Series: The Shadow Ravens
Vol or Book #: 2
Author: Lola Dodge
Format: E-book and Paperback
Publisher:Ink Monster, LLC
Cover by: Art by Ana Cruz, Graphics by Paddy Donnelly
Editor: Ink Monster, LLC
The son of two senators, Altair Orpheus leads a life of privilege that provides the perfect cover for his side job: working with the rebel Shadow Ravens to undermine the ruling Seligo government. Everything is running like clockwork until he crosses paths with Quanta. As he watches her deftly maneuver through life in a perverse prison, his plastic heart melts. A jailbreak would be suicide, but Tair is willing to sacrifice everything to give her a chance at happiness.
Now Quanta senses a terrifying new future brewing. She and Tair are bound together, but every image of them kissing, snuggling, and acting knee-weakeningly happy is balanced by a much darker possibility. They’ll be picture perfect together, but only until time rips them apart. How can she follow her heart when she’s seen how their love plays out?
Mother smiled like a cat, full of ambition and smugness. “Someone wants to meet you.”
Someone? Suddenly, I knew where this was going. “Mother—”
“There are the Astors.” Mother gave a demure wave and started gliding toward a trio standing near an ice sculpture. Her fingers clamped my arm, dragging me along. Father walked on my other side, sandwiching me in place.
No way to run without making a scene. Senator Astor and her husband stood waiting with their daughter.
My free hand bunched into a fist, but I tucked it into my pocket. I couldn’t make a mistake in front of this audience.
Mother exchanged greetings, then made a sweeping gesture. “This is my son, Altair. Altair, this is Layla Astor.”
Layla’s blonde hair tumbled in artful curls and braids. She wore tasteful neutral makeup that emphasized her full lips and emerald green eyes, but a hint of darker eyeliner smudged like a leftover from some previous night’s debauchery; that was half of what I needed to know to escape the conversation.
And I would escape. I had no interest in these shallow romances meant to gain my family position.
“It’s so nice to meet you, Altair. I knew your sister at academy.” And that was why Cass had been invited. Some common bond to me to a potential future mate.
Good thing Cass had stayed home. She’d hate the situation as much as I did.
The girl extended her arm, flashing her Green Helix and I couldn’t avoid the handshake. “Likewise.” Layla’s rough fingertips gave me the last clue I needed. Calluses from playing an instrument. Between that and the eyeliner, I had an excellent guess at how to get rid of her. Rather than sell her out in front of her parents, I offered her an arm. “I was just about to admire the ice sculptures. Would you care to join me?”
“I’d love to.” She smiled and placed delicate fingertips on my arm.
Our parents grinned conspiratorial smiles as we strolled away. No doubt they’d already picked a wedding date. I waited until we were out of modified earshot to speak. “How upset would your family be if I mentioned that you play in a band?”
“Very.” Layla tensed, and her expression and tone shifted from vapid politeness to shrewd consideration. “Not that you should know.”
I shrugged. “I won’t say a thing as long as you don’t press an engagement.”
“Thank God.” Layla shuddered. “Our mothers schemed this one. I thought you were in on it.”
I grinned. I didn’t often stumble onto others faking their way through Helix life, but every so often an ally dropped in my lap. “Should we small talk for a few minutes and then pretend to offend each other?”
Layla pressed her lips together, eying me up and down. “If you’re up to it, I have a better suggestion.”
“Oh?” I handed her a drink taken from a passing tray. Our parents still watched from across the room.
“Let’s meet for coffee. We could draw this out for months.”
“A faux courtship?” It had promise, although there were certainly risks.
“You’re the first guy they’ve set me up with who’s not a self-centered ass.” Layla’s mischievous smile made her eyes sparkle. “My girlfriend would love you.”
Her voice was clear of subterfuge and I found myself smiling back. “Next week? I’m sure our parents already exchanged our contact information.” And faking a relationship would save me getting blindsided at every event.
“Call me.” She finger-waved and then headed for a crowd of friends, who proceeded to glance my way, slipping a few quickly smothered cackles. I nodded before heading off to work the crowd.
Despite my parents’ efforts, the night was going better than expected.
Lola is a compulsive traveler, baker, and procrastinator. She earned her BA in English from Stonehill College and MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University—and hasn’t stopped moving since. When she’s not on the road, Lola spends her time indoors where the sunlight can’t melt her, writing or bingeing on anime and cherry soda. She can be summoned in a ritual involving curry, Hello Kitty idols, and a solid chocolate pentagram.
1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
It was always something I thought about, but never something I thought would happen. I told myself I wanted to work in publishing instead, so my first job out of college was editorial assistant. I liked a lot of things about the work, but realized I wouldn’t be happy if I didn’t try to live the dream. That’s when I went back to school for writing.
2. How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends on the book! Anywhere from a couple months to a couple years. Although now, I’m on a much tighter schedule. Ideally, I’ll be writing at least two books a year.
3. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I have to get started writing in the morning or I won’t get anything done. On a typical day, I’ll go to a café until I get hungry, rest in the afternoon (or do marketing stuff) and then go back to work at night. I’m lucky that I’m doing this full-time and can make my own schedule.
4. What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I always write with my earbuds in, even if I’m not playing music. Then there’s background noise, but it’s not so loud that it’s distracting. Plus, then I can eavesdrop on people in whatever café I’m in.
5. How do books get published?
Slowly. It takes a big team of people and a million little steps. It’s definitely not as easy as uploading a file if you want to do it successfully!
6. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The idea part is easy. I’ve got a million of those. The research depends on the topic of the book, but it still falls under the fun category for me. I like the creative/brainstormy bit better than the part where you have to sit down and write the thing.
7. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
In fifth grade, I wrote a book about Bolivia. It was a hardcover, so I think it should count.
8. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I kick around Chiang Mai, Thailand (my home of the moment). Mostly going to dinners with friends and exploring. I like to take myself on Kindle dates and park somewhere to read for a quiet night out.
9. What does your family think of your writing?
They think I’m the next JK Rowling. It’s great to have their unconditional support. I just haven’t broken it to them how publishing actually works ; )
10. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
It’s hard work. The ideas and daydreaming part make it seem so easy, but it takes a lot of discipline to sit down every day and actually put down the words.
11. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I think I’m close to 10 now, although a few are still in rough shape, and others will never see the light of day.
12. Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
The only writing advice I ever give is to stop listening to writing advice. It’s important to learn the rules, but at some point, you have to start breaking them. You have to tell story you want to tell in the way that only you can tell it. So learn craft to make that story stronger, but don’t kill your voice by dwelling on all the conflicting advice out there.
13. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
My fan base is small, so I’ve gotten to know many of my readers really well, which is awesome. It’s not usually about the books so much as building a relationship—I get to know them, too! Although I do love when people reach out to tell me they want more of a certain character or when I am I writing X spin-off. Ultimately, I want to write things that people want to read, so I’m pretty open to suggestions!
14. Do you like to create books for adults?
Yes! I started out writing YA fantasy, moved to adult romance, and now I’m somewhere in between (YA/NA romancey/fantasy). Each market has its own challenges, but I’m happy writing for any age group as long as there’s a touch of fantasy involved.
15. What do you think makes a good story?
Character connection. We all want to see something we can relate to in the characters, otherwise we can’t get attached. The problem is that everyone connects to different things, so you really have to think about your ideal reader.
16. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
In seventh grade, we had an editor from Penguin visit my English class and that’s when I decided I wanted to work in book publishing. Before that, I would’ve told you chef, maid, or FBI agent.
17. What would you like my readers to know?I’m super excited to share Quanta with you all : ) I’ve been working on the Shadow Ravens series for years now with my co-authors Aileen Erin and Christina Bauer. We each write one pair of main characters in this big, collaborative world. Don’t forget to check out Cipher by Aileen Erin, which is the first book in the series (although they definitely stand alone!).