Friday, October 5, 2012

Feature Friday: Elizabeth Kolodziej


Elizabeth J Kolodziej, a young fiction writer originally from Torrance California, is a smart and original thinker who has researched the origins of vampires, werewolves, and witches for many years. She writes her books from the knowledge she has gained while trying to be as original and inspiring as possible. Her books encompass both true folklore facts along with innovative ideas motivated by the great writers around her.

Today, Elizabeth has sent a Guest Post:

Hello everyone! A big thank you to AL for letting me do a frog leap on to her blog for the day.
It is never easy being an Indie Author in the beginning (or at the end sometimes), but finding a niche is the whole key. So I’ve heard. However, what I think is even harder is being a young female in this world and having to fight past the fake glitz, sex and pressure thrown at them every day of their life. Too many times I begin to wonder if young girls are being given the reality of life experiences since we have shows that glamorize being a teen and pregnant. They need to be shown that they can grow up and be powerful without being rich, pregnant, having a super sweet 16 or being in beauty pageants.
What I think young people need to do is read books that show what life is going to honestly be like some day while being able to get out of their own world and into a fantastical one. They need to read about strong female characters that will have ups and downs. Thinking it over, I believe I found a couple of things in The Last Witch Series you will not find in all paranormal romances; besides the Greek god mythology and witches that is.
That something is:
Death and a strong female lead
Yes, death happens in books all the time. However, The Last Witch series begins with Vampyre Kisses and shows Faith as a normal young woman hungry for knowledge and adventure. Then Werewolf Descent comes out and Faith’s life is turned upside down by the death of someone she loves very much. What happened to Faith in the second book was so tragic I myself was in actual tears while writing that final chapter. Something that is not normal for me.
I think the most difficult part of Werewolf Descent ending and beginning Witch Devotions was that I was a chapter or two in to the third book when my father, David Kolodziej, passed away. He never got to see the second book published, but that book is dedicated to his memory and it is sort of ironic in a way now that I think about it.
He was diagnosed with cancer in late 2010. In March of 2011 he died suddenly and the event for my family and I was more than devastating considering he was the keystone.
I had never been more shocked, depressed, explosive and at the point that I didn’t know if I would ever write again. In fact, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to do anything ever again.
My dad was my support and the one who believed in me more than anyone in the world. He gave the best advice and was so smart when it came to life and people. I was only 26 when he died. The thoughts of him never being able to give me away at my wedding (if I get married) cross my mind all the time. Thoughts of him never being able to brag about me as an author make me want to cry. He just loved me so much.
I had vivid dreams about him for the longest time and still do on occasion. Sometimes they are so real to me that I wake up and forget he is dead. That is something I don’t tell many people, but am willing to share at this moment because I want to explain Faith and how I was able to finish Witch Devotions. Because…It was not at all easy.
With my dad gone I didn’t write for around five months. Then I sat down and I looked at the first couple of chapters. I was able to connect with Faith in a way I never had before. I knew exactly what she was going through. That is why the first paragraph (well probably first page or two) was in my eyes my most honest writing.

The first paragraph:

“The ice at the bottom of the glass had already numbed my fingers. I glanced at it to see the whiskey all but watered down. I lurched forward to grab the bottle, the cap sitting on the table beside it. As I poured, the gush of liquid swirled around until the glass was full once again. I was sitting in my bathrobe with nothing but a pair of pajama shorts and a wrinkled tank top on. I folded my legs beneath me as I stared at the blank TV in front of me. I could only guess how messy my hair was after not showering for the past couple of days. My eyes must have looked worse than a frat boy after a three-day binger, but it had been awhile since I slept for more than an hour. Every time I closed my eyes and drifted off, I was taken back to that place. Back to where BLANK had died.”
I don’t want to spoil the second book for anyone who has not read it yet. 
I am so grateful to my beta reader and blogger from I Smell Sheep, Sharon, because she was truly a huge help for me with this book. Witch Devotions was similar to showing the whole world my biggest, widest, most ugliest wound.
Just about every scene in it was a way for me to write out my own feelings and get out my anger (and other emotions). In a fantastical way, Faith’s journey was my journey in this instance. What I wrote is the closest you will ever see to me explaining how I personally and deeply felt after loosing someone so close to me.
It was funny because there is actually a scene between a new character Jeff and Faith after she looses her memory. She wakes up from this horrible dream and…Well take a look:
            “I woke up with a start, the shadows in the room frightening me. I practically fell out of bed and searched the wall for a light switch, forgetting there was a lamp, and panicking that I was unable to find one. My stomach was churning as my body shook. My hand found a knob and I pulled the door open, falling to my knees in the hallway. Jeff was nowhere in sight. There was a small light on downstairs, but it wasn’t enough. I hunted down the light switch for the hallway and flipped it on. The brightness almost blinding, I sat against the wall and pulled my knees up to my chest.
Footsteps brought my attention to the stairs. “Did something happen?” It was Jeff with a sandwich in his hand.
I shook my head and began to rock. “I needed the light. Couldn’t find it in there.” I motioned with my body to the room I was sleeping in.
Without hesitation, Jeff took a seat next to me and offered me part of his sandwich. I refused and he took another bite. He chewed and I tried to control my breathing.
It won’t be like this forever.”
As if something burst in the room, my body stopped rocking. “What?”
He swallowed his food. “The way that you feel at this very second. It won’t last.” Jeff’s hazel eyes were soft as he took another bite. “It always seems that way when you are upset or frightened, but eventually, you will ride the emotion out and be back to yourself again.”
When I met Jeff, my first impression was not profound and knowledgeable, but I guess everyone is full of surprises.
“Plus, you’ve got to be special if Louis is taking an interest in you. So whatever is making you upset, well, you’re going to be able to get past it.” He swallowed before taking another bite. All the rough, military bravado he formerly displayed melted away and I thought I was now seeing a normal human being.
“You’re right.” I just sat there for a moment. “Why are you being so nice to me?”
His eyebrow became crooked. “Did I give you the impression I am an asshole?”
Shrugging, I grabbed the last bit of his sandwich and stuffed it into my mouth.
“Hey!” His wide smile looked good on him; compared to the somberness I had seen when I first met him.
“I never got to eat before and you’re being nice, remember?” I said around a mouthful of food.”
I remember speaking to a friend one night about my dad after this scene had been written. I said that and instinctively went back to this scene and had to laugh. Because it is the truth. However, it is a truth not many people can see after a horrific event like death.
The reason I point all of this out and am being so dreadfully honest with you that I’m afraid what might happen is because young people do loose people in their life and when you’re a teenager you may not know how to deal with it. Yet, now there is this book out there that delves into pain and loss; a story that can pull you out of your head and let you be somewhere else for awhile.
Faith is a character everyone can connect to in some way, especially now. Everyone will deal with death at some point or another. This book/series is a way for someone to see a young woman become a strong independent person able to get through the obstacles thrown her way. BUT! It shows the honest to goodness truth of what can happen to someone when they feel like they have lost everything and push everyone away.
I don’t think there can ever be enough female role models in books, movies, life etc etc. This is something The Last Witch Series gives teenagers. The idea that you can do whatever it is you want in life, whether you are looking at Faith or at myself. Both of us strive to overcome everything and everyone that push us down.
It was my wish in the beginning of this journey to inspire others through my writing and it was after my father’s death that I realized just how many people he himself inspired. I hope my books do just that for you.


Liz ^_^

The Giveaway:
Liz is giving away an ebook copy of Vampyre Kisses, the first book in The Last Witch series.
Vampyre Kisses: Vampyre Kisses is an enthralling story about a young woman named Faith, who seems content with her life, but deep down craves more excitement. Then a mysterious man named Trent enters her world and everything changes. Surprising to Faith, Trent is a green-eyed vampire from Ireland. She is even more amazed to find out that she is a witch, and the last of her kind.

Faith learns that she is destined to restore her witch line and becomes more powerful as she gains confidence and knowledge, but danger lurks everywhere -- especially when unknown assailants steal the most important gems from the vampire master and werewolf royalty.

Now surrounded by a world filled with mystifying vampires and werewolves, can Faith gain enough power to help her friends and rescue the stolen gems? 



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