The Awakening (Eve of Redemption Book 8) is the eighth instalment in the Eve of Redemption series by Joe Jackson, introduces a new cast of characters. It focuses on a massive undead uprising and the band of strangers who come together to combat it, and how the companions become swept up in a conflict that spans multiple worlds.
Audrei straightened up. “Wait, that smell…”
Max whirled around suddenly. “Dragon!”
There was a deep intake of breath in the darkness, and the friends scattered every which way they could as a blast of fire came from what proved to be the center of the chamber. A gate fell shut behind them, sealing off the way they had come. Though the dragon’s breath didn’t hit any of the companions, it set the door aglow with the intensity of its heat. Then the creature, still barely visible in that dim light, reared up and let forth a roaring laugh.
“Welcome to my humble lair, mortals!” it boomed. “Know that you will never leave.”
Yiilu gestured toward the glowing metal door and called out a prayer to the Earth Mother to give them light. The glow faded from the metal bars but formed into a ball that shot to the top of the cavernous chamber as though fired from a bow. There it perched and grew in intensity, until it had formed a miniature sun that shed light on the entire room.
Leighandra froze for a moment. Though not as impressive in stature as Hastucilliara, the green dragon was still titanic in size. It spread its wings out in the openness of the chamber, which served to underscore just how large a cavern it had carved or otherwise created. It begged the question of how the dragon had gotten in here; was there truth to the tales that some of them could take the forms of men?
The dragon’s bright red eyes inspected each of the men and women before it, and then it laughed again. “I must say, I am going to eat better tonight than I have in years! And I suspect with a fair deal less dirt and poison mixed in – the fur notwithstanding.”
“Who are you?” Audrei asked, no doubt hoping diplomacy might settle the creature down the way it had with Fireblade. “What is your name, mighty dragon?”
The beast grumbled and swept Starlenia and Delkantar in front of it with its wings. “If you must know, my name is Cetudolinashu, the Heart of the Viridian Splendor, the Dryads’ Nightmare, the Lord of the Emerald Flame. Do not bother telling me your names, mortals. I do not care. You will not live long enough for them to be of any importance.”
“Wait!” Max cried. “We are not here to fight you. We have come for the seal only.”
It was of no use. The dragon took in a deep breath, and the companions scattered as much as they could again. Max stood firm and actually advanced at it, and Leighandra wasn’t sure if she screamed at him or not. The dragon’s fiery breath engulfed him, and Audrei shrieked in terror even as she skidded across the floor. It was as if time stood still after that, Leighandra’s heart stuck between beats as the dragon completed its exhale and the world stopped spinning in the wake of their loss.
A bite of... Joe Jackson
Q1: How much of you is in your characters?
Most of my characters have a bit of me in them, but none really have a lot. My MC has a little in common with me, but even some of the things we have in common are not exactly the same. I think when I began writing her, I was more concerned with her having one major thing in common with me: the ability to grow and change. I think it’s one of the most important characteristics of an MC.
The married couple in The Awakening does resemble my wife and me in many ways, but they’re not meant to be representative of us.
As for the villains, well, I can be an ass at times. We have that in common.
Q2: Facing your demons? How much of what you write could be classified as therapy?
Quite a bit. My MC suffered abuse as a child, and even thirty years later she still has an occasional moment of panic or weakness where the wounded side of her responds rather than the strong side. Readers who’ve had an abusive past may find strength and inspiration in the way Kari grows throughout the books, but it’s not an instantaneous thing.
The amusing thing is she’s a demon hunter, but the worst demons she faces are often internal.
Q3: How much of your writing is autobiographical?
Going back to the answer to the first question, I guess I write from experience fairly often. But again, none of my characters are “me” inserted into the story. None of the events of the book are meant to chronicle or parallel my life. I think there are a lot of things people have in common that they don’t ever really think (or want to think) about, and it’s no different with our characters.
Joe Jackson in his own words:
I’m an accountant by trade, writer by night or when I have down time at work. I live in Rhode Island with my wife and two daughters. I just recently passed the CPA exam, so now things are really going to get interesting.
I’ve been writing little scifi/fantasy stories since I was in fifth grade. I wrote my first novel in 2009 but didn’t release it until 2015.
You can find Joe Jackson on Twitter and Goodreads and his own blog.