Incarnation by Laura Davis Hays: Blog Tour Launch and Giveaway
In Kelsey’s everyday world, three men shape her life: Myron Crouch, the boss of BioVenture Enterprises; Harrison Stillman, a brilliant colleague of hers there; and Stan Dresser, who twists her feelings with his kisses and lies.
But gradually, growingly, Iriel is shaping her life too. Through dreams and visions, she draws Kelsey into the ancient realm where refusal to marry Gewil has driven her to daring flight with fantastic creatures across a strange and terrible land.
As Kelsey joins other BioVenture researchers testing a new organism on a remote Caribbean island, turmoil and violence darken her fate―and Iriel’s presence grows stronger. Worlds shift and merge, danger grows. Past and present, vengeance and love swirl together as the seas rise up, the seas that once swallowed Atlantis.
Tested in life-or-death struggle, Kelsey must face an ordeal she can survive only through great courage and deep karmic understanding.
Paperback: 388 pages
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (March 1, 2016)
Incarnation is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.
Book Giveaway Contest:
To win a copy of Incarnation, please enter using the Rafflecopter form at the bottom of this post. The giveaway contest closes Monday, May 16th at 11:59 AM EST. We will announce the winner the same day in the Rafflecopter widget. Good luck!
About Laura Davis Hays:
Laura Davis Hays is a California native, the only child of a theoretical physicist and a librarian. Her prize-winning body of work includes a forthcoming fantasy series, the Atlantis Material, and a collection of linked stories set in Denmark, her ancestral homeland, in the early twentieth century. Hays is also an accounting consultant, a performing pianist, a composer, and a skier. She and her husband live in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with their two cats, Rufus and Dexter.
Find out more about the author by visiting her online:
-----Interview by Renee Roberson
WOW: Welcome, Laura! We're excited to get this tour launched and help spread the word about your novel. Where did you get the idea for Incarnation, and come up with all the twists and turns?
Laura: In 1984, I read Shirley MacClaine’s book Out on a Limb about her encounters with psychics, channels, and her exploration into memories of her own past lives. I was fascinated by the topic and found myself wanting to read an account of past life memories that were as full-on as a real memory. I thought I might be able to write such a story and that it would have to be fiction because that would allow me to explore a “what if” situation more freely. Ever since my father died at the age of 40 from radiation-induced cancer, I wanted to believe that life went on after death. Now, as I think more deeply about my fascination with life after death and reincarnation, I believe I am searching for meaning that strong events, like the death of a loved one, can bring to one’s being. Life is so beautiful, and just like places on earth that might remain unvisited, other times on earth also call to my soul.
Twists and turns came with the writing over a long period of time. The characters had their way with me and ultimately led me to the ending that seemed to satisfy all that came before.
WOW: Did you read Edgar Cayce’s writing as research for your story?
Laura: Edgar Cayce, the sleeping prophet, did life readings for many people and found experiences of far and long ago events. This was another piece of evidence lending veracity to reincarnation. I found his book On Atlantis helpful in writing about the lost continent, because his vision was broader and more fantastical. I don’t like to do research as much as I like to imagine and make things up. Cayce gave me a baseline from which to work. I also read several books on near death experience that give a consistent picture of what happens at the moment of death and what the afterlife might be like, including the decision to reincarnate.
WOW: Who was your favorite character to write, and who was the hardest?
Laura: Kelsey, my protagonist, was probably the hardest as I was closest to her. She had to change during the course of the writing, becoming stronger, angrier, more courageous, and less of a victim. I suppose I too have made these changes. Stan was also a bit hard because I felt I needed to have compassion for him, which I did in the end. I enjoyed all my Atlantis characters. Quiri, who is important particularly in the second book, came walking down the road one day as I was writing. I didn’t have any idea about him before that. He is fun because he is a wizard and can play tricks on those around him and has special knowledge.
WOW: How long did the first draft take and what was the revision process like?
Laura: The first draft was 1200 pages, back and forth between Kelsey’s and Iriel’s point of view. I think I wrote that fairly fast, like in a year or two. I knew it was too long, so I started trying to cut the book down by editing the writing, polishing, shortening. When I went to a writers’ conference in Albuquerque one summer, I met a “psychic” agent who told me I should “cut the book in half.” I was thinking, yeah, that’s what I’m doing, until it dawned on me I might have multiple books. At that point I excised a lot of the Atlantis Material that will be at least a trilogy—kind of a sequel to Incarnation. Also, I was in a learning curve and was certainly making beginner mistakes, like starting with a dream (agents didn’t like it) and some of what I wrote was not very concise or engaging. I was in a writers’ group at that time, and we all were enthusiastic editors of one another’s work. The process led to a lot of rewrites of beginning chapters. After the group broke up, I took a look at the ending and knew it wasn’t that good. I was reading Steven King’s book, On Writing, and learned he wrote 1000 words a day. I said to myself, if Steven King can do it, so can I. So once again I found myself doubling the size of the book. Still, I had all the scientists, and the island, and a lot of new good stuff. After that I began cutting again, relying a lot on word count, trying to target a reasonable under 400 page length. That process was a lot of fun, learning that I could leave off sentences, paragraphs, intermediate dialog and the writing would still make sense. So the process was expansion, shrinking, expansion, back and forth. On the last edit I wrote a few new short scenes that I’m happy with. The whole thing took 30 years from inception to printing.
WOW: How involved were you with the cover?
Laura: I only knew I wanted that turquoise water. Scott Gerber, publisher of Terra Nova, created the cover, and I approved it immediately. I like the mysterious figure and even the slanted letters in the title.
WOW: Can you tell us more about your upcoming fantasy series?
Laura: The Atlantis Material started with excised writings from an early draft of Incarnation, and is entirely set in antediluvian Atlantis. The first book, Chosen, is Iriel’s coming of age story. She is 13 at the beginning of the book, and her family has arranged a betrothal to the son of the richest most powerful man on their outlying island in the Atlantian chain. It is a time of unrest and change in their peaceful isolated village as the young people become curious about the events of the past (the prior destructions of the continent that caused it to break up into smaller islands) and a desire to travel to what remains of the mainland. Chosen is also Muamdi’s story. Muamdi is Iriel’s grandmother and she has been shunned for her abilities to work with healing psycho-active crystals that caused a personal tragedy early in her life. The next book, Rain, goes back to the seeding of Atlantis by star-beings, and the life of Queen Lyticia who stole the throne from her parents, caused the second destruction, and was later redeemed. The rest of the series is about the final days of Atlantis and Iriel’s mission to stop it.
WOW: How did you find your publisher, Terra Nova Books?
Laura: I heard about a local talk on e-books. Marty Gerber, editor of Terra Nova, spoke, and I liked what I heard about their new press and their program. Afterwards I went up and spoke to him and he encouraged me to send the book. He read it and liked it, so that was a good start to the process.
WOW: How did your degrees in mathematics and psychology lead you to writing fiction?
Laura: I have always been a reader. As I child my father read to me every night, adventure books like Kon Tiki, and She, by Edgar Rice Boroughs. I also read all the Oz books, Nancy Drew, and many others. In high school, I was given the option to write stories instead of research papers, which I found much more fun. I suppose that planted the seed. I also loved math—my father was a physicist and taught me math beyond my years, and my grandfather was a mathematician and a writer. In college I found psychology, sociology, history, and literature also held a lot of fascination, so I double majored. I think the psychology helps me understand characters and relationships, and the math makes me enjoy structure and complexity in my stories.
WOW: Ah, this makes sense given the history between Kelsey and her father in the novel. You are also a musician. How do you balance your music and writing?
Laura: I have been a musician since I was 9 years old, and they say music goes along with math. Music is my great pleasure—I’ve never been particularly ambitious musically—it makes me feel happy, takes away my troubles, expresses my joy and passion. I play piano at a new thought church in a small band, doing lots of rock and roll, some originals, some contemplative ballads, and I love it. I also play jazz and classical. At home, if I have a writing day, I go back and forth to the piano. It’s very compatible. I also have a day job doing accounting for small businesses and personal clients, which I do enjoy, certainly tapping into and pleasuring the math part of my brain and the psychology of money. So the balancing act gets a little more tricky with so many things to think about and remember. I need to be alert whether I’m performing, meeting with clients, or solving structural problems in my books. When I’m deep in the story or playing the piano, I can enter an altered state. I am my most dreamy and relaxed.
WOW: What books do you read for pleasure?
Laura: I like good literary novels and short stories: Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Ann Patchett, Marilynne Robinson, Jonathan Franzen. I like a touch of fantasy for sure. I’m currently reading Lila by Marilynne Robinson, and enjoying the very unusual character of Lila as she navigates her proper world married to a small town preacher. I recently enjoyed Euphoria by Lily King, a takeoff on Margaret Mead’s life and work in the early 20th century. I love exotic settings and adventure stories, and this is one of the best. There are so many great authors out there these days.
----------Blog Tour Dates
Monday, May 9 (today!) @ The Muffin
Stop by for an interview with Laura and enter to win a copy of Incarnation.
Tuesday, May 11 @ Renee's Pages
Renee Roberson reviews Incarnation.
Tuesday, May 17 @ Beverley A. Baird
See what Beverley thought about the mystery and intrigue of Incarnation.
Thursday, May 19 @ Knotty Kneedle
Judy shares her take on Laura Davis Hays' novel.
May 20 @ Thoughts in Progress
Mason reviews Incarnation, by Laura Davis Hays.
May 24 @ Celtic Lady's Review
Stop by for an author spotlight with Laura Davis Hays.
May 25 @ MC Simon Writes
MC discusses her experience reading Incarnation.
June 1 @ Vickie S. Miller
Read Vickie's review of the metaphysical thriller, Incarnation.
June 2 @ Building Bookshelves
Jodi interviews Laura Davis Hays about the writing process.
June 3 @ Deal Sharing Aunt
Vicky Brinus shares a review of the novel.
*We are still seeking at least two more bloggers to review Incarnation. Contact email@example.com if you are interested in receiving a copy of the book in exchange for a review.
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