Out of the Shadows
Ashlee Nicole Bye
Genre: Mature YA/NA Contemporary
Publisher: Huntuzie Press
Date of Publication: 11 April 2017
Word Count: 106,000 approx
Cover Artist: James @Go On Write
Tagline: Nobody ever said death would be easy
From the streets of Melbourne to the bowels of Westminster, the delicate balance between life and death that is so painstakingly maintained by the Reapers of The Order of Dark and Light is being tested by the return of an ancient threat. Tensions are rising within the hidden world of The Shadowlands and if this threat is not contained war will be inevitable. And the destruction of the human world is bound to follow in its wake.
Amidst this tension, eighteen year-old Sachi Manning is struggling to cope with the grief and guilt that has plagued her ever since her best friend was murdered six months earlier—that is, until she spots him seemingly alive and well and being held at scythe point by a hooded figure who looks more like a GQ model than the Grim Reaper.
Sachi shouldn’t be able to see through the glamours that shield Shadowlanders from the human world, so the Reaper in question wants some answers. And so begins the craziest couple of weeks of Sachi’s life as she is drawn into a world of mysteries, magic, monsters, and mayhem, encountering dragons, Faeries, soul-sucking Demons, not-so-grim Reapers, and even the Horseman of Death.
With a mix of heart, humour and hair-raising action, Out of the Shadows is the adventure of an after-lifetime, perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Kresley Cole.
EXCERPT TWO (Scene from Chapter 17)
A dragon. A freaking dragon! Even through her pounding heart, the artist in Sachi couldn’t help appreciating the creature’s beauty. It was enormous, reptilian, and winged, with gleaming obsidian scales tinged with flashes of electric blue. As it studied her, one of its forelegs began to stamp, making the timber fences on either side of the laneway rattle. Smoke furled out from its nostrils and when it stretched its wings Sachi gasped, her hand flying to her mouth. In the narrow laneway, it wasn’t able to expand its wings to their full span of what Sachi assumed had to be at least twenty metres, but instead flexed them upwards—a gesture Sachi was sure was meant for intimidation purposes. And it was working. She was completely frozen in place, her body ignoring every single one of the flight response commands being sent by her brain.
The dragon folded its wings back down and began creeping toward Sachi, smoke billowing from its nostrils. As it got to about five metres away, it reared up and let out a burst of flame. Sachi just barely managed to duck before the flames passed over her head.
Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god. I’m gonna be eaten by a dragon!
She scampered back as far as she could get, knowing it wouldn’t be much good. What was she going to do? No one was home, and even if they were she wouldn’t want Nikko and Ella out here, it would be just as dangerous for them. Maybe she could call the fire brigade? At least they had flame retardant suits… Yeah, she could see that call right now:
‘Triple zero, what’s your emergency?’
About the Author:
Ashlee Nicole Bye is a self-confessed bibliophile, sports fan and music lover. She also writes sometimes—when she’s not busy mastering the art of procrastination, that is. She writes mainly Fantasy, mainly Young Adult, although some of her current works in progress have seen her step firmly outside her comfort zone.
Her first novel is OUT OF THE SHADOWS, a mature young adult contemporary fantasy set in her beloved home town of Melbourne. It is the first installment in the five-book series, SHADOWLANDS, and will be released on Kindle on April 11, with paperback to follow shortly after.
Where are you from?
Tell us your latest news?
Well, the biggest thing that’s happening at the moment is the ebook release of my debut novel Out of the Shadows next week—Tuesday April 11.
When and why did you begin writing?
Honestly, I can’t really remember! I guess it started at school—I always enjoyed the writing and reading-based subjects much better than any of the sciences and numbers ones. Even after school I was still constantly writing—not fiction, but reports and correspondence for my job and essays for university. That all helped to hone my skills.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Probably after I quit my job and took an unpaid spot as an ice hockey reporter (yes, we have ice hockey in Australia, and no, reporting on the games is not very glamourous).
What inspired you to write your first book?
Writing a novel was one of those things I’d wanted to do for a really long time, I just never had the confidence to do it. There wasn’t really any big ‘aha!’ moment or a spark that set me off, it was more that, over time, having people praise me for the articles I was writing (by then I’d moved on to an online magazine) and compliment my writing ability helped to build up the confidence I needed to take the plunge with the novel.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Nope! I am really flexible with my style of writing—I swap between third and first person depending on what suits the narrative (and have also written a few essays in second person). One thing I do try to weave in to everything I write is humour. Humour is something that’s very important to me and I like the idea of being able to make others laugh.
How did you come up with the title?
It’s a title that just made sense with the story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
This is just the first installment—as the series progresses there will be little messages for readers to find if they want to look.
How much of the book is realistic?
Not very much! Some of the setting—the parts in Melbourne, definitely, are as real as I could get them (although there is no Riverside Tavern or The Veil nightclub) and the bits in London are from memory and internet research (although I’ve never been in a secret underground tunnel and I have no proof this exists!) Even though the book is set in the present day, the Melbourne autumn that I describe is more based on my childhood memories than of what it would realistically be like now (thanks global warming for ruining my favourite season!)—and, of course, none of the fantasy elements are real. Or are they?
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
My old toaster makes an appearance. That’s pretty much as far as I went for real-life inspiration.
What books have influenced your life most?
I would have to say The Hunger Games. Not because it’s a great book (which it is) but because after being diagnosed with Stargardt’s disease almost nine years ago,and subsequently losing most of my central vision in the two years that followed, I had stopped reading books. It was far too hard for me to read printed books and listening to audiobook CDs was inconvenient. Then someone recommended Audible and I gave it a go, with The Hunger Games being my first purchase. It’s completely coincidental, I know, but I still associate that book with my renewed passion for reading/listening to books that followed.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
This is a hard one because I feel as though I learn something new every time I pick up a book!
I’m not sure I can single out any particular writer, but the ones I respect the most and hope to emulate are the ones who go out of their way to make their fans feel appreciated.
What book are you reading now?
I’m a massive history geek and right now I’m going through a bit of a WWII phase—I recently read In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowenand The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff, which were both excellent. Now I’m finally reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (that one’s been on my TBR since it came out a few years ago).
However, by the time this post is published it’ll be the first week of April so I’ll most likely be reading Defy the Stars, by Claudia Gray—I’ve been counting down the days for that one for a while now!
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m pretty sure she’s grasped everybody’s interested—Stephanie Garber, the author of Caraval. I really loved this book, it was a stunning debut.
What are your current projects?
I like to take on a few different things at a time so I don’t get too bored (it happens!) At the moment, as well as the second Shadowlands book—which I’m hoping will be out by the end of the year—I’m also working on a YA time travel book, a YA contemporary romantic comedy and a CNF comic essay collection.
What would you like my readers to know?
That Out of the Shadows will be available on Kindle on April 11. It’ll be on Kindle Unlimited, which makes it free for anyone with a KU subscription. The paperback and (hopefully) audio will be coming out later in the year.
Tour Giveaway for readers-
(4) $5 Amazon Gift Cards
(3) ebook copies of Out of the Shadows