Title: Strength to Let Go
Series: Tales of the Werewolf Tribes, Book One
Author: Alina Popescu
Genre: gay romance, paranormal, werewolves, paranormal romance, supernatural
Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing
SynopsisAfter being abandoned by his mates, Shiki Kirishima, beta of the Dragons of the Fang werewolf tribe, returns to his home in Tokyo.
Crippled by grief, Shiki decides to end it all by going into the territory of the Siberian Killers tribe and challenging them to a battle to the death.
Ganzorig, beta of the Siberian Killers, however, sees the potentially disastrous consequences of having Shiki die in battle.
Instead, he saves him.
Having suffered loss himself, Ganz takes it upon himself to help Shiki deal with his pain.
Blake, Shiki’s best friend since childhood, is as determined to show him there is life after a wolf’s ultimate loss.
Could there also be something ‘more’ for them after friendship?
Interview with Alina
Hello Alina, thank you for stopping by today.
Hi Layla, thank you so much for having me over! It’s a pleasure to be here and chat with you.
I've been dying to ask when you’re attraction to shapeshifters begin and what drew you to them?
I can’t say, really. I remember a lot of books with shapeshifters, but I guess that a human sharing his self with another beast has always been fascinating to me. It’s quite interesting to watch us become more of who we are. It’s not like we’re not all animals in the end. But being so purely savage has its attraction when I think about it. Instinct ruling decisions while the human mind is still at play is an interesting proposition, one that has you exploring cultural consequences, moral questions, philosophical rants, the works.
Have you ever written any shapeshifter characters who were not wolves?
Not yet, no. I’ve always loved wolves, and that explains why I chose werewolves to start with. I do have familiars in my fantasy free read on my blog, but that’s a different proposition and it has more to do with magic and the idea of wizards and their familiars than actual shifting. Turning into one’s animal form is about boosting magical energy, not actually turning into said beast. There might be other kinds of shifters in my future though, I don’t think I’ll be done with it after this werewolf series!
Of all of your characters who is your favorite?
Oh, that’s a tough question! I love all of them, but I could say I am very close to Shiki. I’ve role played him for a while now, so I know every facet of his personality. That isn’t to say he now lacks the ability of surprising and enraging me, but I know him quite well. So well, in fact, that some of his habits are rubbing off on me: I use more kohl in my makeup and I roll my eyes a lot more!
Who is your least favorite of all of your characters?
Hmm, tough one! There is one baddie in the Bad Blood vampire trilogy (that one’s MF) that I want to beat to a pulp, but I can’t reveal much. They’ll only make a big mess in book three and I have to keep it on the down low for now.
Do you have any particular writing rituals? Things that you absolutely have to have before you can sit down and write?
Not really, no. I prefer to have coffee and music around when I write, but that’s about it. Where I am doesn’t really matter, but I have to say typing is my favorite way of writing. I started out with pen and paper and a lot of my earlier works were drafted like that, but I haven’t done that in over seven years and I am much faster on a keyboard these days.
Did you find yourself having to do any sort of research in order to create the world your characters exist in?
Yes, quite often. I did research wolf myths in several cultures for this series, along with other facts (like wolves being wiped out in certain areas – UK and Japan for example). I’ve also had to do a bit of research on names, customs, how long some flights can be, etc. I like this part of the writing process though. I think it gives a story more depth, it makes it richer somehow. Plus it usually leads to interesting plot bunnies.
If your main character (s) had any message for the reader, what would it be?
I think the way both my characters see everything has changed a lot during their journey. I guess they’d both agree at this point that never saying never is a smart choice. In the end, they’d talk of hope, opening yourself up to the possibilities life lays before you, and always keeping your wits about you. Shiki might also add something about mochi being the secret to a better life, but that’s not the healthiest message he could put out there!
If your readers come away with one thing (thought, feeling, message) after reading your novel, what do you hope it is?
I think I’ve tried to show them there’s always hope with all my stories so far. Accepting who you are, keeping your mind and heart open, and not being afraid of trying again are all ideas I have focused on. I’d also say they should know everyone deserves their happiness and failing once does not define your entire future.
What comes first, the character (s) or the idea for the story?
It depends on the story, really. Sometimes it’s a character that’s larger than life and wouldn’t shut up. Otherwise there are scenes that come to mind, falling into place like pieces in a puzzle and revealing the characters. Whatever comes first, I think most of my stories are character driven first. I like to see the world through their eyes and join them on their journey.
Have there ever been moments when your characters ran away with the story, and if so, would you mind sharing one or two of them?
Well, there have been a few moments when we disagreed. I am not a fan of Shiki’s choice when he lost his mates. I knew what he was up to and that is why writing down his story took longer than I’d originally planned. I had to trust everything would be alright in the end, but I honestly cried my eyes out while writing that first part of the book.
The other time that happened to me was in what will now become book two of the series. That was supposed to be a first book, standalone, and male-female. Three of my characters, however, decided that was not right. One of them is Shiki’s twin, by the way! So I was stuck in the middle of the story, not knowing what to do, and that is when I started playing around with Shiki. As I was trying to discover his story, the other three showed me the way and my initial story turned into a series of which I have at least three more books planned.
Wow, thank you so much Alina, It's been wonderful talking to you and I hope everyone will check out the awesome trailer for Strength to Let Go.
First I just want to say, I love shapeshifter books. Love love love, love love love. There is something about being of two minds, human and beast, that has always appealed to me. I love when the natures are at odds with one another, and when one side can cancel out the other just as much as I love when they are in harmony. In Strength to Let Go, Shiki is broken. Not just his wolf side, or his human side, but both sides have been damaged by the loss of his mates.
For Shiki, the loss is compounded by the fact that his mates are alive, they have simply chosen to leave him without any explanation as to why. It leaves him confused, devastated, shattered, questioning his worth, what he did wrong, and why he wasn’t good enough for them. It also leaves him wanting to end his suffering, though fortunately that is not allowed to happen.
It is impossible not to feel Shiki’s heartbreak and sympathize with his loss and feelings of inadequacy. He’s left with nothing but questions, to ponder the worst and carry all the blame. This carries over even as he begins to heal. He doesn’t feel he has anything left to offer anyone, even those who are closest to him and love him regardless.
It’s easy to see why he loves to lose himself in clubs, fighting and sake, they are easy escapes from the emotions that have consumed him. Its wonderful to see the changes in him after Blake enters the scene. Their friendship shines through clearly the in the way they speak to one another, their expressions when they lock eyes, and Shiki’s thoughts when he thinks about his oldest and dearest friend.
Seeing the way they reconnect with one another gives the reader hope that things will be okay with Shiki. It takes baby steps, I love that there are moments when he regresses back into self-doubt and wallowing in his pain, it just serves as a reminder of how deeply he felt for his mates. A touchingly beautiful and at times heartbreaking story of love and loss, Strength to Let Go was a remarkably powerful read that is certain to enchant readers time and time again. This is a five dancing hamster read and I am already looking forward to reading more of Alina's work.
Buy LinksDon’t miss the Tickle Me Pink sale on the Wayward Ink Publishing site – 25% off all list prices till July 21st.
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010ITT1VG/
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GiveawayPrizes: $10 WIP Gift Card, 3 signed Bookmarks, and 1 ecopy of Strength to Let Go
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About the authorWriter, traveler, and coffee addict, Alina Popescu has been in love with books all her life. She started writing when she was ten and she has always been drawn to sci-fi, fantasy, and the supernatural realm. Born and raised in Romania, she finds her inspiration in books of all genres, in movies, and the occasional manga comic book. She is a proud geek who needs her fast Internet and gadgets more than she needs air.
Site & Blog: http://alina-popescu.com