Saturday, 17 October 2015

Blog Tour + Interview - Killshot by Aria Michaels






Killshot by Aria Michaels

When 17 year old Liv Larson and her brother are sent to separate foster homes, she dedicates her every breath to getting him back. After months of solitude and anti-social behavior, her best friend Riley ropes her into a Rooftop Solar Flare Party. Despite the fascinating lights in the sky, Liv finds herself drawn, instead, to Zander- the boy with the crooked smile.

For a few hours, Liv’s troubles finally feel a bit less overwhelming—that is until what should have been a small flare erupts into a massive solar storm forcing them all to seek shelter in the school’s basement. Cut off from the rest of the world and with no signs of rescue, fear and paranoia set in and battle lines are drawn, dividing their ranks. What is left the group must embark on a perilous journey to save one of their own and find their families…but, something sinister awaits them in the shadows and it’s undeniably connected to Liv.

Can Liv keep her promise to reunite with her brother? What are she and her friends willing to do to survive? Will their bravery and determination be enough to save them all from a rogue government, a terrifying virus, and the things that go bump in the night… Or was Icarus, indeed, The Killshot?



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Excerpt:

People were rushing in all directions, tripping and stumbling over one another. Small groups huddled together, emerging from clouds of smoke, only to disappear just as quickly. Adults and children crouched low to the ground, dodging stray bullets and confused soldiers at every turn. They zigzagged and scattered like a handful of bouncy balls tossed onto the sidewalk.
    I caught movement from the corner of my eye and stopped short. I threw my arms wide to catch Riley and we narrowly avoided colliding with the young woman that had cut across our path. The woman was barefoot and wore only a hospital gown. The severed tubing from a hastily disconnected I.V. dangled from her forearm and nearly every inch of her was covered in blood and soot.
    A boy not much older than my little brother filled the woman’s arms. His blond hair was matted against his head, caked with blood and grime. His body was limp and pale, his face slack and unresponsive. The woman stared up at me. For a brief second, our eyes met. Behind their sage green depths I saw nothing but emptiness, like her soul had been ripped from her body.
    “Ma’am, are you okay?” Riley asked.
    “Gerald?” The woman’s eyes widened, looking over Riley’s shoulder.
    “No ma’am,” Zander said, stepping out from behind her. “I’m sorry, but there is no one in our group by that name.”
    “Have you seen my husband?” She screeched at us, the boy’s head lolling from side to side as she struggled under his weight. “This just won’t do. We are going to miss our flight. I have to find my husband. Gerald?”
    “There’s no time,” Riley said. “Please, come with us. We can get you somewhere safe.”
    “We need to move,” I yelled. I pointed toward where I hoped the maintenance shed awaited. “Come on, lady, this way.”
    “We can’t leave without Gerald,” the woman said, backing away. “When Jeremy wakes up, he will want to see his father. I have to find him.”
    “Ma’am, please?” Riley stepped toward the woman with tears in her eyes.
    “Have you seen my husband?” the woman asked again, tears slicing a line through the blood on her face as she frantically looked about. “I had to find our son. Gerald…he said he would wait for me. Have you seen him?”
    “Ry, we have to go,” I said, pulling her away from the desperate woman. “We can’t help her.”
    “Gerald? Gerald, honey,” the woman yelled into the distance. “Gerald, I found him! I found Jeremy.”
    She shifted the boys limp body in her arms again and stumbled off, disappearing back into the thick veil of smoke. As much as my heart ached for their suffering, my mind was focused on survival. There would be time later to grieve and processes the horrors around us. We had done all that we could to help those people. We had given them a fighting chance and for the time being, that would have to be enough.
    My footsteps against the ground echoed in my ears as I ran forward. Guns discharged on all sides of us, as we raced across the parking lot. A large group of civilians had just dodged past us when I felt a bullet whizz over my head. A swarm of soldiers ran past us, firing into the smoke. I leaned forward, dragging Riley behind me and ran until my legs and lungs burned.
    I didn’t stop until my hands slammed into the rough surface at the corner of the maintenance building. When we reached the shed, we shuffled across the cracked pavement, hacking and coughing as I led them to the rear side of the building and away from the gunfire and flames.
    “Everyone okay?” I gasped. I finally released Riley’s hand and was relieved to see all three sets of eyes staring back at me.








When did you start writing? 

I started writing when I was very young; probably around third grade or so. It was a tawdry tale about a baby fox that had the audacity to be friends with a duckling. My teacher Mrs. Vavra helped me "publish" it, convinced the school library it was worthy of shelving, and sold approximately four 25 cent copies (literally copied, old school xerox machine-style). Thankfully, my writing has gotten a bit more sophisticated since then, but I still feel like I owe Mrs. Vavra a great big hug for giving me my big break. (laughs)


What makes you want to write?  

Everything...literally everything inspires me. I have always been the creative type and had a vivid imagination (to a fault, in some cases). I was lucky to have a mother that encouraged that side of me. My childhood was full to the brim with art, music, and a love of the written word. The biggest problem with being what my boys like to call "artsy-fartsy" is having enough hours in the day to get all of the crazy ideas out of my head. 


Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it? 

Unfortunately, yes. Usually, the best way for me to knock down the brick wall that is writer's block is to step away from whatever creation has me stumped and get out of my own head. Sometimes that means cranking up the tunes and going for a run while I sing at the top of my lungs (unashamed of the funny looks). Sometimes I get out my paints and create with my hands. My absolute favorite cure, though, has got to be a glass of sweet red wine and a massive Netflix overdose...The Walking dead, Vampire Diaries, and Fringe are some of my favorite binge watches. 


Do you have a special way of going about writing? 

I am a very sensory-oriented person. I like to immerse myself in the environment of my characters. When I was writing Killshot, I spent a lot of time out in the sun, and even went on a survivalist trip with my oldest two boys as research (which totally still counts as a vacation in my opinion). 


Do you have any works in progress? 

At the moment, my sole focus is on Ballistic (the next installment in the Icarus Series), but I have plans for a paranormal romance, and a couple of sarcastic children's books brewing as well.


What are your hobbies? 

I don't really have time for hobbies (laughs). I have six boys, two of whom have special needs. I spend most of my time running from football practice to therapy appointments to Taekwondo, and back. When I am not doing the mom thing, I am busy writing, running my Etsy Shop, and doing author events. Did I mention that I am also married to an author? Between his words and mine, the only real hobby I have left is reading. I don't care how busy I am. I will always find time for reading, even if it means I take a Kindle to the face every night. 



How did you choose the character names for Killshot?  

Each of my boys have a character named after them, but the rest of the characters basically named themselves. It's hard to explain, but in a sense their names are like an extension of who they are at their very cores. The names are something that I FEEL, rather than think up. 


Who is your favourite character in Killshot? 

 That's a toss up between Riley and Jake. They are both survivors in their own way, and they have a certain flare about them that demands to be seen. 


How did you get the idea for Killshot?

Killshot was actually born of a nightmare I have been having since I was a kid. The dream has evolved over the years, but one thing remains the same; as I run through the flaming wasteland I always have my closest friends with me. I am never alone. While some of the faces have changed over the years,  the importance of that bond during times of struggle has always been there. I still have that dream, by the way. To this day, it serves as my constant inspiration for the Icarus Series. It's terrifying, and sometimes I wake up swinging, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. (My husband, however...)


What are you currently reading? 

 I just finished reading MARROW by Tarryn Fisher and, dear god, that book just GUTTED me. It was amazing! My current read is The End of Days (Book #3 in the Penryn and The End of Days Series). I have been waiting for this one for MONTHS and didn't even realize I had pre-ordered it and it was already on my kindle until a couple days ago.



What is your favourite book? 

 It's a series, actually. The Apocalypsis Series by Elle Casey. 



Who is your favourite author?  

Elle Casey. Her Apocalypsis and War of the Fae series inspired me to write! 


What is your favourite film?  

Goonies.


What is your favourite TV show?  

The Walking Dead.



Quick-fire questions:

Chocolate or ice cream? Chocolate (with caramel please).
Paperback or ebook? Ebook (but only because I am a book hoarder).
Dogs or cats? Dogs (Allergic to cats).
Go out or stay in? Stay in (because sweatpants and wine baby).
Summer or winter? Fall. (I'm a rebel!)




About the Author

Aria Michaels is the author of the Best-Selling young adult dystopian novel Killshot (Icarus Series, Book One) as well as its companion novella, Before the Sky Fell. In addition to her career as an author, Aria Michaels is an avid reader, die-hard zombie fan and enthusiastic lover of bonfires and red wine. When she is not glued to her computer pouring out the voices in her head, Aria can be found playing in the dirt with her boys, painting, or binge-watching The Walking Dead with her husband. Don't let her mild-mannered smile fool you…this woman has lofty ambitions that include complete global domination. She is determined to live in a world where every pair of yoga pants comes with a free book, an iced caramel macchiatto and a magic force-field that repels the sound of screaming children (of which she has six). In the meantime, Aria is hard at work on the next installment of the Icarus Series, reveling in her role as instigator of literary mayhem and stealth assassin of fictional characters. 

For more information about Aria Michaels and the Icarus Series, be sure to check out her website at www.ariamichaels.com 

"You are never more than one choice away from a different future." --Aria Michaels


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