When you're meant for each other
you don't fall, you rise...
Seventeen-year-old Adria Catarr is a carefree, stubborn girl with an insatiable sweet tooth. When she stumbles into Lando Cardé, the incognito prince, during the annual Midsummer Festival and mistakes his charm for love at first sight, her naïve heart is quickly broken.
Kaidan Sordell, a childhood friend, is there to pick up the pieces and help Adria mend her wounds. His affection for her has gone unnoticed for so long that he’s not sure if he’ll ever have the nerve to tell her how he truly feels.
With the last summer before adulthood upon them, Adria and Kaidan decide to seek out the Temple of the Red Mare. The legendary tales of it revealing a heart’s truest desire is too tempting for lovelorn Adria to pass up.
Will she realize, though, that what she’s looking for has been trekking beside her all along?
Adria tightened her hold like a vise grip before he could move apart.
“Wow, I didn’t even see that, Kai,” she exclaimed. Without even thinking, she whirled around and embraced him in a generous hug. She pressed her head against his shoulder and crushed his back as tightly as she could.
Uh oh. “Huh?” He was still standing in mirthful shock when she darted toward the merchant. Even then, she did not let go of his hand. By Áine, she smells so nice.
“Don’t you see all those yummies he’s selling? Look at all those chocolate truffles and the gourmet cookies on the left and—ah, Kaidan! Kaidan!” The last syllable of his name dragged on melodically as she grabbed his shoulder and shook him wildly. Any passerby would think that she was trying to resuscitate the dead or break him out of a hypnotic trance. “He has cheesecake. Cheesecake, Kaidan! Do you know how—ah! Kaidan, it’s caramel too! Trust me; I know my desserts.” She glared at him suspiciously. “Don’t judge me, Kai. They’re really, really good! By the way, did I mention that he has cheesecake?”
“I, uh, okay.” He did not have to see Adria lick her lips hungrily to know her intentions. Without a doubt, she was already salivating over the confections. Bless her if she can handle it. We just ate, though.
“What do you want? Tell me, Kai. It’s my treat!”
He scratched his neck and squinted. “You don’t have to Adria. It’s okay.”
She grimaced. “Not happening, Kai. Pick one! Hurry!”
I knew that was coming. “Well, if you insist. There are so many choices to pick from.”
“I’ll count down from five.”
Geez! “Okay, um, how about some of those white chocolate candies? We can share them.”
She scrunched up her nose and shook her head. Got it, Kai. Caramel cheesecake for you, too, it is! Stay right here. I’ll be back in a flash!”
Adria squeezed his hand gently and ignored the comic disbelief across Kaidan’s face. He was still standing there in a daze when she skipped away toward the vendor. Soon, he would know why cheesecake was far too fine of a treat to pass up. Hardly anything could compare to it under any circumstance.
Kaidan watched her scamper off glumly. It only seemed fitting that clouds blanketed the darkening sky above. Still, he persisted on stretching his time with Adria as far as possible. Perhaps deep down, he knew that briefly enjoying her company was better than nothing at all.
The Lioness: A True Love Tale is a YA romance set in an alternate world I created with heavy European influences, namely French, Italian, and Celtic. There are no fantasy creatures or magic.
It can be read as a stand alone, but I am currently working on The Tigress: A True Life Tale, which will tell the story of Rylee Suroch, who happens to be a side character in The Lioness.
What inspired you to write The Lioness?
Most of my experience is in young adult, and I continuously heard this amazing song from Lunatica called “Song For You” that completely inspired me and gave me the idea for it. Throughout the course of the novel, I must’ve listened to the song about 7-8x a day.
Tell us about your characters Adria Catarr and Kaidan Sordell and how they came to be?
Adria Catarr is the protagonist of the novel. She is a cheerful, 17 year old girl who begins the novel being naïve and a bit ignorant, but definitely grows and learns to figuratively open her eyes. She has an insatiable sweet tooth and thinks about eating all the time (she counters this by being a heavy runner and a girl who loves running). To her, life is there for enjoyment, and she’s determined to make the most of her last summer before adulthood.
Kaidan Sordell is the second protagonist of the novel. He is a 17 year old boy who is very shy and lacks self esteem. He has been Adria’s childhood friend and has adored her for so long in secret that he doesn’t think he’ll ever have the nerve to tell her how he feels. As the novel progresses, he finds the courage to pursue his dreams and to also make the most out of his youth while he still has it.
The characters came to be out of determination to write a romance that everyone can connect with. With true love is a journey being a motto, I wanted to have two characters that mirror every day people in some fashion, sans the common factors present in most other novels. I wanted to show that there’s more to a relationship than actual romance and it’s the ups and downs, gives and takes, that matter, and they just seemed to fit the bill perfectly.
Do your characters ever resemble people in your life?
My characters represent molds of people in real life and I hope to fit the build of all young men and women, their aspirations, secret fears, and heart of hearts.
How long did it take you to write the story and was there any particular research or experiences that played into the development of the piece?
I spent just about one year writing this novel. I work two jobs and so finding the time was super difficult, but I did do a lot of research for this novel in the form of investigating European customs, ways, architecture, and society, as the novel has heavy European influences. The Goddess in the novel, Áine, is based off of her Celtic counterpart, and so I weaved some mythology into the tale.
You also have your Inferno Unleashed series (Empyreal Illusions and Awakening the Fire). How do you balance your writing time for the different books?
Thankfully, Empyreal Illusions & Awakening the Fire were done by the time I began The Lioness. Finding the time to do all three was not simple, but I’m happy to say that I can focus on marketing those and working solely on my new one, The Tigress, now.
Did you have the same audience in mind for this new book as you did for the Inferno Unleashed series?
The target audience of The Lioness are teenagers and young adults, particularly 14+ females. However, I—and a few reviews—are of the impression that this is a novel even many adults will find value out of, as it hits home the theme of when you’re meant for each other, you don’t fall [in love]. You rise.
Do you consider yourself a more character-driven or plot-driven writer?
I consider myself a mix of both. All my novels have deep storylines with many, many themes and greater philosophical meaning behind them, but I also try to flesh out the main characters in a way that makes them very, very dependable. It’s honestly hard to say.
What has been the most difficult part about this journey/what has been the most positive part?
The most difficult part of this journey has been finding the time to write, market, promote, and support others while balancing two jobs and a life outside of same. I literally sleep 4 hours a day, maybe 5 on a good evening. The most positive part is seeing the reaction of the readers, hearing that I’ve inspired them to write or alter their life in some way, shape, or form, and just seeing them impacted by the novels I write and their themes.
What’s your writing process like?
I try to wake up super early to get some writing in because I am usually strapped for time. Lately, though, I end up doing it in the evening with an energy drink. I either have good, loud music blasting or an anime video on the left side of the screen while I write on the right. For me, it’s much easier to write with music on as it distracts me just enough to not fall asleep (b/c I’m usually so sleepy from work).
Are there any books or authors that have influenced you in your writing? What are you reading right now?
The authors who have influenced my writing the most are Brandon Sanderson, Tad Williams, Mercedes Lackey, and Robert Jordan (RIP). They are some of my favorite authors and I aspired to be as great in worldbuilding, plot creating, and character description as they are. Right now, I am reading Simon Green’s Once in a Blue Moon.
What can your readers look forward to next?
Readers can look forward to The Tigress: A True Life Tale next. It tells the story of Rylee Suroch, a side character in The Lioness.
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t ever give up. Ever. Aside from that, remember that all authors are people just as you are. They have feelings, opinions, and emotions. If you become very successful and a household name, don’t look down upon others because of your status. Most importantly, treat others as you would want to be treated yourself. It’s never, ever, ever okay to attack, slander, libel, spread rumors against, bash, or condescend another author, blogger, editor, graphic designer, formatter, reader, or anyone under any circumstance. Don’t play into those games; it’s just not cool and not worth it. Ever.
I’d probably go with someone like Tad Williams or Patrick Rothfuss. They both make pretty crafty characters and amazing stories, and all that imagination has to be able to go for something big in terms of survival and rescue.
If you had to be one of your characters from your books – who would you choose? Why?
If I had to be a character from one of my stories, I’d definitely go with Ophion of Samsara (Awakening the Fire: Book II of The Inferno Unlesahed). He is a hydromancer, thus having the ability to use water magic, and is very charismatic and somewhat arrogant. He has it pretty good and has just enough problems to keep him on his toes, and I’m told I already modeled him a bit after myself.
Favorite TV or book character growing up?
Growing up, my favorite TV character was doubtlessly Yusuke Urameshi of the divine anime, Yu Yu Hakusho. My favorite book character was and remains Kellen Tavadon of The Outstretched Shadow.
Favorite hobby that isn’t reading or writing?
Relaxing with video games or working out at the gym.
About the Author:
Jake Bonsignore is the author of multiple novels, including Empyreal Illusions, Awakening the Fire, and The Lioness. He is a graduate of the University of South Florida with magna cum laude honors. Outside of his literary pursuits, he enjoys playing sports and is a fitness enthusiast. He is currently working on his next book.
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