The Beast of Callaire by Saruuh Kelsey Blog Tour
2 Beast of Callaire paperbacks and one swag pack consisting of a paperback, postcards, stickers, and a tote bag open Internationally.
The Beast of Callaire by Saruuh Kelsey
Published May 20th, 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy/Mythology
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Yasmin is a descendant of the Manticore. A creature of Persian mythology. A Legendary.
But she doesn’t want to be. Unlike the Legendaries in The Red, Yasmin wants nothing more than an ordinary life. She tries to fool herself into believing that she doesn’t change into a beast every full moon and savagely kill innocent people.
But when Yasmin starts hearing a voice in her head and is drawn into dreams that aren’t her own, she is led to Fray—a girl who once saved Yasmin from hunters, who has shadowy memories that hint at her having Legendary magic—and Yasmin is catapulted into a life of Majick and malevolence.
Despite the danger around her and Fray, Yasmin might finally have a chance at being a normal girl with a normal girlfriend. But with Legendaries being killed, a war between the Gods brewing, and the beast inside Yasmin becoming stronger each moon, her mundane life is little more than a dream.
The wood is beautiful through these eyes, but I wish I could choose what they looked at. The edges of the leaves are crisp, the flat green my human eyes would see is brought into bright relief. But I only see what the beast wants to see, so I can’t focus on each brilliant new thing because I’m wary and paranoid of what the beast will be drawn to next. A squirrel—a rabbit—a stray human wandering along the trail.
I could kill someone and I wouldn’t be able to stop it. My jaws would rip flesh from bone and I’d be paralysed in my mind, watching the horror as it happens. I know because it’s happened. Six times. Thankfully, four of those people got away with only claw welts or bite marks. But two of them are dead because of me.
One was a girl no older than nine. I killed her when I was fourteen, before I’d become used to the Change, before the beast had settled into its control of my body. Now it only kills for sport, not by accident, and mostly it hunts small animals. Easy prey. Even in Manticore form, I’m a coward. I’m glad of it.
The second person I killed was a middle aged man last year. He had a gun pointed at my friend Willa as she lounged in the pool of Almery Wood. I’m not sure whether he meant to kill her for spoils or just for the hell of it, but I don’t regret killing him as much as the young girl. It still haunts my nightmares sometimes, though, his glazed green eyes and slack, wrinkled face.
I still don’t know why the beast killed to save my friend. Maybe there’s the smallest connection between the two of us, between girl and monster. But as the leaves are ripped beneath large, golden paws I’m not so sure. The Manticore is a creature made of bloodlust and vicious intentions. I doubt there’s any part of it that cares about anyone other than itself.
The beast steps into a clearing lit by moonlight and shakes out its fur, the feathers of its wings tickling my ears—its ears. I shake my head instinctively to get rid of the irritation but the beast’s head stays still. It doesn’t care about what aggravates me. I doubt it even knows what aggravates me. I might have thoughts but this creature is mindless.
The beast turns suddenly, my head spinning with the motion, and it regards the trees, all tall and close together, their braches reaching out and speckled with leaves. My hearing strains for a noise—I’m not sure what startled the beast.
A low, guttural growl comes from the depths of the beast’s stomach and I finally see what the Manticore heard. A middle aged man comes from behind a wide trunked service tree, the vibrant leaves contrasting against the intentionally dark brown of his jacket. He meant to blend in, whoever this man is. I futilely try to urge the beast away, to turn and run, but the Manticore will never back down.
I can tell by the rumble coming from its mouth—my mouth—and the way its claws are ripping up the earth that it’s going to attack. I’m going to kill another person. The terror and dread wants to churn my stomach but my body is no longer mine. It poisons my mind instead, fills me with visions of bloody limbs and skin torn open.
By the time the man has produced a gun from behind his back it’s too late for me to realise he’s a hunter and too late for the beast to react to the threat. The hunter fires his shotgun and absolute, blinding agony shocks through me, uniting Yasmin and the Manticore for one second in merciless pain.
But then the beat is lumbering to its feet, paws gripping for purchase, and I’m reminded that I don’t decide what happens with my body. It’s a detached, lonely feeling, and at the same time the worst terror imaginable. For something to decide where you go, what you do, what you see …
The beast races out of the clearing and around tree trunks, its usual speed affected by the gunshot wound in its shoulder. The pain seems to pulse louder in my head, becoming something dark and large and demanding. I’m not sure how much longer I can stand this.
I’m sure, suddenly, that I’m going to die. And in this moment, dying as the beast is the worst thing I can think of.
The beast’s ears prick to the sound of footsteps but by now it can’t move at all. All it can do is raise its large head, pull downy wings around itself as a flimsy, useless shield, and watch as the owner of the footsteps nears us.
Wide, green eyes are right in front of my eyes, bushy brown eyebrows drawn low and accompanied by a frown. A girl. A girl in the woods. Thank you, I think at this stranger but I have no Majick in this form so she doesn’t hear my gratitude. This is an angel come to deliver me a swift death, to save me from this excruciating feeling.
I relinquish my grip on consciousness and let the waiting blackness swallow me.
Saruuh Kelsey is the author of the Lux Guardians series. Her debut and the first in series, THE FORGOTTEN, a YA science fiction set in Victorian London and London 25 years in the future, is out now for free. Book two, THE REVELATION, releases October 7th. THE BEAST OF CALLAIRE, the first novel of a new YA fantasy series, with a same sex paranormal romance, is out May 20th.
Find Saruuh Online:
When did you first realize you wanted to be an Author? I first knew I wanted to be an author when I wrote my first proper novel. I’d always written short stories and little snippets of things, but when I wrote my first novel (a contemporary fantasy about kids with powers) I knew that was what I wanted to do. Something lit a spark in me and it just stuck.
What would you say is your interesting quirk that only happens when you are writing? I don’t have an interesting quirk, but I have the unfortunate habit of becoming so involved in writing that I blank out the rest of the world. I become ignorant, replying to people with mutters or ‘yes’s or ‘no’s that barely register as I’m saying them. It’s not fun for my family.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in writing your books? That as much as I control the plot and the characters, their motives and thoughts lead to actions that are unexpected, even to me. The most surprising thing I learned was that I could be surprised by my own books.
Where did you get ideas for your books? My first book came to me on a bus, like a thunderbolt of imagination. The idea was just, out of nowhere, there. The idea for The Beast of Callaire, my second book, grew from my frustration at the lack of gay or lesbian romance in fantasy books. It developed gradually over time, much differently to my first book.
Out of all the books you have written which is your favorite and why? The Forgotten is my favourite. It was the first book I wrote fully, revised, edited, designed, and unleashed on the world. I am also very fond of the characters and the setting.
What do you think makes a good story? For me, the characters and the vivid imagery of the setting makes the story. If I love the main characters and the world of the book, I’ll love it no matter what happens with the plot or romance.
Who are some of your favorite Authors? My absolute favourites are Sarah Rees Brennan, Maggie Stiefvater, and Tahereh Mafi. They all have a way with words that has stayed with me years after I first read their books.
If you could pick one actor to play a character in your book in the movie version, who would it be? I’m very fond of Jessica Sula for Yasmin. I haven’t seen much of her acting but she matches my mental image of Yas exactly.
Who are some of the people that influenced your love of writing? Terry Pratchett first gave me my love of books, when I was much younger, but I rediscovered my love of reading a few years ago when I picked up The Mortal Instruments series, and both those authors have played a huge role in inspiring me to write my own books. My mum was also instrumental in getting me the books that fuelled my love of them.
What kind of TV shows do you like and do you find that as a Paranormal Writer that you gravitate toward True Blood, Vampire Diaries, Lost Girl and others that center around Preternatural or Supernatural Creatures? I’m not sure if my writing preference has any impact on what TV I watch, but I love shows like Sleepy Hollow that reinvent old paranormal legends, and Once Upon A Time, which puts focus on the magical, and Supernatural, which deals with much the same creatures but in a darker way. Just recently, I’ve been watching Grimm and loving it – fairy tales and mythological creatures, but with a detective’s perspective.
Then again I also love Elementary, Revenge, and Orphan Black, and those have no supernatural element. I think I just gravitate towards TV that has a strong storytelling element and interesting characters.
How are your Supernaturals different from the traditional mythology? I’ve been pretty loose with the mythology in The Beast of Callaire. It’s all very much there and recognisable, but because I’m not retelling the actual myths, I’ve been able to change them slightly, adapting for the contemporary setting. I also merged classic mythological creatures with shifter lore, making them human for most of their lives but still very much the familiar creatures, so I could get into their heads and understand them, give them lives and thoughts and feelings of their own, instead of them just being animals that were difficult to understand or empathise with.
I imagine someone intimately familiar with classic mythology would tear their hair out to read all the little ways I’ve deviated from the original myths.
What is your view on the Paranormal “Craze” that’s going on, do you feel that it is a fad that people will look back on and laugh or a lasting interest that will birth classics to come? I love the paranormal craze. There are so many different authors and stories and creatures that each book is different. I like how I can read two shape shifter novels and find completely different worlds and characters and tones in each. I hope it’s a lasting interest. I think the phase of sneering at paranormal as a lesser form of fiction is coming to a close, and I’ll be glad to see it leave completely.
What other genres do you write? My other series – The Lux Guardians – is science fiction. It has a little bit of everything all twisted together in a complicated conspiracy plot – dystopia, time travel, steampunk, historical. It’s heavily dystopian, which is something I adore writing, and reading, and another crazy I hope will never die out.
If you had one piece of advice for an aspiring Author what would it be? Get into the habit of writing every day. It really helps to get used to writing daily, whether it be whole chapters, small scenes, or just a note on the plot. The more you write, the more words you’ll build up, and the more of your story will be told.
What would you like to say to friends and family of Authors (not just your own)? Thank you for the coffee and sorry about the mess.
Is there anything else you want to share with your readers? I’m working on the sequel to The Beast of Callaire right now, and while nothing is final or set in stone, the opening line is this: