By Ember Shane
Published: September 9, 2013
Genre: New Adult, Speculative, Paranormal Romance
They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. But sometimes, under extreme circumstances, it's exactly that which kills you that makes you stronger. And faster. And a member to a new, elite race of zombies.
Armed with a current address for his biological grandfather and a slightly unusual, yet loyal best friend, Doyle Hawthorne sets out to discover the truth about his past. But answers don't come easily, and the closer Doyle arrives to his destination, the more confusing things become. Disturbing alterations to his physical appearance as well as to his personality flicker on and off as Doyle searches for a logical explanation.
Despite the increasing severity of these uncontrolled flare-ups, Doyle is determined to keep his first date with Addy - a beautiful, young woman he has met upon his arrival into town. After narrowly subduing his raging impulses, Doyle quickly decides not even death itself can keep him from her. Unfortunately, he is about to test that theory.
Once initiated, nothing can alter the process of shading - the term given to the three distinct phases of becoming a higher classification of zombie, commonly referred to as "royals". Doyle must learn to control his tendency toward violence as well as his newfound royal powers if there is any chance of protecting those he loves from a mad scientist, the government, the colony of royals, and most importantly... himself.
J&M's Book Diaries rating:
As you can see J & I are mostly into reading contemporary-romance novels. We have never read a zombie novel let alone, seen anything that piqued our interest. Of Royal Descent is a novel that redefines the word zombie. It's a zombie-romance with a very nice twist.
Ever since he was young, Doyle Hawthorne knew he was different. After coming home from a day at college he helped his adopted father clean out their garage. He ran into a box of old letters and a photo of his biological grandparents. After Doyle had questioned his adopted father about the things he had found, he came to realize the truth of his biological family's past. His grandfather had a psychiatric breakdown, mentally ill and put in a Rehabilitation Clinic.
Wanting to know more about his biological relatives past, Doyle and his best friend Chuck Johnson set out on a road trip. The closer they got to their destination in Ohio the more anxious Doyle became. Unusual things started to happen with Doyle, he can sense things before they happened, he was having weird nightmares, he had an appetite for raw meat, and he was feeling ill.
After waking up from an early nap, he decided to make a run to the closes restaurant near the hotel him and Chuck were staying at. Doyle had passed out while waiting in line only to wake up to a hot girl leaning over him. Her name was Addy. Doyle has never been attracted to anyone the way he was with Addy so he immediately asked her out on a date. They had an instant attraction and connection to one another.
The story between Doyle and his best friend Chuck is fun to read as well. Chuck is that cocky, arrogant, fun-loving, crazy friend that anyone secretly enjoys having around. They have that brotherly bond and their conversation was hilarious.
I was surprised how much we enjoyed this novel. It's a departure from most zombie literature in many ways, first being that this is a zombie love-story. As ridiculous as that sounds, it works. The author gives so much detail that you are able to picture everything she describes perfectly. Ember doesn't overlook any description which allows her readers to be there with her characters.
Ember Shane did a great job with this story! Even though she left us with a little cliff-hanger in the end, now we're just dying to know what will happen with Chuck? We can not wait for her next installment to this series.
We also want to thank you Ember for contacting us in reading and reviewing your novel. You've introduced us to a genre we normally would have found unappealing. We definitely ventured out from our norm and enjoyed every moment of it.
Will there be another book to Of Royal Descent? Is this book part of a series?
I'm currently working on the follow up novel, entitled Of High Treason. Although I had originally envisioned a trilogy for the Royal Descent Series, there's a good possibility I will continue the story beyond that.
What inspired you to write your first book and how long did it take you to complete it?
I was actually plotting out a time traveler romance when a friend and I began talking about subgenres of paranormal romances. Zombies had come up, and I just remember thinking how gross that sounded. Ha! But I've always been a sucker for a good writing challenge, and if making rotting flesh somehow romantic isn't a challenge, I don't know what is. When I got home that night, I immediately began drafting it out on a storyboard, and I've been blissfully obsessed with the characters and plot ever since. From start to finish, Of Royal Descent took me about nine months to complete.
Who is your favorite character in this book?
Gosh, that's a hard one. But, I would probably have to say Chuck. He's that friend that everyone would love to have - adventurous, loyal, and comically arrogant.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Revision was definitely the hardest part of the process. I tend to write so much during the early drafts, that I have to continually pare content down for novel length and pacing. There are just some parts that I really hated to cut, but it made the story flow better.
If you can go back and change anything you have written what would it be & why?
I'd probably keep the scene I had originally written of Chuck and Kai when they were alone in the hotel after their date. It was from Chuck's point of view and a great scene. I cut it because I was trying to keep the rating more suitable for younger readers as well. Although in the second book, I will be including the racier scenes.
What books/authors have influenced your writing?
Almost every book I've ever read has influenced my writing in some way, but two specific writers come to mind. I've always admired Janet Evanovich's quick pacing and high doses of comedy in her Stephanie Plum Series. Karen Marie Moning's Fever Series is also high of my list of influential writing. Moning does a marvelous job at melding suspense and romance with paranormal elements.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely Evanovich. Once you read so many novels by the same author, you can't help but pick up on how they structure plot and the characterization techniques they use.
Do you have any advice for new writers?
My advice is to write even when you don't feel like it, even when it's crap. Getting it down on paper is the secret to writing. I think a common tendency, at least for me, is thinking the first draft has to be perfect. This makes the process extremely slow and frustrating. When I start falling victim to this mentality, I have to remind myself that the first draft and final draft are several versions apart.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I sincerely thank each and every one of you, especially those that take the time to leave reviews. Writing has always been my passion, but having awesome readers makes it that much more enjoyable! You can find me at Facebook and Goodreads.