kills her slowly with torturous, puzzle-piece visions that beg her to solve them. Both Nicholas and his beloved Master fight her on veering from the path to immortality, but Eliza won’t be talked out of her plan, even if it drives the wedge between Nicholas and her deeper.

Allying with the fiery rebel, Kieran, who does what he wants and encourages her to do the same, and a mysterious deity that only she can see, Eliza must forge her own path through a maze of ancient traditions and rivalries, shameful secrets and dark betrayals to take back the choices denied her and the Shinigami who see her as their savior. To uncover the truth and save her loved ones, Eliza will stop at nothing, including war with fate itself."

At this very moment you can buy both Running Home and the sequel Running Away. You're most likely reading this on your phone or tablet and whaddya know - you can be reading the e-book version of these babies less than 30 seconds from now.

Go ahead and get your read on. I'll wait here.

Until we meet again get to know Julie better:

Julie on Goodreads:


Don’t forget to join in on the book buzz using hashtag #RunningAway

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