Today I’m participating in the blog tour for the first book in the Venators series, Magic Unleashed. This is a fantasy book with many different creatures. Today I’m going to tell you about the book, author and there’s also a little author Q&A! Keep on reading to find out more.
Welcome to Eon. An alternate dimension where fantasy and paranormal is reality, and humans sit at the bottom of the food chain. In this world of unadulterated power and ability, the innocent suffer greatly. The ruling council of Eon has selected two humans, born of the Venator bloodline, and brought them through the gate—wishing to manipulate their strength and special abilities for the council’s corrupt purposes. But, Grey and Rune have very different ideas.
When their college dorm is infiltrated by creatures from another realm, Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and old friend Grey Malteer are thrown into unexpected, twisted chaos. While Rune and Gray are able to escape, Ryker is kidnapped away to Eon, the alternate world from whence these dark beings came.
With the help of a supernatural guide, Rune and Gray must now travel to Eon to save Ryker, and discover the illuminating truth about their ancestry. In this new world of fae, vampires, werewolves, and wizards, power is abundant and always in flux. Rune and Grey are being set up as pawns in a very dangerous game and must find their way through – and out of – Eon before it consumes them.
“Fast-paced and supernaturally entertaining. It will leave you hungry for more!” –Addison Moore, New York Times bestselling author of the Celestra series
“What an original and captivating fantasy! Venators: Magic Unleashed will suck you in, keep you guessing, and leave you breathless for more. I can’t wait for the next book!” –Chelsea Fine, bestselling author of the Archers of Avalon series
What motivated you to begin crafting your own YA stories?
I was a theater major and a singer and had taken a break from everything while I was raising my children, but it left massive creative holes in my heart. I was desperately searching for something to fill it. In a strange series of events that are entirely too long to add here, I had the undeniable and unexplainable urge to write a book. It seemed insane at the time. But when I couldn’t ignore it any longer, I started my first project. Turns out, not only could I write; but, writing filled those creative voids better than anything else I’d ever dabbled in. I found my life’s calling completely on accident.
What—or who—inspired Grey, your Venators hero?
Oh, Grey. Grey was a very important character to me. I envisioned him, trudging with his head down, letting his hair fall to cover his features, hunkering down in that trench coat—hiding from the world. And I knew that he had suffered at the hands of abuse. Grey has endured sexual abuse from a young age. It was very important to me that the character in the book dealing with sexual abuse be Grey. It’s a topic not covered nearly enough. There has to be examples for people to read about that tell male victims of sexual abuse that they’re going to be all right. That they are not weak, or dirty or broken or less of a male because of it. The thing that I love the most about Grey is that he doesn’t allow this abuse to define or destroy him. It affects his life in so many ways, but it hasn’t darkened his heart or inhibited his kindness. In fact, it has fed his charity and created a true hero as one who seeks out the broken, the lost and downtrodden. Grey may feel broken and lost; but, he lifts everyone around him.
What—or who—inspired Rune, your Venators heroine?
Rune was the opposite side of Grey’s coin. In this story Grey came first, he was my original muse. And Rune was everything he once thought he wanted—athletic, popular, came from a wealthy family and your typical, “appears to have it all” kid we all knew in high school. But Grey saw, as we soon do, that her life is not nearly as perfect as it appeared. I wanted a woman who suffers from toxic perfectionism that was forced on her. A girl who was drowning under expectations and responsibilities. It’s such a problem among so many women and the human population in general.
What do you wish you’d known earlier in your career as an author, and what key piece(s) of advice do you have for other aspiring writers?
Honestly? I don’t think I would’ve given myself any more knowledge than what I had. Ignorance kept me going too many times. HA! But I would probably tell myself to relax a little bit more and enjoy the journey. Advice for others… Understand that writing and being a writer as your job are very different things. If you have no desire to ever have a bad review written, to spend time promoting yourself on social media, to help with marketing and working when you don’t want to, then being an employed writer is maybe not for you. But by all means, keep creating stories! You are no less a writer for choosing that path. If you really can’t imagine doing anything else and will pay the price for your career, then go for it.
What influenced your approach to building the book’s otherworldly realm?
Books like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Although Venators is very different than both of these examples, both books built something enormous. Stories with vastly different cultures and geographic features spread across the land. They widened my mental horizons and said, yes—this can be done.
How would you describe your creative process overall?
A hot mess. Wait… am I allowed to say that? Probably ill advised, but I’m sticking with it. I am very much a “build as I go” kind of writer. This often leaves me with a very messy draft that I loathe. I should point out that it’s very difficult to work on something you hate. I have to go over my stories again and again, adding and tweaking as necessary until I’ve polished it into something beautiful. I’m reasonably sure this is the most painful way to create art, but it’s the only way I’ve found that allows my creativity to remain as unleashed as possible. With the high fantasy and fantasy blends that I write, being totally free in my imagination, has always lead to the most beautiful scenes in the end.
Both on and off the page, you’re passionate about empowering other women; how has that mission informed the characters you create?
I’m so excited to watch Rune on her journey as she tries to shed this old shell and learns to embrace who she really is. For the first time in her life, Rune will have to start making choices for herself. She will trudge through triumph, grief, guilt and pride, then roll over to do it again. I want to write REAL women. There was a trend in literature for a while to write more women, which was fantastic! But the pendulum swung a little too far the other direction. We started seeing book after book of “kick-butt women” which translated into, invincible, power-hungry, emotionless women. They weren’t the greatest role models as no one besides an AI can actually BE all of those things. I strive to write women who are strong yet flawed. Determined, yet emotional. Capable in some areas and weak in others. Because really, what is the point of reading about a fantastic female character you could never emulate or learn from? It’s like our world trying to actually become that Phototshopped, curated version of the pictures in magazines. But reading about a woman who struggles and gets back up again. Now that is inspiring.
What can fans expect next from the Venators series?
Oh. My. Gosh. You can expect everything!!! This series is going to just keep getting bigger and better as Rune and Grey venture deeper into Eon. Book two will deliver big time on what the fans have been begging for and that is more Beltran! We also get a twisted look into Queen Feena’s Fae garden that has Grey a little “wrapped up”, while Rune is forced to embrace a side of herself she’s not quite ready for. And book three?? Well, let’s just say the games will be of epic proportions!
About the Author
Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specializes in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world-building skills and her intricate storylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice. Now gearing up for her first national release, Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organizes for her readers. Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.
So that’s my part on the blog tour today! Keep an eye on the blog though. I’ll be posting my review for Magic Unleashed this month! What do you think? Does this sound like a book for you? Let me know in the comments!