What a treat! Today we have author Catharine Stine in the house to answer our fave questions.
SC: Tell us a little about Dorianna, your main character in the novel:
CS: Dorianna, a shy, plain sixteen year-old from Indiana is sent to live with her aunt in Brooklyn when her father, a corrupt preacher gets thrown in jail awaiting trial. She longs to be accepted and seen, but her old pitfall of being bullied reoccurs in her new school. Ander, a classmate, in a dark place himself after being injured and kicked off the soccer team and then dumped by his ex, takes Dorianna out to Coney Island one sunny afternoon.
On the beach, they run into Wilson Warren, a tall and mysterious videographer, who records her romping in the surf, and promises to make her into a viral media star… for a price. Dorianna falls for it and makes a vow. Little does she know he’s the Prince of Darkness. Her confidence grows and she becomes supernaturally beautiful as the vow unfolds. Ander and even Wilson fall under her spell. The You Tube videos of her are changing, though, in frightening ways, and each meetup party they plan gets more chaotic and dangerous. Dorianna senses something is very, very wrong, but she’s at her wits end trying to figure out how to make it end! There’s a twist at the end that no one ever sees coming. No spoilers though. LOL.
SC: It sounds like Dorianna has a supernatural presence for sure. Do you believe in the paranormal? If so, do you have an experience you can share?
CS: I do! I am particularly sensitive to new places I move into. In one, whenever I ventured down to the basement I felt a strong presence of a circle of old men playing cards and smoking cigars! This was weird, as the basement was simply full of our moving cartons. Later, when I spoke to a long-time resident of the area, they relayed to me that our basement was once the site of an old men’s social club, where they played cards!
In yet another new place, this time a cottage in the Catskills, I felt an unsettling presence of hungry, angry young boys! How strange was this! One night, my husband and I lit some candles and meditated with eyes closed. The boys, scraggly and hungry and restless seemed to approach me. This time, I pictured giving each boy a gift basket brimming with yummy food—breads, marmalades, fruits and cheeses. They took them happily and left! Afterward, the energy totally calmed down in that cottage. And I found out a year later that a poor family with lots of boys lived there about sixty years ago!
SC: What title are you working on now that you can tell us about?
CS: I’m putting finishing touches on Witch of the Wild Beasts, an historical fantasy set in 1854. Evalina Stowe’s supernatural bond with animals is both her curse and possible salvation. When a cruel doctor kills her brother, her “wild beasts” come to her aid and she’s imprisoned for witchcraft in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary. The novel is about extreme medical mischief and Evalina’s search for justice. I will be launching it around February 2020, and if it sounds interesting, you can sign up for my newsletter to get exact launch dates and details.
SC: Thanks for stopping by today. Let's take a look at your novel now.
Pictures of Dorianna
Genre: Urban Fantasy, YA paranormal romance
Publisher: Konjur Road Press
Date of Publication: October 23, 2019
Number of pages: 327
Word Count: 90k
Cover Artist: Najla Qamber
Tagline: Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good. Until it transformed into a terrifying reality Dorianna couldn’t stop. New twist on Dorian Gray with the first-ever female lead!
Internet followers, beauty, power. It all sounded good.
Until it transformed into a terrifying reality she couldn’t stop.
When her father is jailed, her mother ships lonely, plain Dorianna to her aunt’s in Brooklyn, NY. There, Dorianna yearns to build a new identity, but the popular Lacey bullies her—mostly for getting attention from her ex, Ander.
Ander takes Dorianna to Coney Island where Wilson, a videographer, creates a stunning compilation of her. She dreams of being an online sensation, as she’s never even had a birthday party, and vows she’d give anything to go viral. Wilson claims he’s the Prince of Darkness and offers her the beauty and fame, even love she’s dreamed of—warning her that a pledge has its downsides. Dorianna has no idea of how dire those consequences might be.
She’s thrust into the spotlight, and an incomprehensible nightmare. Not only is she prettier, she’s gaining harmful powers of manipulation. When her dark forces grow beyond anything she can control, she’s desperate but clueless as to how to stop them.
Wilson taps impatiently on the keypad. “You want beauty and youth forever, Dorianna? I can give you that. Power over those mean girls; over a lot of people? It’s yours for a price. Just say it.” His eyes are golden and black and red all at once, like unearthly spears, piercing through me. I’m dizzy. I need fresh air now. But I want this promise more than anything. Ever.
“What’s the price?” I rasp.
Wilson’s stare burns into me. “Can’t say exactly. But there always is.” His words are ice and fire. Flutters of snowflakes pattering silently under my skin that melt into scorching sparks.
I follow an irrepressible urge to stand up, and look down on Wilson with his narrow, feral face and piercings. I need Ander to look at me with that passion. I need those hater girls put in their place. I need a friend, and for people to want to be with me all of the time, to never be bored. Only to love me.
It’s worth any price.
A powerful force in me breaks loose, as if a flu bug is racing rampant down my spine.
“Would you… give your soul?” Wilson’s whisper invades my gut, my brain.
Ander’s aching gaze from our time at the beach shimmers in front of me. Enticing. I can almost feel his kiss. Like water. Drink it in. I’ve never wanted anything as much as I want this. “I’d give anything for power, easy youth and beauty.” My voice comes from all around me, spreading, gluey on my skin. “Yes, I’d even give my… soul.”
The air spirals into a funnel, draining all oxygen from the room with a hiss.
So, so, soul.
In an instant, new air swoops in, suffused with rich, delicious minerals. I gulp it in, openmouthed, so very thirsty. “To be seen and accepted,” I murmur.
Wilson goes head to head with me. “Forget about just being accepted. How about having a following of millions, going viral?”
“Really?” I’m whirling. “Going viral.” Wilson’s promises are golden brands, anointing me, conferring an otherworldly legitimacy I’ve never, ever felt. How does he manage to do this?
Ander returns with the brownies. I luxuriate in the sexy new glint he’s giving me. “Something feels different in here,” he notes. “It’s colder.” He puts the brownies down. Who needs sweets when he’s looking at me like this? Is this vow a real thing? Is it already working?
An unfamiliar power in me swells with precarious danger and weight as I study Ander and Wilson. Abruptly, I’m flung out of my body, inexplicably looking down on them as pitiful peons who will someday worship at my feet.
As two of the very, very many.
Then, I’m back inside myself stunned by how I was seeing them. The room seems to rush with the force of souls washing through, and I flinch when I hear them moaning. I tell myself it’s only the whir, whir of the hard drives.
About the Author:
Catherine Stine is a USA Today bestselling author of historical fantasy, sci-fi thrillers, paranormal romance and young adult fiction. Her novels have earned Indie Notable awards and New York Public Library Best Books for Teens. She lives in Manhattan and loves spending time with her beagle, writing about witches and other fabulous creatures, gardening on her deck, and meeting readers at book fests.
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