Keeper of the Gate by Paula Kennedy


KEEPER of the Gate
Paula Kennedy
Evernight Teen
Paranormal Teen Romance, 63k

Anna, the girl with flaming red hair and attitude to match, always felt like an outcast. In her final year of high school, when she can’t even connect with the right guy, she meets mysterious bible-loving Devin and feels strangely drawn to him.
There’s more to Devin than good looks and his weird obsession with scripture, and Anna finally understands the emptiness she’s felt her entire life. Join Anna as she searches for answers about her past with Devin, struggles to accept her true identity, and begins an adventure into the City of Fire to reseal the gates of Hell.
Buy Links: Evernight Teen Amazon All Romance eBooks

Can you tell us a little about your latest book? 
I would love to!
Keeper of the Gate follows Annalisa Harold a high school student who struggles with self esteem issues and depression. She’s never really felt as though she belongs among her peer group. Over the years, she has had several relationships but none of them ever lasted or felt right. Devin, a mysterious dark hair senior with luminous aqua eyes, comes into the picture and Anna feels strangely drawn to him – this type of connection has never happened before. Anna soon finds out there’s more to Devin than good looks and his weird obsession with the Bible, and the sense of loneliness she felt her entire life is finally explained. Anna spends a good portion of the book searching for answers about her past with Devin and struggling to accept her true identity. Amid this turmoil she begins an adventure into the City of Fire to reseal the gates of Hell. The story is a roller coaster and I won’t let you off until the very end so hang on!

What inspired you to write it?
I talked about this at length in another blog visit. My oldest daughter was the one who inspired me to write this story. When I told her I was going dedicate my latest book, Keeper of the Gate, to her because she had inspired me to write it, she crinkled her nose and said, "Book? What book are you talking about?" I had to laugh, and hold onto the nearest solid surface. The heated conversation we'd had so many years ago about what type of book I should write next was just a fleeting moment in her life. She had no idea I'd spent the last two years writing a story based on her desire to read a love story with angels. After some prompting and bugging - and possibly some tap dancing and head stands - Kristen finally nodded weakly and smiled.
"Oh sure, Mom, that's right." Her eyes skirted as she struggled to recall any memory of the conversation we'd had. "That book. Now I remember. I thought it was about ghosts are something?"
Boy oh boy the things we do for our kids!

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?

Truthfully I played no part in the creation of the cover. All the credit goes to Jay Aheer. He did an amazing job capturing the essence of the story. The fire at the bottom is amazing!

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I love these kinds of questions! I think it’s every writers dream to have something they’ve written turned into a movie!
If Keeper of the Gate was made into a movie I would definitely love to see Zac Efron play Devin. Zac and Devin share the same striking aqua eyes and I love the kindness that shows in Zac’s face – this is often how I see Devin.
Anna, or Annalisa, is a bit more difficult. She has a fiery personality hardened by the rejection she’s faced over the years. Perhaps I’m being a bit too ambitious but I would love to see Emma Watson play Anna. They both have a toughness masked by a soft exterior.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?

Paranormal romance, mixed with fantasy, has always been my number one choice of novels. If you’ve read any of my other novels you’d see that I’m slightly obsessed with all things paranormal.

What made you want to become an author?
Authors aren’t made, they’re born. I think Lady Gaga said it best, baby I was born this way!

How do you come up with character names?
Most the time the names just fall out of the air as I write. There really is no intentional selection.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
Interview with the Vampire is my all time favorite read – I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read it and have to remind myself to pick something new. Anne Rice is an amazing author, her writing is beautiful.

Who, or what, inspires you?
Music inspires me most of the time – my children have some influence from time to time. ;) When I find I’m stuck on a section of whatever book I’m working on, I’ll plug in my i-pod and take a long drive with the music cranked. It’s strange but I’ve worked out more than a few issues this way.

Where is your favourite place to write?
My couch in the midst of the chaos that is my life. Banana muffin anyone? (You’ll have to visit me on Twitter to get in on the banana muffin joke). Believe it or not, I don’t work in an office or even in isolation. Perhaps this makes sense considering the life I lead. With three children under the age of eight, and one over the age of 21, there really isn’t a right place or time just for me.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
Interview with the Vampire. Man I’m hard core! I love Brad Pitt as Louis but think Tom Cruise was cast a little too hastily. It’s too bad so much was left out but I think, overall, the director captured the essence of the story. I’m sure it’s very hard to replicate a book exactly.

Name two of your favourite authors.
Stephen King and Anne Rice. Stephen King because I am in complete awe of the ideas he comes up with. How does one person think of some many amazing stories? Anne Rice is my other for reasons listed above – her writing is a delight to read.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.
I crochet bubble stitch scarves but can’t do it unless I watch an example on YouTube. Seriously. I have tried for years to learn how to read a pattern with no luck. Thanks to YouTube my family is now very well equipped with puff stitch scarves of all colors. Perhaps I should give one of them away? Who needs a red puff stitch scarf? Message me!

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
Oh boy this is a tough one. I think the person that could best represent me in the movie of my life would be Penelope Cruz. Not only do we look alike – ahem okay so maybe that’s pushing it a bit- but I love that she has always known the direction of her life. I believe she was cast in her first movie when she was 15 or 16. I can relate to that. I’ve always known I wanted to be an author and didn’t stop until that dream became a reality.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
I live in Northern Ontario and I am quite proud to say Angels of the Night – my first published work – is set here. It’s strange to drive around town and see a land mark featured in my novel. The Stone Masons play an integral part of that story and every time I drive by the building it feels like they’re going to come running after me for giving away their secrets. Are they really hiding the existence of vampires? ☺

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
I am currently working on the third book in the Angels of the Night series and when I’m done would like to start another book for Keeper of the Gate. There are so many possibilities for sequels from that first story I’m grappling with where to start. I really miss Devin and Anna and feel like I need to get them back right away.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
One of the things on my bucket list is to visit Scotland and tour the historic sites. As a Kennedy I’d like to explore my ancestral roots – and believe it or not I LOVE bagpipes, highland dancing and kilts. My husband and I are planning a trip in 2016. I can’t wait to cross that off.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
In Keeper of the Gate Anna and Devin have to cross the River Styx into the City of Fire so I guess this is one of my favorite myths. Overall, I love all Greek mythology and fit it into my writing when it works.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
As I was going through my school memories book a few months ago I came to my kindergarten page. At the bottom of one of the pages was a section where my parents filled in the question: What do you want to be when you grow up? At the age of four I answered ‘teacher’ and guess what? That’s exactly what I am! Teaching and writing are both in my soul – baby I was born this way.

Thanks so much for having me! If anyone would like a red bubble scarf, seriously, email me your favorite part of Keeper of the Gate – be sure to tell me why that was your favorite part. First person to answer will win the scarf and I’ll feature your answer on my blog!

Backing away, I turned toward the wall. “Can’t you just leave me alone? All I’m asking for is time to say goodbye to my family. Why is that so hard?”
I could feel the heat of him directly behind me but didn’t turn. “You know the reason.” His tone was quiet and serious. “I am not going to repeat myself.”
“Go away, Devin.” Tears of frustration would not be held at bay any longer and my words were laced with hatred. “Just leave me alone!”
Heat building in my chest suddenly exploded and I turned and shoved him as hard as I could. He staggered backwards a couple steps, but caught himself easily.
“That was pathetic,” he mumbled and moved back over to me.
“Stay back!” I demanded, fists held defensively forward.
He laughed at my threat and grabbed for both of my wrists. Arms flailing wildly, I avoided his hands but somehow he flipped me around to pin my body against the wall with his. He slipped his legs between mine and spread them wide.
“Get . . .off . . . me.” I huffed under his weight and struggled to pull away. He only dug his knees into the backs of my legs more forcefully. Laughing, he pressed his torso harder against my back before fumbling to grab my wrists.
“Make me leave, Anna,” he whispered breathlessly into my ear as he forced my hands over my head. His fingers dug into my wrists and this brought tears to my eyes.
“You’re hurting me!” I hissed through clenched teeth and leaned away from his face. “Get off me!”
He grunted with the effort and after a bit of a fight took both of my hands in one of his. With his free hand he took a fistful of my hair and yanked my head back.
“Ow!” I swore and blinked tears down my cheeks.
“You better hurry.” He hissed. “Make me leave before someone gets hurt.”
The heat of his breath in my face fueled the fire in my chest and I screamed in frustration, fear and anger. He laughed gratingly and this only ticked me off more.
“No one can hear you scream. It’s just us.” He pushed my knees painfully into the wall with his legs. “Maybe you like this. Huh?” he asked, pressing his torso harder against me. I cried out as the air was squeezed from my lungs. “I am in complete control, Anna. I could do whatever I pleased with you right now. What are you going to do about it?”
“Why are you doing this to me?” I sobbed and my anger fizzled. My words came out in a great shudder. “Get off. Please.”
“Come on!” Spittle sprayed my cheek when he yelled and I clamped my eyes shut. “You’re not Annalisa Harold.” He yanked my hair again and I whimpered.
“Stop crying,” he demanded and let up his grip a fraction.
“You’re a warrior. A Keeper of the Gate!” Air huffed from my lips as he pressed against me again. “Now. . .come . . .on! Make me leave!”
I wriggled and struggled to move away but it felt like he was made of iron. I sobbed breathlessly, my muscles spent. His suggestion I was some type of warrior was ridiculous.
Devin’s voice was laced with anger. “He will destroy your family. He will torture your friends. Is that what you want for them?”
I couldn’t breathe, could hardly think of anything but taking a lung full of air. My cheek pressed against the cold drywall and tears dripped like ice down my neck. I wanted to get away from him, wanted to breathe, but sorrow sapped my strength. Perhaps I should give in to him. Perhaps that was what I needed.
I cried then. Long, mournful sobs racked my trapped chest for what felt like hours. We stayed as we were for so long, in fact, the cold in the drywall started to eat itself into my brain. I pleaded, I begged, I screamed, but Devin refused to release me. His breath was like fire in my ear, his body a prison. He was never going to let me go.
Then the images started to come. I was desperate to save my mother, my father, my friends. Scene after scene of my life flashed like lightning in a summer storm and I knew I couldn’t sacrifice them. I didn’t care about myself, I wanted to die, but I couldn’t let my family suffer in my place. They were the innocent. They had loved me like their own.
Drawing what breath I could, I screamed from the pit of my stomach and pushed against the wall with all my might. This last effort created enough space to allow me to turn around. Anger flooded in then and I wanted to kill him. My heart raced, I couldn’t seem to draw enough air, and my body tingled with lightning.
Meeting his eyes, I didn’t miss the look of surprise that swept across his face. Glad I finally had the advantage, I drew a shaking breath before shoving him with as much strength as I could muster. As my fingertips touched his chest, the air came alive with pin pricks of electricity. Amazingly, Devin flew across the room, pulled by some invisible force, and I was left standing alone in shock. His body hit the opposite wall hard enough to knock my clock off the nail, but he
was right back on his feet and hardly fazed at all.
He adjusted his glasses and smoothed his hair. “That was good, but it wasn’t good enough.”
Recklessly, he charged at me again but this time I was ready. I lunged into a forward roll away from him, and got back on my feet, fast enough to send a roundhouse kick toward his head.
He blocked my foot skillfully, but I nearly missed a low kick from him toward my right shin and stopped it at the last second. In a flurry of movement, he threw a series of punches toward my head, all of which I blocked with my forearms. Unfortunately, as I was backing up I tripped over a book bag. He grabbed the front of my shirt as I collapsed backwards and my hair brushed the wall.
“Careful,” he said breathlessly, eyes wide with excitement.
“Thanks,” I grunted and wrenched my shirt free of his grip as I jumped back on my feet.
With every inhalation of air my body came more alive. I was electrified, invincible, and going to kick Devin’s ass.

Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie Ontario, Paula has a B.A. in psychology, a B. Ed. in the primary, junior, intermediate and senior divisions, and a vivid imagination. She spent her early years listening to the stories of her father, a well-loved high school teacher and creating tales of adventure for her two younger sisters.
She is a wife and mother to four amazing children. “I am a mother, a wife, a teacher and a writer. Life does not get any better than this!”



Giveaway: 1 Ebook copy of Keeper of the Gate

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