Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops special powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.
Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
Today I'm pleased to welcome Kai, the dashing love interest from Jacquelyn Wheeler's novel Rising Shadow. Kai has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for us.
Inquiring minds want to know -- what's the hardest thing about having a girlfriend who's a Soterian? The best?
The hardest thing is that I worry about Ashlyn all the time. Her powers are incredible, but so is the danger, and sometimes I wonder . . . well, let's just say that we don't know what we're up against with Deimos. The best thing? Probably that her Empath powers give her a glimpse of how much I love her.
Do you wish you were a Soterian with powers? What type would you like to be?
I'm pretty happy being a Keeper. But yeah, it would be cool to have powers. Sometimes I wish I were a Sentry--Christoph must be able to sleep a lot better at night knowing he can protect Rebecca.
I know you're really into music. Who are some of your favorite bands? What is your least favorite genre?
There are some great indie bands coming out of the San Francisco/Oakland scene right now. As far as popular music goes, I listen to Radiohead, the Flaming Lips, bands like that. I don't like Jacuzzi Jazz--that stuff you hear in elevators and dentist's offices that's supposed to be soothing. It has the opposite effect on me and makes me feel somewhat violent.
Do you like to read? What are some of your favorite books?
I've always been a voracious reader. Moby Dick is my favorite classic, and in modern literature I really like Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace and pretty much anything by Cormac McCarthy.
Let's get personal for a moment. What is your biggest fear?
That something is going to happen to Ashlyn. I really don't like to think about it, actually.
What is your favorite memory?
I have two. The first one was when I was a teenager and was visiting family in Minnesota. I went for a hike in the wooded hills near my grandparents' house, and I found a clearing with a large boulder in the center of it. I climbed on top of it and just sat there for hours watching the sun slowly go down over the lake, and it was completely silent except for the sound of the wind and birds. It was the most peaceful experience of my life. My other favorite memory is when Ashlyn and I first kissed, but you already know that story.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Spend time with Ashlyn, play music, and read. I'm not really into TV, but I like movies occasionally.
Before this, did you have any belief in the supernatural? Do you believe in things besides Soterians, like ghosts and vampires and lycans now?
It's funny, but now that you mention it, I guess I don't really think of the Soterians as supernatural, probably because I know there's a genetic component to it. I suppose if a rare gene can make you invisible, it's also possible to become a vampire or a ghost, but for some reason they still seem like pure myth to me and don't seem as plausible as Soterians. I hope they don't exist . . . dealing with one mythical being will be bad enough, and I really don't want Ashlyn to have to battle zombies and werewolves on top of everything else.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Kai!
You can catch more exciting Rising Shadow interviews and reviews on the Teen Book Scene tour.