Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Incubus Saga by Amanda Meuwissen: Interview, Reviews, Excerpt & Giveaway

The Incubus Saga
by Amanda Meuwissen

Incubus (Book 1) Synopsis:  
Nathan only ever wanted a normal life, but for him, life, family, and love are anything but normal.

On the other side of the Veil, dark and light fae exist outside the knowledge of most humans. Nathan Grier was born human, but his twin brother Jim is a changeling. On the run since they were children, time for both of them is running out. Turning to fae hunter Sasha Kelly for help, Nathan must soon face his growing feelings for the other man while trying to save himself and his brother from a fate worse than death.

Changeling (Book 2) Synopsis:
Nathan Grier’s dark fae bounty looms overhead. As he faces the very real threat of becoming a slave to the bounty’s owner, his brother Jim uses his changeling abilities more and more trying to save him. Every changeling throughout history turns evil once their powers manifest, meaning time may be running out for both of them as Jim nears True Awakening. 

Fae hunter and incubus, Sasha Kelly, is prophesied to save Nathan, but while Nathan has embraced his feelings for the other man, he fears their time together will be cut short—either from his impending fate…or Jim’s.
Author Interview
Carly: Welcome to my blog Amanda, and thank you for stopping by today to answer a few questions about your books! I have truly enjoyed all the characters in both stories, but the two that really stick out to me are the brothers, Nathan and Jim, whose personalities couldn’t be any more different. Yet, at the same time, they are both willing to sacrifice themselves for the other, and share a very special bond. How difficult was it for you to build their relationship dynamic? Did you have it planned that way from the very beginning, or did it change and grow during the writing process? Did you have any real-life inspiration for their relationship?

Amanda: The brother dynamic between Nathan and Jim in The Incubus Saga was always the forefront of the story for me, even more so than Sasha’s involvement, because while I love the romance that develops between him and Nathan, and Sasha balances the brothers out wonderfully throughout the story, Nathan sacrificing himself for Jim was the catalyst for the whole saga. 

Nathan’s relationship with his brother actually sheds light for him on why he needs to accept Sasha for what he is, and even helps him accept a relationship with Sasha, because he can’t deny that he doesn't see evil in his brother, and he’d be a hypocrite to get to know Sasha and see what a good man he is only to still shun him just for being an incubus.

I always truly appreciate when readers mention that they feel my characters are wholly unique to themselves, never cookie-cutter; they all have strong, contained personalities. When writing brothers, it’s important for them to be different from each other, even if they have similarities and things in common. Nathan and Jim are twins, and while not identical, they share physical traits. They've also been all each other had for half their lives, so they’ve been dependent on each other for a long time. And yet despite this, they could not be more different, and I love writing that difference in their scenes together.

In truth, there is a selfish element to their equal willingness to sacrifice themselves for the other, because neither would quite know how to live without the other around. 

This was all carefully planned from the start. Especially once Jim starts to give in to his powers, when there is a real threat about him, I wanted it to be clear that his motivation is still always to save Nathan. That’s part of what keeps him sane as his powers manifest, because he’s so single-minded on someone other than himself or his own ambitions. 

I think their dynamic changes and grows throughout the story in that they both find others to let into their lives which overshadows only ever having each other for so long. They'd still do anything for each other, but it allows them to branch out and start to leave behind that codependency. They also get better at trusting each other’s decisions as the story progresses, which will truly come to a head as we reach the end in book 3. 

I happen to have two brothers, one who’s more a jokester, and one who we tease never smiles in pictures, but I wouldn’t say I got much inspiration from them other than the natural way brothers interact. It’s hard for brothers to express affection, and it usually comes out in harassing each other, and friendly (or not so friendly at times) teasing. 

And of course many of my readers know, and I'm sure many others can tell, I got a lot of inspiration for this relationship dynamic from the brothers in Supernatural, Sam and Dean Winchester. I just love the way they interact, how in the early seasons they're so willing to do anything for each other, and I wanted to emulate that here. 

Changeling Excerpt

“All joking and carnal intentions aside…you have been a good friend,” Sasha said soft and breathy, “and I’ve really needed that. Like you wouldn’t believe, I’ve needed that. So… whatever else might happen… I'm just thankful for you.”

The intensity of the moment— physically and deeper— struck Nathan right at the curve of his neck as his face flushed. He felt that maybe this was one of those moments where a reaffirmation of ‘I love you’ was appropriate, but something else formed on his lips instead.

“Damn you’re heavy,” Nathan breathed through a smile, gasping again when Sasha bucked his hips forward with a little more force. 

“Shut up,” the incubus smirked back. He leaned in, his legs wrapping around the chair, his chest slick and smooth as Nathan pressed his palms there and slid his hands along Sasha’s skin to his back. 

Sasha made Nathan’s whole mouth tingle when they kissed, that skilled tongue caressing his own so deeply, lips soft and demanding but somehow giving too. No one kissed that good, so completely and in need that Nathan felt himself drawn right into the incubus like a willing victim. He almost laughed to think that that was exactly what he was. 

Nathan’s hands moved up to Sasha’s shoulder blades and down again, feeling the dip of Sasha’s lower back, and then straying lower right into the folds of the towel to caress down the smooth bare skin of Sasha’s backside. Nathan stayed only long enough to tug Sasha closer before sliding his hands up again, to which the incubus whined against Nathan’s lips.

Incubus Buy Links: Amazon - Big World Network
Changeling Buy LinksAmazon - Big World Network

My Reviews
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nathan and Jim are as different as two brothers can be, but as twins, they still share a special bond. Each is willing to sacrifice anything for the other, but when a bad situation becomes desperate, the brothers turn to an eclectic group of friends for help.

Nathan has been protecting his twin brother since they were boys. Constantly on the run due to James' unique status as a changeling, they are hunted by both dark and light fae alike. This time, however, Nathan has gone too far; his attempt to rescue Jim just may end up costing him his life.

Sasha is an incubus in disguise. The orphan son of a succubus and human hunter-turned-fae, he is able to hide in the human world but is truly welcomed by neither. Openly bisexual, the depth of his instant attraction to Nathan is unusual for his kind, and one he hopes will lead to a deeper bond. Unfortunately for Sasha, Nathan's human nature and distrust of all beings fae are not the largest obstacles standing in their way.

While I enjoyed the overall storyline of INCUBUS, there were several elements that I struggled with. The overall tone is meant to be one of adventure, danger, romance and drama, but the plot development struggled to maintain a consistent pace and I found myself losing interest during the slow periods. I believe that this was largely due to the episodic structure of the book. 

The story line also lacked a distinctly fluid nature, frequently jumping forward or backwards in time. While this occasionally served to build suspense, it more often left me with the sense that I was missing an important piece of information or block of time.

As the story itself is solid, a thorough editing would solve most problems. The issues were significantly less noticeable about halfway through, and once the extensive backstory had been told. The pacing became more consistent about that time as well.

The story is enhanced by several well developed supporting characters, most memorably the irrepressible Wade, Nathan's mysterious Spirit Guide Walter, and an adorable little girl named Kitty. I'm glad I took the time to read INCUBUS, because even though the reading process was difficult at times, I am willing to give Amanda Meuwissen's storytelling another chance.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Changeling's storyline picks up right after Incubus' left off. This is a series that must be read in order, and continues to focus primarily on Nathan's perspective of events. I struggled with the initial world building and history in Incubus, but found none of those development problems in Changeling.

I loved how Meuwissen delved right into the emotional heart of her three main characters, Nathan, Jim and Sasha. The complexity of their multi-layered relationships with each other intrigued me from the very beginning. Friendship, loyalty, love and commitment are all weighed and measured. Asking the tough questions of 'What price would you pay to find love?' and 'What would you be willing to sacrifice in order to save the ones you love?'

Their paranormal world is crafted with detail, and while Changeling is ultimately a story about love, Meuwissen is not afraid to expose the darkness that dwells within its depths. I would recommend this book to readers who are looking to experience a detailed and complex story that reflects in fiction the reality of life. I am completely hooked on the Incubus Saga and anxiously await the final installment!
Author Profile
Amanda Meuwissen is the author of The Incubus Saga and the novelette The Collector.  She has a Bachelor of Arts in a personally designed major from St. Olaf College in Creative Writing, and has been writing and posting online for many years, including maintaining the blog for the customer engagement company Outsell.  She spent a summer writing screenplay script coverages for a company in L.A., and is an avid writer and consumer of fiction through film, prose, and video games.

Amanda also serves as COO and Managing Editor for BigWorldNetwork.com. She oversees editing and series selection, as well as being involved in marketing and promotion, and is featured as a narrator for several BWN series.

Amanda lives in Minneapolis, MN, with her husband, John, and their cats, Helga and Sasha (no connection to the incubus of the same name).
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  1. Thank you so much for agreeing to be one of my stops, especially as someone who had read Incubus earlier and gave it honest critique. It is especially pleasing to me to read your review of Changeling and see that the progression of the story has been successful for you, not only in that you enjoyed book 2 more, but are that much more excited to conclude the series.

    It was great to get the chance to discuss the brother dynamic in the interview portion, and I truly appreciate your honest comments on both books. Thank you again for hosting, and thank you to all the readers out there considering these titles. I truly hope you give them a chance.

    1. It was my pleasure! Thank you for your thoughtful interview responses and for stopping by today. I hope that readers will give your series a chance and enjoy it as much as I have. :D

  2. Amanda Meuwissen had me hooked with her novelette The Collector. I enjoy her writing very much and look forward to reading both books in the Incubus Saga. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the mini interview and book reviews.

  3. the blurbs for both books are interesting, great interview