The Summer Solstice Enchanted
by K.K. Allen
Publication Date: June 10, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
After Katrina Summer’s mother dies a mysterious death, she is hurtled into life at Apollo Beach where she learns the legends of her Ancient Greek ancestors. Kat’s world unravels as secrets from her heritage are exposed—secrets that her mother purposefully concealed. Leading to her 16th birthday, the day of the Summer Solstice, Kat becomes frightened when enigmatic visions and disturbing dreams haunt her. As her visions become reality fear turns to terror as powerful forces threaten the lives of those around her. Amidst the turmoil, Kat meets Alec Stone, who becomes her sole solace in an evocative world of mythological enchantment and evil prophecies that lurk around every corner . . .
As the surrounding air swirls and the ocean waves grow, I stand still. Allowing my feet to sink beneath the sand, I watch in solitude as the water rages and towers over me, threatening me with its roar. There are voices—no—screams on the other side of the beach. I take a moment to turn my head in that direction, but all I see are orange billowing flames and a screen of black smoke that is suddenly choking me. My hands rush to my throat—I can’t breathe—I’m falling into the sand, bound to this spot, sand holding my entire body prisoner as I attempt to make out the scene before me. The smoke is too thick, blinding my senses. Except my hearing. I can hear every single terrifying sound as their screams grow louder and the last of my senses dissolve . . . then I collapse.
Q&A with the Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I was born in Hawaii, raised in Washington State, and moved to Florida in 2008. I graduated from the University of Washington with a Communications degree and have since worked in creative and digital media as a Project Manager. As a young girl I dreamt of being a dancer, a singer (but I couldn’t/can’t carry a tune), and a film editor. It makes sense now that it really didn’t matter what I’d become, as long as I was telling a story.
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
My passion for writing came about when I was twelve years old. I remember the age so clearly because it was the age I started crushing hard on someone, life started getting a bit more complicated, and I met my best friend of (now) 22 years introduced me to reading. I loved reading so much I woke up one day wanting to tell my own story. I wrote my first novel that summer. I never did stop writing. However, it was only two years ago when I decided to publicize something I’d written because I loved the story so much (The Summer Solstice Enchanted). With a nudge from one of my friends, I went for it.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
My favorite genre to read has always been Contemporary Romance. Writers like Nicholas Sparks who speaks from an ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘innocence of love’ perspective and Jane Green who infuses her stories with comedy, were my first favorite writers. Since then my tastes have expanded a great deal to love the lyrical writing of Gayle Foreman, the emotional writing of K.A. Tucker, and the addicting writing of Jamie McGuire. When I write my main goal is to tell an enjoyable story, one that may be complex, but to tell it in a way that’s easy to follow.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I wish I could tell you I wake up, eat breakfast, write three chapters, go to the gym, write two more chapters, and then attend extravagant cocktail parties. Ha. At this point in my writing career I haven’t earned the luxury of writing full time. I’m a single mom to an awesome four-year old, I work an average of 55 hours a week at my day job, and then spend 2-3 hours a day writing (if I’m lucky) a day. On the weekends I get a bit more time to write and I take advantage of every second. For now, it seems to be working out okay.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
The ideas for the Summer Solstice Series derived from research and the want to tailor the story to supernatural events, but I also wanted it to be original. No forbidden vampire romance, or shifting teenagers . . . not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things. Those stories have already been told and I didn’t know how to tell them any better. Playing off a particular time of the year and focusing on the changes teen girls go through was just the start. Research helped me hone in on the aspects of Greek Mythology I introduced and what types of characters made an appearance. The thing I love about Greek Mythology is that the tales may have been based on true events but they were told to explain information that was difficult to process. Over time, those stories blended so much with truth that it became hard to separate truth from fiction. In my series, my characters live within those same blended walls. Is it reality, or is it fantasy?
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
The Summer Solstice Enchanted is an introduction to a series that is now just a trilogy, but there are hints at expanding that trilogy and I look forward to playing with that. But this is not just a Contemporary Fantasy series. It’s a Coming of Age story that is also a clean read that all ages can enjoy. The cover may also be deceiving because more males have become entranced with this story than females. Also, there is nothing ‘insta’ about this series. All storylines within these novels progress over time and they happen to connect in surprising ways.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
Katrina Summer is obviously my favorite because I write the story through her eyes. I love how she grows throughout the series and wants to do the right thing despite her circumstances and her past. She’s rewarded in a number of ways, but only because she’s able to accept others and keep an open mind to the world she’s fallen into. It’s hard not to inject a small piece of myself into my main protagonist. I would say her awkwardness early on and passion for nature all comes from me.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
The action scenes are by far my favorite to write. The vanity scene and the bonfire scene stick out in my mind in Enchanted, but I also love writing the emotional scenes—where Kat connects with her grandmother and her love interest. There are few in the Summer Solstice Series but that picks up as the story continues through the next two books. The Descendants has it all and that was definitely my favorite book in the series to write.
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
Hopefully you read book one and want to continue the journey because there is so much more. Enchanted was only ever meant to be a warm-up to the series. The story really hasn’t even begun. The Descendants is well worth your time to complete the series. Also, the series touches lightly on bullying and self-confidence at such a young age where girls (especially) are learning to come into their own and empower themselves. Katrina Summer is a perfect example of a young girl overcoming normal teen obstacles.
10) What are your hopes for this novel?
I just want people to read it and enjoy it and continue the journey. Allow the first book to give you some background and plan to dive into the story in Book 2, The Equinox. If you do enjoy it, please let me know because I have big plans for future spin-offs and storylines related to this first trilogy.
11) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I’m currently working on a completely different book, a New Adult Contemporary Romance titled Up in the Treehouse about a childhood friendship that grows into something much more complicated as time goes on. I haven’t released any details yet, but the first draft is almost complete and that’s when I’ll begin releasing more information. So stay tuned! After that, I do plan to jump back into the Summer Solstice Series and continue the storyline, because there’s so much more to tell =)
About the Author
K.K. Allen is the Contemporary Fantasy / Romance author of stories inspired by nature, magic and love. She loves manatees, learned to swim for the mere purpose of pretending she was a mermaid, and adores the beach so much she promises to one day live on one (in a tent if she has to) in Hawaii and serve snow cones on the side of the road. K.K.’s Summer Solstice series (The Summer Solstice Enchanted, The Equinox, and The Descendants) are now available! Her short story, Soaring, is available in the Echoes of Winter YA anthology.
Amazon Author Page: http://smarturl.it/KKAllen