Current Giveaways

Word Spelunking’s temporary hiatus is now permanent. All requests are closed and there will be no new content. Thank you to everyone I’ve worked with and everyone who has read and supported this blog. Y’all are awesome!!

Aeicha @ Word Spelunking

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Interview and Giveaway: Authors J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel

I'm so excited to have J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel, authors of the awesome The Tracks Series, stopping by today for a fun interview! Plus, there's a fabby fabby giveaway...

Shadow Train
(The Tracks #3)
By J. Gabriel Gates and Charlene Keel
HCI Teens

Middleburg's teen martial artists scramble to reunite the broken shards of the powerful and mysterious Shen ring, in an effort to locate their missing friend Raphael and avert worldwide disaster but it won't be easy. 

A pack of government agents, a secret order of Chinese kung fu masters, and a family of vengeful fallen angels stand in their way. Amid the struggle, tensions between the two teen gangs flare once again when one of the Flats kids gets jumped and put in the hospital. Zhai and Ignacio, the leaders of the rival factions, struggle to maintain peace and continue their quest for the ring shards amid the rising tide of confrontation. 
Meanwhile, Middleburg's leading ladies Maggie and Dalton put their differences aside in an effort to wrest their friend Aimee from the clutches of the sultry and seductive Nephilim, Orias. But when a powerful fallen angel learns that Orias has imprisoned his father Oberon, a new supernatural menace is unleashed on Middleburg, one that threatens to bring all the conflicting factions together in one final, deadly conflagration. 
The only hope is that Middleburg's missing teen hero will somehow reappear and find a way to set things right but he's been gone for over two months, without leaving a single clue as to his whereabouts. As the situation grows more dire, all of Middleburg wonders: where is Raphael Kain? With mighty doses of kung fu, eastern mysticism, and star-crossed love, "Shadow Train" is the most poignant, romantic and explosive book in The Tracks series thus far!

purchase: amazon / b&n / indiebound

All the books in The Tracks Series
(click covers to read my reviews)

Interview with Charlene Keel and J. Gabriel Gates-

Authors of The Tracks Series:
Dark Territory, Ghost Crown and Shadow Train

1.     What three words best describe your series, THE TRACKS?
Char: Haunting, romantic, compelling.

J. Gabriel: Epic, actionful, fun. (Yes, I made up one of the words. If Shakespeare did it, why can’t I?)

2.    Can you give us your best one-sentence pitch to convince new readers to give your series a try?
Char: Star-crossed love, supernatural evil, and martial arts meet in the deceptively quaint village of Middleburg, a little town populated with fallen angels, demons, teen gangs and time travelers.

J. Gabriel: You will never find a better time travel / teen drama / fallen angel / romance / class war / kung fu story—I guarantee it.

3.  Grab a copy of Shadow Train (or book 1 or 2) and answer the following:
Favorite chapter?
Char: Almost impossible to pick, but I do love the last chapter in Shadow Train, where we come full circle with all the characters (the good, the bad and the ugly), and all the mysteries are resolved (well, all but one—could this mean more books in the future?).

J.Gabriel: Chapter 30.  It’s the culmination of everything that the series has been building toward and, from an author’s perspective, it was almost three years in the making.
Favorite page?
Char: It’s in the last chapter, but I can’t tell you what it is because it would be a spoiler. Do Raphael and Aimee get back together? Does Zhai go back in time with Kate or keep her in the present with him? Where did the gold coins Kate found in Dark Territory come from? Does Jack, Aimee’s cruel father, finally get his just deserts in the most perfect way possible? Does Aimee help Orias find redemption for his half-soul (the human half)?

J. Gabriel: Page 414

Your favorite line from your favorite chapter or favorite page?
Char: Ditto. If I tell you, it will totally give away the answer to one of the questions I posed regarding favorite page.

J. Gabriel: “She’s my friend,” Aimee said. “You want her, you’ve gotta shoot me first.” That’s my favorite line, but you have to read the entire series to really understand the significance of it.

4.  There are a lot of awesome characters in THE TRACKS books, but do you have an absolute favorite one? Is there a character that you enjoyed writing the most or connected with the most?
Char: My absolute favorite is probably Orias, the Nephilim (half angel-half human), because he’s the ultimate bad boy—gorgeous, sexy and cursed through no fault of his own. Doomed for all eternity, he’s living without hope until he meets Aimee. There are two other characters I really connect with: Maggie, who starts out as the stuck-up, cruel cheerleader but evolves (in Ghost Crown) into a decent human being, and a warrior of the light, and Lily Rose whose character is modeled on my own Lily Rose, who took care of me when I was a child.

J. Gabriel: I really loved all the characters, and I believe that as an author, every character is a facet of yourself. That said, I probably relate the most to Raphael.  No matter what circumstance he’s in—and he faces a lot of adversity in this series—he stubbornly tries to be a good person and do his best. Those are values that I respect and try to embody.

5.    Which book in the series is your favorite, both as an author and as a reader?
Char: It’s a toss-up between Ghost Crown and Shadow Train. Dark Territory was the toughest because we were laying the groundwork for the series and establishing the characters and the magic and paranormal arena in which the story is told. Also, because J. and I were still getting used to the give-and-take required when co-authoring a book.

J. Gabriel: They all have their good qualities; book 1 is exciting because you get introduced into a whole new world of characters and action. Book 2 is great because you meet even more characters and everything gets dialed up a notch. I’d have to say that book 3 is probably my favorite though, because all the various storylines reach their climax and all is revealed. Who doesn’t love that cathartic feeling?

6.    What’s it been like creating this series as a writing duo? What are the advantages and disadvantages to co-authoring a series?
Char: It has been enthralling, fascinating, frustrating and inspiring. The built-in advantage is having someone to bounce ideas off, someone with whom to work out all the plot points and character development. The only disadvantage—and one we got pretty good at working around—is having two talented, strong-willed people trying to go in the same direction with very different ideas on how to get there.

J. Gabriel: Working with Char on this series was a wonderful experience. Sure, we had our creative battles, but overall I think the series came out better because we both put our all into it. One of the advantages of writing as a team is that you can work faster, because you always have a fresh set of eyes to look at something and say, “I don’t think this is working,” or “I think if we tweak that the story will work better.”  
You also get an influx of ideas that you might not have thought of on your own.  The disadvantage is that if you don’t see eye-to-eye on something, sometimes you have to compromise. Not in a bad way, but in a cooperative way. You have to pick your battles. Sometimes a passage you might have liked gets rewritten in a way that doesn’t thrill you as much as the original version. But the process really helped me learn to trust another person with the “treasures” of my mind, and that was a great gift.
When I first realized that things can be slightly different from how I originally imagined them but still be equally good, it was a great revelation, and a relief. It’s very freeing to know that there are different roads to the same destination, creatively speaking.  

7.  Fill in the blanks:
Char: I’m really awesome at rewriting. Sometimes delivering that first draft is painful, but rewriting, for me, is a labor of love. That’s when I can pull out all the stops and let my imagination and emotions run with the moon.

J.Gabriel: I’m really awesome at writing books, of course! And eating hummus. Hummus is delicious. But mostly the book thing.

Char: I’m really embarrassed to admit that I stall more than I should—I think, because writing is a solitary occupation (even when writing as a team). There comes a time when you have to shut out the world and live in that alternate reality. But often, when I get there, I don’t want to come back.

J. Gabriel: I’m really embarrassed to admit that I know all the words to the old school rap song “Humpty Dance.” Alright stop what you’re doin’…

Char: The last great book I read was The Firebrand by Susan Wiggs. I found a copy in my laundry room and when I was a couple of chapters away from the end I misplaced it and had to order it from When I found out it was part of a trilogy I bought all three. And then, of course, I found the one I lost.

J. Gabriel: The last great book I read was The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. What a beautiful book!

8.    What would a cupcake inspired by THE TRACKS series look and taste like, and what would it be called?
Char: I would do a mix—Rocky Road for Orias with a Twinkie center for Aimee, and it would be called Rocky Road to Love. In our first draft of Dark Territory, Aimee was kind of Twinkie-like. As soon as we realized we were writing her too sweet (even for the goody-good girl), we gave her a lot more depth. Or, we could do Devil’s Food Cake with chocolate frosting for Oberon and Azaziel. We could call it Decadent Fallen Angel Cake.

J. Gabriel: It would be chocolate, with crossed railroad tracks drawn on the top of the frosting. The inside would be filled with yummy strawberry filling that would get all over your mouth when you bit into it, and it would be called the Bloody Nose. ’Cause the series is full of kung fu, y’all!

J. Gabriel Gates: website goodreads twitter facebook
 His first two novels are The Tracks: Dark Territory, in stores July 1, 2011, and The Sleepwalkers, due out October 3, 2011. The second book in The Tracks series, Ghost Crown, is set for release in January 2012. 

Author, screenwriter, editor, ghostwriter and more with over a dozen published novels to her credit. She has also written for such major TV shows as Fantasy Island and Days of Our Lives, and the first made-for-syndication soap opera was based on her Dell novel, Rituals.

Win a set of all the books in The Tracks Series!
Charlene and J. Gabriel are giving away 4 sets of all three books in their series 
(2 print sets for US only and 2 ebook sets open internationally):

We are thrilled that The Tracks has been optioned for a possible TV series or epic film franchise (like Twilight or The Hunger Games). Of course, it’s a long way from option to actually getting a production deal so in the meantime we’d like to know what readers want. For your chance to win the complete trilogy, tell us which you prefer and then, based on the descriptions below, which actors you’d like to see as the characters.
Big Feature Film or TV Series or Web Series or Straight to DVD?
Who should play:
RAPHAEL KAIN – sixteen, handsome and charismatic with a fiery personality. A loyal friend but a relentless enemy, he is the leader of the Flatliners and a master of martial arts.
AIMEE BANFIELD – fifteen, a Topper (sworn enemies of the Flatliners). Troubled and insecure, she is grieving for her missing mother while trying to live up to her father’s impossible standards.
ORIAS, the Nephilim (half human, half angel) – nineteen, smoldering, sexy, brooding and doomed for all eternity through no fault of his own. He intends to take Aimee away from Raphael and use her to take over Middleburg—and maybe the world.
The four lucky winners will get all three books (Dark Territory,Ghost Crown and Shadow Train).
To enter to win, simply answer the questions above regarding the casting and format in the comments below. Then in the Rafflecopter just tell me what name you used in the comments. Commenting is the only required entry you need to do, but there are several ways to earn extra entries (found in the Rafflecopter). Please only fill out one Rafflecopter form (US or INT)
Other Details
-open US and INT
-there will be 4 winners: 2 US, 2 INT
-will end 9/22
-must be 13+, winners will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is NOT responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes 
Fill out the proper Rafflecopter form:



evrythngzen said...

Great interview and congratulations on getting the option. I honestly would love to see a television series because it allows for more time and expansion of the story and the characters. The catch of course is with television, to have longevity, there has to be changes and adaptations and fans don't always deal well with that, so if you opt for tv, stay active in the process, make sure it stays true to your vision. As for actors, honestly, I would have to think long and hard about that, but I kind of think it would be best to use new actors, kids breaking on to the scene that don't have some other long term character portrayal because again, fans have trouble adjusting. LOL Good luck and thank you for the giveaway.

dv8 said...

I haven't read the series so I don't know which adaptation would be best. I like having more scifi/fantasy TV shows on the air but I'd hate to get into a series then see it cancelled.

Appropriate actors would probably be unknowns. However, I'd pick Alexander Ludwig for Raphael,
Chloe Grace Moretz for Aimee, and Richard Madden for Orias.

Anne said...

Definitely a big congrats on the option. I don't know who I'd cast, I'm not really knowledgeable about the current crop of teen actors (though I know many are teen parts are played by adults).

Evie said...

First off, what an awesome interview! I love the questions you asked, especially the fill-in-the-blanks :) very unique!

I have read the first book and really loved it. I thought it was a super entertaining kick-ass story :D J. Gabriel Gates was actually part of my first MEN in YA event and he totally rocked it (everyone commented on his gorgeous long hair~ swoon).

I think The Tracks would make an awesome TV show, though if done by a professional (please, not the VA or Twilight team..) it would also totally rock the big screen. I think it's too good of a story to go straight to DVD.

as far as casting is concerned, I honestly don't know that many teenage actors to even try and answer this :) I'd love to see Emma Stone, I think she can pull of 15-year-old with her innocent looks :) for Orias? Hmm.. I really want to say young Johnny Depp but we all know that's not going to happen.. Other than that I have no idea *_* Sorry, wasn't helpful at all!

Evie @Bookish

Charlene said...

Wow - this is great. Love all these comments and suggestions. Keep 'em coming!

Charlene said...

Hey, you guys are awesome! I don't know younger actors either but I'm thinking for some of the adult roles, like William Fichtner or Joel Gresch for Jack (Aimee's cruel father)and Philece Sampler (Renee on Days of Our Lives) as Violet, Maggie's crazy mother. Keep those suggestions coming!

Denise Z said...

Not being that familiar with teen actors have to say google is a wonderful thing LOL

My choices:
RAPHAEL KAIN - Jason Dolley
AIMEE BANFIELD - Ashley Tisdale
ORIAS - Gregg Sulkin

They look like a fun bunch :)