Welcome to one of the June 30th stops on the blog tour for Hybrid Magic by Cristy L. Bowlin with Silver Dagger Book Tours. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, author guest posts & interviews, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Can you, for those who don’t know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always loved reading. I started reading Harry Potter in second grade and was instantly hooked. I would read any fantasy book I could get my hands on, and before long I was writing my own short stories in various notebooks that I had collected. When I went to college at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, I majored in English with an emphasis on creative writing. While I was there, I realized that I also had a passion for teaching, so my creative writing took a backseat for a couple years while I got my Master’s degree in English at the University of Kentucky. Then once I returned to California and started teaching community college English classes, I started working on my first novel. It took me four years to write and edit The Temple Dancer’s Diary before it was ready for publication. After that I couldn’t get the characters out of my head and wanted to keep writing about the fantasy world I had crafted, which led to my spinoff series. After writing a standalone novel, I’m excited to be writing a trilogy starting with Hybrid Magic!
What is something unique/quirky about you?
When I wasn’t reading or writing as a kid, I was dancing and singing. I was a quiet kid, but I loved performing on stage. It really brought me out of my shell and gave me more confidence. I started off with chorus and ballet classes. Then I eventually branched out to lots of other styles, including tap, jazz, hip hop, lyrical, and musical theatre. I did ballet for twenty years and used it as one of my inspirations for The Temple Dancer’s Diary. Even though I started tap dancing a lot later, that actually became my favorite dance style. I performed tap solos competitively in high school, and I choreographed a couple tap dances in college. I still take tap classes with my best friend to this day, but currently we are doing them on Zoom!
Where were you born/grew up at?
I grew up in Ventura County, California. I felt so lucky to live near the beach and spent much of my summers swimming or reading by the pool. I definitely am not good with cold weather. I lived in Kentucky for two years while I was in graduate school, and that was more than enough cold weather for me. I’m happy to visit, but I will forever be a Southern California girl.
If you knew you’d die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
If it was my last day, I would spend it with my family. It wouldn’t really matter what we were doing as long as I could be with them.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I like to curl up on the couch with my husband to watch a movie or TV show together. Usually, our cat Percy will also join us for some cuddles. He’s a real snuggle bug, especially if we have a fuzzy blanket.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I’m still a new parent, so it’s definitely a learning curve! I am fortunate enough to have my parents living close by, so they can take care of my daughter when I need to get important work done, whether it’s related to teaching or writing. Otherwise, I try to write while my daughter naps or after she goes to bed at night. I’m a night owl anyways, and I usually get my best ideas late at night.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I first truly considered myself a writer when I began sharing my writing with other people. Having critique partners is such an important part of the writing process. Over time it has gotten easier to take constructive criticism, and now I actually enjoy revising and editing my work to make it stronger.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I love The Hunger Games. The books are great, but I actually might like the movies even more. I rewatch them a couple times a year. I also love the original Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy and the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I could imagine The Temple Dancer’s Diary being made into a movie. I think it would be neat to have a fantasy movie that contains dance performances.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
After I graduated from college, I took a trip to Europe with some friends. I started in England where I watched Macbeth at the Globe Theatre and went to a pub frequented by John Keats. Keats supposedly wrote “Ode to a Nightingale” there. Then I went to Greece and saw the Theatre of Dionysus. After that I traveled around Italy and France. In Italy, I got to see Dante Alighieri’s house.
by Cristy L. Bowlin
Published 29 June 2021
Genre: YA Fantasy
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
Two nations joined peacefully as one, but a band of assassins lurks in the shadows.
Magic isn’t uncommon in the Deravine Commonwealth, where people can be gifted with the faculties of combat, healing, transformation, or sight. Yet as a hybrid mage, Aaron Ztrong’s abilities aren’t so easily categorized. He managed to save his parents during a dangerous confrontation when he was only a young boy, and now a decade later most people in his life expect him to do remarkable things with his powers. Then there are those who fear what Aaron and others like him can do. When Aaron’s life is threatened by a group calling themselves the Defenders, he takes refuge with two other hybrid mages and the teacher who is training them to enhance their abilities. As the Defenders continue to hunt down hybrid mages, Aaron and his new companions must find a way to survive.
Master George stared at Aaron, with brows furrowed and lips pursed. Aaron suspected more questions were coming. He shuffled his feet again and looked down. There had to be a way to get rid of this tutor sooner rather than later.
“I wonder, boy,” Master George murmured, twirling his dagger, “if you’re the only one injured, can you still heal yourself?”
“I—I don’t know,” Aaron stammered.
With two long strides, Master George closed the distance between them. A sharp pain bloomed in Aaron’s stomach, far worse than the effects of his healing magic. Master George stepped back, empty-handed. Aaron gaped at his stomach. The knife stuck out from his torn shirt, blood pooling around it. He grasped its wooden handle and clutched his side, trying to draw on his healing magic without any luck.
“I can’t stop the bleeding!” Aaron cried. He looked up at Master George. “I can’t do anything. Please, help me.”
Master George’s face twisted into a smirk. “I know the truth about you. You’re no different than that wretched Lady Florella.” He spat at Aaron’s feet. Then he opened a window and climbed down into the garden below.
Aaron pressed his hands to his abdomen and gritted his teeth against the pain. He reached the library door and attempted to turn the handle, but he couldn’t get a good grip because his hands were slick with blood. He rubbed his right palm on his pant leg until it was dry and managed to turn the handle just enough to push open the door.
“Help!” he called into the hallway.
Immediately, his mother rushed around the corner. What was she doing here? Usually, Nora was already in the courtyard before Aaron woke up, training her squadron of combat mages.
She stared at him with her eyes wide. “What happened?”
“Master George attacked me,” Aaron gasped.
Nora gestured to the servant who had followed her into the hallway. “Go get a healer! Now!”
She led her son back inside the library and helped him into an armchair next to the window. “Where did he go?”
“He’s in the garden.” Aaron winced in pain.
Nora’s eyes narrowed. “I’ll be right back,” she hissed before leaping out the open window. She barreled toward Master George and sent a barrage of translucent daggers at him. He didn’t have a chance to see them coming. They struck his back, and he screamed and crumpled to the ground.
Aaron’s father rushed into the room, breathless. A healer in long white robes scurried in after him. Jonathan approached and squeezed Aaron’s hand. “You’re going to be okay, son.”
Aaron nodded but found that he couldn’t speak. His tongue felt like sandpaper in his mouth. His father scooped him up and carried him to a blanket by the fireplace. Darkness consumed him.
Cristy L. Bowlin grew up in Ventura County, CA where she spent most of her free time ballet dancing and reading fantasy books. She got her BA in English with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in dance from the California Polytechnic State University. She then received her MA in English with a minor in gender and women’s studies from the University of Kentucky. She currently lives with her husband, daughter, and cat in Southern California where she is a college English professor. Her debut YA fantasy novel The Temple Dancer’s Diary was published in July 2019, and her next book Hybrid Magic was just published in the summer of 2021.
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