Monday, 12 June 2017

Meet the #Author Monday: Athena Grayson #scifi #dystopia #giveaway #Interview

Scandal banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Scandal by Athena Grayson. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 12 till 25 June. See the tour schedule here. Now let's find out a little more about Athena...

Please tell us a bit about yourself:
Hi Pippa! Thank you so much for hosting me today! Hmm...a little bit about me? I love smart, sexy beta heroes (no alpha-holes here--give me the hunky nerd every time--after all, I married one!) and strong, self-rescuing heroines who aren't afraid of going after what they want, and expecting the best from their partners.
Oh, another beta fan here!
Tell us about Scandal: When a princess who's no stranger to scandal runs afoul of the secrets of the most powerful cabal on Landfall, even her crown can't protect her from the consequences. 

At the exclusive Landfall Cultural Academy, privilege is a prison. The heirs of Landfall's elite noble Houses compete to elevate their status high enough for the Cultural Trust to grant them the coveted title of "Scion" - and the freedom to make their own way out from under their parents' machinations. The only way to earn the title of "Scion" is by carefully managing the social influence markets that rank them according to their accomplishments. And if scholarship won't get you there, a good scandal will do.

What inspired you to write this particular story?: I've always had this repelled fascination with celebrity gossip. I'm an extrovert, but only in controlled doses and I'm super-uncomfortable in the spotlight when it's all about me (yet I'm really good at doing public speaking around things I'm passionate about, which is why I enjoy giving workshops on writing to my kids' classrooms and to local writers groups), so I don't really "get" people who are driven to seek the spotlight...and then go do something bone-headed where everyone can see! Scions came about when I was following about the fifth kiddie star turned pop tart public meltdown, and Ione appeared, wanting to tell her story. Around the same time, this internet tool called "Klout" came out, which rated everyone's Twitter handle on how much social media influence they had. Of course, I jumped straight to "how would people go overboard with this?" and the Probabilities Index was born. People will bet on anything, and on Landfall, if you're a young noble, the futures market isn't about orange juice, it's about you. Who you'll marry, whether or not you'll achieve more than your older long before you're caught on camera being publicly intoxicated. What emerged was a world of high-stakes financial markets built around reputation, where every move was documented and broadcast by gossip feeds, and bet upon by traders eager to make a quick credit off a young person's poor choices. And of course, since it's me, I realized that in their world--as in ours--all that celebrity gossip is really just a distraction from much bigger goings-on.

Please share a favourite snippet from your book:

It was the Grand Game for Ione to advise her classmates on the best strategies to maximize their SoCap indices—she even ran a shadow-market of the Index for the other Academy students. Plotting the course of their own relationship had been the most fun she was allowed to have with Den.
But that time was coming to a close. The alliance—the real, forever, locked-in sealing of their lives together—loomed before her. What used to be the Grand Game had become no game at all.
It had become a prison where her ambitions belonged to someone else, along with her body.
And if they were very, very lucky and timed their actions perfectly, that someone else would be Den, rather than his father. Then at least one of them would be free.
Den’s hands rested on her shoulders. His touch was light and as carefree as his voice. “All I’m hoping for is a little breathing room.” He leaned in to whisper close to her ear. “Maybe a little sweetness from my favorite princess?”
He wasn’t fooling her, even if his breath tickled her bare skin. “Oh? There’s another princess around here somewhere? Maybe I can take a vacation.” She wasn’t fooling herself, either. Far from being her jailer, Den was locked in this path with chains as tight as hers.
She searched his face. Pale skin several shades lighter than her natural coloring, Dark auburn hair and a charming crookedness to his smile, he met her eyes with a gaze that had once been described as “molten gold” in one of the scarce gossip-feed articles focused on him.
His hands glided down to her back where his warmth was drained away by the cold hardness of the crystals of her dress. His forehead touched hers, and to an outsider, they appeared to be sharing a moment of affection. But the real moment had already come and gone.
Shielded by the gemstones, something in her chest fluttered. Instead of hard crystal, she felt thinner than the threads weaving them together. So she squashed it ruthlessly and stepped into the circle of his arms to meet his mouth for a kiss that promised, teased, and couldn’t deliver.
The warmth of his body sent a heart-shaped tingle through her. The cynical, reality-shaped core of her made sure to shift her body so their activities could be observed by the eyes that rested above the mouths that would report to the right ears.
Den’s grip tightened, pressing the gem-encrusted fabric into her skin, but she remained protected from the points of the gems. The carbon-silk threads were indeed as thin as thought. But strong enough to do what they were designed to do—hold it together.

Which comes first for you – a character's looks, personality or name?: Personality, most times. Except once, when I had a fella named Jack appear and tell me about how his mid-life crisis went off the rails and right into the otherworld. Usually, the name is the last thing I come up with for a character.

Any tips for aspiring authors?: Make writing a part of your day and a daily habit. Finish what you start, even if you think it stinks out loud. Dance your bad dance with your funky self. Not everything touted as "guaranteed to work" will work for you. Publish when you are ready, and not before--readers aren't going anywhere and every "tough market" out there is built on top of a "tough market" from before. Speak your truth in your writing, and always have something besides money to measure your success. Because while money is a half-decent measure, it's not one you can put too much control in.

Questions for fun:

If you had the power of time travel, is there anything you would go back and change? Why/why not?: Ohh, I'm not falling for this one--go back and punch Hitler and something else worse happens (I mean, I'd totally do it anyway) But I think if I really did have access to a time travel machine, I'd go forward!

What super-power would you choose?: I need the ability to be in two places at once. I am, after all, a mom.
If you could have three wishes, what would they be?: (Ixnay on the wishing for more wishes, I take it? ) I would wish for an oven of plenty that would produce any dinner I requested on demand and immediately, something nice for the whole world, like the ability to feed everyone accompanied by the political, economic, and social will to do it, and I'd wish for a plentiful universal cure for all cancers with no side effects.

Coffee, tea or wine?: Yes. Sometimes all at once.

What is your favourite book? (aside from one of your own!): One of my favourite books (trick question to ask an author to name just one!) is Terry Pratchett's Small Gods (and Hogfather, and every one of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch books, and every one of the Lancre Witches books, and the Unseen University ones, and the...)

Favourite genre and why?: Sci-fi/speculative fiction. Preferably with romantic elements. I like books that make me think, that give me hope for the future, and that also give me an emotional connection. I believe the arc of the universe bends towards love, hope, and connection, and that our inventions and technology are all things that will simply help us clear the decks to make those concepts more part of us.

Favourite colour?: (looks at hair) Blue, of course!

Upcoming news and plans for the future?: Fallout: Scions 2 is due out soon, and I'm participating in an anthology featuring the Cosmic Love Cabaret - sort of a "Love Boat in Space" idea with over a dozen other authors - I'll be contributing a short story from the world of the Scions. I've got so many stories to tell that the hardest thing is figuring out where to begin!

Thank you for taking the time to talk to us!


ScandalScandal (Scions of the Star Empire #1)
By Athena Grayson
Genre: Sci-fi dystopian with romantic elements
Age category: New Adult/ Adult
Release Date: 23 March 2017

They can have anything they want...except a future.

Nothing infuriates Princess Ione Ra more than having someone else take control of her reputation from her, and her old nemesis--gossip journalist Jaris Pulne--is poised to do just that with pilfered pics of her caught in a compromising position with her power-couple partner. As someone who's no stranger to manipulating the markets on her own social life, Ione knows the wrong scandal means social suicide.

For the other half of the power couple, Den Hades, his survival has depended on staying in his powerful father's shadow in order to protect his secrets. But on the very night of his one chance to earn a shot at becoming a Scion--and freedom from his father's ambitions, scandal threatens to tear him from Ione, or worse--force them together before their time.

Damage control turns into danger when their attempts to retrieve the images lead them both into the dark underbelly of the glittering city-planet, exposing secrets of both friends and foes that could lead to more than just social suicide.

You can find Scandal on Goodreads

You can buy Scandal here:
- Amazon
- B&N
- Kobo
- iTunes
- Google Play
- Smashwords
- Books2Read

You can also find all the buy links for this book here on the author's website.

About the Author:
Athena Grayson likes kickass heroines, big-brained and sexy beta heroes who aren't afraid of strong women or their own feelings, and stories that turn the genre tropes sideways. If you're looking for something a little unexpected, a little more, and a lot of fun...this is your kinda place.

You can find and contact Athena here:
- Website
- Facebook
- Twitter
- Amazon
- Goodreads
- Bookbub

There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of Scandal. These are the prizes you can win:
- 2 paperback copies of Scandal by Athena Grayson (US Only)
- 2 $10 Amazon Gift Cards (International)

For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

1 comment:

I always love to hear your thoughts.