Author of Afflicted.
Today, I am chatting with YA Fantasy author, CK Sorens, about her latest novel Afflicted; the second installment of the Trimarked series which releases on March 1st, 2022 and is currently available on preorder- keep reading to check out the preorder thank you gift Carrie has lined up for you!
Helen: Welcome Carrie! To start us off, tell us about your latest book.
Carrie: Afflicted is the second book in the Trimarked Series and follows Ember, whose powers have grown in the five weeks since the end of the first book, Trimarked. Nicu, her Fae guardian, has kept her secret from the Fae to protect her from imprisonment, but his loyalties are torn. So far, her unintentional bursts of power have been minor, and ignored. But as a powerful Witch upsets the fragile allyship between human, Fae, and Witch, Ember considers consciously using her chaotic abilities. If she chooses to access her powers, will Nicu keep his promise, or will he side with his kind? When the choice is to protect her friends or save herself, Ember may discover the answer.
Helen: That sounds amazing! You have such a vibrant cover. What was the inspiration behind the cover design?
Carrie: My cover was designed by the talented Natalie, the driving force behind Original Book Cover Designs. It shows Ember on Witch lands. One of the taglines for this book is “Fighting is her best feature,” and we wanted to show she’s ready for the fight to come with the clenched fists and red sweater. The red is also to show that this girl is ready to be bold, to fight for what’s important to her, once she figures out what that is.
Helen: This is the second book in your Trimarked series, how did you come up with the name of the book?
Carrie: Afflicted’s title came, in part, from one of my antagonists. The Queen can spread her over-large soul across the bodies of other people, effectively turning them into mind-controlled drones. When they’re under her control, they’re afflicted.
Afflicted has a second meaning, though, from astrology. When planets are afflicted, they’re in opposition to each other, two bodies on opposite sides. In this novel, so many chess pieces move around. Everyone seems in opposition with the other until they’re not. They are constantly shifting.
Helen: Oh, I love the dual meaning behind the title. That is so interesting and makes your series even more intriguing. Do you typically write fantasy?
Carrie: I write YA fantasy because fantasy is what got me through middle and high school. I enjoy reading and writing stories where young people are coming into their own. All their lives they’ve been told what to do for their own good, and now it’s time for them to figure out which parts of that they want to take with them, which they want to experiment with, and what they want to throw away. In fiction, YA characters are thrown into incredible situations without any experience to back them up in their decision making process. It’s not so different from real life. Sometimes, that pile of college applications is just as scary as facing down dragons. YA fantasy is not only a great escape, but also validation that hard things can be done through perseverance, faith, and a little bit of help, whether it’s from authority figured or magic.
Helen: Tell us about your protagonist and why you wrote her/him?
Carrie: In Afflicted, the main character is Ember Lee. She wasn’t just born in the wrong neighborhood (Fae), she also has a Witch for a dad and a human for a mother. A human with magical capabilities is unheard of, as they don’t have the ability to sense or use magic. The mages see Ember as a ticking time bomb. The humans see her as a reminder that magic has invaded their space, which had been ‘normal’ before they were forced to coexist.
I wrote Ember because she’s struggling in many of the same ways I struggled. I had more friends and a greater support system growing up, but many of my choices were ones I made because of those very systems. When the consequences of those choices weren’t what I wanted, I got out. That burned a lot of bridges for me and caused a lot of tension within that support system. So, at the time I began writing this story a decade or so ago, I truly felt on my own. Her experiences came from a dark part of my life, and I’m finding through conversations and reviews that it’s one many people can relate to, bringing me community once again. It’s a full circle, and I have the experience of creating and sharing Ember to thank for that.
Helen: I think that makes Ember even more engaging as she faces circumstances which drive difficult choices. If I asked Ember why we should read your book. What would she say?
Carrie: Oh, I love this question. Honestly, Ember would say:
“Don’t. Like I need one more person in my life watching me.”
Because of her status, she has a regular, though not constant, Fae guard, Nicu. The Witches give her more space as long as she keeps her weekly meeting with Devi to be checked up on. The humans, at least, steer clear of her for the most part, but they’re also the ones more likely to bully her. There’s another group of mixed-race kids and runaways called the Halfers. She should fit in with them because of her mixed parentage, but they think she brings in too much attention, and they hate the fact that her mother didn’t abandon her like their parents abandoned them. They put up with her because their leader trades with her, but that’s the extent of their patience.
But we as readers don’t have to listen to her, do we? 😉
Helen: LOL! Love it. Like me, you are a Realm of Darkness participating author. What made you write a novel for an paranormal fantasy anthology?
Carrie: The next book I have coming out is going to be in the anthology, Realm of Darkness, a collection of 40 paranormal and fantasy romance novels at all different steam levels. Even though this would take me out of my current series, which is not a romance, I joined for the opportunity to learn and to get to know more indies. Being in the set has fulfilled both of my hopes, and I’m really excited to take these lessons forward, and to be able to grow my indie tribe with these talented authors.
Helen: I am so excited to be part of this anthology, it has been a great experience, and I can’t believe the launch is only in October. It has come around so quickly! You can preorder the anthology here for the insane price of 99c/99p! You can check out some of my other posts as I spotlight the authors as they reveal their covers!
Thank you so much for chatting with me today. It’s been such fun getting to know you more, Carrie. As we reach the end of our time together is there anything you would like to add?
Carrie: Afflicted is up for pre-order now, and will be live on March 1st, 2022! If you pre-order, I have a couple gifts lined up for you. If you pre-order an ebook, I’ll send you a character art bookmark collection and a Trimarked temporary tattoo and sticker. If you pre-order a paperback, you’ll receive the same gift, PLUS a ebook copy of Afflicted so you can get started right away. The details are outlined on my here.
About the Author:
C.K. Sorens started reading and writing young, carrying the love of the written word with her through college and beyond. Trying out a few professions, she always came back to her love of writing.
C.K. lives with her husband, their three sons, and their dog, Pippin. She enjoys warm days at the beach, day hikes, and sitting on the patio with a small fire.
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If you enjoy fantasy books then you will love my books which are available in eBook, paperback or hardcover: Book One: Sentinals Awaken. Book Two: Sentinals Rising. Book Three: Sentinals Justice. Book 3.5: Sentinals Recovery. Sign up to my newsletter and download a free novella called Sentinals Stirring and get notified when my next book releases.
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