Title: Reawakening (The Passage of Hellsfire, Book 3)
Author: Marc Johnson
Genre: YA Fantasy
To undo a mistake made a thousand years in the past, the wizard Hellsfire used his magic to bring down the Great Barrier that once divided the northern and southern lands. In doing so, he nearly brought war to his own homeland, and he afflicted the love of his life, Princess Krystal of Alexandria, with a potent and deadly curse.
Since then, Hellsfire has been working in Tyree with its Elemental Council, to rebuild its war-torn land and find a way to break Krystal’s curse. Now Krystal’s time is running out. As the princess fights for her life, Hellsfire learns that the wizard responsible for the curse—his old enemy Premier—is heading to the Burning Sands to steal the mysterious Jewel of Dakara.
If Hellsfire can capture Premier and learn the secret of the curse, he can save Krystal. But the Jewel of Dakara holds its own deadly secrets, and the hunt will take Hellsfire farther than he ever imagined, and cost him more than he bargained for.
The past is never gone nor buried…
I’m in a dimly lit room. It’s hard to make out my surroundings; all the light is drawn to Krystal, on the other side of the room. She looks as if she’s glowing. She turns to me and smiles, her violet eyes glimmering with playfulness. She poses with her hands on her hips, enticing me to come to her. I can’t resist. I never could.
I rush over to her, grab her hands, and spin her around. Her lighthearted laughter brings a warmth to my soul. Our hands lock onto each other and we spin around and around, laughing all the while.
I stop spinning and reel her in toward me. We begin to dance, our bodies getting ever closer to each other. I’m not a good dancer, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is the fact that we’re having fun, and the heat from her body flows into mine. Our feet stop and our eyes meet. Krystal is almost as tall as me, so I barely need to tilt my head down to kiss her. Our lips connect perfectly and we devour each other.
That’s when I start killing her.
Krystal’s smooth, beautiful face dries out and her veins blacken. She clutches me, and her scream nearly shatters my ears. I try to keep her from falling, frantically casting spells of healing, but my magic has no effect.
“Hellsfire…” she says with her dying breath.
I cradle her lifeless body against mine, wishing I had been able to save her. But I couldn’t. No matter how much magic I had, I was powerless against Renak’s curse. The curse that I had delivered to Krystal with my own touch.
I had had this dream countless times in the months since I had last seen her. And while I always knew it was merely a nightmare, it terrified me more than any army or monster I had ever faced.
A sharp ache spiking through my head tore me from my nightmare and forced me back into the waking world, cold sweat drenching my naked body. My web of protection had been breached. There was an intruder in my room. Instinctively, I hardened the air around me so that it would deflect any blow. I turned, scanning the dark room with my wizard’s sight. Just in time, I caught the faint glow of an enchanted sword above me. If it were the kind that cut through magic, my air shield wouldn’t hold. Instead, I funneled the air magic, using it to push me away from my attacker as he brought his sword down.
His sword sliced through my pillow, barely missing me as I was flung backward off the bed, crashing into the stone wall beyond. I released a portion of my flame, setting my bed ablaze. The flames attacked my intruder but the magic on his sword lit up, keeping them at bay.
Special Q&A With The Author
1) Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I’m a man with many interests. A lot of things in the world fascinate me so I’m always wanting to learn more. It makes it hard to focus sometimes, but what can you do?
2) Where and when did your writing journey begin?
I believe my writing journey began when I was 7 or 8. One of my earliest short stories was very similar to The Adventures of Milo and Otis. Instead, it was about a turtle. My turtle, in fact, since he had just ran away. It’s a long story—a long and sad story.
3) Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
I’ve had a slew of favorite authors over the years: Roahl Dahl, Louis Sachar, Jim Butcher, Kevin J. Anderson, Isaac Asimov, Harry Turtledove, and Stephen King just to name a few. It’s hard to say how they’ve influenced my writing. I don’t try to be like them or steal their ideas. Consciously, they remind of things to put certain things in my work. Subconsciously, who knows, I probably steal from them.
4) What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
My life’s pretty damn boring. I wake up far too early to go to the job that barely pays the bills. When I get home, I’m either watching Netflix, watching last night’s shows, playing video games, reading, surfing the net, napping, or checking my email. In between all that, or during it, I write. I do, however, spend most of my day thinking about writing, and when I dream, that’s where I tend to get my ideas from.
5) How did you come up with the idea for your novel, “Reawakening?”
I wish I could remember. Since it’s the third book in my The Passage of Hellsfire series, I like to think that I built on the previous two books. Without spoiling it, Reawakening gets very fantastical. Probably the most fantastical and magical book in the entire series. I want to say that I was heavily reading urban fantasy at the time I wrote the first draft. Even though my series is more high fantasy than urban fantasy, I’m still sure that influenced me a lot.
6) What do you think sets your novel apart from others current on the shelves?
With the exception of Brandon Sanderson’s works, all the fantasy I read today is dark, moody, and gritty with sarcastic, murderous, loner people, or basically Batman. There’s very little hope, adventure, or fun in them. That’s why I skip around genres when I read and why my favorite genre is chick-lit.
I like to think my series is a throwback to the old days where books weren’t so heavy. That’s not to say that things in my series don’t get dark at times, but they’re not a drag like everything is in today’s works. I get enough of that heavy downpour in reality. When I’m reading fiction, I’d like something a little lighter.
7) Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
In Reawakening, my favorite character is Brax. Part of it is because I modeled him after the Beast Wars Megatron. The other part is it’s because I get to let loose some of my darker thoughts and feelings. Being the villain or anti-hero is always fun. It’s far more freeing than trying to do the right thing all the time.
8) Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
Without spoiling too much, I’d say the scenes in the Netherrealm. Even though my book is fantasy and has magic and dragons, I still try to keep it grounded. However, the Netherrealm, I could do away with the rules of nature and write whatever I want as it’s my world. Is this what God feels like?
9) What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book?
That they enjoyed themselves in whatever capacity they deem fit. I write books for myself. I have an ache to get these crazy ideas out of my overflowing head. Whatever people take away from it, that’s their prerogative. Some people love the romance, others find wonder in the magic, while some cling onto the adventure. I can only write the best story I know how, and let the chips fall where they may.
11) What are your hopes for this novel?
Is there any other answer than I hope it sells well? While I’ve always wanted to be a big named author, I think in my old age, I’ve come to realize that that’s (probably) never going to happen. I just want people to take a chance on me. I think my stories are good since I work so hard on them. All I ask for is a chance on a chapter.
12) What do you have in store next for your readers?
I will be working on a short story or novella. I’m not entirely sure how long the story will end up being. It will be about a young woman who discovers she has the ability to slip into people’s bodies. It ends up driving her a little mad—in a murderous way!
About The Author
Marc Johnson has moved a lot since his parents divorced when he was two. He also can’t answer a straight question and has developed a taste for sarcastic wit over the years. Probably also for the same reason.
He hasn’t won any awards, but he does have a deep knowledge of Transformers, Star Trek, and The Twilight Zone–his top three geeky loves. He writes because he loves stories and hopes to one day have written something successful as a movie, TV show, comic, book, magazine, and play.
Marc Johnson also loves to game, whether it be video, card, or board. He loves to test his mind in the challenges they bring…until the zombie, alien, or robot apocalypse comes.