Hey guys! In honor of The Awakened by Sara Santana being released today, The Book Academy is proud to present to you, as part of The Awakened BLOG TOUR, my review and interview with the author!
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Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.
That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They’re faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh.
The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with the awakened.
Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country.
The Awakened by Sara Santana is an action packed, greatly written, fun filled book that is sure to sure to sweep you off your feet!
Not only, did this book pull me out of my reading slump but it sucked me in right from the beginning all the way to the end. Reading this book was like being sucked into a void where the only thing that mattered was the book and reading it! I was greatly intrigued by the story and its characters who Santana introduced at a great pace, moving the story forward at a fast pace, which I loved!
These characters go on quite the journey which was written spectacularly! This story has a beautiful flow where the story moves fast, but also takes its time to develop and create the world as it evolves.
Zoey and Ash are some of my favorite characters ever! Their relationship is so much fun to read, and it was developed elegantly. Santana has a true talent for writing romance. It was sweet when it needed to be, but hot and heavy at moments, which she played out perfectly. There was a balance in their love story that developed their relationship at a smooth pace. It wasn’t too rushed, and it didn’t drag out uncomfortably. Every step for them felt like the write moment, the write time.
Ash’s character development, along with Zoey’s is some of the best I have ever read. These characters evolved naturally. Their personalities and changes didn’t come out of nowhere. There were hints along the way and these characters began to show their true colors along the way.
It had been a long time since I had read a book where I recall having so much fun reading it. When I read The Awakened I felt like a giddy little kid, laughing, smiling, and grinning as I read the book. I truly enjoyed myself reading this book, it was quite enjoyable!
I fell in love with this book when I read the first 8 chapters on Wattpad, I loved it when I read the whole manuscript, and I have loved it every day since then! I am excited for people to read this book, and it is a book I highly recommend! Make sure to check out The Awakened which releases today! ❤
- What has it been like going through the process of your book being published?
Answer: It was a really long process. Worth every moment of it, the ups and downs but it was definitely a long process. I first started writing The Awakened in September of 2013, and finished the fourth draft, the first complete draft, in May of 2014. After that, I spent a good four months editing and rewriting and that sort of thing. Then I spent over a year querying agents and eventually, indie publishers. I was about ready to put it aside, focus on the NA romance I’d been working on, and explore the idea of self-publishing when Benjamin announced the launch of his company and how he was taking submissions and I thought “why not?” It was a new option and I decided to go for it and it definitely worked out to my advantage!
- What are your hopes for this book and what readers will take away from reading The Awakened?
A: Hmm. Well I guess I could say…I just hope people read it! I would love for everyone to LIKE it but I know realistically that’s not possible. But I do hope that people give it a chance and that they enjoy the story and that they enjoy the characters. I honestly think my two main characters are incredibly flawed and I hope that they are loved for that. I also hope that the book leaves you wanting more…the sequel!
- Is there any one place, person, or thing that was significantly influential in writing this book?
A: Oh wow. Definitely not one thing. There was just a sort of smorgasbord of things that influenced The Awakened. There was a new band I discovered two years ago and they influenced me. My frustration with The Walking Dead at the time influenced me. Authors like Melissa Landers, Rick Yancey and Jessica Brody influenced me. So much went into this one novel, its hard to pinpoint just one thing.
- Are there any authors that have been helpful along your writing journey?
A: This is definitely a question that I could go on and on and on about. I’m so lucky that between my love of reading and my crazy blog life, I’ve gotten the chance to read so many books and interact with SO many authors. There are authors that I’ve never met that have been so helpful like JK Rowling and Rick Yancey. There are the ones that directly influenced me like Melissa Landers and Jessica Brody. Then there are the ones that I’ve become friends with, which is a countless number that blows my mind, that always encouraged me and told me not to give up and all of that. It means the world to me that they just kept pushing me to do it and I did it!
- What was the easiest part and hardest part of writing The Awakened, and of publishing the book?
A: I don’t know that there are any easy parts, haha! I’m kidding but also, not really. Writing a book is HARD and The Awakened is actually the fourth one I’ve written. You kind of have to go through some hard work to get to that one book. I think the easier parts for me were the emotional scenes. I’m an emotional person so it was easy to connect to those scenes. Some of the harder parts were the action scenes. I’ve never written things like that before so I wasn’t sure if I was writing them well or making them exciting. I questioned myself a lot during those scenes.
I think the hardest part of publishing the book is the journey to get it there! It involves a LOT of rejection and its hard to push yourself past that. Even knowing that its part of that journey, even knowing that there would eventually be a yes…it’s hard to keep going sometimes. It’s hard to continually get “no” over and over again and think, yeah I’m doing the right thing.
- What is it like working on book two?
A: It’s definitely been a whole new experience. I’ve never written a sequel before so that’s a challenge right there. But I also haven’t been in Zoey’s head for more than a year now so getting back to her after writing the main character of the romance I wrote over the summer was a challenge as well. But it feels good to be back with Zoey and the rest of the characters, both old and new, and I’m hopeful that even with the ups and downs of writing it, it’ll turn out great.
- What will you be doing today one the great release of The Awakened?
A: Well, I have the day off so…celebrating. Basking in the surreal feeling of being a published author. Posting a lot on social media? I’ll be on Twitter all day, answering any and all questions that people have. Promoting the heck out of my book. Oh! I’ll also be getting my sixteenth tattoo “XII-I-MMCV” which is December 1, 2015 in roman numerals. Obviously that’s the day my first book is getting published! Eek!
- Describe The Awakened in 3 words?
A: Action, Romance, Unexpected
About the Author
Sara Elizabeth Santana is a young adult and new adult fiction writer. She has worked as a smoothie artist, Disneyland cast member, restaurant supervisor, nanny, photographer, pizza delivery driver and barista but writing is what she loves most. Her first story was written at age nine. She runs her own nerd girl/book review blog, What A Nerd Girl Says. Her favorite books are a tie between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling and Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce. She lives in Southern California with her dad, five siblings and two dogs. Her debut novel is The Awakened.