Monday, August 18, 2014

BREATHE FOR ME by Rhonda Helms Q&A

BREATHE FOR ME by Rhonda Helms came out August 5th, but the fun has only just begun. In case you missed it, let’s check out the cover and what’s inside!
Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.
Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).
All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.
But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.
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 We asked Rhonda some questions about her inspiration and writing process, and here's what she had to say:

Describe your book, using no more than three adjectives. Go!
 Intense, swoony, N’awlins (yeah, I know that isn’t a “real” word, but it’s how you pronounce New Orleans, lol)
 Why New Orleans? In what ways does the location aid the story?
 I visited New Orleans back in 2007. If you haven’t been there…it’s unlike any other place in the U.S. Like you’ve stepped into another world. The pace is slow, the environment almost a character in its own right. The walls themselves seep history and mystery. I loved it—and I knew immediately that I wanted to set a book there. My heroine is different, but in a place like that, difference is celebrated and accepted. The perfect place for her story to unfold.
 Which character was your favorite to write?
 Honestly? Sitri. He was a real challenge for me. Creepy and obsessive, and yet…there’s a vulnerability in him that drew me to him and stuck in my head. He’s messed up. But he’s a product of how he was raised, his lifestyle, his demonic power. He loves my heroine in his own way, but his love is flawed and controlling, not healthy and freeing and supportive. I like how complicated Sitri is.
 Breathe for Me deals with demons and curses. What other supernatural creatures do you like and which ones do you think you’d like to write about in future books?
 I love the paranormal stuff. Always wanted to write a gargoyle story, actually…I should try my hand at one someday. Something about those creatures in particular always stick with me.
What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
 I’m a huge fan of paranormal/fantasy writers with strong heroines, which is what I was aiming for in this book. These YA authors rock my socks so hard: Rae Carson, Robin LaFevers, Maria V Snyder. Can’t recommend them enough.

You can pick up a copy of BREATHE FOR ME here:
About the Author
Rhonda Helms started writing several years ago. She has a Master's degree in English and a Bachelor's degree in Creative Writing. She also edits for Carina Press (an imprint of Harlequin Publishing) and freelance edits.
When she isn't writing, she likes to do amateur photography, dig her toes into the sand, read for hours at a time, and eat scads of cheese. WAY too much cheese.
Rhonda lives in Northeast Ohio with her family.
You can find out more about Rhonda and her work here:
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And now, how about a sample of BREATHE FOR ME?

“You’re such a good girl—even studying on your lunch break,” a whispering voice says as Sitri settles into the seat across from me. Speak of the devil.
I ignore my surprise at seeing him, forcing my heart rate to steady by drawing in slow breaths. I can’t concentrate anymore, but I pretend to read. Why is he here?
He leans over and plucks the book from my hand, then scans the cover. “Really?” he asks me, curiosity apparent on his face. “I never would have guessed.”
“There’s a lot you don’t know about me,” I say, then instantly wish I could take the words back. If Sitri feels I’m being secretive, he’ll close off again, and I’ll have to work harder to regain the trust he’s shown me so far. I can’t lose that hard-earned ground. “I mean, I’ve learned a lot in school.”
A smile creeps across his face, and his eyes warm to a rich, dark grey. “I look forward to hearing more about these things that interest you.” He pauses. “I hope you’re behaving yourself,” he continues. His voice is low, soft, but the thread of seriousness beneath his words is undeniable. “And that you remember your time is coming to a close.”
“How can I forget?” I say, fighting to keep the edge out of my voice. Stay calm. “I’m reminded every day.”
“Isabel?” Dominic’s voice floats into the library as he enters. Oh, God. Oh, God.
I stand. A wave of nausea sweeps over me. I wish Dominic would go away. Or better yet, Sitri. But that’s not going to happen, because Sitri is studying my face with a keen eye and drinking in Dominic’s presence, no doubt wondering who he is to me.
He misses nothing.
“I’m in the middle of something right now,” I say to Dominic. “I’ll see you later in class.” I mentally plead for him to leave, even as my heart aches for having to push him away.
Sitri stands. “No, no, I’ll leave you two alone.” His eyes suddenly glow like hot black coals, and he smiles again. But this time, there’s nothing close to warmth in his face. It chills my blood. “I’ll see you later, Isabel.” With that, he moves by Dominic, brushing oh-so slightly against his arm, and leaves the room.
I exhale sharply, not realizing I’d been holding my breath. My head spins from dizziness and fear. This is a mess. I can’t do this. I can’t let Dominic get in the middle of something he can’t ever possibly understand. Sitri would tear him up in ways even I can’t imagine.
“Who was that?” Dominic asks. His face is unreadable, his voice a little tighter than usual.
I shake my head, unable to speak. If I do, I know I will cry. And I’m barely holding on to myself right now as it is.
 You can check out the rest of the tour here!
August 11 - Kellyvision
August 12 - The Cover Contessa
August 13 - Books Complete Me
August 15 - Hiver et Cafe
August 17 - Zili in the Sky
August 18 - Branwrites
August 19 - K-books
August 21 - YA Reads
August 22 - YA Reads


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