C. Vonzale Lewis is the author of the newly released Lineage published through Parliament House Press.She takes us on a magical journey in the first book of The Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles.
Synopsis: Smart-mouthed Nicole Fontane has a way of getting herself into trouble. She’s been fired from every job she’s had but still refuses to work in her father’s apothecary shop because of his practice of Earth Magick. On Tulare Island where Nicole grew up, Magick has always been a way of life—one she’s determined to avoid at all costs.
With less than two hundred dollars in the bank and rent due, Nicole is forced to take a job at Tribec Insurance as a last resort. Little does she realize, the moment she sets foot inside the building, she becomes a pawn. A sinister force has set its sights on her and will stop at nothing to use her in a sadistic game.
Tribec’s proprietors, the Stewart family, are curiously preoccupied with the Naqada, the mysterious pre-dynastic Egyptian society. Nicole finds it creepy, but on the bright side, the job reconnects her with her estranged friend, Marta. Yet the eerie atmosphere, disappearing Magick wards, and the smell of blood inside Tribec bring Nicole to a startling conclusion—the Stewarts are practicing Blood Magick, the deadliest of the Five Principles. By the time Nicole uncovers the truth, Marta and her four children have gone missing, and all signs implicate the Stewarts and an archaic blood ritual to an Old One, a Naqada god imprisoned on Tulare Island.
Battling the evil of Blood Magick will demand Nicole to confront a hidden past and unlock the Magick buried within. But can she set aside her deep-rooted fears to work with a team of vigilante Mages? Or will the clock run out on Marta and her children—and on Nicole?
What inspired you to write Lineage? What is special about it?
I use to work in a call center. I don’t recommend this job for ANYONE! Once in a blue moon, the major players would come to our center for a center wide meeting. I use to wonder what they did all day. Like what exactly was their job. So in answer to that question, I wrote my first book based on a woman getting a job in a call center and learning her employers were sacrificing people. Morbid, I know. But I did warn you NOT to work in a call center.
If I had to give a reason for it being special, it’d be my determination to finish it. But if I dug deeper, it would be me channeling some of the things that affected me in my own life in the past and finding a unique way to fix them. We do put a little bit of ourselves in our characters and in this case, some of the trauma my main character experienced is similar to what I experienced. And since this book is a series, I get to go on her journey of healing with her.
I love that! What character in your books are you most like? Unlike?
I believe I’m a mixture of both Nicole Fontane from Lineage and Raine Feather from Foretoken. With Nicole, her sarcasm and inquisitiveness and with Raine, her sense of feeling at peace when she’s alone.
I know I’m nothing like my character Rachel, from Lineage. Although, sometimes I wish I was. LOL! She is pretty brash!
How long have you been writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
When my mother bought me a typewriter when I was eight. I think I was amazed at how I could put words on paper. And, of course, I loved reading stories and having stories read to me. All those wonderful adventures in one book! I thought, I can do that!
As far as how long of been seriously writing. I would say since then. Either in my head, or scribbling something on paper. But in a coherent form, since high school. I never did get to finish that story, but maybe one day I will.
Who, or what inspired you to be a writer?
Honestly, just the love of storytelling. And if I dig deep, I’d say I got it from my father. He had the gift of storytelling. And I’d like to think I inherited it from him.
What book has had the most impact on you? Why?
In relationship to story, I’d say Lightening by Dean Koontz. That was the first book I read that had a romantic element in it and after that, I searched for more books like that.
Tell us about your writing process. What is the journey from draft to published piece?
Oh, I see we moved on to the challenge round! Well, my ideas come from some interesting places. A turn of phrase can spark and entire plot or character. An image can do the same. I usually jot these gems down in my notebook I carry and if inspiration continues to niggle at me, I sit down and start writing.
Now as for process, I really don’t have one. I just sit down and start typing. I don’t hate outlining, but I find I get to anxious and want to just get going with the story. I will, however, keep a notebook by my side to jot down bullet point ideas that will shape future scenes. And once I run out of steam, I get up and do other things. But during the course of reading, watching T.V, or cleaning, I get inspiration and return to my writing. This happens ALL DAY LONG!
Well, we kind of know the answer to this one, but I’ll ask it anyway. Do you plot out the entire story, or have the characters drive it?
The characters definitely drive the story. I like to create them first, get to know them in great detail, then I throw the plot at them and since I know them so well, I know how they would respond. I have, on occasion, been surprised by their reaction to a certain event.
I‘m sure it’s funny for readers to hear that an author is surprised by their characters. Where do you write?
I mostly sit at my desk in the office. But every once in a while I need a change of scenery so I move to the downstairs kitchen table or sit on my bed and type away.
Do you have a writing goal you want to achieve? What does success look like for you?
I want to continue writing until I can’t anymore. It’s as simple as that. I love creating so I don’t see myself ever stopping. I do want to publish an entire bookcase of books. Now that is what success looks like to me! I have so many books that just seeing my collection of works intermingling with the others would bring so much joy! Financially, I don’t have a set goal. Starving artist is a real thing. But if I can make enough to be comfortable, that would be awesome. And, of course, seeing my characters on the big screen would be…WOW!
I never thought about having an entire bookshelf. Now, that would be impressive. What helps you when it comes to writing?
I like to have music playing softly in the background or have the TV on low. I don’t necessarily create playlists for my books, but I have played a single song on repeat to help create the right mood for a scene.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m working on two books. Zealot, the second book in the Blood and Sacrifice Chronicles and Foretoken, A Raine Feather novel. I’ve been going back to Foretoken for a few years now and have most of the scenes written and quite a few different beginnings for the story. I could never quite finish the last few chapters of that story, but now, I’m ready to get it done.
How often do you write? Do you have another job besides being a writer?
I honestly wish I could say every day, but sadly, that’s not the case. But I do write when the mood strikes. Let me correct that. I don’t sit down every day and write, however, I’m always writing in my head. LOL! And I’m also an Acquisitions editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.
What is the best piece of writing advice that someone has given you?
As for writing advice, On Writing by Stephen King. When I first starting writing, I hadn’t been exposed to the “writing rules” that seem to float around in the writing community. And after I did read a few of them, I became discouraged. So much, don’t write this, don’t do this, don’t begin here, and so on. But he put it the best way possible. JUST WRITE.
That book also inspired me not to give up because even King received rejections. Do you have a favorite review of your book? Can you share here why you liked it?
As of right now, I’ve received five reviews for Lineage and I love every single one of them. What I love the most is that the reader was able to truly grasp Nicole, my main character, and connect with her.
What else do you like to do besides writing?
Reading, of course, I can spend all day reading a book. And when I’m not reading or spending time with my husband, I like binge watching British detective stories. LOL!
Where can fans connect with you?
My name is Carla Vonzale Lewis and I like my martini’s shaken…never stirred.
I was born in Georgia but please don’t mistake me for a Georgia peach. I’m more like a prickly pear. Speaking of being born, someone asked me recently if I remember my birth. And I have to say, yes, I do remember that handsy doctor pulling me out into the cold. Right Bastard!!!
Despite being born in the South, I grew up in the North. California to be exact. Every once in a great while we get to experience all four seasons. But mostly, it’s just heat. You should see our electric bill in the summer! I like the beaches, but not the sand. I enjoy being outside, but the sun gets on my nerves. Does it really need to send its death ray to a single spot on my skin! (I told you I was a prickly pear) And don’t get me started on the traffic.
The first part of my life, I worked in customer service. This line of work led to the discovery of my favorite drink, or, rather, several favorite drinks. I could list the many concoction but that would go on forever!
Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy job. But I did enjoy talking with people. And when it came time to develop my characters, I drew on those experiences.
I have a degree in Fashion Design. Don’t ask. The only thing I gained from those wasted two years of my life, is being introduced to the love of my life, Bobby. He is truly my rock.
So…why do I write?
Well my first book, LINEAGE, answered the question, “What does the big boss actually do all day?” I might have gone a little dark with my answer, but it was fun answering the question. But mainly, I love writing because it gives me power to create. And it also gives me the power to fix this broken world.
Truthfully, I’ve always loved the written word and the way a good book could take you to another place and time. Instead of hanging out in the lunchroom, I would go to the library and create stories or bury my head in a really good book.
I started writing my first novel in 2014 and 30 days later I had a collection of scenes that needed some serious revision. And that was where the fun came in. Over the course of several years my novel went through final draft after final draft until I finally came to…you guessed it, the final draft.
When I’m not writing, I enjoy reading, binge watching shows on Netflix, and trying to convince my husband that getting a dog is a wonderful idea.
And one day, I will discover how many licks it actually takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop.