Sunday, October 6, 2013

Author Spotlight: Mara Valderran

Author Mara Valderran is stopping by today with an excerpt from her novel Heirs of War...

Seventeen-year-old Zelene doesn't believe in magic or prophecies. When she's told she is part of the prophecy foretelling five powerful girls bringing peace to the war-torn worlds, she scoffs. The idea of other dimensions layered on top of the world she lives in is almost as ludicrous as the idea that she might be able to save them. After she is attacked by magic-wielding assassins, she finds she can't argue with reality.

As their enemies strike, the girls are taken back to their world and discover the ties binding them together. Rhaya has always had an uncanny knack for reading people, but can’t seem to unravel the mystery tying her to Isauria, the new friend she bonded with instantly. For years, Isauria has been dreaming of Terrena, a girl living her life on the run in a magical world ripped apart by the tragedies of war, completely unaware that she is psychically linked to the world she was born in.

Zelene views them all with a distrustful eye, familial bonds or no, and can think of a place or two she’d like to shove the crown she supposedly inherited. When she learns that her long-lost twin Ariana has been captured by the rebels, Zelene’s attitude changes. She doesn’t know how she is supposed to go against an army of magic-wielding rebels when her own ability to manipulate the elements is still locked within her. But can she trust the elders to rescue Ariana when it seems their medieval politics are what brought about the war in the first place? With all that is at stake, the answer becomes clear to Zelene.

Screw the worlds. She’s getting her sister back.


Rhaya's thin eyebrow arched as she studied the ring of trees they were standing in. They were incredibly large trees with branches that seemed to arch over them to form a canopy overhead, leaving very little sunlight to peek through the gaps in the leaf roof above them. But she still couldn't understand the significance of this place. They had run as fast as they could to Liam's awaiting car, and then they had driven for what felt like an eternity though in reality it had only been about an hour or so.
And now, after all the running, committing multiple traffic violations, and maybe even bending the laws of physics as she knew them, they were simply standing there. Isauria still assaulted her father with questions as they walked, but he refused to answer, his brows drawn down in a stubborn line matching his crossed arms as they rested over his chest. Raemann wasn't proving to be any more forthcoming as he crossed back and forth from each side of the circle they were in the middle of.
Rhaya turned around and followed the path her father had made. He had knelt before the largest trees, using his finger to draw symbols in the sand in front of the gnarled roots. She stepped closer to inspect the first symbol he had drawn, but he quickly snatched her back.
"You don't want to be too close to the edge when it activates," Raemann warned her as the slight breeze around them picked up.
Rhaya was going ask why when she noticed the change in the atmosphere. Every inch of her skin tingled with energy around them; she felt as though whatever was happening was passing through her, yet somehow out of her reach at the same time. The air whipped her hair violently around her face, and even though she felt not all too far from Dorothy on her way to Oz, she found herself laughing.
Isauria let out a slight yelp and latched onto her hand, but Rhaya held the other one out with curiosity, turning it this way and that as the moist heat from air managed to cool her, sending a ripple of goose flesh across her skin. She sucked in a breath as the forest floor beneath them began to quiver, and suddenly Raemann was at her arm, holding her steady as their amazed grins found one another. His eyes held the same sparkle as hers: one full of wonder and adventure. The shared excitement came to an abrupt end as a bright blue light seemed to engulf them, leaving all four shielding their gaze against the luminescent glow. When she opened them again, they seemed to be standing in the same exact ring of trees as before.
"Okay," Rhaya said, still disoriented and extremely perplexed as she looked around the all too familiar setting. "That was more than a little anticlimactic. What just happened?"
"We traveled through a portal," Liam answered as he scanned the terrain surrounding them.
He directed a scowl to Raemann that held a warning Rhaya didn’t quite understand. Her own face still held confusion as she waited for him to give her something more to go on.
Noticing her expectant look, he explained, "The place we are in now—"he cut himself off as he threw a weary glance to Isauria, "is different."
Isauria gave their surroundings an exaggerated glance. "Really? Cause everything looks the same to me."
Liam placed a hand on her back, guiding her forward. "It's not, I assure you. Think of this area here as a hallway surrounded by doors. Each door is a world. The symbols we drew in the sand are the keys, unlocking the door we want to go through."
"Why five symbols?" Rhaya asked. She couldn't help but think back to her favorite space traveling archaeologist and what he might think of the symbols used. "Why not seven? Or eight?"
Raemann's face lit up, and she could tell he was eager as always to indulge her inquisitive mind. "Watch this!" He grabbed a stick from outside the ring of trees and began dragging the tip across the ground, creating lines connecting the five largest trees. "Look."
Isauria stared at the path he had created in the dirt, turning around several times to see the full picture. "You played connect the dots with the trees."
Rhaya walked into the center of the circle, and thus the lines Raemann had created. "You created a pentacle with the lines."
"Yes," he said, his grin widening to show his dimples. "There are five symbols for five points. Tell me, Isauria, do you know what the pentacle represents?"
Isauria thought this over for a moment, giving a mocking glare to Rhaya, who bit back a Hermione-like smile; almost as if she was trying to keep the inevitable correct answer trapped in her throat as she clamped her mouth tight as if the words might tumble out. "It's a Wiccan symbol or something."
"Yes," Raemann agreed. "And this symbol represents the connection between us—people—and the elements. Each point represents one of the four elements: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. The fifth one," he said pointing to the top of the star he had drawn, "represents Spirit. You girls are special because you also represent an element."
"Alright, lesson over, Raemann," Liam interjected as he saw realization begin to dawn on his ward's face, quickly followed by skepticism. "We need to get moving. We have no idea how many were there, and if they suspect we left, this will be the first place they look."
“You’re going to have to explain things to her, Liam,” Raemann said in a lowered voice.
The two men locked each other with fierce stares as if they were silently battling who was right before Liam stalked off.


Amazon: Not Available Yet
Barnes & Noble: Link TBA

About the Author:

Mara Valderran has been coming up with stories pretty almost since she could talk, often commandeering her brother's G.I. Joes to play out her fictional tales alongside her Barbies. Once she hit adolescence and realized playing with dolls wasn't cool anymore, she started putting her ideas to paper. And she hasn’t stopped since.

Mara has worn many different artistic hats throughout her life. She has dabbled in screenwriting, plucked guitars and basses, toyed with singing, retired from acting, and drawn some pretty mean stick figures in her time. However, writing books seems to fit her best as she finds nothing more fulfilling than creating worlds and characters she can lose herself in.

Mara is more than just a madwoman with a writing box. She lives in the south with her husband and demanding cat. She hopes to one day meet Daniel Jackson from SG1, or at least the actor who played him. When she’s not writing, you can find her reading, playing video games, or spending time at her favorite local coffee shop.