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Welcome to the book tour for By the Light of the Moon! This book is paranormal romance and is very, very unique. I had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Laila Blake, so be sure to scroll down for that! There's also a giveaway all the way at the bottom!
By the Light of the Moon is coming out April 8th, 2013 (so close!).
Withdrawn and with a reputation for her strange, eccentric ways, young Lady Moira Rochmond is old to be unwed. Rumors say she has been seen barefoot in the orchard, is awake all night in moon-struck rambles, and sleeps all day. Some even claim her ghostly pallor and aloof manner are signs of illness, a curse, or insanity.
The hopes of the peaceful succession to her father’s fief lie in an advantageous marriage. Moira, however, has a hard time attracting suitors. When one does show interest, her family pushes for a decision.
Almost resigned to the fact that she has no choice but to play the part she has been given in life, Moira is faced with Owain, a member of the mysterious Blaidyn creatures and a new guard in her father’s castle, specifically tasked to keep her safe. He is different from other people she knows and when one night under the full moon she makes the acquaintance of the wolf who shares Owain’s soul, she starts to trust him and seek his presence. As he becomes one of the few individuals who doesn’t make her want to hide and retreat, she wants to learn more about him and they grow closer until they share a kiss one night under the moon.
Faced with feelings and desires that overthrow everything she thought she knew about herself, Moira knows non-the-less that they have to be kept utterly secret. However much they try, they continue to be drawn to each other until one night, Owain discovers something about Moira that shakes him to his core.
This is the first of the Lakeside series.
Age: 18 years and up
Review: 4 butterflies
This story started out a little confusingly. During the first few chapters I found myself wondering what was going on, and who all these people we were being introduced to were. The beginning was hardest for me because I'm the type of person who likes to know what's happening all the time.
But with By the Light of the Moon, it worked. After those first few chapters, I really started to get into it and, as the author explained more and more, I found myself quickly turning over the pages to see what would happen next.
Moira is a strange girl. She yearns to do what she pleases, but she can't do that because she's in the public eye—which seems to make it worse. She is always anxious to be outside, to be alone and be able to breathe.
Owain is Blaidyn, which is sort of like a werewolf race, except they were created by fae as fighting machines (until they started wondering what they were doing and put a stop to it). They are scorned and people are always frightened of them, but humans still need them to help protect them.
Owain is hired by Moira's father to protect her because she keeps escaping outside. But little did they know that it would change everything...
I really liked Moira because it's nice to see a girl who isn't perfect as well as prim and proper. She was human and real, and that made her really relatable.
Owain is the embodiment of the tall, dark, and handsome persona. Sexy and brooding, he falls in love with the strange girl named Moira.
The plotline was a really good and interesting one, and I loved the whole world in the book. Everything in there was really original, especially the names, as well as the history of each of the races and the people in it.
Once I got to the middle of the book, there was no going back. I gobbled it up and didn't sleep until the wee hours of the morning.
I really recommend this book to anyone who likes refreshingly original stories, paranormal romance, and an amazing world with constant surprises.
A free copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Laila Blake reading the prologue
So let’s start withthe world you created. It’s an incredibly unique world. What inspired you towrite about it? Why fantasy and not something else?
Thank you so much, that’s really nice of you to say! Um well — why fantasy and not something else is complicated. Because I do write other things. Pretty much as we are speaking I am working on a Post Apoc story and I like contemporary, too. But there is something about the possibilities of fantasy that has always inspired me. The way you can create beings and cultures utterly different. I mean supernatural creatures in a way all feel like metaphors really, for different parts of humans or of nature but I really like getting into the nitty gritty of that.
That’s really cool. So it’s kind of a psychological thing!
In a way, but – you know – it’s also a hot were-wolves thing — I can’t claim too much superiority there ;).
Haha, not much of us can! I loved that every fantasy character had your own unique spin on it. Faeries glow, werewolves are sensitive to gold (but not silver) and fire, horses don’t like werewolves. How did you come up with all that?
Hmm, I think I was a little overly cautious about not stealing other people’s ideas? And I tried to go at it from as much of a blank slate as I could — I wanted them all to have weaknesses and strength, things that would drive the plot. Some of them appeared rather late in the story, others have to do with the aesthetics of describing it — like the glowing fae.
Yeah, I can relate with wanting to be original! There are many fantasy stories now-a-days that have the same haracteristics. Yours definitely doesn’t! And speaking of fantasy characters, your werewolves are from a race created by fae — and it’s called Blaidyn. How did you come up with that name and the history behind it?
The name is from Welsh, I just looked at different dictionaries and looked up random words. For about 2/3 of the manuscript I used the placehold [were-wolf race] — my friend used to giggle about that. But I wanted a different name because the Blaidyn are not were-wolves, their wolf forms are not rabid or crazed, they have other weaknesses etc. And it felt like an interesting dynamic. A lot of what the story draws on are ideas of racial prejudice — in the sequel even more than the first part — and I wanted the Blaidyn to be something utterly different from Fae and Humans, as in... they were literally created as a race and then rebelled. I have a soft spot for rebels.
Me too! I know names are something that a lot of authors find hard to come up with, and your characters’ are really unique. How did you think them up?
Oh dear, I hate naming things. It takes me forever. I go by melody in the end. At first I look at dictionaries, and make silly dadistic sounds in my mouth, but what I come up with has to evoke the feeling of the character for me. Moira, for example, is warm but there’s a melancholy in the sounds.
I love that! And I totally agree — the characters I read about have to match their name, or it’s just weird for me. I absolutely loved Owain. Do you have a favorite character from By the Light of the Moon?
Hm. This is funny, even before I finished the book, in silly dreams of being published and asked stuff one day, I asked myself this question. I love Moira and Owain, of course I do, but I know them very well and very intimately. And then there are characters like Maeve or Brock who keep surprising me and who are exciting to write — their chapters take much longer but the results are interesting, not so safe. So yeah, probably Maeve. I really love her.
She’s a really interesting character and I loved that she sacrificed her life for her children, even though they don’t always notice it. Speaking of secondary characters, Niamh and Devali were really a very small part of the book. Why did you choose them for the prologue and not someone else? Will we see more of them later on in the series?
I chose them for the prologue because it is the only time in the book that we take a tiny peek at the world Across. Also because this is what sets a lot of the overarching trilogy plot in motion. There is a lot more of Devali in book 2 and Niamh is a bit like a looming figure in all of their lives for a while.
Ooh sounds really intriguing! Iris’s story is very sad, but we don’t really get many details about it. Will we get a little more on her or is her past not something you’ll really focus on?
There will be more :). I love Iris, in a way Iris is what Moira would have become if Maeve hadn't rescued her. She is tragic and heart-breaking. It was important to me to have characters of various ages and she always makes me emotional when writing her. In this book — and I hope I don't spoil anything here — she ends up placing herself very much at the center of the plot that starts to unfold.
No, there’s no spoiler
there! I love teasers :). I can’t wait for the second book! Now, besides Moira’s
“dad,” the men in your book aren’t really the nicest people. Deagan Fairester
is selfish and insensitive while Brock is a bit power-hungry and can sometimes
be mean. Are they based on someone in real life? Is anyone else?
Hm. That’s a good
question. I wouldn’t say that they are — and Deagan, well, he’s a product of
his upbringing as much as anyone else. His only fault is really, that he doesn’t
love Moira but she is his only real path to a real position as the younger son
of a lord. I kind of feel bad for him. Sure he’s selfish, but he's young...
My mother suffers from PTSD and I myself have certain
anxiety issues, which is a lot of where that comes from but I wouldn’t say that
any character is exactly me or her. It’s always just aspects of people.
Actually my ex asked me whether I was thinking about him
while writing the book and I kind of burst out laughing.
Ha! That’s a little
flattering don’t you think? I did read on your blog that you have anxiety
issues. Have they been detrimental on any of the writing or publishing processes?
Haha! Well, I think he wanted me to flatter him if anything.
But yeah, anxiety issues. I don’t think so, in a way it means I just enjoy my
own company and being alone with my computer and my stories. I also think that
growing up with that in your family forces you to think pretty deeply about
people and their motivations. That can only be good for a writer — in a way
writing feels like the only profession where my issues actually come in handy.
Which is part of why I love it so much.
And sure, the publishing process is rather petrifying in many
ways but I honestly think it’s that way for almost everybody. It’s important
for me to talk about it, though. I remember once I watched one of John Green’s
videos and he talked about the week after he heard that The Fault in Our Stars
was on the New York Times Bestseller list (I think it was that week, lol I
might be wrong about this detail) but anyway, he said that something that was
supposed to make him really really happy, tends to have the effect of him
wanting to crawl back into bed and stay there for about a week. And I almost
cried I could empathize so much with that – made me feel less weird. I think
that's also why I pulled my issues into the book.
I love John Green!
He's such a great person. I'm glad writing helps you and that you put it in
your book. Most of the time I really wanted to hug Moira because of how nobody
really understood her. What's your writing process? Did you plot everything out
or did you write as you went?
Oh god I know! He’s amazing, as a person, a writer, an
advocate. Huge fan. He’s one of those people that give me hope that our world
can’t be completely screwed up ;).
Writing process-wise, yeah I am plotter. I can’t plot out
everything exactly but I have a general idea of the book and then I plot out
the next 5-6 chapters in some detail before I go to writing them. At the moment
I am in the last third of the sequel and the rest is pretty much plotted out.
Yay!! I can’t wait to
see what you have in store for us! By the Light of the Moon is the first of the
Lakeside series. How many books do you expect to be in the series?
There are 3 in the story of Moira and Owain and Brock’s
plotting. After that, I honestly don’t know. If some people really enjoy the verse
and series and want more, I’d love to keep going but I have no idea if that
will happen and just thinking about that feels a little like going off into
some day dream — so, I try not to plan ahead for after the trilogy.
Sounds like fun! I,
personally, would love to hear more from them. You mentioned that you’re
working on a post-apocalyptic story right now. How’s that going? Any teasers
you can share?
It’s actually a collaboration between me and my best writing
buddy Lorrie (the one I dedicated By the Light of the Moon to). It’s a New
Adult story about a young woman and her adoptive son, trying to stay alive. A
girly version of The Road, much less
grim, and of course there’s a handsome man in it, too. A lot of emotions.
Handsome men are
always a plus! I actually have to read The Road for a class I’m taking right
now, so that’s good timing! You mention on your website that you allowed
yourself to give writing a real shot in your mid-twenties. What gave you that
push to actually do it?
Partly actually coming to terms with my anxiety issues and
realizing that writing was what I needed to keep me afloat. It gave me hope.
But also my friend Lorrie had a great part in that, about 2 years ago, she let
me read the manuscript to her first novel and I loved it! And since then, I
watched her write another. It suddenly didn’t seem so impossible anymore, not
like some lofty dream.
I love that you’re
going after your dream! You wrote in your bio that you grew up bi-lingual. Was
that because of family or school? What made you write By the Light of the Moon
in English and not German?
My parents are German, but my mother lived in the States for
a while when she was in her early twenties and she still talked English to me
and my brother a little bit every now and again. It was in my early teens that
I really grew to adore the language — it was something silly like wanting to
watch Leonardo DiCaprio fall in love with Kate Winslet in his actual real voice
and not the weird German dubbing. And then later I wrote a lot of fanfiction
and the English-speaking internet is just so much more diverse and exciting.
Before I knew it, I kept my diary in English and only watched movies or read
books in it and by the time I went to University it was almost natural that I
would study it, too. Nobody was surprised. In my graduation yearbook it said
that I was everybody's English dictionary.
By now, English has become the language I express my
emotions in. German is the language of business and daily transaction, English
the world of my favourite books and tv-shows, the language of escapism. Also,
this will sound silly, but I really like adult scenes in books and that just
doesn’t work for me in German at all.
Also, the English-speaking world is always a few years ahead
when it comes to technology and the ebook market and what it means for
publishing and independent publishers and authors has only just begun to touch
Germany. This is also far, far more interesting in America.
It’s so cool that you
were the English dictionary! And as for the adult scenes, that’s really interesting!
I do agree that it’s easier to get a book published and known in English than
any other language. And I’m very glad that you wrote it in English or I wouldn’t
be able to read it! When you’re not writing what do you do?
I'm a huge nerd, or is that dork? — probably both. That’s the
consensus. I love a lot of tv shows, a bit obsessively so, I adore independent
music and can waste hours scouring the internet for obscure singer-songwriters
I have never heard of before. I also love photography and I play guitar a
little bit — and badly.
Lol I was wondering
about the guitar thing! And being a nerd is awesome :). Speaking of nerds, what
are your favorite books?
Oh that difficult question. It changes over time, obviously.
But at the moment, I’d say Juliet, Naked
by Nick Hornby. Um, 1Q84 by Haruki
Murakami and Silk by Alessandro
Baricco. But see already I feel all guilty as though the rest of my books are
all pouting at me now.
Ha! I should at least put in at least one American author,
shouldn’t I? I also deeply adore The
Fault in Our Stars and Audrey Niffenegger’s Time Traveler’s Wife. Ohh and the short story collection How to Breathe Under Water by Julie
Orringer. I’m really done now.
Haha, I get that
feeling all the time!! Lol, finally some titles I recognize! ;) And lastly,
because this is The Fantastical World of Wonders, if you could go anywhere in
the world, where would you go and why?
Hmm. Anywhere in the real world? There are a lot of places
I'd like to see, a lot of people I'd like to visit or meet but I think probably
to a nice, old-fashioned little cottage by the English coast, looking out over
the channel. A good wi-fi connection and a lot, a lot of free time.
That sounds positively
wonderful! Thank you very much for finding the time to let me interview you!
Aw, it was my pleasure — thank you! It was really fun.
About the Author
Laila Blake, born in 1985 in Cologne/Germany, is a bi-lingual author
and translator. She has an MA in Specialized Translating and has worked
with several research projects in Applied Linguistics and the language
acquisition. Teaching English to adults is still paying most of her
Growing up with a love of stories, she started her first epic fantasy
story at the age of 13. It didn’t grow past a few chapters and since
then, she has gone through a myriad of ideas and beginnings, both in
English and German, has learned a lot and lived a lot and dreamed of
being a writer.
In 2013, Crimson Romance picked her debut novel for publication and
she has been working on its sequel ever since. In the meantime, she has
also gotten short-stories into several erotic anthologies to be
published later this year, and has been working on other projects and
“By the Light of the Moon” will be released on the 8th of April and
constitutes her very first novel. The second book in the Lakeside
Series, tentatively titled “A Taste of Winter” will follow later the
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