Six words that propel ice-hockey-playing tomboy, Arizona, into an alternate dimension.
She suddenly finds herself living the life of a glamorous cheerleader. She finds herself transported from her happy life with her dad to living with the mother she hates.
Everyone knows her as Arizona Darley, but she isn't. She is Arizona Stevens.
As she struggles to find answers she is certain of two things -- that her mother is somehow responsible, and that she wants to go back home to her real life.
That's until she meets Kellan...
Portal by Imogen Rose is the first in the series of what has been described as a science fiction romance. It is more than that. Science fiction is often things we wish could be true. Other times it is the alternative reality that we are terrified if it came to be. Portal manages to be both sides of the coin.
The book starts with Olivia being pregnant with her unborn daughter, Arizona, and facing the inevitable breakup of an already rocky marriage. She walks into a bar to meet friends and rubs against a blue-eyed man who steals her heart with one look. The strangest thing is he tells her to come meet him in the past. Olivia does just that. How many of us wouldnât love to live part of our lives over especially when we find ourselves in a sticky situation? Olivia is no exception.
The only problem is not everyone might be on board with the plan. Arizona, her daughter, has developed into a tough hockey-playing girl who doesnât take crap off anyone. She falls asleep in her fatherâs car and wakes up in her motherâs car. If that isnât weird enough her mother insists she is taking her home. Only their home is palatial. The man her mother keeps insisting she call Dad is unknown to her. Her bratty sister turns out to be nice and she has an older brother. If that isnât enough in her new world, sheâs a blonde cheerleader.
This might be someoneâs version of paradise, but it isnât hers. All she wants to do is go back to the way things used to be. There are a few problems. Her mother is determined to keep her there. Sheâs met a guy who only exists in the new world. Some kids at school seem to have it in for her. Then thereâs the chance her new place might be self-destructing. Itâs up to Arizona to find out what is going on because the adults arenât talking.
Portal is amazing in detail, but I find Arizonaâs inner struggles even more complex. While she realizes she doesnât fit in her new world, she does find things to like about the new Arizonaâs life. Her desire to return interferes with her motherâs perfect world for her family. There is a great deal of teen angst too for the younger readers. Thereâs a message for the mothers too.
Portal is a great read from its beautiful cover to riveting plot. Adult and teen will both enjoy it. Two thumbs up for this book.
Imogen Rose Interview
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My main aim is to keep having fun with it. Although the publishing end will always feel like a job, albeit an enjoyable one, the writing process has to remain effortless. I would love to see my books eventually adapted for TV or film.
Which writers inspire you?
I am inspired by authors who step outside the norm and explore new visions. George Orwell, in my opinion, did so when he wrote 1984 (which seems to be a precursor to all things dystopian. And Koushun Takami, who wrote Battle Royale (precursor to all things Hunger Games).
What have you written?
Up to 2010, my writing was limited to scientific papers published in journals as part of my work as a surgical immunologist. Portal was my first work of fiction. This series has now been completed and is composed of five books. I have written four books in my new series, the Bonfire Chronicles (the fourth yet to be published). I am not great at blogging. I leave that to the experts.
Give us some insight into the main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
She is suddenly uprooted from her life and dumped into a new one in the past. She has to learn to live with her new circumstances, while trying to figure out whatâs happened to her and what she can do about it. Thrown into this mix are Wanderersâtime traveling paranormals.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on Uprising, part of my Bonfire Chronicles series.
What genre are your books?
What draws you to this genre?
I never set out to write in this genre, but found that I tap most easily into my teen years. Itâs also a fun genre to be able to share with my daughter who is addicted to YA TV.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with any other authors?
Not exactly, but I have been a small contributor in a few (Drabbles II, by Michale Crane, Letâs Get Digital, by David Gaughran, and Interviews with Indie Authors by Claire Ridgway).
When did you decide to become an author?
It was only after I had published Portal that I felt driven to continue the story. Combined with the warm reception that my first book received, that made me decide to become an author.
Why do you write?
To give the characters who live in my imagination an outlet to express themselves.
Do you have a special time you write or how is your day structured?
Noâ¦ I write when I feel like it, often when I am waiting for my daughter to finish whatever activity (ballet, theater, voice lessons, hockey, surfing) she is busy with.
Where do your ideas come from?
My imagination seems to be overflowing with them.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The last book I published was Fusion, the final saga in the Portal Chronicles. This book had to conclude the story line, and that frightened me a bit since I am a total panster who never outlines or plans anything. To my surprise, the story came to a natural conclusion without me having to manipulate it in anyway. The hard part was when I wrote the last couple of chapters. It was so very difficult saying goodbye to those characters that I have come to love and that have become so much a part of me.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The actual telling of the story comes naturally. I just sit down with my computer in my lap and start typing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
The first draft takes under a month for me to complete.
Do you ever get writerâs block?
Not so far.
How many more books do you plan to be in this series?
The Portal Chronicles is now complete with five books in the series. I am, however, planning a prequel (Nucleus), which I will be working on next year.
What project are you working on now?
I am working on Uprising (Bonfire Chronicles). I am also having my books translated into German, French, Spanish, and Japanese, which is very exciting.
Who designs your book covers?
I designed the Portal Chronicles covers. The Bonfire Chronicles covers are designed by either Phatpuppyart and Najla Qamber Designs.
How are you published (*i.e. indie, traditional, or both) and why?
Indie only. I love the independence and control that offers me.
What would you say are the main advantages/disadvantages about being self-published/traditional publishing?
The main advantages are that I am in charge of my own destiny as far as storyline, covers, and marketing go. The disadvantage is that marketing on my own is a challenge, and I feel that this is where traditional publishing has an upper hand (if one is published by the big six or Amazon).
How do you market your books?
I aim mostly to get visibility via book bloggers. I am very fortunate to have received such a warm reception within the blogging community. I also occasionally buy ads on Facebook and other media outlets. My fans have been a great support to me and are awesome at sharing my books with their friends and family.
How did you choose this route?
I accidently stumbled into it. I never went into this thinking that I would publish Portal. I was merely looking for a nice way to bind the book so that my daughter could have a copy of it to share with her friends. I found Createspace, which had a âpublishâ option. I thought, why not?
Do you have any advice for other authors taking the same route as you?
Have your book professionally edited and stick a genre-appropriate cover on your book. Then market constantly and persevere.
Do you have a strategy for finding book reviewers?
I tend to send my books out on blog tours. Itâs a fun and relatively easy way to reach book bloggers who are interested in your book.
What are your views on social networking for marketing? Which worked best for you?
I use Facebook and Twitter the most. They both work well. Iâm sure that I should be using my Instagram more, but I am pushed for time at the moment.
Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in the future?
Marketing is a fluid endeavor. What worked two years ago may not work today, so itâs important to be flexible and learn to let go of things that may have worked in the past but are just not getting results any longer. I have sometimes found it hard to let go, especially if the marketing was via someone I have become friends with.
What is your favorite motivational phrase?
Get off your butt and do it.
What is your favorite book and why?
1984, by George Orwell. The book is original and beautifully written, keeping me glued to the pages no matter how many times I read it.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years time?
My younger daughter will be seventeen in five yearsâ¦ so I will be doing the college rounds. J
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Never starve your dreams to feed somebody elseâs ambition.
How can readers discover more about you?
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Imogen-Rose/e/B0035Z3ZPO/
To end: Give us three Good to Know things about you. Be creative.
I hate whiners.
Compliment my bag or shoes, and Iâll immediately bond with you.
I write fiction. I make stuff upâ¦ all the time.