I am ecstatic to announce the release of the first book in
The Order of the Elements series:
by Jess Bowen
I adore this story and am already anxiously awaiting the sequel. This is one of those Young Adult novels that both teens and adults will enjoy. At first I became swept away in the magical world that Jess Bowen created, and then I got completely carried away in the romantic relationships as they developed. But the story never forgets its purpose---the fight against the darkness. And I now realize that I forgot to ask Jess about her amazing action scenes! Urg. Ah well, I'll just have to bring her back, won't I? Here's the back cover blurb, followed by my delightful interview with Jess Bowen.
Phoebe Johnson and Ethan Smith had everything they needed: loving parents, great friends, and admission letters to Ivy League schools they’d be heading to in the fall. If only they knew that they were never going to reach the end of that summer--at least, not in the world they knew. A secret waits to be revealed on the eve of their nineteenth birthday, a secret that is going to change their lives forever when it leads them to a place they never believed existed, love they could never imagine living without, and power they never suspected they possessed
Jess Bowen expertly plunges readers into an imaginative, supernatural world that refuses to bow down to the darkness that’s all but taken over. Amidst this adventurous quest for a lost prophecy, Bowen weaves in powerful tales of love that will leave the characters and readers breathless.
1. The world you created in Breaking Point is amazingly vivid, both the shining perfection inside the Haven and the bleak darkness outside. Is the end result exactly what you had pictured when you began writing, or did it evolve over time?
Phew, start off with a hard question why don’t you? Just kidding. To sum it up, I guess it really did turn out the way I had wanted it to when I started writing. I kind of wanted these characters that had what most of us would consider a good life to be thrown into this pit of despair. The Haven is perfect, but in its perfection it’s a prison.
I think the concept of it being a prison evolved over time. Once I realized more and more how perfect it was inside, I had to reach deeper into what was going on to figure out why these people were fighting so hard for their freedom back when they were perfectly free in these safe places where they lived. Why would they face this war if they could just continue to live in their little Utopia? More and more the realization of their predicament became clear---they’d take a little hardship if it meant being able to step outside their ivory walls. In the beginning I had always wanted this to be an emotional battle for these characters as well as a physical one, and I think it’s turned out to be everything I wanted it to be.
2. A very fun element in the book is the Companion, a (darling) magical creature, that each student receives upon beginning their training. What was your criteria for choosing the companion for each character, and if you were to be assigned a companion, what would it be?
Ah yes, the companions. I do love them. Of course my biggest criteria for assigning a Companion to a Master is that Masters of Elements have a more mythical creature as a Companion. Even though each Companion has its own magic, I wanted that extra special quality because the Masters of Elements are kind of a big deal. But, just like in the Pool of Companions, the Companions kind of choose their Masters. As for me, I’m rather fond of Bree and Sadi…but I couldn’t steal them from Evan and Jared. I’d probably take a big cat, maybe a panther.
3. Despite the fact that Phoebe, Ethan, and their roommates all possess supernatural gifts and are living in a surreal world under unimaginable pressures, they feel like authentic young adults. You do a fantastic job of showing all of their sides, and the reader really gets to know each of them throughout the course of the story. I know this is probably a tough question---because you obviously got close to each of your characters---but which one would you say was your favorite to write and why?
Wow, yes, most definitely a tough one. I really love writing Evan’s ever positive attitude and sense of innocence and simple logic. I also love writing Hector with his inability to feel emotions. You can never tell what he’s thinking or how he feels about something. He sees a lot of things that many wouldn’t because his own emotions don’t cloud how he sees them. Much like Phoebe, he sees the truth in people because he sees with an unbiased opinion. And, I know you said just one, so my most favorite is probably Phoebe. With her gift, her complicated mental battles alone are so in depth and fun to explore. She just always has so much going on, and sometimes I find myself having a hard time breaking away from writing what’s going on in her head to write what’s going on around her too.
At one point in my college career I was a psychology major. The human mind is something I find very fascinating, the way people think, what makes them tick, what makes them do the things that they do, etc. So Phoebe opens up this opportunity not to only delve into her emotional and private struggles but it also opens up the doors to the secrets of everyone around her, and that’s really fun for me to explore and write.
4. Breaking Point is the first book in a series of five (hooray!) and even though Breaking Point is a whole and complete story on its own, you most definitely laid some intriguing groundwork for future plot developments. Without giving away any spoilers, of course, how much of the rest of the series do you have worked out in your head? Do you know what will be happening in each book? Do you know exactly how the series is going to end?
I have most of the plot worked out for future books. The plot as it follows the war to the end has not changed, although the personal struggles of each character sometimes changes as I write. But it all leads to the endgame. I have a summary and basic outline for each book and a tagline to go with each book according to what’s going to happen in it. And I actually have the end of the last book already written---which I’m sure will need to be tweaked and adjusted by the time I catch up to it in my writing---but I most definitely have a plan, and I can’t wait to get it all out so everyone can know!
I’m really looking forward to the sequels. One of my personal favorite things about reading sequels in book series’ I enjoy reading are the plot twists you don’t see coming, and the characters that come and go. I hope with the Order of the Elements Series I can bring all those elements to the table with the future books.
5. If you had to choose one song that captures the essence of Breaking Point, what would it be?
One song? You’re asking the Queen of Indecision and Music lover Extraordinaire to pick one song? Okay, okay…I can do this. Well, several months ago on my blog I posted a youtube link to "Break" by Three Days Grace and noted that it fits really well with the theme of the book, and I still stand by that. The song is about someone who’s unhappy with the way things are in his life and gives the message that if you don’t like something, break away and do something about it. It kind of alludes to anger that sparks a decision to change and fight for something better.
That being said, I've compiled a playlist that fits with the book and its themes, because as stated above…I am both the Queen of Indecision and Music Lover Extraordinaire and picking just one song period is a nearly impossible task for me.