Ash Krafton’s upcoming release, STRAITJACKETS & HOLY WATER: The Demon Whisperer #0, will be one of 24 books featured in Rite to Reign: A Limited Edition Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Box Set. www.books2read.com/ritetoreign
Your featured book, STRAITJACKETS & HOLY WATER, is a series prequel. Tell us a little about the series itself.
The Demon Whisperer series is about an exorcist-mage from Boston. For Simon Alliant, magic isn't just a curiosity or a skill. It's the source of a bone-deep addiction.
Fighting demons is dirty work but someone has to do it. Sometimes, you win. Sometimes, the demons fight back...and every once in a while, the demon wins. That's because that particular demon is all your very own…
Simon is a likeable guy who sometimes does unlikeable things. Part of it is his line of work. Part of it is his impulsive and emotional nature. But the biggest part is his addictive personality. Addiction, no matter what kind, often makes our decisions for us. For Simon, it’s a constant struggle.
For me, it’s an opportunity to have a little bit of fun. I like throwing terrible things at him to see how he’d handle it. I don’t know why I do it because I really like the guy. Thank goodness he surprises me a lot.
What is STRAITJACKETS about?
The story explores a key point in Simon’s past. He talks about it in the first book, CHARM CITY.
I wrote this book to feel like Hellblazer’s John Constantine unleashed a demonic possession on a John Green novel. The story is different from the first two books in that it’s told from Simon’s teenage point of view. I’d always wanted to tell Simon’s origin story but I thought it would be best to let him tell it himself.
Because of that, this story is a great deal more personal. The center of Simon’s world is his mom, Norma, who deals with bipolar II disorder. He’s also been the victim of bullying for a long time. These emotional stresses have really shaped his personality and his decision-making process, and I hope that this book gives fans of the series the glimpse they’ve wanted into his past.
What made you want to be a part of a boxed set like RITE TO REIGN?
I’m an indie author, which means I don’t have a huge publishing house presenting my work. That means it’s pretty difficult to be noticed in a world so full of great books. I’ve long been a part of author collectives, such as my run writing for a multi-author blog () and my place with the Infinite Ink Authors, a group of YA/NA fantasy and romance authors. There is power in groups. We support and learn from each other, and we share audiences and resources with each other. It’s the smartest thing an Indie can do.
Likewise, participating in multi-author projects not only presents a more appealing book project to readers, it means authors create a network for team work and audience-sharing. This is my third time participating in a 20+ book boxed set. I’ve met a lot of great authors and found some really excellent books from working with these folks.
I joined this one in particular because the theme is magic—wanting it, taking it, and using it to get what you want. This book was on my to-do list, so the set’s timing was just the motivation I needed to get it written. The set theme also challenged me to introduce a “royal” character. Simon’s the king of jack-squat, which meant I got to dig deep into someone else’s back story, as well!
It’s also been a lot of fun getting to know these authors and their books and I can’t wait until it releases. So many of them have tremendous interests in magic as well, and it’s inspired me. My house is slowly filling with magical paraphernalia and my family is starting to worry.
What’s your favorite part about working with your co-authors?
Definitely all the extras we’ve put together!
We recently held a charity auction and raised $450 for the WWF…we have a bonus anthology “First to Reign”, free on all major ebook sites…we wrote a cookbook (really! My contribution is my own favorite Halloween party snack, Kitty Litter Cake)…and we have a free-books-with- purchase offer that give readers 15 bonus novels plus an exclusive spellbook, written just for reader of Rite To Reign.
I think the spellbook is my favorite part so far. My page talks about the magical uses of chicory, which Simon uses a lot in the books. I think I’m starting to believe the things I write, too—I picked a lot of chicory this summer and keep bunches on my desk and on the dashboard of my truck. Never know when I’ll need that invisibility spell to work!
It’s been a pleasure and an honor to work with so many creative and talented authors.
How about an excerpt?
Time slowed, sounds becoming muffled, like a giant pulse in Norma’s ears. She blinked lethargically, the black void of a fainting spell coming on swift merciful wings. Her son had blood on his hands.
They both did—
Sirens, growing louder. Red lights. Those eyes—
A young man’s voice, desperate, as if from a distance. The howl, the laughter—
Sounds of big hollow doors being bumped open. The sensation of movement down a hall, the clackity-clack of wheels on tiles. A doctor being paged on an overhead system—
On her back, strapped down over her shoulders and thighs. A gurney, rolling like a car on a crazy train. Two men, with white shirts and impassive faces, shoved her down an endless hall. Wrist restraints held her hands fast. Fluorescent lights streamed overhead, sharp punctuation of the screaming light and the soft, kind darkness.
Doorways fluttered past in her periphery. A psych ward. Closed doors with small high windows filled with glimpses of the insane: the lost, vacant hollow eyes, the catatonic, the jumbled voices of the over-excitable. She was all of them. All of them at once.
Above the chaos came echoes of a man calling out a name.
Flashback images of a demon’s face, an empty playground, a bloodied body. Whose memories? Hers. Not hers. The screams were his. Always his.
The gurney paused long enough for someone to snap a hospital bracelet around her wrist. The purple typed letters read Norma Alliant. Once more, the gurney lurched, hard, around a corner. She rolled her head to look down the hall toward the doors through which she’d come. A nurse twisted a huge latch. They were locked. She was locked in. She was a prisoner—
On the other side, her son banged on the glass, his mouth working, his black shaggy hair falling into his eyes. No sound. He was no more than a two-dimension image. He wasn’t real because she wasn’t real. She didn’t want to be real. If she was real, it would be real.
And, if it was real…
No sound but the cacophony in her head. The howling, the screams, the laughter, and the perpetual repeat of memories that weren’t hers.
Madness only a devil could inflict…
RITE TO REIGN will release on December 11, 2018. Find those freebies-with-purchase and other wonderful offers and events when you check out !