Today it’s my pleasure to welcome over and interview Jennifer Ainsley, author of The Final Demon War, Sidney Stone.
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Suspense/Horror/New Adult
Date of Publication: December 2013
Number of pages: 308
Word Count: 102,400
Cover Artist: Pencilbox Studios
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword” - Matthew 10:34
Demons are preparing to launch the Final War to destroy humanity.
Can one young woman wielding the Sword of Jesus ensure our survival and redemption?
Will she lose both her love and her soul in the process?
Available at Amazon in Paperback and Kindle formats
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Please see following for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest 284 word pitch and 1100 word opening chapter.
"Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword"
- Matthew 10:34
Jonathon Tait, whose demon-enhanced 170-year-old life has helped make him the richest man in the world, secretly renounces his alliance with demons in order to save his twins and redeem himself in the eyes of the two women he loved and lost. Jonathon has visions that his beautiful college-aged adopted daughter, Jennifer Ainsley, may be the key to humanity's survival and works with an underground movement to fight back against both the demons and the human leadership that is guiding our civilization towards total annihilation.
Can Jennifer wield the Sword of Jesus to fulfill her destiny even as the planet hurtles towards its destruction? Is she mankind's only hope and can Jennifer save everyone that she loves; including her destined soul mate Andrew Walker, or are we all doomed?
Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is a gripping, fast-paced fantasy/horror novel grounded in the contemporary world. The characters are extremely likable and engaging, and a great deal of humor is successfully incorporated into the book, despite its often grim and macabre themes. There are several action packed tour-de-force chapters including “Scenes from the End” and “Kasey and Tracey’s Amazing Adventure”.
The book deftly tackles issues of greed, humanity's neglect for its weakest members, the race for power among individuals and nations, and the ability of love and courage to transcend personal weaknesses. It is a tale that combines horror and fantasy to tell a story of love, loss, sacrifice and redemption. It is the first chapter of an exciting new trilogy that deserves to find a wider audience.
What inspired you to write this book?
Thank you for featuring my book and letting me hang out here with you on your blog! As a writer, I am inspired by early Stephen King (think The Stand, The Dead Zone, Salem’s Lot, Carrie) and early Dean Koontz (Strangers, Lightening, Watchers). Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game was also an influence. This story started essentially as a campfire story and it stuck with me. It wouldn’t let go and needed to be written. I had completed four screenplays in the 90’s but never really pursued it. I love to write but life got in the way. This time, I got in the way of life. :-)
Tell us about your book cover and how it relates to your story.
The book cover was created by the talented folks at Pencilbox Studios in Orange County. Originally I had wanted a cover of a sword lying in the forest with a mushroom cloud off in the distance. However, on a writer’s budget that was not feasible. However, the artist used one of the icons of the book – The Sword of Jesus (Matthew 10:34 “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword”) to create an unsettling cover that illustrated the mood of my book perfectly. As the Rolling stones said: “Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but you get what you need” :-)
Tell us a little bit about the conflict in your story.
The demons in my story are fallen angels. Angels cast out of heaven because they have a nasty habit of destroying God’s creations. They are sent to the Underworld but reject it as Lucifer comes to love mankind to and wants to help us, not destroy us. So this group of demons, led by Mordock who hates both God and Lucifer yet wants to be loved by his Creator at the same time, uses their shape shifting gift to infiltrate all levels of humanity so that over time as we advance they can use our weapons (and greed and lust for power) against us. Mordock believes that by destroying us, maybe God will recognize him again and bring him back like a wayward child returning home.
Meanwhile, one group of humans works with the demons, while another works against them. Jonathon Tait, a 170 year old billionaire given wealth, power and an unnatural long life by the demons plays both sides as he tries to navigate and manipulate the situation in order to save his children.
The overriding theme of this book is love and loss; and the power of those two qualities to motivate us and redeem us. It is an ambitious tale that early reviews suggest I was successful at completing. I tried to go for emotion, thoughtfulness, rich deep characters while also adhering to most of the Fantasy – Horror rules. I think your readers will enjoy the book!
If you had to sell your book based on one run of dialogue (start quote to end quote), which would it be?
Jonathon spoke with more urgency. “Ever read Matthew, chapter ten, verse thirty-four? In it Jesus states, ‘Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.’ Some people misinterpret that as allegory. Some people reject his message and react violently. He was really saying that he indeed brought a motherfucking sword—the Sword of Jesus. His forty days and forty nights in the desert weren’t just about his wrestling with the Devil metaphorically but taking the battle physically to and against the demons. The Sword is the only thing that will kill them easily and completely. Bombs and machine guns sometimes do the trick—you know that—but not always. Demons usually can regenerate even after you hit them with automatic fire and multiple rounds. Also, what will mankind do if limited ammunition is available? What if the world ends and we have to fight the demons without technology?”
Did you enjoy writing one scene above all the rest? If so, share.
You would think it would be the long sex thing but that was actually exhausting to write. All that research to make sure it was as realistic as possible ;)
Actually, the banquet hall scene was a blast. It is a Grand Guignol level of a massacre but also done with much dark humor.
What sort of personality does your heroine have?
In this book she is uncertain at first. Her destiny is literally thrown at her. But she lets instinct take over, and to save the people she loves, becomes the heroine she was always meant to be.
Other facets of her are how powerfully she loves, and the strength she has to endure and thrive after the death of her mother and sister at the beginning of the book (not really a spoiler as this sets the scene on how she is adopted by Jonathon Tait). I have also given her a passionate sexuality which you often don’t see in heroes or heroines. But she is a beautiful and athletic 22 year old, deeply in love with Andrew Walker Head of Tait Estate Security and well, he is a hot built Marine so there you go ;)
What genre/genres do you prefer to write? Are there other genres you’d like to write in the future?
I love the Fantasy – Horror – Science Fiction genres so I prefer to stay right there. However, after having many misadventures in the dating world after my divorce, I would love to right a fun, ribald book titled something like Dating and being a Single Father – From the Gen X point of view. :-)
Do you write books in series? If so, share a bit about the series you currently have published or are coming soon.
Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War was always meant to be a series but I have many, many ideas for stand alone books too. The second book in this series, if the first book has Jonathon as its chief protagonist, is more Jennifer’s book as she really comes into her own after the events that occur at the end of the first book.
It’s time to promo. What is your favorite marketing tool?
I have really enjoyed the blog tour that I am on. Interviews such as this really help me connect with readers and expand on giving a sense of the book beyond a 140 character tweet. Plus, by doing this type of tour I think people who are interested will actually read the book. Running Kindle promotions may increase sales, but, often times just to people filling up a Kindle and not really getting into the story. I wrote this book to entertain and maybe to get people to think a bit too. I want it read!
Thanks again for taking the time to feature my book! It has been a pleasure.
Thanks for joining me today! Your book sounds excellent.
Heather couldn’t believe she was going to die in front of her peacefully sleeping twins, who were oblivious to the unspeakable acts occurring in their nursery. These infants, this life, were all she had wanted, and in those lonely nights before sleep overtook her, she admitted to herself that she had been groomed for this since birth. She had been groomed to be a beautiful, nurturing wife to a wealthy and powerful man and she had been groomed to care for his children and teach them to take their rightful place in the world while she also maintained this lovely home—with a slew of maids, servants, and other staff of course. She threw the best dinner parties and had a special banquet hall included in the new Napa Valley estate just for that purpose. She knew all the right people to invite, and they raised all the right money for all the right charities.
Yet here she was in midair, swaying back and forth, seeing herself reflected in the rectangular Craftsman-style floor mirror she personally had picked out for the nursery. The demon Palvakia held Heather by her strawberry-blonde hair, a mane her husband Jonathon Tait called “gorgeously luxurious,” while her lithe and toned, almost split-in-two body, spilled her blood and guts onto the new Berber carpet (a lovely light blue she also had personally picked out for the nursery). How important Heather had thought every design detail of this room was. She had placed so much importance on the mundane materials that now meant nothing. She was escaping into the blackness now, the dark abyss whose passage she hoped ended with a consummating light. Was there light beyond death and beyond this horror?
It was insane, Heather thought, that her husband, the man she loved and admired, was watching this scene unfold with an expressionless face as Mordock, a repulsive and despised demon, stood next to him. Mordock was in human form right now, unlike the demon who had torn her in half, but Heather still felt the evil lurking underneath. She had tried to banish Mordock from their lives and had pleaded with her husband to stand up to him. Yet Jonathon had done nothing to remove him from their lives or to stop Mordock from carrying out her murder. If there was a light at the end, how could the Keeper of Light cause this to happen or not prevent it in the first place?
And what of the twins? Alexander and Sophia were so beautiful and full of life, with old-soul eyes, even as infants. My lovely babies, Heather thought with her last bit of consciousness. Who will keep you from harm? Can your father somehow be your guardian angel? Will he succeed with you where he failed with me? The darkness with the light behind it is approaching. Will I see you in heaven? How long will I have to wait? Hopefully a long, long time…
Heather took her last breaths just as Palvakia began to devour her. To her horror, though, death did not come instantaneously. A morbid trick of the demons is to keep their victims on the cusp of dying so they can witness themselves being eaten. Heather couldn’t even scream as the pain ripped through the ever-decreasing parts of her body.
When Palvakia was finished, not one ounce of the physical being that once had been Heather Tait was left in the room. Even the carpet was clean…and the twins continued to sleep peacefully.
About the Author
Sidney Stone is a hiker, deer whisperer and non-pretentious wine connoisseur. An addicted reviewer on Yelp, he is also creator of affordable housing (although technically he is homeless part-time), thinks The Replacements are the best band of the Eighties and loves to boost his LinkedIn count with people he doesn't know.
He lives in both Northern and Southern California while constantly traveling to Orange County to visit his son, who can now beat his father at ping pong and chess rather easily (and is charmingly arrogant while doing it). A graduate of UC Irvine and Pepperdine University, Sidney wishes he chose at least one university to attend that had a college football team to root for.
The first scene Sidney thought of for Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War included a rather large massacre (take that for what it is worth). However, inspired by the works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Clive Barker; the book's violence is offset by dark humor and deep human emotion just like in real life where Sidney's darkness is offset by creatively placed sarcasm and an overwrought romanticism. For example, while Jennifer Ainsley: The Final Demon War is a Fantasy-Horror novel, Sidney also still tears up at the end of both Field of Dreams and An Officer and a Gentleman.
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