Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Secrets of Shadow Hill: Always and Forever by S.P. Cervantes



How did you start your writing career?

Secrets of Shadow Hill: Always and Forever is the first novel in the Secrets of Shadow Hill series I am writing.  I did not start out wanting to write a series…I didn’t even think I was going to try and have my book published until I was about a third of the way into the first book. 

I have always loved to write, and started writing short stories, sometimes fantasy, and sometimes realistic fiction, as a way to relieve stress.  Writing has always been a way for me to not only express myself, but to relax and relieve stress. 

Always and Forever started out as a writing lesson for my Third grade class.  I was trying to show my students how to introduce characters and a setting for an Authors Tea project they do in class.  As I began to write the introductory chapter, ideas for the novel were constantly flooding my mind, so I just kept writing.  I was pregnant at the time with twins, and was soon after put on bed rest.  That opened the door, giving me all the time in the world to listen to music, eat ice cream, and write.   

What is something people would be surprised to know about you?

I think that the most surprising thing about me to others is how many twins there are in my family.  I have an identical twin sister.  I also have twin daughters (and a son).  My twin sister also has twin, a boy and a girl. People always make comments about how twins are supposed to skip a generation, but in our case it certainly didn’t.  It makes for a lot of fun though! 

What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The hardest part for me about writing my books is finding the time.  I am a mother of three young children and a 3rd grade teacher.  I love being a mother and having fun with my kids, and teaching is a part of who I am, just like writing.  There are days when I’d love nothing more than to lock myself in my room and do nothing but write, but that rarely happens.  I do most of my writing at night or on weekends when the kids nap.  

Do you listen to music while writing? If so what?

I literally can’t write without music.  I make playlists and choose songs that fit the theme of the story or set the mood for the section I am writing.  My playlists definitely vary, but I always have some of the same artists as a must mixed in.  The Killers, Coldplay, Mumford and Sons, and U2 are my favorites, but I always mix in some Rhianna, Eminem, Lay-Z, Phillip Phillips, and Muse thrown in somewhere too. 

Tell us about your current release.

Secrets of Shadow Hill Always and Forever is a young adult romantic fantasy that will have you hooked in the first chapter. 

The story is told from the point of view of two characters, Ava and Dalton. Ava is an eighteen year old getting ready to graduate high school with her twin sister Hannah.  Both girls are unaware that they are descendants of powerful wizards, or that evil is after them.  

Dalton is a powerful wizard from the esteemed Shadow Hill coven in Ireland, and is sent Aiden, a Chosen One, to protect the girls from the dark Sabatino Coven who is hunting them.

Nothing will ever be the same for any of them as they fight for their lives and the ones they love as more secrets of Shadow Hill are revealed. 

The next novel in the series, Secrets of Shadow Hill: The Prophecy will be released in September 2013.

Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

You should read Always and Forever because it is the beginning of a magical adventure of suspense and romance that will sweep you off your feet.  It is the perfect mix of adventure and romance with all of the addicting qualities you look for in a YA fantasy! 

Tell us about your next release.

The second book of the Secrets of Shadow Hill series is called The Prophecy and will be released in September 2013.  The Prophecy takes place one year after the end of Always and Forever and continues to follow Ava and Dalton as they face unthinkable challenges and dangers while trying to protect their coven and the world from the evil that is trying to take over and destroy them.


Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?

If my publisher offered for me to go anywhere to research my book it would of course be to Ireland. I have always wanted to go there, and it is one of the settings for my book.  A large part of my heritage is Irish, and our family continues to honor and share many of the traditions of our culture in all we do.  It would be a trip of a lifetime for me, and a dream come true!


Strange Stranger

I awoke laying back down in the pile of leaves. I wasn’t sure if I was alive. The last thing I remembered was seeing this horrible creature charging me. As I opened my eyes I realized I was not alone. A handsome young man was kneeling over me with sincere concern in his eyes.
“Wh-what happened? What was that?” My voice was shaking as I was trying to pull myself together.
“You fainted.” He simply replied. He was wearing a heavy green and blue flannel shirt that was unbuttoned just enough to make me blush.
Questions poured out of my mouth uncontrollably. “No, I mean what was that trying to attack me? It was so large…like nothing I have ever seen. Why was it charging me that way? Are you Ok? Did it hurt you?” My voice trembled as I spoke. Clearly confused I tried to get up when his warm hands gripped my arm.
“You need to sit here for a minute. You were out for a little bit and I want to make sure you are not hurt.” He said calmly.
Who was this man I wondered? As he stood to look around I noticed how tall and muscular he was. Not football player muscular like Patrick, he had a sleek build like some of the swimmers at my school had. His dark brown hair framed his perfectly shaped jaw line and deep blue eyes.
“I think I am Okay. You still haven’t answered my questions though…What was that?” I was now acting clearly delirious with all of these questions I kept asking.
He answered, looking a little annoyed. “It was a large dog, but I scared it away. You’ll be fine.” He looked around hastily. “You shouldn’t be out here all alone this time of day. It is not safe for a little girl like you.”
I noticed him take a step back from me and look off in the distance anxiously. His behavior seemed odd to me, which should have worried me, but I thought whoever he was, he was probably safer than that beast out there!
“Listen, you had better get back home. I will walk you out of the woods, but you should not come here at night anymore, it is not safe.” He said.
Just then I realized that he was not from Bricktown, not even New Jersey. It sounded like he had an Irish accent just like my mother’s. His words flowed off of his tongue like a gentle stream.
“Thank-you for your concern, but I am familiar with this area. I’ll be fine. Where are you from anyway? I haven’t seen you here before,” I asked.
I don’t know why I didn’t feel more scared of this stranger who acted so curiously. He had the opposite effect on me making me very calm.
“I am visiting family. My name is Dalton.” He answered shortly and grabbed my arm and started to lead me back through the forest. His grip on my arms sent unexpected chills through my body.
He handed me my phone, “I think this is yours.”
Grateful I took my phone, “I’m Ava. Thank you for saving me from whatever that was.” I said quickly trying to erase this unusual feeling of fear and intrigue.
I still did not believe it was merely a dog that tried to attack me. The way the creature charged me was like a madman running through the forest. Its piercing red eyes met mine with such rage and determination that I was sure it was not a dog or even a bear for that matter. It had to be the New Jersey Devil. That was the only logical explanation.
I couldn’t believe I now thought being attacked by the Jersey Devil was logical. I just wanted to go back to my home and forget this day ever happened.
Dalton insisted on walking me home to be sure I was safe. I did not like the fact he was treating me like a two year old, but was glad to have someone with me for the dark, cold walk home. I could tell by the concern on his face that he didn’t mean me any harm.
We did not talk as we walked back to my house, merely walking in an uncomfortable silence. The air was much colder than it had been when I left for my time of peace. Peaceful… That was definitely not how my day ended.
Dalton unexpectedly wrapped his arm around my shoulders when he noticed I was shaking. I wasn’t sure if I was shaking from the cold or the visions I was replaying in my head of the horrendous creature that wanted nothing but my blood.
When I was once again standing in front of my red door, Dalton turned to me and grabbed my face, holding it in his hands to get a better look into my eyes. The intensity of his gaze almost made me forget the fear I was feeling seconds ago. It was as if he melted all of my problems away with one touch. I just stood there frozen, not sure what to do. If any other boy would have done this to me I would have laughed. This time I just waited for him to speak.
It seemed like an hour before he suddenly spoke with such intensity I felt it burn into my skin. “Ava, promise me you will not go back there tonight, it is not safe.”
Why did he care what I did? I simply replied. “No worries Dalton, I’ll be fine. I’m a tough girl.” I said with a wink as I stepped towards the door uncomfortable with this strange exchange. “Maybe I’ll see you around while you are here visiting your family. You’re my hero now.” I said playfully trying to hide my fear.
“Sure, maybe I’ll see you around. Just please stay away from the woods at night.” Dalton walked slowly down the steps and watched me intently as I walked into the house.
I looked out the window right after I shut the door to get one last look at his perfect face, but he was gone. Where did he go so quickly? Oh well, I thought. This had been an odd day to begin with. I was ready to just go to sleep and start all over tomorrow.
I turned to see Hannah and my mother were standing in the living room obviously peeking at Dalton and me through the window.
My mom had been very upset with my breakup with Patrick at first. But then this morning she unexpectedly sat me down and told me that it was probably for the best and I should try and keep my distance from Patrick so he could get over it. She loved Patrick and treated him like her own, so I had thought she would have put up more of a fight. Either way, she will be happy to know I realized my stupidity before it was too late.
“Who was that?” My sister asked anxiously.
“Dalton. I met him on a walk.”
I tried to act very nonchalant about the situation. I did not want to worry my mother or have her ban us from going to the water tower by telling the horrific mystery of the New Jersey Devil attacking me there. It was my only place of peace.
When I said Dalton’s name I noticed my mother’s face turn sour.
“Flirt” I heard Hannah whisper under her breath.
I felt my face starting to fill with rage again, but decided to go to my room rather than get in another argument. I had enough drama for the day.
“Good night Mom, I wanna get to bed early. I’ve had a rough day!” I yelled over my shoulder as I headed back to my room. That was an understatement.
As I lay down in my bed, dreams began replaying my night at the water tower. The evil red eyes of the creature, the pounding of my heart feeling as if it were about to jump out of my chest, Dalton’s face as he protectively helped me back to my house.
There was something so strange about Dalton, but I could not figure out what it was. One thing I knew for certain, I was going to make sure we would meet again. 

Book Jacket Description

Twin sisters Ava and Hannah were torn from their peaceful lives into a whirlwind of magical attacks only to learn the real truth about their existence.

Nothing was as it seemed anymore and may never be again. They had already lost their father in childhood now they have to cope with their mother's kidnapping as they watch those sworn to protect them risk their lives.


S.P Cervantes lives in Orange County, California with her loving husband and three children, where she is a teacher.  She enjoys spending time with her family, writing, and reading, but is always thinking of an idea for her next novel.

S.P. Cervantes graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from California State University Fullerton, and has a Master’s Degree in Education.

S.P. Cervantes recently has completed the second novel in the Secrets of Shadow Hill Series,
Secrets of Shadow Hill: Prophecy, and is currently writing the third novel in this exciting series.
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Annah Schoonover said...

Hello hello. I would love to have a Kindle copy of Always and Forever. Thanks for the giveaway!!

Shamara Catama said...

I would prefer a Kindle copy. Thanks for the opportunity

Denise Z said...

Always and Forever caught my eye a short while ago with the lovely cover. I love the storyline as well and am looking forward to reading it. I am a Kindle gal so kindle/mobi or pdf works for me :) Thank you for sharing with us and for this lovely giveaway opportunity.

rumahteduh18 said...

Hello, I would prefer a Kindle copy. Thank you for the giveaway :)

Warm regards,