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Girls*Heart* Books: Tammy's Two Cents

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tammy's Two Cents


Intervew, Review and Giveaway Author Chrystalla Thoma
Rex Rising (Elei's Chronicles)

Rex Rising (Elei's Chronicles)

Winner of position #6 on the Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in the category of Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels published in 2011.
In a world where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life -- until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side. Pursued for a secret he does not possess and with the fleet at his heels, he has but one thought: to stay alive. His pursuers aren't inclined to sit down and talk, although that's not the end of Elei's troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he hardly knows. It won't be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly secret - a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever known - or die trying.
Warning: Some profanity and violence. 
This book is very Dune meets invasion of the Body snactchers; sort of.  Initially I was drawn by the cover, we know I am a Cover HO.  The story did not disappoint; fast paced and thought provoking, Thoma has created a futuristic Sci-Fi Gem for young AND old alike with her Engrossingly descriptive style of writing.
We are immediately drawn into Elei’s world; Who shot him? Why?  Why is he on the run?  Who is after him, again, Why?  So many questions and Thoma keeps your attention and keeps you guessing until the very end; With just a few twists and turns along the way that surprised me!
Our story starts with Elei bleeding and on the run, controlled by dueling parasites that are at war with each other inside him. Thoma’s concept of the “invading” but not always “deadly” parasites had me intrigued from the first page!  I especially liked Cronion, he was the more terminator-esque parasite that would head smack Elei, from the inside. LOL!  He kept Elei on his toes, literally.

The major concept of the story is that parasites not only make you sick (sometimes even killing the host) but give them enhanced abilities as well; special powers I guess you could say (Super Human!) as well as ruling their behavior. Add in the Dystopian society in which the Ruling Parasite (Gultar) are all female and what you have is a page turning, action packed, must read novel!
4/5 Quills guys.
On to the good stuff; Chyrstalla was kind enought to answer some questions for me... here is my interview with her (giveaway details to follow!).
Image of Chrystalla Thoma

*Tell me a bit about yourself.
Crazy lady born under the Sagittarius sign, compulsive writer and traveler.
Origin: Cyprus, eastern Mediterranean, native language: Greek, favorite genres:
dystopian/sci-fi/fantasy, favorite food: waffles with whipped cream.
Owner of a house in construction, a hybrid car and a battered laptop.
Married to a Costa Rican who was mad enough to follow her to Cyprus where
she now lives.
*What was your inspiration for Elei's Chronicles?   I have a fascination with parasites, which started after I read a fantastic (but non fiction!) book called “Parasite Rex” by Carl Zimmer on all the crazy things parasites can do, how they can change our behavior and even the way our bodies and brains function. So I thought basically: if my protagonist was infected with two competing parasites, and sometimes one of them won and sometimes the other, how would he behave and what could happen? Elei says in the story that one of the parasites makes him bold, the other meek, and we see much more of this alternation in his behavior in books 2 and 3 of the series. In Rex Cresting, as the title suggests, the parasite called “Rex” becomes very strong and pretty much takes over Elei, pushes him to a more aggressive and reckless behavior.
*For those who are unfamiliar with your novel; Rex Rising, how would you
introduce it? 
My novel, Rex Rising, is a YA science fiction adventure set in a post-apocalyptic sort of world ruled by a race of women called the Gultur. In this world, where parasites create new human races, Elei leads a peaceful life as aircar driver — until a mysterious attack on his boss sends him fleeing with a bullet in his side and the fleet at his heels. Pursued for a secret he does not possess, he has but one thought: to stay alive. Yet his pursuers aren’t inclined to sit down and talk, and that’s not the end of Elei’s troubles. The two powerful parasites inhabiting his body, at a balance until now, choose this moment to
bring him down, leaving Elei with no choice but to trust in people he barely knows in a
mad race against time. It won’t be long before he realizes he must find out this deadly
secret — a secret that might change the fate of his world and everything he has ever
known — or die trying.
* Your storyline for Rex is so unique, what research did you do to come up with
the finished story?  Or, was it a fantastical idea?? 
As I said, my research into parasites was a big factor in figuring out the story. For instance, see the Gultur, the all-women race who control this world. Well, I read a lot about a parasite called Wollbachia which transfers parts of its genes to its host (see http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=2963) and can completely change the population, transforming all into females and only allowing the birth of females (http:/ /www.nature.com/news/1998/990429/full/news990429-8.html). In fact, the parasite takes over its host so completely (and its whole generation of hosts) that it cannot reproduce if it is not infected with Wolbachia and in some cases they can reproduce
asexually (
http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2002/07/03_paras.html). And
this is just one parasite. The world of parasites is just amazing. Although Wolbachia
does not infect humans (or even mammals in general, I believe), it was my prototype for
Regina, the parasite that created the Gultur all-women race in Rex Rising.
I also gave the world in which he lives – the seven islands – a lot of thought, how
islands have limitations and how these can be exploited by a regime, and how this world
originated (more of that is to come in books 2 and 3).
*What are the Pro’s and Con’s to being an Indie Author? The positive side is that it’s wonderful to be the one in control of the cover and general design and of the editing. I also liked that fact that I wouldn’t have to wait for at least a year to see my story out (as is the norm even with small traditional publishers) and that I could set the price, change it, re-upload new versions of the story if I found problems, and in general have all this freedom that you have when you are your own publisher in the digital era.  The negative side is that Indie authors have a lot of prejudice to fight against and that they have to pay for the cover, editing and so on. That can cost quite a lot of money!
*Who in your life would you say has influenced you the most?  My father. He was a poet and a historian, a folklorist and mythology lover. He loved books and writing, and I wouldn’t be who I am today without him. God bless his soul.
*What has been the most interesting comment (or review) about your book?  A reviewer described Rex Rising as “crazy science fiction done right” and I love it. It is
crazy science fiction, and I do hope it’s done well!
*Who is YOUR favorite Author?  I have many favorite authors, but I have to admit that, right now, I’m into Cassandra Clare’s series (Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices). They’re just awesome!
*What are you reading right now?  Divergent by Veronica Roth. Interesting so far!
*Tell us your latest news....
Well, it’s summer and it’s blistering hot here in Cyprus. I have just finished the
first draft of book 3 of Elei’s Chronicles (Rex: Equilibrium) and am currently
writing some stories set in the same world. Planned for this year are a non-
fiction book about the origin and kinds of dragons, a futuristic sci-fi about an
android, and (perhaps) a trilogy with vampires... Time will tell!
Thank you very much for having me here today.

Okay guys, up for grabs 1 free ebook copy of Chrystalla's short story collection, DreamWater.  The usual rules apply!  Thank You so much Chrystalla for taking the time to visit with us and for your contribution.  Good luck everybody!



3 comments:

  1. I absolutely dream in color. My dreams are so intense it's like watching a movie.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good question! I never thought about others dreaming in black & white!? I dream in color! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I don't usually remember my dreams, but what I do remember they are in color.

    ReplyDelete

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