Today is a real treat! Katie Carroll is here as part of her Elixir Bound tour and she's sharing an interview with a character that's near and dear to her heart. Be sure to read all the way through for a chance to win a signed copy of Elixir Bound and swag.
With the early morning sunlight as my only companion, I innocently pack up the wagon with provisions for our journey into Faway Forest. I’m half buried under blankets and bags when a deep chuckle startles me into smacking my head on the bottom side of the front seat.
“Sorry ‘bout that, miss,” says a man’s voice. “I was just enjoying your singing.”
I untangle myself from the supplies to find a primeyear man standing next to the wagon. I must have been singing without realizing it again.
He adjusts his well-worn coat, brushes his hands on his brown traveling trousers, and offers his hand. “I was hoping to ask you a few questions about your farm.”
Noticing the dirt on his palms, but not wanting to be rude, I take the hand in a firm shake, the way Pop, my father, taught me to do. “You’re probably better off talking to Pop or my sister Katora. They know more about the farm than I do.”
He grips my hand firmly in his and makes a sweeping gesture with his free arm, indicating he’d like to help me off the wagon. I oblige and hop over the side with his help. Standing next to him, I notice he’s not much taller than me.
“Name’s Win,” he says and smiles, exposing cracked, yellowed teeth. “I think you’re just the gal who can answer my questions. What did you say your name was?”
“Kylene Kase.” I pull my hand from his hold, figuring he isn’t going to let go willingly.
“So you don’t mind then if we chat?” Win doesn’t wait for me to reply before posing his first question, “What sort of crops do you grow here?”
I breathe out in relief; that’s an easy enough one. “Some fruits and vegetables, mostly for us to eat. Commercially we grow essenberries.”
“Essenberries, eh. What do you do with those?”
He doesn’t know? Surely everyone knows Kase farm is the only grower of essenberries in the Great Peninsula and that we use it to make essence, one of the most popular beverages in the region. I tell him about it and his mouth twitches ever so slightly.
“That’s all?” he asks. “Nothing, say, a bit more potent than essence?”
That’s when I suspect he’s fishing for information about the Elixir, which I only found out about a couple of days ago. A secret Pop has kept from us because it is dangerous to let others know about it. Heat warms my cheeks, and I hope my blush isn’t giving away too much.
“Noth…nothing,” I say, failing to keep my voice from wavering.
A thump of boots and a familiar voice asking, “What’s going on here?” calms me. I turn to see my brother, Bhar, glaring at Win. Bhar steps up face-to-face with him.
“Just asking your pretty friend a few questions about the farm.” Win tips his hat at me. “Isn’t that right, Kylene?”
“Yes.” I try to convey with a look to Bhar that I didn’t say anything about the Elixir, but all I get is his back.
Bhar cracks his knuckles and pulls himself up to his full height, looming over Win. “We’re busy. You need to leave the property.”
Win’s smile falters, but he quickly plasters it back on his face and says to me, “Thanks for the chat. Hope we can do it again some time.” He backs up a couple of steps before turning and strolling down the path to the road.
Bhar turns on me, his eyes narrowed. I whisper, “I didn’t say anything important.”
“Good.” He glances back at Win, and we watch him disappear around a corner.
A tightness forms in my chest, and all I can think is that keeping the secret of the Elixir is harder than I ever imagined.
Elixir Bound blurb:
Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone.
It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
Barnes & Noble
Katie L. Carroll began writing at a very sad time in her life after her 16-year-old sister, Kylene, unexpectedly passed away. Since then writing has taken her to many wonderful places, real and imagined. She wrote Elixir Bound and the forthcoming Elixir Saved so Kylene could live on in the pages of a book. Katie is also the author of the picture app The Bedtime Knight and an editor for MuseItUp Publishing. She lives not too far from the beach in a small Connecticut city with her husband and son. For more about Katie, visit her website at www.katielcarroll.com, friend her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter (@KatieLCarroll).