Please help me welcome Denyse Cohen to the blog today!
Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from Brazil and I came to the U.S twelve years ago to learn English. Since then, I’ve gotten married to a wonderful American man, had a beautiful son, and learned to love the U.S as much as I love Brazil. I have a bachelor’s degree in studio arts from CalState-LA and when I’m not writing I’m creating mixed-media art and designing jewelry.
Did you always want to be an author?
I always loved to write and yes I’ve always (secretly) dreamt about being an author. I had notebooks when I was little to write my stories (unfortunately I don’t think any of those has survived.) I studied Social Communications in Brazil and I wanted to be a journalist. When I came to the U.S.A. and decided to stay, I turned to another passion of mine: art, because I was self-conscious about pursuing a journalism degree in a language other than my native language.
What is your favorite part of being a writer/author?
I think is being able to convert the stories/daydreams in my head into concrete pieces of work that can be shared. There is something intimate about creating a story and sharing it with others.
Tell us a little about your book.
Witch's Soulmate is my first attempt at fantasy. I
am nervous about all the world building expectations/requirements of fantasy.
That's probably why this book is urban fantasy, which means it happens
in this world—and at present time. Still, the paranormal elements of the story
needed to be plausible. At least for me, even the craziest things have to have
a good explanation about how they came to be. This book is also the first of a
trilogy, so I'm hoping to have a lot of feedback that will make writing the
second and third books very, very exciting.
On the romance side, I liked the idea of a woman NOT wanting to find her soulmate. And in this book, soul mates are real. They are humans whose living-energy are identical to a witch. The soulmate is the missing key to unlock the witch’s power and Arrow, a powerful organization whose only intent is to kill the soul-mates and keep the witches in check, is ready to do whatever it takes to destroy their connection, that means hunting down and murdering the soulmate through an ancient ritual.
Jade is a young witch scarred by the murder of her parents and determined to evade her soulmate and never fall in love. After a chance encounter, Jade and Peter are swept in a battle that takes them to Europe and South America in hopes to uncover a secret that will decide the very fate of their love—and their lives.
My exile was a dreadful college for girls in Massachusetts. I lay on bed in my dorm holding the shimmering orb my grandmother had given to me the day I left home. The marble-sized sphere was a receptacle for my mother’s last bit of living energy, which she’d saved for me before she was murdered.
I was twelve when she died and, unfortunately, we’d never spent a lot of time together. It was too dangerous for her to keep me so Grandma and my Aunt Marion raised me. We often met at inconspicuous places as far as possible from home, and I remember once seeing Mom and Dad in Rome, hugging each other at the top of the Spanish steps. As Aunt Marion and I walked toward them, I saw Dad whispering in Mom’s ear, and she threw her head backwards with the most fantastic laughter. It emanated from her like the rays of the sun, coating my skin in her amazing warmth. When they spotted me at the bottom of the steps, they ran to meet me. Dad picked me up and twirled me around. Mom hugged us and they both kissed and kissed me, our faces soaked with tears of happiness.
It was the last time I saw my father alive.
“Jade.” I was enthralled by the orb’s light and lost in my memories when I heard my name whispered outside.
I looked at the window, the trees were rattling.
“Aunt Marion.” I jumped off the bed and opened the window. In the branches of the nearest tree, I could see a disturbance in the air, like a ripple in a lake, except it folded into itself then out again. We were connected in a way humans couldn’t understand: traveled guided by the energy of others like us, especially those with whom we shared a deep connection. No physical contact, no hugs or kisses, only faint ghosts floating like leaves in the wind.
“Hi, sweetie.” Although I wasn’t able to see her face, her voice was comforting and familiar, making me miss home even more.
“What are you doing here?”
“I came to see you, what else?”
“Are you still in Haiti?” After Haiti’s earthquake, Aunt Marion and others like us traveled
there to help heal the Earth and avoid another tremor.
“Things are looking better over here. I thought I could escape for a while.”
“I’ve really missed you.” I hadn’t talked to Aunt Marion for months; because she had to use
all her energy to subdue subsequent earthquakes, she couldn’t diverge any of it to visit me. “Me too, sweetie. Grandma said you don’t visit.”
I was pretty upset about leaving our home in South Carolina and had been giving my
grandmother the silent treatment.
“I’ve told her I didn’t need to come here. She treats me like a little girl.” At nineteen I was
officially an adult, but I wouldn’t dare disobey Grandma.
“It’s for your own protection. You’ve been quite rebellious and you know how dangerous it is
to find a soulmate while very young.”
“Aunt Marion, it was just a couple parties.” I sat on the windowsill of my second-story room,
which I had bribed another girl to switch with me since it was the most remote of the entire building, overlooking the woods that delineated the end of the campus. “Besides, what was all the training I had to endure for?”
“We’ve taught you spells and how to fight, but nothing can prepare you for a soulmate’s love.”
“I’ll never fall in love.” I crossed my arms over my chest and lifted my chin haughtily. Despite my bad attitude, Aunt Marion said softly, “It’s not up to you.”
“Maybe my soulmate already died in a car crash.”
“We don’t have only one soulmate, that’s a human myth. There might be a few humans in the world whose life energy is identical to yours.”
When a witch met any of those humans, her energy grew exponentially, making her more powerful than ever imagined. That’s why an ancient organization called Arrow would hunt them and kill the soulmate, and maybe even the witch, like they did with my parents.
Grandma and I had this same argument over and over again, her eyes welling up every time she spoke of my mother, making their purple color even more electric. Mom had found her soulmate, my father, at eighteen, and they spent the rest of their lives trying to escape.
The last time we had a fight, right before coming to Massachusetts, I had told Grandma in a moment of rage that I wished Arrow would just kill me and get it over with.
“Jade!” She shouted, even though I was standing right by her side. “Don’t you ever say that.”
“Seriously, Grandma. Arrow has ruined my entire life and I don’t haven’t even found my soulmate yet? Death is less painful.”
“Our energy keeps the world alive. We die, Earth dies.”
“But you’ve told me the planet is already dying.”
“It is...” Grandma had sat at the edge of the bed beside me. “Humanity has grown too strong,
unmerciful to their planet.”
“I don’t like when you say ‘humans’ as if we’re not like them. It makes me feel like a
“Oh, sweetie.” She’d tapped my knee. “You’re human, but you’re much more, which makes
you nothing like them. Our human bodies are vessels—”
“Yeah, yeah. I know.” I’d heard this story since I could remember. I thought they were only
bedtime stories, until I learned they were true and all about me and my kind. But none of them told me what I really wanted to know: what exactly happened to my parents.
I felt a pang of regret for being so curt with Grandma then, and ignoring her now, and I promised myself I would visit her.
Aunt Marion steered me back from my memories, saying, “Why don’t you try to enjoy yourself? This land is so beautiful, full of energy.”
I blew out an impatient breath. “It’s a school for girls—there’s nothing to do, unless I try to masturbate with energy.”
Aunt Marion’s laughter made the wind pick up and all the trees around the building rattled as though being blown by a tornado.
“You remind me so much of your mother,” she said.
“I’ve been thinking about her.” I looked down at the orb in my hand.
“I know, sweetheart. Grandma told me you haven’t used the orb yet. You’re a wise girl.” “It’s not fair. Why did Grandma give it to me if I can’t use it whenever I want?” “Because your mother told her to.”
“How can I know how much of Mom is in here?” I blinked hard at the thought a little orb
made of stone was all I had left of my mother.
“You can’t, no one can. We only know it’s limited and after you’ve exhausted it there will be nothing of her energy left. Except you, of course. You’re part of her, you have some of her energy.
“I want to talk to her so badly.” My voice trailed off.
“I know. Me, too.” It dawned on me how much Aunt Marion also missed Mom. As an older sister, she’d always been very protective of her, and when my father entered the picture Aunt Marion became their most fierce champion, and later my legal guardian.
“I should be traveling with you, not stuck in here. I could help.”
“You’ll graduate in less than two years—”
“Then I can go wherever I want and do whatever I want.” It was the condition in which I had
agreed to come here. “I can’t wait.”
“Oh, sweetie, don’t wish to grow up too fast. The world out here is not what you think.”
I looked out at the lavender horizon, the last rays of sun clinging to the sky behind the trees.
“At least I’ll be part of it, not locked up in here.”
“What a drama queen,” Aunt Marion interjected. “You’re hardly ‘locked up,’ Jade.” “Whatever. I just wish time will fly.”
When did you start writing and when did you finish your first book?
This book was such fun to write, I finished it in 8 weeks.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From everywhere, really. The other day I was in the hair salon and as my hairdresser placed a foil on my bangs and brushed the color in I thought how funny would be if the foil came off and he brushed the color all over my face. It could be a scene for a story!
Do you plot and outline or do you just write? Plotter or Pantser?
Pantser all the way! I wish I was a plotter, I think life is easier for them. *sniff* But inspiration strikes me like summer thundershowers and I have to sit and write, only getting up when I have the scene down. From there the story grows organically.
What book have you most recently released?
Witch’s Soulmate was released November 5th. *ear-to-ear smile*
Rate your story in terms steaminess?
Sweet and spice.
Do you have another book in the works?
I’m writing book two of the Living Energy trilogy.
What advice would you give new authors? What have you learned about the business?
Get as many beta-readers as you can. There’s just some stuff you can’t see it for yourself, like you’re reading the way it’s in your head, not how it’s written on the page. About the business…don’t be afraid to query and query. If people don’t see your work, how can they buy it?
Boxers or Briefs?
Pizza or hamburger?
Beer, Wine, or mixed drink?
What were your first impressions of each other?
Jade: Even though I thought Peter was pretty hot, the first thing to cross my mind was “oh, shit. What now?”
Peter: I felt the ground had been stolen from under my feet. I couldn’t believe her eyes. It was magical.
What’s your favorite characteristic of each other?
Jade: Peter’s spirit is unbreakable.
Peter: Jade will go to heaven and hell to protect the ones she loves.
What are your plans for the near future?
Jade: Keep Peter safe. Find Karyn. Destroy Arrow.
Peter: Get married and live long enough to enjoy it.
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