{Author Interview/Book Excerpt}: Awakened by Khadija Craddock

About The Novel:
Awakened (Wak, # 1)
Awakened (Wak, # 1)
by Khadija Craddock 
Published November 20th 2012

Alaya Eveland is an aspiring track star at Equinox High in Equinox, Florida. She was beginning to make a name for herself throughout the city for her amazing speed and her infallible track record, but her obsession with being the fastest young woman in the world causes her to kill her mother and herself. Miraculously she was given a second chance at life. However, Alaya is too grief stricken to care much about her school career and only focuses on track and Octavius, a striking mysterious boy in her class. She is drawn to Octavius in ways beyond words, but she doesn't know why. Despite having a best friend and a crush on her teammate Shemroy, she still feels a heavy amount of burden and pain from killing her mother. But it seems maybe she was really better off dead, for she soon learns she needs blood to sustain her life, her father has to kill her for existing, her ex-boyfriend has gone rogue, her favorite adversary has gone missing and people end up dead. Nothing is as it seems and no one is who they say; not even Alaya.

I had the same dream I usually have. I'm in a world of swirling washed out colors of chiffon skirts with no bodies inside of them. They twirl forming shapes and silhouettes of human figures. They twirl to a moist rhythm. It’s a rhythmic sound of bones and flesh; like biting through watermelon. 
The scene changed. There is a white sterile box with four glass windows with a window on each wall; seamless and no shades. I’m lying in the middle of this box, fetal position on the floor. I hear a loud thumping pulsing obnoxiously in my ear, reverberating in every cell of me; throbbing and warming me. I look up like someone called my name and I see a pair of tremendous, gleaming, maroon colored eyes absorbing me. They appear sad, wistful, and dangerous. In a blink the lights go out, but this time the throbbing pulse didn’t ebb and my body temperature continued to rise. The lights flashed back on after a few seconds. The windows were now covered with a crimson mud and the pulse throbbed on, creating waves with every beat and every pound. I hunched my body closer into itself as the stark pain that seemed to start from my throat and radiate throughout the very core of me, seized me. I convulsed and twitched with each moan that escaped my lips. This time my dream was more intense and real. I never felt any dry pain in my throat before.
Is this real? I need to wake up from this demanding anguish. I cinched my eyes shut instinctively from the pain like how abdominal muscles contract and heave automatically in a bath that’s too hot. 
Unexpectedly I’m hit against the side of my face with something hard. I open my eyes to see what or who hit me in the face. I was confused; I was actually lying on something hard and dark. It looked like wood, I could tell by the grains, which I could see clearly since the side of my face was smashed against the cold surface. I didn’t get smacked in the face. I must’ve fallen out the bed—hard. The side of my face ached but not as much as something else. I roughly placed an open hand on my face dragging my skin down.
“Ah! What the hell...” I sucked in air through pursed lips. “Ah!” I collapsed my body into.
The aching pain saturated my body and oddly enough my throat, just like the dream. I was engulfed in a muted darkness as the moon gave way to a subtle blue luminous. I tried to lift myself up, but it felt like trying to lift an elephant. I finally realized the aching pain and feebleness was hunger. I managed to heft myself off the floor with the help of my bed and sat on the edge of it. I need to eat something. I scraped myself from the edge of my queen size mahogany canopy bed with white chiffon fabric draped around the canopy hanging down loosely at each post. I waded to the door with heavy feet. I hugged myself tight; but it only made it difficult for the pain to escape my body, but it was still comforting, and so I hugged on.  I dragged myself down the stairs sliding my body along the black walnut banister.  Any second I just know my knees will give. The house was dark and lonely except this perpetual pain that seemed to have a presence of its own. The last thing I remember was walking into that darkness.
When I woke up I was lying on the floor, I could tell because it was cold, hard, and smooth. There was another source of coldness radiating from somewhere near and a soft hum from the same location. I rubbed at the sleep in my eyes and realized I was lying in front of the open fridge. One might say I was sleeping in it.
What the heck!  
I blinked trying to remember how I got here and why. I sat up with a stretch and a yawn, then I looked down and there was food sprawled around me, well what was left of food. I got up and brushed the debris off my boxers and tee. I looked down and blinked rapidly at what I saw.  I threw my hand over my mouth trying to keep the vomit from pooling out as I gagged. Did I eat that?  I picked up an empty package of raw steak. What the hell is going on with me…why did I eat all this stuff? For one Bataar doesn’t even let me eat red meat; that was for him.
I closed the now empty refrigerator door. I gagged once more but this time I had to run to the bathroom to release what my body didn’t want or what my brain told me was disgusting.

What inspired you to write Awakened?
I love to read fantasy and paranormal romance novels, among others, but I noticed there aren’t many books in that genre that have a protagonist of color. I wanted to write a book that represented my African heritage. There is rich and vast African and African American history that I think should be shared no matter what race you are. I was doing research on African religion and mythology for another book I started to write. I came across the Oromo culture of the Kushites. They believe in the creator god Wak or Waaq. I found it interesting and thought this would make for a great vampire story, but I had to put that in the back burner because I was already working on a project. However my brain had other plans. While writing in the kitchen I had a vision. I couldn’t ignore the vision because I knew this would be the opening to my book and so I wrote it down and still I put it aside. Yet it was tugging at my heart and so I proceeded to end the latter project for the new one.

Your GoodReads bio stated that you used to be a substitute teacher.  Were any characters in this book inspired by former students?
Oh yes. I may not be a full-time teacher but I was very passionate about my students, especially the ones I had the pleasure of getting to know. I had the pleasure of teaching English and Creative Writing for Barringer 9th grade Academy for almost the whole school year and I loved them. They inspired me to be a better writer and I wanted to be a wonderful teacher for them. The first book I worked on before I was inspired to write Awakened contained many characters that was inspired by those students. Awakened was inspired by the class I taught after I was dismissed from that class. At West Side High I taught high school seniors and juniors and they were just lovely. I adored them I can be a little verbose, I know, I’m sorry but I can talk about these kids for days lol. Octavius, Shemroy, Alaya and Tori were inspired by my students.

What's your top three favorite paranormal beings?
Vampires, werewolves, and did I say vampires?

What's your stand on sex in YA?
I think sex is a major part of society and nature. There is no escaping it; even if you live in a dungeon your whole life. Ultimately your body will develop those thoughts and feelings even if you don’t know it’s called sex. Most young adults are already having conversations or thoughts about sex and yes some are active participants. I’m not saying a YA book should be explicit, of course not, but if a YA book ignores it than it’s not a YA book. It’s not realistic and readers won’t be able to relate. A YA book doesn’t even have to contain sex but it should address it and I think it should be addressed in multi ways depending on the story of course and the author.

What's the future of WAK?  (series, trilogy, saga, etc)
My plan is for Awakened to be a trilogy. The second book is called Descendant; to be released in December 2013.

If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you have?  E-readers are not an option, because they would die rather quickly with no power.
It would be nice if they made solar powered E-readers. Someone should market that just in case such a scenario does occur. Well let’s see, I will probably take Twilight by Stephanie Meyers, Whoreson by Donald Goins, and My blood Approves by Amanda Hockings. Whew! That was tough for the little vacillator living in my head.

If Awakened was adopted into a motion picture, tell us your dream cast.
That’s actually something I was thinking of sharing on my author’s blog at http://outsidetheouside.blogspot.com. It just so happens I have a picture of each main character that I found on the internet that matched my idea of how I wanted my characters to look. It’s all in my One Note notebook. For Alaya I would want Kaone Kario and Yasmin Warsame to play Shana, Alaya’s mother. Terrell Carter or Maël Caloc or Kofi Siriboe for Octavius. Raldon Lumpkins (someone I saw on the internet not a celebrity lol) or actor Sterling Sulieman for Shemroy.  Brandon Fobbs, Jordan Fisher, or Romeo for Kinua. Bryan Ikenna Okwara or Brad James for Mr. Lomai. For Tori I would l love to have Amira Ahmed. Adris Alba for Bataar. I like Amina to be played by model Milan or Sundai Love. I want Tom to be played by Lucas Medeiros. You can find more character information at my blog or at http://www.shelfari.com/books/31811843/Awakened-%28Wak-Series%29 .

What 5 songs would be on the musical soundtrack for Awakened?
Okay Katrina I know you said five but I had to add one more.

·         Across the Ocean- Azure Ray

·         Let it be me- Ray Lamontagne

·         Fade into you- Mazzy Star

·         Breathless- Corinne Bailey Rae

·         Outside- Staind

·         My Way Home- Kanye West ft. Common

In Awakened, Alaya has an obsession with "speed".  If Awakened was adopted into a video game, would it be on Nintendo WII or Xbox 720?
It would be for Xbox 720 easily. A track and field game would be fun…I think they made that already. Ha! I don’t think they have a vampire game. Lol, can you imagine?

We love fashion here, so tell us a little about Alaya's style. (Hair, clothes, shoes, etc)
I too love fashion and I tried to represent that in the story. Alaya has big beautiful curly hair that she likes to flaunt by wearing it down. She is a lover of vintage from her vintage GTO to her collection of vintage tees. She always dresses in something chic and stylish even if it’s something simple and comfortable; but it will be stylish and chic. Her father, Bataar, always brings Alaya something vintage from his business trips. Although she loves vintage she does a modern take on it and all her shoes go perfectly with each outfit. I must say I’m jealous of her wardrobe.

Author's Blog: http://outsidetheoutside.blogspot.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/undone_ebook

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authorkhadijacraddock

GoodReads (Author): http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4637224.Khadija_Craddock

Shelfari: http://www.shelfari.com/khadijacraddock
Thanks so much for visiting!  Khadija is an Indie/Self Pub author.  Be sure to show her some love!


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