Authors in the Spotlight


Book Title: ILLUSIONS


Category: Young Adult

Description: Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. But just as life returns to normal, a danger threatens Avalon that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

 

Author Spotlight: Aprilynne Pike

I admit, I have been excited for Illusions since I first outlined the series. It is a pivotal book in terms of both adventure and romance. And—I’m apologizing already—it builds and builds and comes to a bit of a screeching halt in my worst (best?) cliffhanger yet.

As far as the romance goes, I like to refer to Illusions by its “other” title: Clash of the Alpha Males! In the first two books Laurel was able to really keep her two worlds (and thus, her two guys) very separate. And she worked hard at that! But in this third installment, worlds collide and suddenly David and Tamani are living side by side, every single day.

I love this idea because I think you get to see both the best and worst of people when they are in hot competition for something they really want—in this case, Laurel. I wanted to explore this and show both guys really shining . . . and getting caught with massive amounts of egg on their face. Of course this has major implications for the love triangle. I’ve been known to ask, rhetorically, “What girl can’t appreciate having two guys fight over her?” In Illusions, we finally get to see some literal fighting. I have been salivating over writing the scene where David and Tamani actually come to blows for . . . well, years!

As for the adventure plot, this is a book with a lot of answers—answers that no one, not even my editor, had seen. I’m sure it was frustrating in the first two books when my editor would write, “Why is this happening now?” or “Why is Laurel/Klea/Tamani doing this?” and my response would be “I can’t tell you yet!” But in this book, I get to answer almost all of the questions I get from readers, reviewers, and yes, even my editing team. It’s so satisfying to be on the cusp of being able to just answer questions! Of course a few mysteries remain to solve in the final book, but there is something very liberating about being able to say, “The foreshadowing is complete, on to the main event!”

I am in the middle of finishing up revisions on the fourth book now, so this statement may change in a few months, but Illusions is my favorite book in the series so far, and I hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

And believe me, that’s a high hope.

- Aprilynne Pike

 

Excerpt

“What else do you do when you can’t figure out what a plant does? Besides cut it open, I mean,” Tamani asked.

“Smell it,” Laurel responded automatically. “I can taste the ones that aren’t poisonous.”

“Taste?”

She looked up at Tamani, at his half-smile. “No,” she said, instantly knowing what he had in mind. “No, no, no, n—” Her words were cut off as two pollen-dusted hands cupped Laurel’s cheeks and Tamani pressed his mouth against hers, parting her lips with his own.

Stars exploded in Laurel’s head, their rainbow ashes coalescing into a torrential pastiche, a rapid-fire flipbook of flower parades and crazy. Through her head, unbidden, fleeting, and difficult to grasp, poured thoughts that made her giddy and queasy at once. Mix with zantedeschia stamens for a potent antitoxin. Age revitalization in animals if fermented with amrita. Injectable Enticement block, rose petals, photo-resistor, salve daisies balm tincturepoisonnectardeath—Laurel jerked away from Tamani, too dazed to slap him.

“Laurel? Laurel, are you all right?”

Laurel slumped back into her chair and brought her fingers to her lips.

“Laurel, I—”

“I asked you not to.” Laurel could tell that her tone was flat. Distant. But her mind was reeling.

She knew she should be furious, but Tamani’s presence barely registered at all, blocked out by the sensations that had assaulted her mind.

“You weren’t going to do it. I had to at least try. I didn’t mean anything by it—”

“Yes, you did,” Laurel said. Research was a convenient excuse, but Tamani had seen an opportunity and taken it.

Fortunately for him, it had worked. Sort of. She looked up, numbly, at Tamani. Gradually it dawned on her that he had no idea what just happened.

“You want me to apologize? I will, if it’s that important to you. I’m—”

Laurel put one finger to his lips, silencing him. At the touch of him the overwhelming f low of information didn’t return, but the images were fresh in her memory. Is that how it always feels, for the other Falls? she wondered. Or was that a fluke?

Her expression must have been perplexing, because Tamani stepped backward, out of Laurel’s reach, and held his hands up, palms out, pleading. “Look, I just thought—”

“Shut up,” Laurel said. Her tone was still flat, but she wasn’t feeling quite so numb anymore.

“We’ll deal with that later. When you kissed me, I got all these . . . ideas. For potions I’ve never heard of.” She thought of the way the word poison had invaded her mind. “I think maybe they’re forbidden.”

“Why?”

“I’ve been doing it wrong, Tamani. I don’t need to touch you. I might need to test my potions on you, assuming I find the right plants, but touching you won’t tell me how to make potions for you.”

It took him a moment to process what she was saying.

“What did it tell you, Laurel?”

“It told me how to make potions from you.”

 

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