Monday, February 25, 2013

Author Spotlight & Giveaway: There is No Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras

Today, I'm excited to have Claire Contreras, author of There is No Light in Darkness on Waves of Fiction. I recently read her novel and was absolutely captivated by her story, so I had to reach out to her to get more insight into this fabulous piece of fiction. So here's a little bit more about her book, my reaction and her insight into writing this story. Enjoy!
There is No Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras
Published January 10th 2013
Purchase Links: Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble
About the book
Blake Brennan had a difficult introduction to life. She lives in a constant state of paranoia, believing that she is the reason those around her get hurt. Her feelings are tested when her past comes back to haunt her and she must choose whether she wants to continue to live in fear or let her heart love freely.

My Thoughts
"I decided to accept my fate and tell those I love that I love them. Because what the hell? If I'm going to die today, they might as well know it." ~ Blake

Woah! Now that’s what I call seriously INTENSE!! Not only the mother of all cliffhangers, but one of the best plots I’ve come across. What a rush! Contreras, you not only earned my respect as a reader, but you also caught my attention pretty hard. Well done! Well done!

In There is No Light in Darkness, we meet Blake who has been plagued with recurring nightmares for over twenty years after having witnessed the murder of her mother and the abduction of her father. Being raised by her aunt, only to lose her to cancer and landing in a foster home, it’s no surprise that Blake is one flawed character… in so many ways. Despite her upsetting past, Blake has come to rely on her foster family, including Cole, Aubry, Greg and Becky and they seem to be the only ones she can connect with. However, despite how hard she tries to build a future for herself, she can’t let go of the past. In Blake’s quest for answers, she exposes herself to those that tore her family apart and puts those she's come to love at risk. 

"My wounds have somewhat healed, but it doesn't mean I'm less frightened. I am scared of the unknownn. I am scared to be alone. I am scared to not be alone. I am scared to have people love me, and I am scare to have nobody love me."~Blake

There is No Light In Darkness is the kind of book that has me creating an “obsessed with this story” shelf. It’s not a very cluttered shelf, but I put this book up there with The Opportunist and Callie & Kayden. Seriously addicted!! There’s just so much to this story that’s filled with intense mystery, hidden truths, underlying motives, and all around sinister intentions that kept me up until the late hours of the night turning the pages. 

When the story was coming to a close, I knew I was headed for a serious cliffhanger and I even anticipated what that might be, but despite my mental preparation, when that moment happened, I was bracing myself and whispering out loud “!! don’t let that happen!!” That was some serious action at the end, but don’t be fooled. Contreras doesn’t wait until the final moments to serve her adrenaline shots. But rather, she creates that intensity from various levels all the way through her book. I was absolutely HOOKED throughout the whole story. 

Now with me, I have two huge reading flaws. One being that I abhor cliffhangers and second is that I have an affliction called Book Series Commitment Issues. Let me share some perspective on each. 

One of the biggest peeves of mine is a cliffhanger for the sake of hooking the reader for the next installment. So let me be quite clear… Contreras has me breaking my own rules because she knows how to properly use this technique. In my opinion, I’d like to believe an author needs to earn the right to leave you with a cliffhanger, otherwise it feels like a marketing/sales ploy on their part. However with Contreras, she doesn’t fool the reader in believing her ending is coming with a serving of milk and cookies. Not at all! She’s going to use her precious pages to pack the story to the brim with depth and perspective. Couple that with infusing a well casted group of characters, intense yet captivating pacing, properly balanced intrigue and romance - and that my friends is what I call a well deserved cliffhanger. I’m more than okay with Contreras’s ending for this book. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t see it ending any other way. It was the proper choice of conclusions for this installment and she did it right. No doubt!

Now on to my Book Series Commitment Issues. Often times I’ll read a first installment and absolutely love it to pieces. I even have every intention of picking up the next book. But as time passes and my excitement wanes, I stop returning the texts and phones calls and call it a day. If I was to guess, I would say that for all of the series I begin, there’s about a 30% chance I’ll pick up the second or third book despite how much I liked book one. Well, I have no doubt I’m going to read the next installment of the Darkness series. I mean I actually stalked the author for crying out loud! Now that’s some serious obsession when I find myself PM’ing the author and begging her for some tidbit of further insight. I won’t go so far as saying we’ve got a relationship her and I, because how freaked out would she be?? No, but seriously… I’m chomping at the bit for book two and I don’t foresee myself flaking on Darkness. Call me committed. 

On a final note, Blake and Cole. Wow!! Just… wow!! I loved those two together, I adored them apart. Give them to me any which way and I’ll take it. The relationship between these two was both flawed and perfect to epic proportions!! I absolutely adored how willingly Cole exposed his vulnerability. And, the extent that Blake would go to in order to protect him however best she could had me rooting for them all the way through. There were some truths that were revealed and when they were exposed, I was gasping and aww’ing… I was a mess! Overall, perfect couple with their fair share of challenges. Can’t wait to see where their story leads.

Overall, this book had it all. If I had to sum up if a new words how I felt, I would say I was absolutely captivated and thoroughly entertained. Claire Contreras has a serious fan here and I hope her following grows because this lady surely knows how to tell a good story.!!
5 Suns
Author Interview
Thank you Claire for joining us at Waves of Fiction! Your book is my recent obsession! What a great story you shared with us!! So tell me, what motivated you to write Blake and Cole’s story? 
Thank you so much! Well, originally this story had absolutely nothing to do with Cole, believe it or not. I started writing a story about this girl who had nightmares and her struggle to find out what had happened to her when she was young. The last thing on my mind was that this would turn out to be a romance. I wrote the prologue and then thought of the ending, then when I started writing chapter one I just kept coming up with different things. When Cole entered the story, he kind of took over.

There are so many intricate details that tie into the mystery you’ve created in this multilayered story. How do you keep all of your facts straight? 
I write down minor details that I use more than once so that I won’t forget them or let them overlap. I don’t follow an outline or anything, so sometimes I have to go back and make sure that I’m still using the same names, etc. 

I really came to adore Blake and Cole. Their back-story and how it ties into their present lives was extremely captivating. So share with us, what is one thing you hope your readers will come to appreciate about these two main characters? 
I hope readers see two flawed people that love each other unconditionally and what they put up with to allow the other’s happiness, even if it means putting their own on hold. 

So what is Cole’s occupation? Quarterback, Sports Reporter, Professional Bro-mancer, something else? I couldn’t quite figure that out. LOL 
Hahahaha he is all of the above, actually! He was a quarterback in high school and college, then became a sports reporter. 

There was a huge reveal in this book about Cole and his family details, so without getting too spoilery can you share with us why he didn’t reveal the truth about himself to the two most important people that should know about what he discovered? 
I love this question, it actually became a huge debate on the discussion board for the book. Personally, I think he wasn’t ready. He’s twenty-six years old and he feels his family are the people that were there for him since he was little. He doesn’t believe in blood before anything else, he believes in loyalty before anything else. Book two will go deeper into this, though. 

What is your favorite quote or scene in There is No Light in Darkness? 
Wow. Tough question. I think my favorite scene is when he goes to visit Blake when she’s in college and they rekindle their friendship. When he falls to his knees before her? I think that’s my favorite. I love that he’s a guy’s guy, but isn’t afraid to show Blake that she can break him. 

You mentioned at the end of your novel that you hate cliffhangers, yet you ended your book with a painful one! ;) Knowing how hard they can be for readers, can you share something about Darkness Before Dawn to ease our angst? If not, how about a teaser quote? 
I can say that DBD is told from both Cole and Blake’s POV. All of your questions will be answered. I’ll share a teaser quote, but I’ve been told that I always make the anxiety worse when I do this.

“I can’t go anywhere without seeing her, and I know it’s because she’s rooted so deep into me that there’s no way for me to get her out. No matter what happens, Blake has ruined me forever. She fucking fixed me and broke me all at once.” 

Do you have a release date for Darkness Before Dawn? 
I don’t have an exact date yet. Definitely this summer, so that can be as early as May. We’ll see ;).

How many books do you have planned for the Darkness series? 

So a bit about yourself… When you’re not writing, what do you enjoy doing? 
When I’m not spending time with my family, I’m usually reading.

What inspired you to become a writer? 
I believe writers are born writers, just like artists are born artists. So I can’t say it was one thing.

Besides TiNLiD (=}), what book are you currently recommending to others? 
Oh my long list of recommendations...The Bronze Horseman, The Sea of Tranquility, The Opportunist, Slammed, Hopeless, Undeniable, Captive in the Dark, Blackdagger Brotherhood series. I can go on for days, my Goodreads account is endless!

More Book Quotes:
I'm not even sure if I'm remembering things or making them up as I go. I feel like my reality and my nightmares are meshing together, and it's only a matter of time before I drive myself crazy with all of it. ~Blake

When you lose something you can't replace.
When you love someone, but it goes to waste.
Could it be worse?
Cue the goddamn tears. Damn Chris Martin and his ability to make me cry every time he opens his damn mouth.

I'm in love with you, Blake. I've been in love with you from the moment I saw you. I've been in love with you from the day I was born and possibly before then. I belong to you. My body belongs to you. My heart belongs to you... ~Cole

Author Bio

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs. Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading. She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter. Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones. She is currently working on the second novel in her series.
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I am offering an eBook of There is No Light in Darkness by Claire Contreras to entrants that can receive an electronic copy through US Amazon or US Barnes & Noble. Simply fill out the rafflecopter and share with us either a thoughtful comment on the interview or if you're already a fan of this book, share your reaction to this story. We'd love to hear your thoughts!  Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

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  1. Thanks for the posting interview! I wasn't aware that there'll be a cliffhanger ending but it seems worth the angst! Heard amazing things about the book and would love to read it!


  2. Can't wait to read this!!! Great interview!

  3. Such a rough start for Blake ... thank you for the interview. Looking forward to reading. Thank you for sharing. :)

    jukyjoauka at aol dot com

  4. Loved the interview I am very curious how the book ends now the book looks and sound great most definitely have to check it out thanks for the givaway!

  5. Great review and interview. It's always interesting to read what an author will say in an interview. I like the books she was recommending :). Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Great review, can't wait to read this one! Love the cover as well! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. Love the mystery surrounding the plot of the book and the cover! Looks like a great book! Thanks for introducing it to me and the chance to win!

  8. This book sounds great, I love the cover!

  9. Sounds like this book is great and I do like a good intense story. The cover is this book is what first caught my eye but then I read the description and became intrigued. However, after reading the review, I feel like this is a book I need to read. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it!