(The Essential Elements, #2)
by Elle Middaugh
Publication date: July 24th, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Valerie Moore is an Elemental, a person who commands one of the classical elements of wind, water, fire, or earth. She’s special, though. She controls two—fire and water—though sometimes it seems like they control her.
After the accidental exposure of Elementals to humanity, Valerie finds herself—and all of her kind—struggling to attain equality. Three different groups fight to secure leadership, and with all of their hidden agendas, she doesn’t know which side to choose. The balance between peaceful cohabitation and all-out war is precarious, at best.
When a chance meeting brings Val and earth Elemental Cade Landston back together, everything changes. She realizes what she knew in the beginning—that he’s the one she wants. Her desire to win him over draws her closer to him, and his vengeful mission to hunt down her murderous grandfather brings them both closer to trouble.
From mysterious doppelgangers to reckless rescue missions, scapegoat bombings, and evolving Elemental powers, Valerie strains to keep up.
All she knows is she must stop her grandfather at all costs. To do so, she has to figure out the truth, but how can she do so when almost everyone she knows has been telling lies?
~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Elle Middaugh~
1) What gave you the inspiration for the storyline?
After being a little too cold one winter’s day, I wondered what it’d be like to be immune to the effects of snow and ice. I then immediately thought the worst (lol) and wondered how awful that power would be if I didn’t know how to control it. From there, I did a little research and decided to base my story on Elementals (people with the ability to control one of the four classical elements – earth, fire, water, wind – choosing to forgo the addition of aether/spirit as a fifth element).
2) Are there any hidden themes in the book that you hope readers will discover?
There are plenty of themes – true love, family, good vs. evil, political turmoil, self-discovery and coming of age, etc. – but are there any hidden themes? I don’t know...! One of my favorites to explore has been the idea of gray areas. Not everything is clear-cut and set in stone. Sometimes ‘doing the right thing’ isn’t the right thing to do.
3) Are any of the characters based on real people you know?
Well, Val is like me in a number of ways – mostly her anxious/over-analyzing nature and her desire to be a good person – but I definitely didn’t base her on me!
Val’s dad, Jameson, is a sailor – just like my husband. A lot of Cade’s personality is loosely based on my husband’s, too.
Other than that, I think the characters came alive mostly by themselves lol
4) Who has influenced you most as a writer?
Off the top of my head: Keri Arthur, Chelsea Fine, and Sabaa Tahir.
Keri’s Riley Jenson Guardian series was one of my first serious dives into paranormal romance and I loved every bit of it!
Chelsea’s Archers of Avalon series is such an original concept with such fantastic and memorable characters, and she’s a wonderful person off the page, too. She took the time to answer my questions involving writing and publishing, and that has meant the world to me!
Sabaa’s An Ember in the Ashes series has really upped the bar on what I find acceptable in my own writing. She is seriously just SO GOOD! Reading her stories makes me strive to be a better writer.
5) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, what would you serve, and why?
I totally LOVE this question! LOL
Elias from An Ember in the Ashes, Chaol from the Throne of Glass series, and Cade from my series, the Essential Elements.
All three of these guys are sexy, stoic, and super badass. I think it’d be hilarious to watch them battle it out over something as silly as a board game or whatever lol Ooo! It’d also be cool to see the more relaxed side of these guys, just playing and having fun!
Knowing me, we’d probably get together to play a videogame (like one of the Call of Duty games, or maybe even old school Mario Bros.)! We might also play a card game like Cards Against Humanity lol
I’d serve tortilla chips with a chili cheese dip – because for some reason, that sounds really good right now lol! And probably some sort of alcoholic beverage – maybe it’d help them loosen up a bit? lol
Elle Middaugh lives in the Allegheny Mountains outside of Clearfield, Pennsylvania, with her wonderful husband and three beautiful children. Most of her time is spent raising kids, writing stories, playing video games, reading, and attempting to keep a clean house.
She’s a proud Navy wife, a frazzle-brained mother, a fan of health and fitness, a lover of hot tea and iced tea, and a believer in happily ever afters.
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