Monday, March 28, 2016

Tiger Lily by Wende Dikec Interview, Excerpt, Teaser and Giveaway

Where are you from?

I’ve from western Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. My ancestor, Thomas Osman, arrived here with William Penn more than 300 years ago, so my family has been in Pennsylvania for a while. This is a portrait of William Penn – quite the handsome Quaker, wasn’t he?

Tell us your latest news?

My new book, Starr Valentine, was just released by Inkspell Publishing on March 10, 2016. It was very exciting for me to have two books published by Inkspell already this year - a huge accomplishment. And Starr Valentine is a fun book, sort of a reverse Cinderella story.

When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve always written, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I had the chance to do it full time. Before that I worked in import/export, until I once accidentally took a job at a place that was a front for the Japanese mafia (it’s a long story and involves a huge international smuggling operation). After that I decided to change course and taught English as a Second Language at several different colleges. I speak three languages, and lived abroad for six years, so I really understand what ESL students are going through. I loved teaching them.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Early in my writing career, I submitted seven short stories to different contests, and won four times. I think it was the first time I saw one of those stories in a nationally distributed magazine that it hit me – I was a writer. I mean, I’ve always been a writer, but that was when I started to take it seriously.

What inspired you to write your first book?

My first book was a monstrosity called Kalypso. It had a good story line and great characters, but I knew nothing about writing a novel when I started it. When I go back and read my old writing now, it’s almost physically painful. It’s so bad!! But I was inspired to write it because I always loved legends about Atlantis and different kinds of mythology. I might go and revisit that story someday, just to see if I could make it better.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I’m a bit of a pantser (someone who doesn’t plan things out – I fly by the seat of my pants). Other writers are called “plotters”. I find outlines and other things to be a bit restrictive. I have an idea about where I want my characters to end up, but nothing is set in stone. I liken it to using a GPS. You know where your destination is, but you can still take detours. I like detours. Sometimes they are the most interesting part of a trip.

How did you come up with the title?

My main character is named Lily. Like the flower, the tiger lily, she seems fragile and delicate, but she’s actually a lot stronger than she looks.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

The bonds that tie us to those we love are stronger than anything – even death.

How much of the book is realistic?

Well, several of the Chinese characters in the book are based of people I met while living in Asia, but that is about it. I have met people with OCD who struggle with some of the things Lily does, but that part of the story isn’t really based on one person in particular.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

The part of the story about the ghosts is based a bit on something that happened when I was pregnant with my oldest son. I think my hormones went a little crazy, and almost every night, just as I was falling asleep, I’d see these weird, black orbs flying across the room. I’d scream, thinking it was a bird or something, and wake my husband. He’d turn on the lights and check every corner of the room, finding nothing (of course). I’d fall right back asleep, but my poor husband would sometimes be up for hours, holding a tennis racquet and waiting for some creature to attack us. A few years later, while watching a show about ghost hunters, they depicted the ghosts as black, fuzzy blobs – exactly what I’d seen flying around my room my when I was pregnant. Now I’m convinced I saw ghosts. My husband isn’t so sure.  

What books have most influenced your life most?

I think the books we read as children influence us the most. My favorite book as a child was “A Wrinkle In Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. It made me dream of being a physicist (until I realized physics involved math and I hated math) and Calvin O’Keefe may have been my first book boyfriend.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

All of the writers I know are so supportive and really wonderful people. Recently, NY Times bestselling author Darynda Jones sent me the loveliest letter about how much she enjoyed Tiger Lily. I copied it and keep it by my desk just so I can look at it all the time. This is what she said about the book:

"First Wende Dikec grabs you with her fresh writing, then she keeps you in the throes of her story with an incredible voice and a gifted talent for spinning tales that will amaze and delight. I am stunned. Tiger Lily will consume you, and before you know it you are fighting for air yet begging for more. You've been warned!"

I love her. She’s amazing.

What book are you reading now?

I finished reading “The Line” by J.D. Horn last week. It’s a fabulous book about a family of witches in Savannah. I’ll be visiting Savannah this summer for an event called Authors After Dark. I can’t wait to see some of the places mentioned in J.D. Horn’s book.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

I’ve just ordered “The Last Leaves Falling” by Sarah Benwell. I’ve heard great things about the book, and I like the fact that it contains allusions to Samurai traditions.

What are your current projects?

I’m working on the sequel to Tiger Lily. It’s called Black Orchid, and it’s the story of Lily’s friend, the Goth medium named Zoe, who falls for Josh (golden boy, star athlete, and the clairvoyant who resuscitated Lily in the first book). Things start to crumble in their relationship when a new boy, Xan comes to town. He seems like he’s the perfect guy for Zoe, but things aren’t always as they appear. I won’t tell you more, except to let you know this story involves djinn (genies), more ghost, and lots of Goths. I can’t wait to share it with you!

What would you like my readers to know?

It makes me so happy when a reader enjoys my books. I’ve had so many positive reviews and comments about both Tiger Lily and my new book Starr Valentine, and I honestly do a little dance every single time I read one. Not a pretty dance, but a joyful dance. If you like a book, let the author know. It is so appreciated!

Tiger Lily
Wende Dikec

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance

Publisher: Inkspell Publishing

Date of Publication: January 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-939590-59-6 (ebook)
ISBN: 1939590779 (paperback)
ASIN: B018A6N548

Number of pages: 156
Word Count: 56,000
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber

Book Description:

Lily Madison thought dying because of a bad manicure was the worst thing that could happen. She was wrong.

Waking up in the hospital and realizing she's being stalked by an entire herd of naughty little ghosts turns her entire world upside down. She begins to doubt her own sanity until she realizes she isn't alone. A Goth girl, named Zoe, can see the ghosts, too.

Most of the ghosts look like fuzzy blobs, but one is not blobby at all. He's a very hot, very annoying dead guy named Nick. Although they dislike each other on sight, Nick soon realizes Lily is his only hope. With the help of Zoe and Mr. Wan, the manicurist who almost killed her, she has only days to get Nick and the other ghosts back where they belong or the whole world will be in terrible danger.

But sending the ghosts back means saying goodbye to Nick forever, and Lily isn't sure she'll ever be able to let him go.

Amazon      Kobo      Barnes and Noble

"First Wende Dikec grabs you with her fresh writing, then she keeps you in the throes of her story with an incredible voice and a gifted talent for spinning tales that will amaze and delight. I am stunned. Tiger Lily will consume you, and before you know it you are fighting for air yet begging for more. You've been warned!"
--NY Times Bestselling Author Darynda Jones

I died because of a bad manicure. It wasn’t a nasty fungal infection from the manicurist using dirty equipment, or a cut that allowed deadly bacteria to creep under my skin and rot me from the inside out. I died because on impulse I let Mr. Wan of Wan Fine Lady Nail Salon paint my nails a color called Pretty and Pink.

With my red hair and pale skin, pink is tricky, but I trusted Mr. Wan. When he told me, “New color, big discount for you, Lily Madison,” I didn’t realize he actually meant, “Bad color, nobody else wants it.”

I’ve never been a risk taker. My idea of living on the edge was not having an extra bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse. I knew the pink would be a mistake, but I ignored my inner voice. I guess the smell of acetone and the hum of the nail dryers had lulled me into such a relaxed state that I didn’t realize how awful the color actually looked until I drove home in the BMW my parents had given me for my sixteenth birthday.

Pretty and Pink was false advertising, but as I learned long ago in my ninth grade science fair project, neither the government nor the FDA regulates the names of nail polish colors. I didn’t have a case, but I felt extremely upset.

I didn’t see the ice cream truck stopped in the middle of the road. I was staring at my nails, wishing I’d gone with my first choice, Princesses Rule!, a frosty pale pink that would have enhanced my natural skin tone. I glanced up just in time to narrowly avoid hitting the truck and several small children caught in a snow-cone-induced feeding frenzy.

It’s funny how accidents happen in slow motion. I remember the shocked faces of the people on the street as I swerved and flew over a small embankment. Someone screamed, and it took me a full second to realize the high-pitched wail came from my own mouth. I’d started screaming the minute I’d steered away from the ice cream truck, screamed some more as my car became an airborne missile, and continued screaming until it landed in the deep, murky waters of Lake Eugene.

I tried to open my door, but it refused to budge. My windows wouldn’t roll down either. I pressed the buttons anyway, even the one on the dashboard to turn on the radio, but none of them worked except my hazard lights. I didn’t know I had hazard lights, although I’d read all about them in my driver’s ed class. They blinked on and off, illuminating the darkness around me with an eerie, red, pulsating beacon.

I unbuckled my seat belt and searched for something to break a window with, but couldn’t find anything. I swung my purse at it, pounded it with the heel of my shoe, and even tried stabbing it with my nail file. I reached for my phone to call for help, but it was too late.

As the car filled with water and I gasped for air, the last thing I saw was that awful color on my nails as I scratched and clawed at the window until my fingers bled and everything turned black. As I died, I thought about my parents, and my friends, and all the things I would never get to do, and the fact that Mr. Wan had just lost his very best customer due to his own negligence. I hoped he would be sorry. Thinking about how bad he’d feel gave me just a little peace before I slipped away into darkness.

About the Author:

Wende Dikec has spent her life traveling the world, and collecting stories wherever she visited. She writes in several romance genres, and her books are quirky, light, and fun. Fluent in several languages and married to a man from Istanbul, Wende is a trekkie, a book hoarder, master of the Nespresso machine, and mother of three boys. A puppy named Capone is the most recent addition to her family, and she blogs about him as a way of maintaining what little sanity she has left.

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  1. Tiger Lily is a fantastic read! I'm a high school English teacher and recommend this to young adults. There are so many colors (including a deadly pink) added to the pages that make for a rainbow of flavorful reading.

  2. This would be a great read and keep up the great work.