I love when I get the chance to showcase new authors on my blog. This week I’m even more excited to introduce a talented young author published by Totally Bound.
Please welcome…Erik Clarke as he sits ‘On the Bench’ and previews his latest ‘Super Novel’ length book Wonder from the Spellbound series. To be honest, I am a little jealous that Erik has found the time to write three super novel length books. Shouldn’t you be studying or something, Erik? 😉
Erik Clarke is still trying to figure out how to balance work, school, writing, and the ever-elusive “social life”. He’s also still trying to figure out when the outlandish plots and crazy characters he’d scribbled into the margins of his notebooks for years somehow coalesced into an actual novel.
Born in Ohio and now struggling through the constant love/hate relationship that is living in the beautiful but sweltering Arizona landscape, Erik is thankful every day for the incredible, supportive family and friends that surround him—and for the sheer joy that writing two characters to their happily ever after can bring.
Author Interview Questions.
What was the first book you had published?
The first book I ever had published was actually Night, the first book in my current series, Spellbound. I’d written lots of things before that, more stories than I can count that never got further than a few pages or (on the lucky ones) a few chapters, but Night was the first plot that I finally managed to buckle down on enough to get it completed, and luckily it got picked up!
What was your initial reaction when offered that first contract?
I was shocked, honestly. To have a publishing company like the first book that I’d gotten finished was such a dream come true. It was so crazy to me to have achieved this dream of mine that I’d always just kind of had sitting in the back of my mind, that I’d figured I wouldn’t get to until I was a lot older. It was very surreal.
Of the books you have written is there one that holds a special place in your heart and why?
The second book in the Spellbound series, Monster, is very special to me. As much as I love my first book, I learned so much in the editing process of that one, and having to read over it so many times really shaped the way that I wrote the second book. Every interaction between Syler and Max in that book is just full of frustration and attraction and emotion, and I just feel like it’s some of the most honest content I’ve ever written. So much of the book is them sparring, and it was so fun to write because it felt very real to me, very human and grounded even though it’s set in this big, supernatural world full of magic.
Are you a disciplined writer or do you have to wait for the muse to arrive? Do you have a ritual that gets you in the mood?
I try to be diligent about getting writing done when I have the chance, because with school and my job the times that I actually have to write can end up being kind of few and far between, so I really have to take advantage of them. But the amount that gets done at each of those times definitely changes depending on the mood I’m in. Some days, it’s just a few hundred words, and then at other times when the muse really hits me I’ve written over 10,000 words in one sitting. It’s very hit or miss, which can get stressful when a deadline’s approaching.
What was the last book you read?
I actually just went back and read one of my favorite books, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I had to read it when I was in high school and I fell in love. Distopian books have always fascinated me, and Brave New World is by far my favorite, just by virtue of its dark humor and sarcasm.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on something very different from what I’ve written in the past. It’s sci-fi, rather than the paranormal that I’ve always written before, and it definitely is a darker kind of book than my other ones. It pushes into subjects and desires that don’t pop up in the Spellbound books, and there is a much more pronounced focus on the mental aspects. I’m not sure yet if it’s the start of a new series or a standalone, but it will give people a taste of a different side of my writing, I can say that much.
What genre would you like to try and write that is different from your own?
Honestly, the sci-fi one that I’m working on right now was a genre that I was very excited to go into. I grew up on Star Trek and Star Wars and games like Halo and Dead Space, so sci-fi has always been very near and dear to my heart. Putting my spin on that (with a gay erotica twist) has been lots of fun so far. I also want to try my hand at something contemporary soon, just to see if I can write something that doesn’t have to have magic or spaceships for a backdrop.
When you receive edits are you Teary and Disillusioned or Feisty and Focussed?
I always figured that I was going to be very teary and disillusioned when I got my edits, and on my first book at least, when I saw the sheer amount of things to fix, I definitely felt that way for a little bit. But I’ve found now that I actually get very feisty once I start to read them, which I hadn’t necessarily expected from myself. I can get real defensive real quick, I’ve found out. But that fire helps me get through them quickly and they’re always very helpful, so it all works out.
What is one thing in your books you’d like to try?
I never intended to write in the first person perspective. Literally everything I’d written before Night had been third person, and then by some turn of events that book just came out in first person to my surprise as much as anyone else’s. It just felt natural, and that set a precedent for the rest of the series. Now I’m so used to first person that third person feels strange, so I’m trying with this new story to get back into the feel of that perspective again.
Now for some hard hitters with an Aussie flavour!
A sport /sportsperson that you watch? (C’mon there must be one) OR An embarrassing sporting memory.
I love watching basketball, which is funny, because I never really played it except occasionally in P.E. class (I don’t really have the height for it…), but it’s just such nonstop motion that it’s easy to stay engaged. I also like watching baseball a lot as well, although it’s been a few seasons since I actually did.
Favourite Aussie Author/Actor /Musician?
I love the musician Sia. Her music has just gotten popular here in the U.S. in the last couple years, although I know she’s written a lot of other performer’s hits before that without anyone really knowing it, but I think she’s amazing. Her latest album is one that I can just leave on repeat and listen to from start to finish without having to skip anything, which is so rare for me.
Your view on Vegemite?
Never tried it, but if my YouTube obsession has taught me anything, it’s that I probably wouldn’t be a fan… Although I’m definitely willing to give it a try! Even if just once…
Formal dinner party or backyard barbeque?
Barbeque, all the way. I like getting dressed up and all, but formal dinners make me even more uncomfortable than social events normally make me, and that’s saying something. Just hanging out with family or friends informal style helps put me more at ease.
Adventure holiday or relaxing by the pool?
Relaxing poolside. I love doing adventurous things every now and then just to keep things spiced up, but more often than not I work myself up into a ball of stress if I think about impending adventurous-y stuff for too long, so most of the time just hanging out is a better bet for me.
Favourite Aussie holiday place or one you’ve always wanted to visit?
I’d love to go see the Great Barrier Reef, although I’d probably want to learn to snorkel or scuba first. Uluru looks like it would be awesome to see, too.
***Wonder is the third book in the Spellbound series and is up for preorder September 12th, pre-sale September 26th, and general release October 24th.***
To find out the truth and join with his Vampire mate, Blake may have to pay a steep price—his sanity.
It’s not that Blake Hollister doesn’t want to be the mate of the town’s resident hottie Vampire, Adam Harkin. Just the opposite—with everything else in his life going to hell, that’s the one thing Blake wants more than anything. But fate has other ideas. Blake is Dormant, meaning his magical powers never manifested when he came of age, leaving him doomed to be forever connected with magic, but never able to access it. Sex between magical beings and non-magics is risky at first and becomes exponentially more dangerous, and Adam isn’t willing to harm his mate, effectively pausing their relationship until some solution can be found.
At the same time, darker things are manifesting in Kelvin. Secrets buried in the ruins of the town’s old amusement park, Wonderworld, threaten to destroy the fragile peace. And when Blake finally convinces Adam to give sex a shot despite the risk, the destructive effects to his mind that he tries to hide threaten to drive him insane. Blake’s once structured life begins to shatter—days turn into fractured memories of events he can’t be sure really occurred, a broken slideshow of night clubs, theme parks, and torrid sex. Dreams and reality, past and present, betrayal and loyalty are all on a collision course, and at the center stands the mercury-eyed fantasy that Blake is beginning to think he might love—if the long-forgotten truth about Adam’s brutal change from human to Vampire doesn’t turn the entire town against each other first…
Something shuffling in the shadows cast by the trees drew me toward the dark overgrowth off the edge of the street. It was just as likely to be another bird, but the whispered edges of magic at the corners of my vision hooked into my mind and wouldn’t let me ignore the possibility of something more. A shape shifted in the bushes, but I couldn’t make it out in the darkness, so I warily took a step closer.
I spun around to face the voice behind me, pivoting so fast I almost landed flat on my ass again.
Adam grinned at me from the cluster of trees in the middle of the plaza, sitting on one of the lowest branches. When he saw I’d caught sight of him, he rocked back and pushed off the bough as he fell backward, using the momentum to somersault once in the air before landing cleanly on his feet.
“Hey there, hot stuff. I was gonna just come to you, you know?”
My mouth was suddenly so dry I could hardly swallow. The Vampire was moving toward me, closing the gap between us with each of his long strides, and I took a step back by reflex. The massive trees that had enveloped this place left most of it plunged in shadow at all times, the courtyard no exception, but there were patches of sunlight streaming down through the canopy. For a half-second I considered moving into one of them, but that wouldn’t stop the Vamp if he really wanted it—the superior senses of his kind made sunlight painful, but it wasn’t like he was going to burst into dust if it touched him.
You’re the one who went looking for him, you dumbass. Why are you backing away now?
With an unsteady breath, I held my ground, trying to stand straight, look a little more intimidating. That all kind of went out of the window a moment later, though, as a faltering, “U-uh… What?” fell from my lips. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment, silently cursing myself for my idiocy.
When I opened them a second later, Adam was suddenly in front of me, his hands coming to rest on my chest and drifting downward. My breath hitched and I grabbed the hands he had now settled on my hips, using the stance to steady myself even as the fiery warmth of his skin sent a chill up my spine. The Vampire smiled incredulously, the beginnings of a furrow forming at his brow.
I stood perfectly still for seconds that seemed to drag indefinitely, looking into his eyes as though there was some answer to my unspoken questions there. Adam held my gaze easily, letting his own drift just enough to take in the rest of my face before centering again. A subtle tingle worked through my veins the longer I looked at the Vampire’s flawless features, an echo of the sexual abandon I’d let overtake me the night before. Images of groping hands and roaming kisses flickered across my mind’s eye, and my breath started to quicken.
What is wrong with me lately?
I swallowed hard and gritted my teeth to keep from backing up, trapped somewhere between confusion and overdrive need. “Y-you aren’t using your aura.” It was true—the venting swirl of marks that usually surrounded a Vamp when they were trying to lure someone in was nowhere to be found. My eyes drifted closed as my head threatened to spin. “So why do I feel like…like this?”
Adam pressed closer, bringing our bodies together until they touched, one of his hands still on my hip, the other now squeezed between us and running over my crotch. “What do you feel?” His voice was liquid fire, deep and low in a way that made my spine shudder.
I death-gripped his shoulder and thrust against his hand. “Want.” I shivered and started to slowly roll my hips forward. “Need. So bad I can’t think of anything else…” Adam’s hand came up to the side of my face and I leaned into his touch, crushing my lips to his when I felt him come close. Animal energy burned in my heart, and I grabbed Adam’s wrist between us and moved him up until his fingertips were brushing the waist of my jeans. The Vampire pushed down between the sensitive skin at the base of my stomach and the elastic of my boxers, and I arched my back to help him slip into place. My legs threatened to give out as he brushed his fingers over my head and moved deeper.
“I’ve waited so long to find you, al meu…”
Adam’s mouth stole across mine again, and I groaned, fighting to stay lucid enough to bring together the shattered pieces of my thoughts. Something about what he’d just said was important, but damn it, his lips felt so soft and warm, and his hand was about to make me paint the inside of my jeans white the fun way…
I brought my hand up to Adam’s chest and pushed hard, using what little mind I had left to break us apart so I could take a breath. The Vampire groaned and tried to come closer again, but I locked my elbow and held him at arm’s length. Surging platinum seas bored into me, but I used the small distance to help my head clear, help me feel like my old self again instead of this sex-hungry…monster Adam kept turning me into.
“What do you mean ‘so long’?” I managed to keep the quiver out of my voice, but the shakes slowly overtaking my body the longer I stayed distant were going to make that impossible soon. The Vampire smirked, running a hand through his wild black hair to push it back.
“I was afraid I might join the century club before I found my al meu.” He started to move closer again, forcing my arm to bend no matter how hard I fought, so I stepped back and dropped my hands to make the gap more impactful. He slowed his approach, the bare traces of confusion flickering across his features. “What’s wrong, Blake?”
I wasn’t sure yet. There were too many things to count. One of those was definitely the fact that he somehow knew my name—and that he’d known I’d had sex, and known the exact moves it took to make me lose it, and that he seemed to have this all figured out while I felt like my head was going to fucking explode. I let my mouth take over, carving a path through my disparate thoughts to voice whatever it thought was most vital.
“Before you found your what? W-what does al meu mean?” The foreign word rolled smoothly off my tongue, not a language I was familiar with, but a phrase that made strange tingles needle in my chest nonetheless.
Adam cocked his eyebrow. “Technically, the word means mine.”
His brow furrowed, as though all of this should have been obvious to me somehow, but to hear my brain tell it, everything was making less than no sense. I licked my lips, rubbing idly at my left arm.
The Vampire stepped forward slowly, carefully, and this time I let him without resistance. He still kept his distance, now looking me over like I was some terrified animal, ready to bolt at any moment. “I was saying I’ve waited so long to find my mate.”
I stared at him blankly, the words not quite connecting in my head even as the ache in my chest went supernova.
“I’ve waited so long to find you, Blake.”
Given the powers of an Incubus,
could you resist the urge to take the one man you’ve always secretly wanted?
Find out more about Erik’s Spellbound series here :
Scarred. Resentful. Alone…
Six years away from Max may have changed Syler too much for him to risk rekindling their relationship.