Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Kiss Me Kill Me Blog Tour: Talking with Sarwat Chadda part 1

Book one of Sarwat Chadda's Devil's Kiss series
Sarwat himself, playing Templar Knight. (Or maybe he's not playing... Hmmmm...)

Before I begin the real post, let me just squeal mightily (squeeeeeeee!) that Amazon now has HAUNTED in stock!! And it's not even 2/1! It's really really really here. I am so excited for everyone to find out what Anne and Ethan and Tess and the gang have been up to!

On with the post!

So there I was, signing Haunted ARC’s at the Sourcebooks booth at NCTE and having the best of chats with Kay and Melissa – two of my favourite Sbooks folks – when up comes Sarwat Chadda, who was signing his own books not far down the aisle at the Disney Hyperion booth.

Now let me say that for me, this was the equivalent of say, JK Rowling wandering over and saying – as Sarwat did – “Hi Joy. I’ve been anxious to meet you. When your signing’s done do you have time for a drink and a chat.” You could have bowled me over with the proverbial feather. If you don’t believe me, ask Kay Mitchell; she will verify.

And here’s the thing – we’d both – Sarwat and I – been google stalking each other. Because we’d both realized that quite independently from one another using the same Russian historical and folkloric figures – specifically – Baba Yaga, Vasilisa the Brave, Anastasia Romanov, and even Koschei the Deathless (whom you’ll meet in my third book) Clearly we did have a lot to talk about.

Since then, we’ve joined forces; I’m appearing on his blog as part of his Kiss Me Kill Me Blog Tour (with most of my writerly idols like Maggie Stiefvater and Holly Black and Carrie Ryan!) and he’s appearing here on my blog as part of the same event.

Tomorrow, we’ll be chatting about Russian folklore and all the things we discussed as we sat on a bench at Disney World and realized that both had a great love for these characters, a good cup of tea and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It’s a writer match made in heaven, I tell you!

But today, I’m reviewing his first novel, The Devil’s Kiss and giving you a description of the second novel – about to release here in the US – Dark Goddess.

First, here’s Amazon’s product description of Devil’s Kiss:

There's Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself....And Billi SanGreal.

As the youngest and only female member of the Knights Templar, Bilquis SanGreal grew up knowing she wasn't normal. Instead of hanging out at the mall or going on dates, she spends her time training as a soldier in her order's ancient battle against the Unholy.

Billi's cloistered life is blasted apart when her childhood friend, Kay, returns from Jerusalem, gorgeous and with a dangerous chip on his shoulder. He's ready to reclaim his place in Billi's life, but she's met someone new: amber-eyed Michael, who seems to understand her like no one else, effortlessly claiming a stake in her heart.

But the Templars are called to duty before Billi can enjoy the pleasant new twist to her life. One of the order's ancient enemies has resurfaced, searching for a treasure that the Templars have protected for hundreds of years -- a cursed mirror powerful enough to kill all of London's firstborn. To save her city from catastrophe, Billi will have to put her heart aside and make sacrifices greater than any of the Templars could have imagined.

And here’s what Joy has to say:

I loved Devil’s Kiss. Billi’s a great hero. We meet her as she undergoes her final challenge to become an official Templar. Let’s just say it involves killing a big bad evil – in the guise of a little boy. After which she has to go home and do homework. I was hooked from that moment on. Billi’s exactly the type of character I love best – conflicted, strong, intense. Her moral compass knows her true north, but she gets lost at times. Her father – for reasons you learn later in the novel and which I will not divulge – has not shown her much love. She’s got surprising warm and fuzzy feelings for childhood friend and Templar psychic Kay, and she makes a huge wrong turn with mysterious handsome hottie Michael. It’s okay to me that Michael’s character screams ‘bad guy’ from the moment he appears. That’s what I love about classic dramatic irony. The reader can shout at Billi to beware at the same time that we realize that she is going to make this mistake on her own – and that the consequences are going to be deep. Sarwat doesn’t go easy on his characters: a true hero must sacrifice and Billi is no exception. When Kay carelessly unleashes a lethal power, Billi must help save the world from destruction. The results are heartbreaking – and set the stage for more Templar adventures and a hero who realizes that in the end she must rely on herself – that saving the world is a long and lonely business – especially for a teenage girl who should probably be texting her friends about boys and doing her math homework, not killing demons and vampires and werewolves and fighting fallen angels.

I also quite enjoyed the mixture of paranormal, religious, mystery and romance elements. As a genre-blender myself, I was right at home. I can hardly wait to dig into Dark Goddess and see what’s in store next for Billi. Plus Baba Yaga appears in DG!! It’s a must read!!
Stay tuned for tomorrow's fascinating discussion w/Sarwat about all things Russian folklore.

And until then, make sure to stop by his blog for the rest of the Kiss Me Kill Me Tour. Each Monday, he's interviewing a different paranormal author (our books, not us... although...). This past Monday he chatted werewolves with the fabulously talented Maggie Stiefvater. This coming Monday is Cindy Pon's (Silver Phoenix and the forthcoming, Fury of the Phoenix) turn. I got to meet Cindy for the first time at NCTE, too, although we've been virtual chit chatters for a long time.

So link thee to the tour right now, gentle readers! Cause there are prizes!! Books! Swag! Really cool stuff!


Janet Fox said...

Sign me up!! I loved this post and can't wait to read the rest...

Kari said...

I liked the review for this book so much that I ran right out and got it. I haven't started reading it yet because I'm reading I Am Number Four, but I'll be delving into it soon. Thanks for putiing it up here!