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Book & Author Details:
The Queen’s Gift by T.R. Allardice
Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Fifteen-year-old, late-bloomer Jean Elliott dreams of becoming a Genie like her mom. When her family relocates to Tokyo, Jean is forced to use sleight-of-hand tricks to fool everyone at school into believing that she’s a normal Preternatural or risk expulsion. When her power finally appears, it comes in the form of the Queen’s Gift–an unspeakable magic that strips power from all Preternaturals and heralds the arrival of the new queen.
After an absence of two hundred years, not everyone wants the monarchy to return and they’re willing to go to great lengths to keep the status quo. When buried secrets rip Jean’s family apart, she has a choice to make: Walk away and hope for the best or embrace the power that’s known to lead to madness in order to save her family.
Jean’s greatest dream has turned into her biggest nightmare and no matter how hard she tries, there’ll be no wishing the Queen’s Gift away.
THE QUEEN’S GIFT EXCERPT
The crowd thinned and a pale boy with long, greasy brown hair, drunkenly stumbled toward us. He swayed on his feet, teetering like a twirling nickel on the verge of toppling. His glowing red eyes clashed with his alabaster skin.
“He doesn’t look well.”
She shrugged. “Stefan’s a Vampire. I’m sure he’s fine.”
I didn’t think so, but I kept my mouth shut. I’d already upset her once. I didn’t want to do it again.
When we got closer, the vamp’s eyes rolled back in his head, leaving them zombie white. He crumbled to the marble floor in a heap of pale flesh. His face hit last with a loud splat.
Blood gushed out, forming a puddle. The smell of wet pennies filled the air. My stomach flopped and I moved back. No way was I going to hurl on my first day of school. “What’s wrong with him?”
Karen glanced at Stefan, boredom plainly scribbled on her face. No one else paid any attention to him other than to step over his thin body. Several people tracked his blood down the hall without breaking in conversation.
This place wasn’t a school. I’d landed in a house of horrors. “Shouldn’t we call for help?” My voice squeaked.
Karen’s nostrils flared and her stomach growled as she leered at the blood. “It happens all the time with leeches. You’ll get used to it.” She forced her gaze away. “Stefan must’ve forgot to get his iron shot from the school nurse this morning. Mr. Bastock should be along shortly to clean him off the floor.”
What was she talking about? He wasn’t a spilled soda. The guy needed help, not a thorough scrubbing. I hoped the man coming was some kind of doctor. The small puddle of blood turned into a crimson lake within seconds. How much blood could he lose before it would be too much?
Karen’s stomach gurgled, then roared. Several students scrambled out of the way. I froze, afraid to move. Only prey ran.
“Excuse me.” She hurriedly wiped her face with the back of her hand, but in her haste she’d missed a speckle of drool clinging to the side of her mouth.
My stomach clenched tighter and I nearly lost my breakfast. “Who’s Mr. Bastock?” I asked to take my mind off barfing.
“He’s our janitor,” she said. “He comes from a long line of South African dung beetles. He loves cleaning up crap, literally.” She looked past me. “Here he is now.”
A lanky man with four spindly arms, a bulbous nose, and jet-black hair scurried forward, pulling a squeaky, three-wheeled cart behind him. The cart held a bucket of clear water, along with a few cleaning supplies. A mop poked out of the bucket. Its handle slid side-to-side, leaving a trail of water on the floor behind him.
Mr. Bastock stared at Stefan, tsked, then rolled him into a ball and plucked him off the floor as if he weighed no more than a Cheeto. He tossed Stefan over the cart like a dirty rag and picked up one of the cleaners. He sprayed the contents on the floor, then grabbed the mop, wrung it out, and began to scrub. Within seconds, the floor was spotless and a lingering antiseptic smell was the only indication that anything had occurred.
He took a moment to admire his work, then stowed his equipment before wheeling the limp vamp off toward the elevators.
“Told you,” Karen said. “I would’ve thought you’d be used to leech strangeness by now. Stefan Franks can’t be the first one you’ve seen faint.”
I watched the elevator doors open and close, then took a deep breath and met her gaze. “We didn’t have a lot of Vampires at my last school.” It was the truth, sort of. Truth was, we didn’t have any.
Outside of books, Vampires didn’t exist in Common schools.
Mom said she’d kept me in human schools because she wanted me to learn about Commons firsthand, but I think the real reason was because she didn’t want me to feel different. And I hadn’t. I’d never had to worry about slip-ups, Preter social interactions, or anything...until now.
That didn’t mean I was entirely sheltered. Mom insisted that I read a lot of books. My academic knowledge of Preters was sound, but nothing beat experience.
“No Vampires?” Karen burst out laughing.
The sound startled me. It was the second scariest sound a Ghoul made. According to the textbooks, chewing was first.
“You must’ve gone to a small school.”
I nodded. Silent lies were still lies.
“I hope you’re not expecting the vamps to sparkle or explode into flames in the sunlight. If so, you’re going to be really disappointed. About the only thing that happens to a leech in sunlight is they break out in hives. So not attractive.” She sobered, then added, “But I wouldn’t hook up with one, if I were you. They do still bite.”
“Thanks for the tip.”
T.R. Allardice Interview
1. Out of all the characters in The Queen’s Gift who is your favorite?
I’d have to say Karen Kim. She’s so conflicted and desperate to fit in, when there’s no chance of that happening.
2. Why place the book in Tokyo?
Because it’s one of the coolest cities I’ve ever been to by far. The scale of the city is mindboggling. It’s the only place I’ve ever traveled that you cannot see the end of the city no matter what direction you look. I also really like the Japanese people, though that may not come through in the first book.
3. Will the other books be set in Tokyo, too?
It’s funny, but I’m actually trying to decide that now. When I originally planned The Queen’s Gift, I intended to change the location for each year she’s in school. There would be specific mythology based on each location. I even have the other cities picked out, photographs and all. When I entered a writing contest—The Queen’s Gift won First Place YAY—one of the things the judges brought up was keeping the book in Tokyo. It came up enough that it made me wonder if I was doing the right thing with changing locations. Ultimately, I think it will be up to the characters.
4. How did you come up with the lead character, Jean?
Jean started with one question: What would happen if you were a Genie and couldn’t grant wishes? To make it worse, I made her mother one of the most skilled Genie’s in the world.
5. How did you come up with the idea for Jean’s world?
I wanted to write a story that poked fun of a lot of books that I’d read over the years. I looked at all the characters that have populated books and noticed most were portrayed in a positive light. What I mean by that is that most were super cool, amazing looking, great at everything, love triangles, etc.
No characters seemed to be suffering from typical school issues like zits and other maladies. None of the characters really had to face not getting the guy or girl of their dreams. Every time I read one of these books, I thought about my high school experiences. I realize I was reading fiction, but it made me go in another direction.
For example, Karen Kim is a ghoul with greenish colored skin who dreams about being a super model. She’s the size of a linebacker. She will always be the size of a linebacker. Stefan is a fainting vampire. He’s always forgetting to get his iron shots from the school nurse. Chloe has to worry about bursting into flames every time she sneezes or farts. Like I said, I wanted to write something a little different, so I did. J
6. You said that you wanted to make fun of the tropes you’ve read about, yet there is a love triangle in your book. Why?
I do have a sort of love triangle happening in The Queen’s Gift. The big difference is that it’s resolved by the end of the book…maybe. ;)
7. If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
I have so many places I want to travel to right now. My top six are: Thailand, Vietnam, New Zealand, China, Egypt, and Jordan. Given the unrest in the entire Middle East, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make it to Jordan and Egypt, but I’d really love to see Petra and the pyramids before I leave this place.
8. Do you have any travel plans?
I spend quite a bit of time in the United Kingdom. I’ll be hitting it again in the summer.
9. What are you working on now?
I am currently working on the first book in a new young adult series. I’ve had the idea for quite a while and I need to get the first book done so the characters stop bothering me.
10. Final question. What do you do for fun?
I read. I go to the movies a lot. And I travel. Thank you for having me.
T.R. Allardice writes young adult, new adult, and humorous horror stories. Most of what she writes incorporates several genres. The content won't always be 'safe'. What's the fun in that? She is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, Novelist Inc. and the Author's Guild. She has thirty-one books published under another pen name. To find out more about her upcoming work, go to: www.trallardice.com
Individual giveaways:I am giving one (1) ebook copy of The Queen’s Gift. Open internationally.