16 Nov 2015

Emerge by Melissa A. Craven

Emerge by Melissa A. Craven
(The Awakening #1)
Publication date: April 1st 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Allie Carmichael has always believed life is simple.
You’re born. You live. You die.
She has no cause to believe that equation works differently for her, but there has to be a reason the world treats her like a pariah.
When an unexpected move to Kelleys Island brings Aidan McBrien crashing into her life, Allie is thrown by his reaction. He doesn’t shrink from her touch. He doesn’t stutter or make a quick exit. He smiles and welcomes her into his circle of friends, who aren’t exactly comfortable with Allie, but they seem to get her in a way most people don’t.
Finally, Allie has a real shot at normal and rides that high right up to her sixteenth birthday when she wakes in agony—an experience Aidan insists they have all faced. She struggles in ignorance, uncertain of what is real and what isn’t. When she emerges, Allie is different. She has always been different, but even among her extraordinary friends, she and Aidan are special.
As Allie struggles to maintain her tenuous grasp on the power that threatens to overwhelm her, she worries she will lose herself in this strange new world. A dangerous world where she will have to fight tooth and nail to defend the power and freedom that is her birthright.
…only Allie hates to fight.

Why did you set your novel in Kelleys Island (and is that a real place??)
Is Kelleys Island a real place?
It totally is! The Kelleys Island portrayed in the Emerge series is a fictional representation of the real Kelleys Island near Sandusky Ohio.
When I first began writing the series, I researched every possible location for Allie's story and nothing really resonated with me. I wasn't satisfied with what I could learn about a potential setting from research, and I didn't want to create a fictional location either. I wanted the story to be as realistic as possible, despite the supernatural themes. I've taken every aspect of the Emerge world and placed it within the world we know. I realized early on that I needed to know the setting of Emerge like the back of my hand. That narrowed the possibilities to just a few places. And none of them were exactly exciting.
I was living in rural Georgia at the time and was completely homesick for the urban life I had when I lived in Cleveland, Ohio. So many times, I thought about letting the story take place in the Art Deco city I knew so well, but it was freaking Cleveland, you know? I adore the city and it still feels like home to me, but I wanted the setting for Emerge to be a unique and exciting place for the reader to discover.
As a Clevelander transplanted to the rural south, people always looked at me like I had three heads when I talked about the islands. YES, there are islands in Ohio! After a lengthy discussion about Kelleys Island with one of my art professors, I realized I had my setting for Emerge ... it just wasn't in the right place. I wanted the story to have an urban vibe, so I er ... took the liberty of moving the island about eighty miles east and plopped it just off the coast of Cleveland. (Sorry Sandusky!)
From this new vantage point, I had so much to work with visually. Allie and her friends could see the city skyline in the distance as they crossed the bay by ferryboat to attend Cliffton Academy. They could see the beaches at Edgewater Park, the glass pyramid of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame along the Shoreway, Terminal Tower at the city center, the Flats below the Warehouse district, and the iconic Art Deco, Guardians of Traffic watching over the Lorain Avenue Bridge. At the same time, my young Immortals could live in secret on this quaint little island, safe in its obscurity from the rest of the world--because who thinks about islands in Ohio? The setting was perfect, I knew it well, so I ran with it and never second guessed that decision. I did think about giving the island a fictional name, but my version of the island has a lot in common with the real place. It's always been Kelleys Island in my mind and I couldn't settle on a name that suited it better. It's a little piece of home in my imaginary world.
For more information and pictures of the real Kelleys Island, Cleveland and how both settings pertain to the story, visit my Pinterest page.

Melissa A. Craven (the “A” stands for Ann–in case you were wondering) was born near Atlanta, Georgia, but moved to Cleveland, Ohio at the age of seventeen. She still thinks of Cleveland as home, so it was only natural for Emerge to take place there.
Today, she is back in Atlanta–for some reason she can’t seem to stay away from the ungodly heat that makes her long for things like “lake effect snow” and wind that will knock you flat.
Melissa decided a long time ago that the “life checklist” everyone else was clutching so tightly in their fists, just wasn’t for her. She does everything backwards because she is weird like that, but then, she is an artist and artists are notoriously “unique” and “quirky.”
She is an avid student of art and design, and received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of West Georgia in 2009. She worked as an interior designer for several years, but she’s always thought she might like to be a writer when she grows up.
In her spare time, if she has any, she enjoys shopping for derelict furniture she refinishes to exercise the interior design part of her brain.


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  2. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk about my inspiration for the setting of the Emerge series!


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