Blackbird Series, #1
Genre: Paranormal /Magical Realism Romance
Publisher: City Owl Press
Date of Publication: April 5, 2016
Number of pages: 346
Cover Artist: Tina Moss
When the world fears you, being Gifted is a curse.Excerpt:
In the cornerstone of the rural south, Brooklyn, Mississippi, no one dares make eye contact with the strange Caibre family. Until the rewards are worth the cost. The townsfolk come, cash in hand, always at night, to pay for services only a Gifted can provide.
No matter the Gifts prevalent in her family, at twenty-one, Tallulah is expected to follow the path laid out for her: marriage, babies, and helping her mama teach the family home school program. She’s resigned to live the quiet life and stay out of trouble… until she meets Logan.
An outsider and all around rebel, Logan doesn’t care about her family’s reputation. Yet after a tragic loss wreaks havoc on the crumbling relationship between the Caibres and the townsfolk, Tallulah must decide if love and freedom are worth risking everything.
Again, I waited for the laughter. Instead, Logan nodded, encouraging me to continue, and I realized that while part of me may have wanted him to bolt, but mostly, I really, really wanted to trust him.Interview:
I took a sip of my water to wet my dry throat. “So there’s my Grandma. Hers is the most important Gift. It is called Vigour, and it is pretty rare. Death and sickness are slower in her presence. She even ages slower. It drives my Mama crazy that Grandma has less wrinkles than she does. She’s also why our fruit trees are able to produce all year, and why our produce stand never has to close for the season.”
I plunged ahead, afraid that if I gave Logan one second of a chance, that I’d get that laugh or snide comment I’d been waiting on earlier. “Speaking of Mama, she can talk to birds. Crows are the chattiest, always gossiping and getting on her nerves. Daddy can call down the weather. He’s been known to shield the town from a few close calls with tornados. My sister Delia, and also my cousin Jack, they are Charmers. With a little eye contact they can convince anybody of anything.” I paused, looking down to my hands and smiling. “When we were little, Delia was always stealing candy. If a store clerk saw her, she’d just smile at them straight in the eye, and they would smile back, letting her take whatever she wanted. It’s also the reason Myrtle is so scared of her—but that’s a story for another time. I have a cousin who can see two minutes into your future just by touching you, and an Aunt who can—”
I stopped talking, suddenly aware that Logan was staring at me, open-mouthed. “Look, I know it sounds crazy. I do. But I swear I am telling you the truth.”
Here it comes, I thought, suddenly aware of how much his rejection would sting. I’d shared too much. Now it felt personal.
“I didn’t say that I think you are lying. It’s just— it’s a lot. What about you? What’s your Gift, Tallulah?” He asked, straight-faced. The look made me suspicious, fearful the skepticism was coming.
“Mine isn’t that clear cut. But it’s another reason—on quite a long list—of why this has to be our one and only date.”
Logan narrowed his eyes. “That I don’t understand. If I said that I believe what you are saying, then why couldn’t we at least have a chance at getting to know each other? Let’s just say that I bought into all this,” he said. “That I believe you come from some kind of motley band of rural super heroes—then why would I need to stay away? I would know what I was signing up for.”
I smiled. Motley band of rural super heroes…
“You believe me?” I asked. The possibility never occurred to me, not really. I had never, not once even imagined that he would believe me at face value. I mean, I’d hoped it. Really hoped. And I knew he would hear the rumors, but to an outsider they would sound like small town legend. It was actually something that my family had counted on over the years. One of the ways that we remained hidden in plain sight.
Logan shrugged. “I think I do,” he paused. “What if I told you I had my own secret? That there was something that I never really talked about because it made me sound crazy?”
I stared at him, my eyes narrowing. What could he possibly have to say, after hearing about my family, that he wouldn’t want to say for fear of sounding crazy? I think I had just covered enough crazy for the both us.
10 random things you didn’t know
about Em Shotwell10) I am not a natural red-head. (EEP! Please don’t kick me out of the club!) Worse than that- in high-school, My sis colored her hair red all the time and I completely made fun of her—you know—like jerk-big-sisters do…Now I am the ginger-wanna-be! These freckles are all mine, though, lol. (Side note- me and sis are great friends now).
9) I moved a lot growing up. Like- a LOT lot. I changed schools ten times between 5th grade and my senior year. I have lived all over the southern United States—from North Carolina down to coastal Alabama. I got really good at observing people- which I think has benefitted my ability to craft believable characters.
8) I am a complete geek. I love Doctor Who, Star Wars, Firefly, and all things Marvel. I get it honest though- I grew up on Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I think everyone should like what they like and embrace who they are. ☺
7) I had cancer as a teenager. Yep. My 17th year was pretty much fodder for an over-the-top angst ridden teenage romance novel. Except it really happened. I met my (now) husband a week before my diagnosis and we have been together ever since. He shaved his head, I wore a quirky pink wig. He stopped being a college party boy to hang with me in the pediatric cancer ward. It’s why “insta-love” doesn’t bother me in books. I lived it.
(Just FYI-In real life, it is not sexy to have your boy-friend hold your hair while you puke. You are puking. You want to be left alone).
I made friends and lost friends in the cancer ward and it forever changed how I view everyday experiences.
6) I am a huge foster care advocate! If you can, you should volunteer. If you don’t have time, but want to help then you should consider donating. If you wanna do something huge for a foster child—consider becoming a Casa volunteer.
5) In high school I worked on the newspaper (at one of the many schools I attended). I also wrote some truly terrible plays. I still have one of them. It’s bad. Really, really bad.
4) I come from a family of story-tellers. When I was little, my uncle had me (and all of my many, many cousins) convinced that the jabberwocky lived in the woods behind his house. My Dad and Mom wrote stories and I was convinced by my Mamaw that the boogey-man was named Sam Pokey and hid around her house.
3) Blackbird Summer is my first novel- but the book you are reading now has been through many renditions. I re-wrote that sucker (with major plot changes) So. Many. Times. I love the resulting story so much, though, and I hope you will too!
2) I am originally a Mississippi girl- but I now claim Louisiana as home. I have a love affair with Cajun and Creole food. I live near the heart of tiger country (LSU, Baton Rouge) and a piece of my heart belongs to the city of New Orleans.
1) It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Writing was always a dream—but like so many people—I was scared to chase that dream. Now I am so glad that I did (and you can too! Follow your passion—even if you have to do it in small steps).
While I was figuring out who I was, I worked as a vet tech, I sold outdoor fountains, I was a hairstylist, I sold cowboy boots, I taught pre-school, I taught exercise classes, I was a bridal consultant…these are just a few of the jobs I held. Through them all, I was always writing.
Em Shotwell is the author of Blackbird Summer with City Owl Press. She believes the most interesting characters are the ones who live on the sidelines, and that the smallest towns often hide the biggest secrets.
Em’s characters will bless your heart between sips of sweet tea- but be warned! There is often more to them than meets the eye. She loves to craft stories around outcasts and weirdos with a spark of magic and a penchant for finding trouble.
She lives in South Louisiana with a husband who spoils her and two mini-superheroes who call her mom. When she isn’t writing about misfits and oddballs, she enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, and debating Doctor Who facts with her obsessed ten year old.
To connect with the author online:
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