The Romany Outcasts Series
Christi J. Whitney
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
Date of Publication: E-book - 4/30/15
Date of Publication:
Number of pages: 344
Word Count: 91,640
Cover Artist: Cherie Chapman
Can you still love with a heart of stone?
Sebastian Grey always thought he was a fairly normal teenager – good friends, decent grades and a pretty sweet job in his foster brother’s tattoo shop.
But when Romany gypsies arrive in town, Sebastian discovers that his world is not what it seems. There is an age-old feud between his family and the gypsies – and this isn’t the only secret his brother has been keeping from him. His life is not his own. The girl he’s been dreaming about has just turned up at school, and he feels compelled to protect her at all costs.
Even if that means life might never be normal again.
Book Trailer: https://vimeo.com/125617735
‘Sebastian, are you still there?’
I transferred my phone to my other hand as I buckled the seatbelt. ‘Yeah, I’m here.’
‘Weren’t you listening to me?’ Katie asked.
I paused, trying to remember what we’d been talking about. The two hours since lunch had been a blur, and my brain was mush. ‘Um . . . ’
Katie sighed on the other end. ‘The project Ms Lucian talked about in class today,’ she continued impatiently. ‘When are we going to work on it?’
‘I’m sorry,’ I replied, starting the engine. ‘The pounding in my head’s making it difficult to think.’
‘You know me and sunny days,’ I said dismissively. I stepped on the gas and coaxed my old van onto the road. ‘But about the project. I don’t know if I can do it this week. Can I get back to you?’
‘Yeah, just don’t wait too long. I know we’ve got almost a month to work on it, so Ms Lucian’s not going to cut us any slack, and the rest of our group is totally avoiding me about the whole thing.’
Katie hated procrastinating on anything related to schoolwork. This was probably killing her. ‘Look, don’t worry about it. I’ll talk to the guys, and we’ll come up with a day to work on it. I promise, we won’t let you down.’
‘Thanks, Sebastian,’ she replied, sounding relieved. ‘You’re not nearly as much of an idiot as the rest of your species.’
I chuckled. ‘I think you mean gender.’
She giggled. ‘No, I don’t.’
‘Talk to you later, Katie.’
I tossed the phone on the passenger seat and rubbed my temples. By the time I made it through town and steered my van into the parking lot of the Gypsy Ink, my headache had traveled, setting up residence between my shoulder blades. The last thing I felt like doing was homework.
I shuffled through the waiting room, giving a brief wave to Kris, who was busy behind the counter. I’d grab a quick snack and then lay out flat on the floor of the apartment for a while. Just until the aching eased. I paused in the hallway just outside the door of Hugo’s workspace. I didn’t have to say anything. My brother knew I was there.
‘Hey, Sebastian.’ He glanced up from his sketchbook. ‘What’s up?’
‘Do you have any sports cream?’ I leaned against the wall and squinted as a sharp pain lanced through my shoulders. ‘My back’s killing me.’
Hugo’s brows settled low over his dark eyes. ‘In the drawer beside my bed.’
I continued down the hallway, followed by the weight of my brother’s stare. He probably thought I was trying to get out of work, which wasn’t a bad idea. I chucked my bag on the bed and rummaged through Hugo’s nightstand until I located the tube of medicine. I worked the cream into my back, but it felt as if someone was digging long fingers between my shoulder blades, attempting to separate muscle from bone.
I gave up with the cream and stumbled to the bathroom on a quest for aspirin. Just as I reached for the medicine cabinet, another shock of pain doubled me over. I gripped the edge of the counter and straightened. My gaze flicked to the mirror. For a moment, I almost didn’t recognize the face staring back. I was crazy pale, even for me, and my skin made the hazel color of my eyes look dull. But then I noticed something else. Another chunk of gray was poking through my disheveled hair.
Such an interesting twist here!!! I'm not really familiar with gypsies but I am familiar with the other- hearts of stone we shall say :)! And I'm super pumped to say I loved the characters- a lot! Especially Sebastian and Hugo. That's just brotherly love and I think it's super cool how the author played them together. And I also really like seeing a ya in a male POV. We get lots of females, and we get males in the adult books, but rarely do we see them in YA and it's very well done! So let's start with Sebastian. He wakes up one day with something wrong. He has no idea what's happened and no one can tell him. He's also been dreaming about this girl and all of a sudden she's real and in front of him. Josephine is not a dream girl but a real girl from his dreams.
I enjoyed this one. I happen to love those.... Yeah I can't tell you what Sebastian is, you got figure it out! But I love those, along with werewolves and dragons- if you've read other reviews you'll know :) and the author did a fantastic job weaving the web of suspense and intrigue while keeping it light and not too dark. It's well done and I'm definitely looking forward to book two!! This is just the start of the series and I'm definitely looking forward to getting some answers to questions I have! Well done!! 4.5 PAWS!!!
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
First, tell me a little about your book ….
I’d be happy to! Grey is the first book in The Romany Outcasts series. It’s a YA fantasy, set in the southern part of the U.S. Grey tells the story of eighteen-year-old Sebastian – a pretty average teen who lives with his foster brother Hugo who runs a tattoo shop. But one day, a clan of Outcast Gypsies arrives in town, and Sebastian finds himself pulled into a world of secrets, shadowy creatures, and a destiny he can’t escape.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it?
Well, to be honest, I was inspired to write this book by my students. I was teaching high school drama at the time, and I got this idea for a YA story. I shared it with my class, and they immediately encouraged me to write the book. Some of them even helped me edit and revise it.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
There are several people, places, and incidents that happen in Grey that are directly influenced by real life. I even fashioned a few characters from students and people I know.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I have a copy of An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir in my TBR pile. I’ve heard lots of good things about it, so I’m looking forward to delving in.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m currently writing book three in the series, which is the last book in the trilogy. It’s definitely a challenge because all the final puzzle pieces have to fit together. I’ve done a lot more researching, mapping, and plot diagramming for this book than I did with the other two.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre?
I tend to read a lot of fantasy and YA. I’ve just started Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson, which was recommended to me by a friend.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them?
The fabulous Cherie Chapman designed my cover. She’s one of the art designers for HarperCollinsUK. I was fortunate to be able to include a good bit of input on the cover, and I am really pleased with how it turned out.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose?
Gosh, that’s a tough question! Though I love the characters of Sebastian and Ms. Lucian – for reasons I can’t really say here (spoilers!) – I’m not totally sure I’d like to be them. But I would love to be a part of their world in some way.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I would like to say thank you so very much for opening yourself up to a new book and a new series. Being a debut author is extremely difficult! I feel like a fish swimming upstream most of the time, but it encourages me so much when I get positive feedback from readers about my book. So thank you!
About the Author:
Christi J. Whitney is a former high school theatre director with a love for the arts. She lives just outside Atlanta with her husband and two sons. When not spending time with them or taking a ridiculous number of trips to Disney World, she can be found directing plays, making costumes for sci-fi/fantasy conventions, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching superhero movies, or pretending she’s just a tad bit British. You can visit her online at www.christijwhitney.com or connect on Twitter (@ChristiWhitney).
1 e-book copy of Grey (Kindle gift e-book through Amazon US)
1 e-book copy of Shadow (Kindle gift e-book through Amazon US)