Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: May 10, 2013
"Carrie and Sara Fleming are as different as two sisters can be. Both in high school, Carrie is an outgoing soccer jock, trying to navigate the minefield of Varsity sports –and dating. Sara is a talented musician, who wants to spend her senior year focusing on graduating and getting into a great music school. Both of their lives change forever when Sara inadvertently finds herself engaged to marry Lucien Gargouille, prince of an ancient race of gargoyles. Sara has no interest in marrying anyone, but a vow spoken in the moonlight has bound her to Luc – forever. To make matters worse, there is a war brewing. For centuries, the gargoyles have protected mankind from all the dark forces in the world. But someone is making trouble, and trying to break the fragile treaty that has kept evil at bay, and Sara has become a target. Carrie sees the danger around her sister, but can only watch and wait, hoping that Luc and his Family can keep Sara safe. After all, this is what they were born to do – protect the world from vampires, and all the other creatures, who would try to break out of their darkness. But when the enemy makes a daring move, it falls on Carrie to not only save her sister, but to keep the two worlds from crashing together."
Where did the idea to use gargoyles as the supernatural element come from?
I wish I could tell you an amazing story about how a vision of gargoyles came to me in a dream, but the reality is that I wanted a creature that WAS NOT a vampire, werewolf, wizard, fairy, angel, or demon. Those had all been done – to death. And I had this cute stone gargoyle in my garden. Most important, when I tried to look up the history of the gargoyle, there was very little beyond the original legend of the Bishop of Rouen, which meant I could make up anything I wanted to – or needed for the story - without offending any established mythology.
Which came first for you- the characters or the plot?
Plot. Story always comes first, and I have to get at least a solid beginning in my head before I decide what kinds of characters I’ll be writing about.
What made you decide to tell the story between both Carrie and Sara's Point of Views? And while writing, did you find yourself drawn more into one girl's mind over the other's?
I never had a sister, so I find that sibling dynamic very interesting. I also have a 16-year-old daughter, so I know that how young girls see themselves is often quite different than how others see them. I liked the idea of exploring that. Carrie was my favorite from the very beginning. In fact, the first time I re-read Sara’s section, I hated her. I had written her as a totally unsympathetic character. I wanted readers to root for Sara and Luc, so I had to re-think her completely. I like her now, and think she’s a very interesting young woman, but Carrie is still my favorite.
What character in the story do you find yourself most connected with?
That would be Maggie. She’s a great mom. I re-wrote her as well, making her a bit tougher so she could stand against Violetta. I also know, by looking at my divorced friends, that love can strike hard at any age, which is why I gave her a little romance as well.
Is there a chance this will turn in to a series of books?
I wrote Smoke Wings and Stone as a stand-alone, but I always intended there to be more books about the same characters. I’m working on the second one right now, but, once again, it will be a stand-alone book. I think of these books as characters and their journeys rather than one long serialized story.
What made you want to write a young adult novel when you've just written adult romantic comedy in the past?
This idea was originally written as an adult rom-com. The main character was a type-A businesswoman who gets drunk at a convention and wakes up in bed with a charming stranger, who happens to be a prince of the Fae. Because they had sex, he considers himself married to her, and she would spend the rest of the book figuring out how to get out of it. I could never get past the first few chapters. But when I thought about making the character a teen, and she gets herself in trouble just by saying the wrong thing at the wrong time – which is what teen girls do ALL the time – the story really came together.
Coffee or Tea?
Coffee – light and sweet
Milk Chocolate or Dark?
Not fair – like asking who’s a favorite child!
Whoever I’m reading and loving at the time – right now, it’s George R.R. Martin
Hard copies of books or e-books?
Both. I read all my new stuff on my iPad mini. But if there’s an author I love, I tend to go after all their books in hardcover.
Marijon was born and raised in New Jersey, which may help to explain her attitude towards charlatans and idiots. She started writing stories at an early age, her first literary influences being Walter Farley, author of the ‘Black Stallion’ series, and Carolyn Keene, of ‘Nancy Drew’ fame. That’s probably why her earliest efforts involved a young girl detective who solved crime on horseback.
She had a very happy childhood, did well in school, and was a fairly obedient daughter until she went away to college. The original plan was to major in journalism. She wrote for the college paper until she realized that wasn’t the kind of writing she wanted to do when she grew up. So she switched to education. That was not, perhaps, the smartest move.
Then, life happened. Jobs, rent, husband, baby, another husband, another baby, until she found herself a stay-at-home mom, about to chew her foot off if she had to watch one more episode of ‘Barney.’ So, she started to write again.
She still lives in New Jersey with her husband, daughter, two cats and a very spoiled cocker spaniel. Her older daughter is off in Oregon, fighting the good fight for the homeless. She loves to cook – and eat – and plays RPG games on her Xbox when she needs to decompress (Skyrim alone cost her months of her life). During the past few years, she has lost, and tragically found again, the same twenty pounds. Life is all about trying, failing, and trying harder.
She writes in her downstairs office, surrounded by her growing collection of gargoyles. Smoke, Wings and Stone is her first YA novel.
Marijon Braden is the pen name for Dee Ernst, who writes adult romantic comedy, and has lived an almost identical life.