Call of Affliction
The Gamayun Prophecies
Lara S. Chase
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: November 22, 2015
Number of pages: 364
Word Count: 72,353
Cover Artist: Resplendent Media
I am no longer in control of my own body.
Without warning and without my consent, my shape shifts and contorts into the half woman, half bird form of the Gamayun. That’s bad enough, but then I’m forced to deliver prophecies to Sirin, the immortal who guards the gates of hell. Messages she doesn’t care to hear, and she’s not afraid to use deadly force to silence me.
I’m starting to see things no one else can see. The last Gamayun died in a psych ward, having lost everyone she ever loved. I refuse to meet that same fate, even if that means lying to my sister and best friend.
The only person I can turn to is Sasha, the mysterious stranger who guarded the previous Gamayun. When I stare into those pale blue eyes, it’s hard to be objective. Can I really trust someone with that much barely suppressed anger and hurt? For every piece of advice he gives, there are ten more secrets he’s not telling me.
But when he kisses me, do I really care?
Call of Affliction is the first book in a six part series. 99 cents until Christmas!
Available at Amazon
Part of me knew it was the dream again. The sensible part of my brain was screaming at me to wake up, but when does that ever work? So I watched the film unspool once more, with me cast as the villain.
The bones in my fists crunched with every blow to her face and torso. She fell, and did not move. Her blood dripped off my fingers and onto the body at my feet. I focused on the slow progression of the red trickle, hoping in vain that I wouldn’t have to identify my victim this time.
My breath echoed in my ears as the rest of the world grew still. Drip. Inhale, exhale. Drip. The pain in my swollen fists forced its way into my thoughts as I stood over her. Inhale, exhale. Throb. I shook out my hands and forced my gaze down. I didn’t need to see her lifeless eyes look back at me to know who it was. It never changed. Who could inspire a killing rage from me but my mother?
I squatted lower to study the broken form of Senovia. Victory—the thought rose before I could squash it, and it made me nauseous though the blood had not. I turned from the body with a jerk.
The jerk took me to the edge of my bed, startling me. I awoke screaming and choking, my hair plastered to my face with sweat. I tried to untangle my hair, but the thick waves were strangling me.
“Galine! Galine, it’s okay!”
The sound of my sister’s voice drew me back from my nightmare. I was in my bed, my sister was safe in the room with me, and our mother, still alive, was several miles across town. My pulse began to come down to a reasonable level. However, now that I could think, the guilt came. Not only did I commit matricide in my sleep, but I woke Katja in the process.
I blinked, trying to adjust my eyes to the sudden light of the lamp between our twin beds. I propped myself up on an elbow to get a better look at my sister. Kat sat on the edge of her bed, her long legs crossed. The oscillating fan shot a burst of air in my face. It didn’t make the stuffy air that much cooler, but it brought me out of my stupor.
“Kat, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you. Go back to sleep.” The words croaked out, my throat raw from screaming.
“Was it the one about Mom again?” I nodded. Katja ran her fingers through her long dark hair. Her brown eyes studied the tips for split ends with an intensity that betrayed her uneasiness. “Do you want to talk about it?”
About the Author:
Lara Chase was born and raised in rural Indiana surrounded by corn fields.
Finding her environment somewhat boring, she spent most of her childhood with her nose buried in a book or writing stories in her head to entertain herself. Eventually she decided she should probably start writing some of them down.
After graduating high school, Lara decided a change of scenery was in order. She lived in Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Illinois picking up the first bachelor’s degree she doesn’t use and a husband. The husband she’s quite fond of, but the states she wasn’t as taken with. She moved again, but this time she was smitten. It would likely take an act of Congress to remove her from Durham, North Carolina. Since relocating, Lara has acquired another bachelor’s degree that has proven to be merely decorative.
She still gets restless at times, though, so she and her husband swap houses with families in other countries. Lara wrote some of the first lines of her current project hanging precariously out of a third floor apartment window in Italy trying to get a wireless signal. Luckily, writing at home is usually less dangerous. Her greatest threat there is the disgruntled cat who keeps sitting on her keyboard.
I’m from a teeny tiny town in Indiana called Camden, and I didn’t even live in the town. I was raised on a farm. I’ve lived in Durham, NC for the last 14 years, though.
Tell us your latest news?
I’m very excited to say I have a release date for the next book in the series, Wings of Ash. It will be on Amazon January 18, 2016, and you should be able to preorder it starting the first week in January.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve been writing since elementary school. I used to give collections of short stories with pictures I had drawn as Christmas gifts. In high school I wrote my first novella with a friend. I just always had ideas for stories and characters. I did a lot of daydreaming, and when my mom would ask what I was thinking about, I would tell her I was writing books in my head. But then I went to college and felt I had to start thinking about a “real” job. It took me a long time to come back to writing and realize it was the only thing that really made me happy.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I didn’t start calling myself an author until I’d been writing for a couple of years and was on probably my second to last draft of Call of Affliction. That’s when I felt like I had finally produced something good enough I could see publishing it.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I saw a painting of a Gamayun, and I don’t even remember where anymore. As a lover of shapeshifter novels, I had to know what this half woman/half bird creature was. As I began researching, I found the old Russian folktales and religious myths about the Gamayun, Alkonost, and Sirin. I thought they were so fascinating, I knew I had to tell them again, but in a modern day setting.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Yes, I’m very organized. I know some people can write by the seat of their pants, and it all comes out fine, but I can’t do that. I needed to know what would happen in all six books before I published the first one. First I do a lot of research. Even though it’s fiction, there’s always things I don’t know. History, locations, occupations, local accents and expressions, vehicles, and even particular toiletries are some of the things I had to look up. Not only did I write an extensive outline of all six, I even wrote a first draft of all of them! I also wrote such in depth profiles on all of my characters, it’s as long as one of my books.
How did you come up with the title?
“Call” has a double meaning. It refers not only to the call of a bird, but to the call of a prophet. Galine’s call to be both a bird shapeshifter and prophet is not a pleasant one. I chose the word “affliction” in particular because of the inscription in the front of the book from Lamentations 3. The whole series will have inscriptions from Lamentations 3, and most of the titles will reference it, too. There’s some hints in there for readers. J
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
There’s an overall theme throughout the series, yes. I wanted to explore two questions. 1. What makes someone worthy of love? 2. What makes someone worthy of redemption? All of the characters in the book are going to go on separate journeys exploring these questions and may find different answers to them.
How much of the book is realistic?
Like most urban fantasy, about half. The settings are real, and the characters have normal jobs like nurse, student, etc. As a Durham native, I particularly enjoyed throwing in my favorite Durham landmarks and restaurants. I also think readers will identify with the very real and common emotions of love, fear, insecurity, and joy that the characters experience. However, I can’t say that I’ve seen many half bird/half women shapeshifters running around.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Certainly. I’ve always had a fascination with Russian culture, even though I’m not Russian, and I think it’s because my mother named me Lara after the main character in Dr. Zhivago. I also took ballet when I was little, and as a teacher even had a student whose father taught ballet at Duke. So, I created this family of Russian immigrants where the parents are former ballet dancers with two daughters (I have two sisters). I love art like Kat does. I’m a little obsessed with baking like Galine. My husband looks like Sasha and has his strength of character, but Alex’s sense of humor. The similarities go on and on. I take a lot of inspiration from life.
What books have most influenced your life most?
As a writer, I’d have to say Where’d you go Bernadette by Maria Semple because it’s one of the funniest books I’ve ever read in novel form. I write a lot of action and some serious scenes, but I never want to lose the humor. I’d also say anything by Naomi Novik when it comes to world creation and just general style. That woman can paint pictures of places like I’m right there. Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne and King sort of ruined my life when I read it, but did more to make me a better writer than any other book. The Queen’s Thief Series makes me want to write characters as brilliant as Megan Whalen Turner’s.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’d have to say Elizabeth Hunter. She’s a very successful indie author who writes urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I’ve read several of her books and enjoyed them, but more than her writing style, I’ve been impressed how she’s been able to make something of herself without a publishing house behind her. Now that I’m trying to do what she’s done, I’m realizing how hard that is.
What book are you reading now?
I’m just finishing Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost and starting You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
What are your current projects?
I’m finishing up final edits on book three Crown of Sacrifice, and doing some writing on book four Flight of Hope.
What would you like my readers to know?
I think my book details are pretty well covered in the media pack, but I can share this bit of wisdom: One the best things about being an adult is that if you want to occasionally eat dessert for breakfast, no one can stop you. Try it; it’s great. J
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