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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Story Secrets: DELACROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES by Inara Scott + Giveaway!

It's very exciting to be posting about my friend Inara Scott (fellow Northwest debut author who invited me to talk TMAS at Romance Bandits!), whose debut paranormal thriller, THE CANDIDATES (DELACROIX ACADEMY) hit the shelves this week! Her novel promises suspense, secrets, and very definitely some romance.

PLUS Inara has generously offered not one but TWO giveaway copies. Check out the entry rules below, and give a warm (and maybe even fiery!) welcome to Inara!


DELACROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES is the first in a new series about Dancia Lewis, a girl with powerful -- but uncontrollable -- psychic powers. When Dancia is recruited to attend prestigious Delcroix Academy, despite her lackluster grades and concerted attempts NOT to be noticeable, she can't help but wonder why. And then there's the attention she's getting from the hottest guy at the school, and the conspiracy theories from her new friend Jack. Dancia's going to have to unravel the mystery, before it's too late.

Holly Cupala: Delacroix Academy looks fiery and fabulous. Where did you get the idea for it?

Inara Scott: My favorite genre when I was in high school was fantasy (David Eddings, Anne McCaffrey) and there were always very clear good guys and bad guys in those stories. I wanted to explore the idea of a world in which there were mysterious, paranormal forces, but no clear way to tell the good from the bad.
For me, it came down to a question -- what if you had a superpower, but bad things happened when you used it. Would you use it anyway? Hide? How would you deal with the pressure, and the responsibility?

HC: Did anything unexpected (or even telekenetic!) happen, during the writing or publishing?

IS: I guess the unexpected part is that someone wanted to publish the book! I had written two adult romance novels before Delcroix and I always thought that would be my genre. I knew very little about young adult literature, and other than Meg Cabot, hadn't read very many other YA authors. So I was shocked that of all my novels, Delcroix was the one that sold.

HC: How did it change as you wrote and revised?

IS: The story evolved quite a bit, especially after my editor got a hold of it. ;-) Two awesome changes she encouraged me to make:

1) She suggested I remove any current cultural and pop references, so I didn't date the book. I appreciated this because I've never been particularly good at keeping up with pop culture anyway, and the pressure of trying to figure out "cool" teen clothes/music/books/slang was enormous. I wasn't cool when I WAS a teenager, let alone now.

2) She wanted to stretch out the timeframe of the book. In adult romance, things tend to happen very quickly, and I followed that convention in my first draft of Delcroix. But my editor encouraged me to slow down the story and let it build over a much longer period. She wanted a full year; I wasn't able to slow it down quite that much, but it did go from two weeks to five months. I think this made for a bigger payoff at the end, and deeper relationships throughout the book, both between and among the characters, and between the characters and the reader.

HC: What do you think is the central idea of the novel?

IS: Life is messy, and the choices it presents are rarely black and white. But if you refuse to take sides, you'll never really experience what life has to offer.

HC: Oooh, I like that. So will we be hearing more about that in a sequel?

IS: Book two in the series, Delcroix Academy: The Watchers, will be out in August 2011, and I'm in the final editing process for that right now.


Fantastic! Thank you, Inara!


For a chance to win DELACROIX ACADEMY: THE CANDIDATES, comment below on one of the following:
  1. Why you're dying to telekenetically communicate to us that you Want. This. Book.
  2. What would you do if you had a superpower, but bad things happened when you used it?
  3. If you've ever been challenged to stand up for what you believe in, and how that changed you.
We'll take comments until Midnight on Monday...comment away!

Until then, check out this terrific trailer:


  1. I decided about 5 or 6 years ago to never allow a racist or derogatory joke stand without telling the joke-teller that I was offended. This can make for some uncomfortable moments at parties, but it's the very least I can do to be true to who I am. And that's what I'm all about now.

    Thanks for the giveaway.

    mrsderaps @ hotmail . com

  2. Aw, I am actually reading this book now for an ARC tour. LOL I wont be entering, but great interview and good luck to everyone who enters. So far, I really like The Candidates :-)

    Dee @ Good Choice Reading

  3. Hey Mrs. Deraps,

    That is an amazing story -- amazing that you made that commitment so long ago, and that you have been true to it all these years. Really, no one needs superpowers to change the world. Just commitment and courage. You've got both in spades!


  4. Hi Dee! I'm thrilled to hear you're liking it so far....can't wait to hear what you think about the ending! Send me an email or tweet when you're finished, okay? :-)


  5. Oh my gosh, I WANT TO READ THIS BOOK !!!! If I win, I will definitively post the review on my blog (romance and books) ! To answer one of the question, if I had superpower but bad things would happen to me, I would do good with my superpower. It would balance the scale of good/bad. For me :)

  6. Anne -- I love you!! YAY! If you really want to win the book, follow me on twitter, friend me on Facebook, or check out my blog -- tons of giveaways this week. And all you have to do to be entered into a giveaway for a prizepack with book AND t-shirt is send me a tweet, email, or comment on my blog.

    We'll get one in your hands, I feel sure of it! :-)


  7. That is very heroic of you, Mrs. DeRaps! I would be curious to know how ppl react - I'm sure some of them are inspired as well.

    Inara, congrats on a smashing release day!

  8. Nice video! Inara, your book sounds awesome!

    This is kind of a bad example considering I'm young and don't have a lot of experience, but I had to stand up to one of my good friends because I didn't like how she was treating people. I felt proud of myself but it also sucked because I lost her as a friend and some others too. I've also had to defend my half-sister, who is half black, from racst people who make problems out of nothing. Like Mrs. DeRaps I try to stop people from making rude comments or using offensive language, but I'm just one person....

    xnzkisha17 at yahoo dot com

  9. Your book looks AMAZING Inara!!

    Well, if I had a superpower and bad things happened when I used it... I would probably end up going to mental facility! Haha, but really, I guess I would deflect the bad power off of a mirror and somehow when it deflected it got changed into good power, therefore saving the day... I just really want this book, it sounds awesome, really unique story line!!! :D

  10. Baddict17 -- it doesn't matter a shred how old you are -- lots of people go through their entire lives without having a moment like this to be proud of. It's especially hard when you're pitted against a best friend. :( But way to go for sticking with your beliefs and looking out for people's feelings. You aren't just one person -- you're the most important person to those around you...


  11. Luxecouture (can I just tell you how HARD I had to work to spell that right? oh man!) thanks so much! Your mirror story sounds like something from the old Scooby Doo -- which is to say, EXCELLENT IDEA! :-)


  12. I want this book. I want. This book. Now. First off, what an ominous cover! I'm loving the summary, the trailer is pretty interesting too. Well, I love superheroes, love superpowers, wish I could fly or run super-fast, or-- have physic powers. Too bad I don't. So I'd love to at least dwell on what could be, by reading The Candidates!

    Sorry I don't have any cool or interesting stories to tell. Thanks for the cool blog tour (I've been trying to follow along), interview and giveaway! Congrats on the novel!

  13. I want this book very very much! :D
    Hmm. A moment I stood up for what I believed in? Well, I've always believed that all people are equal no matter what, and when some girls started to bully one of my friends who has a disability, I stood up for her. Let's just say I don't talk to those girls anymore...

  14. I would like to read this book because I don't think I've read a story like it...I guess I'll see if I win it :)
    If I had a superpower that went wrong? I think I would try to figure out how to make it right or good.
    I find myself standing up for the underdog. In junior high and high school that usually meant standing up to others (usually boys) and telling them to pick on someone there own size. I think I got away with what I did because they were surprised that a 5'2" girl would take them on. HeeHee.

  15. Cass -- I love to have a blog tour follower!! (I won't call you a groupie -- maybe a bloggie? ;-) ) Don't forget to leave a comment on my blog for another chance to win. I'm sure you'll be a winner before too long.

  16. Kayla, way to go, you! That's an awesome story. I wish it didn't have to cost you some friends, but I'm so proud of you for standing up for that person. I used to work with people with disabilities, so this is so important to me.

    Big (((((HUGS))))) to you for being so brave!


  17. Hey Taffy, I want to hang with you! My best friend and critique partner is like that. She's barely 5'2'' and 100 lbs, but man, she's TOUGH! I'm 5'9'' and 1*(*) lbs and I have no doubt she could take me in a fight!

    I think you'll really enjoy Delcroix -- Dancia may be tall, but she's really tough and strong. My kind of girl.

  18. I think if I had a superpower that bad things happened when I used it, I would try to supress it as much as I could. I could always try to get hypnotized to believing I didn't have the power. And if neither of those things worked, I think I would hole up in my house and read books all the time... Wait I already do that...LOL

  19. If bad things happened when I used my super powers I'd probably remove myself from the people I love a much as possible because I'd be afraid that I'd hurt them! I'd also work at finding someway to control or remove my powers.

    foltzsfantaticbooks at gmail.com

  20. "What would you do if you had a superpower, but bad things happened when you used it?"

    Ahh I sense a loophole :) What do you consider bad? I think in every situation there are pros and cons. It's mostly weighing those pros and cons before deciding if using your superpower is worth it.


  21. Jessy - I had never considered the possibility of hypnotism...hmmm... *getting ideas*

  22. Jill -- you and Dancia think alike. You need to get this book. ;-)

  23. Yan -- aha! A philosopher -- I love it. These are exactly the kind of questions I wrestle with when I write. What IS bad exactly? And how do you judge?

    Please read the book and tell me what you think -- did Dancia make the right decision in the end?

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. 1) I have been dying to read this book and review it on my blog! I've developed quite a taste for urban fantasy/paranormal books set in boarding school type settings. The premise just sounds amazing.


  26. 2) I would only use my power when I absolutely need to.