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Rising Shadow by Jacquelyn Wheeler
Ashlyn Woods has just transferred to one of the most beautiful campuses on the west coast, where she can't wait to start her life over as a normal college student. But her plans take an unexpected turn when she discovers that she is a Soterian: a person who develops special powers when the balance of good and evil shifts too far in evil's favor.
Soon she and the other Soterians are studying martial arts and learning to use their powers to prevent California from being plunged into chaos. But they quickly discover that they're up against a much more dangerous enemy than they anticipated.
And when Ashlyn meets Kai, a devastatingly gorgeous guitar player, she realizes she must sacrifice more than she ever imagined.
I have Ashlyn, the main character from Rising Shadow here to answer some questions. Thanks for coming Ashlyn, and thank you Jacquelyn for writing such an awesome MC.
-You go through a big personality overhaul in ‘Rising Shadow,’ what advice do you have for anyone who is not happy with the track their life is on?
Honestly, it’s so important to know that you can change your life at any time. It’s never too late. I was in such a crappy place, seemingly stuck with the most dismal future imaginable. And that all changed, not because I became a Soterian, but because I took control of the things I could and started making better choices. But first you have to be honest with yourself about what you’re doing to keep yourself on that bad track. I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my life, but I’m starting to trust myself that I’ll make good choices, and that’s huge.
-Flying was always a dream of yours; you biked and ran to get that feeling. As a Soterian, your power enables that to become a reality. How do you feel that your powers wax and wane with the amount of evil?
It’s really weird. My Scout powers—flying, sharp vision and hearing, becoming invisible—are not really affected by the evil around me. It’s my Alchemist powers that wax and wane, because they rely on a mix of good and evil. I’m not so upset when they fade, really, but the times my flying has given out on me has totally sucked. I’m trying to prepare myself for the fact that someday I won’t be able to fly anymore, but it’s going to be really, really hard to give it up.
-You are involved with so many things, classes, a (hot and sweet) boyfriend, the Soterians which also comes with following political interests, as well as friends and family. How do you maintain balance?
Oof, it’s not easy. I feel like no matter what I do I’m never doing a good enough job at any of it. I just try to keep my priorities straight, which means sadly I can’t spend every waking and non-waking moment with Kai. As much as I love being a Soterian, I would give anything sometimes to just have a normal life with him. Hopefully that’ll happen someday.
-What is your biggest weakness and how are you working to overcome it? What is Kai’s?
Ha, which one do I choose? LOL I think it has be my teensy tiny problem with self-esteem, but I really am working hard at getting over it. I mean, I know Kai feels the same way about me that I do, but it scares the hell out of me that someone else has control of my heart like that, you know? So whenever I hear those voices in my head whispering stuff like he’s cheating on me or whatever, I am trying to step back and realize that it’s just fear talking, it’s not real. Kai’s biggest weakness…hmm, still figuring that out. He’s so perfect, but I am a bit worried that he’s not very good with money.
-What is it like learning about your powers and learning to work as a team?
That part has been amazing. I never was much into team sports (even if you’re on a triathlon team, tri is pretty much a solo sport), but it’s been totally cool learning how to do all this stuff. And I have to say, as much as the Soterian powers are incredible, learning martial arts has been just as cool in its own way, and you don’t need special powers to learn that.
-You and Kai got close really quickly (and I don’t blame you) but how did you determine it is a healthy relationship?
There was just never any question. I can’t explain it, but it’s like we just know each other. We both have some baggage from our past relationships (obviously), and we’re going to have to work through that. But the love we have for each other is so insanely deep that I know we can work through anything. From what I can tell, all relationships take a lot of work, and as long as both people are willing to do the hard work, it’s going to be healthy. Being soulmates doesn’t make things easier. It just means that I feel more certain that we’ll actually make it through the hard times.
-How differently do you think your life would have been without Rebecca and Candace as roommates? What if you were paired with say, Kelly?
Oh God, don't even say that! If Kelly had been my roommate, I think I'd be locked up by now for homicide. Aside from Kai, Rebecca is the best person to have ever come into my life. I don't know what I'd do without her. And Rebecca and I were pretty spun when we first got to UCSB, so we're incredibly grateful to Candace for showing us the ropes. It would have been so much harder if we hadn't had such a cool roommie to welcome us!
Thank you again Ashlyn!