[Blog Tour & Interview] Dahlia (Blood Crave #1) by Christina Channelle2
In Christina Channelle's book, Dahlia, seventeen-year-old Dahlia must face the fact that she is different and always will be different. She can no longer hide her true nature, not even from herself. The fate of her very life is hanging in the balance and there is only one person that can save her. But will he?
What would you do if your dreams were more than just dreams?
When you knew in the depths of your soul that you were unlike the rest?
For seventeen-year-old Dahlia Winters, this is her truth. Her coping mechanism is to simply forget and deny the strangeness that is her life. Orphaned, her past remains a mystery. Now residing with a foster family, she finally feels normal--or attempts to. Yet, dreams continue to torment her. Not only consumed by visions of miraculously healing wounds, but of a lust for something she should never naturally crave.
Then a green-eyed stranger enters her life echoing her inner thoughts and voicing warnings about others wanting to harm her. He knows things about her that no one should possibly know, and he awakens her in ways she never expected.
This leads Dahlia to discover who she really is, for she is more than just human. With this newfound knowledge, and the elements suddenly fighting against her, she finds it hard to trust anyone. And as she finally awakens and comes to grips with the power she possesses, she fights to stay alive.
Before the world, as she knows it, ceases to exist.
I adore the world that the author created in this novel. It is a very complex situation that was created in this novel, fraught with ancient enemies and lies from those closest to the main character. Battle lines have been drawn for centuries, yet the girl who is the key to it all seems less than aware of what is to come. Beautiful, intricate, and complicate can describe the problems that are faced by the main character. But it is just the beginning. One battle does not win the war.
Dahlia by Christina Channelle tells the story of a girl, Dahlia, who has always been different but refuses to believe it. After being shipped from foster home to foster home and then back to the orphanage, she is tired of all of the change and never feeling like she can call a place home. This foster home seems different though. The parents are not put out by her off-putting responses when she first arrived and the son seems to only want to be her friend. How can she even begin to trust them? Once she trusts them, she'll tell the truth and that will for sure get her sent back to the orphanage but maybe that's better than being in limbo. It's her first time ever staying at a foster home long enough to be enrolled in high school -- a prospect that is both thrilling and frightening. This is where her life seems to only get more complicated. A guy keeps appearing, telling her secrets that seem crazy to say the least and disappears in the blink of an eye. Who is he? Or rather, what is he? His eyes seem to glow and he knows about the scars on her back, something she never showed anyone before. He seems to know her better than herself. Now, she must face her fate and the fact that people out there want her dead. Will she survive until the end of the book? Can she be rescued from a fate that seems to predict her death? Who can she trust?
Dahlia reminds me a lot of a scared animal captured from the wild. She constantly backs herself into a corner, never trusting anyone especially the hand that feeds her and preferring to use claws instead of kindness. I understand her wariness around people that she feels she cannot trust because I think it is something a lot of people can relate to in the end. There is always people who we cannot trust whether it is because of an instinct or a reaction built over time. It was wonderful to see her get out of her comfort zone and try to make friends, forcing herself to at least pretend for a moment that she can trust them. She has a hard time believing that anyone could possibly care about her beyond a pay check or the things she has. I love the fact that she wants to be normal but I love her more for the fact that she slowly comes to embrace her nature and who she is. I really admire the fact that she manages to keep a journal because I have always wanted to and never managed to keep it up beyond maybe a week.
Greyson has always been aware of his nature, inheriting his memories from his parents when he was born but instead of having memories that are meant to celebrate, they only weigh him down. His ancestors held ties to an evil man, Merrick, who seems determined to either be set free or bring about the apocalypse. Even if he doesn't believe in the cause that could bring out destruction, he feels that he has to complete his task in order to feel the release of the weight that has followed him all these years. I can understand his need to fulfill the job that his family seemed unable to complete and the weight that he feels is always following him. I think he wishes that it was a different situation once he gets to know Dahlia. He is meant to capture and take her blood for his duty but falling in love with the target was definitely not part of the plan. Unable to stay away from her, he decides to not make it a secret and that only seems to draw more trouble to a girl who already has her life on the line. I like the fact that even if he has to do this because of his family, he hates himself and the cause even more. My heart ached for him as he battled between the two sides of his nature.
Maddox is a sort of partner for Greyson, both of whom are supposed to wait at the sidelines never speaking to the target. He has a deep desire to cause destruction and ruin which makes sense since he is tied to Merrick. I'm sure causing the apocalypse would be a fun pastime for him instead of some horrific possibility like it is for Greyson. I kind of wanted to understand his character more than I actually got to. He seemed like a big teddy bear with a devious side. He definitely could've caused some damage. Ava appeared a little while into the book and seems to be the only one willing to spend time with Dahlia or treat her like a normal person. She consistently makes references to things in her past that freaks Dahlia out while making her all the more curious. She is perhaps the most complex character in the story with so many sides to her that you honestly don't know what one is the true her until the very end.
There is a group of bad guys that I won't name because that would be an epic spoiler and therefore I will only say this: Be careful who you trust. These people are hidden in plain sight and they are most definitely dangerous.
Her foster family is really what a foster family should be. My parents are foster parents for my cousins and sometimes I think they feel the wait of the responsibility on their shoulders. These kids have faced horrific scenarios, so to take them in is kind of like exposing them to a situation that they aren't comfortable with. I see a lot of my parents in Dahlia's foster parents so it made them relatable in a way they wouldn't have been previously. I love the fact that they are so patient and accepting of Dahlia even when she pushes boundaries, daring them to send her back. Sam is also a key player in her comfort zone that is created in this situation. He acts like a pest but he is only trying to get her to respond to him and act like a normal person. I really loved him by the time the book was finished.
It was a wonderful read and I am definitely excited for the sequel!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
She is currently working on the next book in the Blood Crave Series.
Parentless, I had no recollection of who they were or what they even looked like. All I knew was that I was alone, residing at an orphanage disconnected from the outside world—disconnecting myself from the outside world. I pictured it even now, like an oil painting drawn across a canvas. The thick, heavy bristles of the paintbrush created an array of colors as the bright blue sky connected to the shockingly white snow. The snow blanketed everything around me, as if protecting me, the green forest displaying itself at every angle.
This orphanage was out of place in such a nature-infused environment. A large, two-story building, its windows seemed to cover almost every surface of brick. I remembered the brightness of the sun as it hit my sleepy face through one of those many windows. It would instantly warm my body as it greeted me to yet another day.
Taking a closer look, vines covered old, gray bricks as they coursed over the external surface of the orphanage. I used to have nightmares about those same vines making their way into my room as I slept. They’d appear ominously as their shadows pounded against the walls, taunting me as a storm brewed on outside. Venturing toward my bed, the vines would slither across my body, immediately trapping me in place. One would manage to wrap itself around my neck, squeezing tightly, as I struggled for air. Rendered frozen, the feeling of fear took hold as it bubbled up deep inside my chest. And as I felt the burning pain in my throat, a thought would flash through my mind of this moment being my last. It never was, though, as I would instantly wake up.
I always did have a wild imagination.
To chase away the terror, I found myself standing before my windowpane the morning after. The bright sun beating down on my skin, I realized my fear derived from nothing more than a dream. Sighing in relief, I remained motionless, my eyes drawn to the vast forest off in the distance. It surrounded the orphanage, like a gatekeeper, the leaves of the trees bristling in irritation. The wind blew right through those tall structures, whistling, as my ears picked up the all too familiar sound.
I somehow found myself standing directly in front of that very forest. My memory was hazy on exactly how I got there but I recalled waking up, after one of my many dreams, to the feeling of immense hunger as my body stirred in discomfort.
Then I was suddenly at the foot of the forest.
This was not me simply being hungry. I would almost describe it as a feeling of starvation, like there was some essential component that my body missed. Whatever it was, this need was so powerful that I was weak in the knees by the pain as my belly contracted and released, contracted and released, continually. Food provided temporary relief for me, but there was always this presence in the corner of my mind as my brain searched for the one thing my body craved.
I ignored that nagging voice in my head, the one whispering for something I was unaware that I even needed. It was something unfathomable yet inherent. I paid it no attention and just openly stared at the forest that beckoned me. The view distracted me for a moment, which was good, as it temporarily calmed my stomach rumblings. Taking shallow breaths, the cool air blew in and out between my cold, chapped lips.
It was at that exact moment I realized the forest was in fact isolating me from everything and everyone outside of its confines. Almost like a hungry bird circling its prey. Even young, my instincts picked up on that, which immediately told me something.
Eyes were watching me.
- I know a lot of authors hate the question about what inspired them to write a story but I’m always curious. So here’s my question: what led to your interest in writing the story Dahlia?
I was one of those kids who always used to play outdoors, whether catch, skipping, or riding my bike. I specifically remember one summer day when I was just bored beyond belief. At the time, I wasn’t much of a reader. I bought books from book fairs, but never managed to open any of them, lol. So that summer I decided to read a book from my stash; I believe it was by Caroline B. Cooney. From there, I was hooked on reading and it went on and on and on. I swear, that summer I had read almost every juvenile book from my local library.
It came to a point where as the years past, I started imagining my own stories in my head, creating my own characters that I wanted to put down on paper…and that’s what I did. With so many books involving vampires, witches, angels, ghosts, shapeshifters and just “evil” characters in general, I wanted to create my own world. Dahlia was the first story that came to mind, and I started working on it on and off for years. I wanted to have my own spin on the “typical” vampire story.
To sum up my answer quickly, it basically came to a point where I started to love writing as much as reading. And thus, the Blood Crave Series was born.
- Are there any messages in Dahlia that you want the readers to grasp by the time they finish the book?
One would be accepting who you are. Dahlia has a hard time admitting who she is, what she is. Even when she comes to terms with it, she’s labeled as “tainted,” by others. Although still skeptical, she slowly learns to trust in herself and to open up to people. It’s okay to just let go and be who you are.
- Now, I am going to ask a question that typically isn’t a favorable question. I’m going to ask you to pick favorites. Who is your favorite character to write and why? Which character do you relate the most to?
In Dahlia, I have to say that my favorite character to write was Sam. He’s like the best brother a girl could have. He has a warmth to him and he honestly just wants the best for Dahlia. Plus, who wouldn’t want to poke a finger into one of his dimples. He’s just a fun person and was enjoyable to write about.
I was asked this question before and I responded by saying Dahlia, since we both share the love of writing. But having more time to think about it, we are more similar than I thought. We both daydream, we’re empathetic toward other people, tend to be sarcastic at times. Oh yeah, and I am definitely a t-shirt and jeans kind of girl like her.
- The process of creating characters seems to be very complex and different for each writer. Did you base any of your characters off of people you know in real life? Did you have them go through similar experiences that people you know or you have gone through?
None of my characters are anything like anyone I know. At least, not anyone I can think of at the top of my head. If anything, they’re complete opposites. Perhaps Sam was like a friend I had back in high school. I don’t know of any brooding people like Greyson, and Ava is definitely a character of her own. I wanted my characters to have their own unique experiences.
I think the reason I write is because I want my characters to experience things I haven’t, especially being in an urban fantasy setting. It’s time for my creativity to come alive. Writing is similar to reading or watching a movie: you get to experience someone else’s life. In this case, writing makes you the one in charge of what happens.
- What was your favorite scene to write? I’ve always liked that authors seem to never favor the same type of scenes. Some are all for the action and suspense scenes while others prefer the complex, deep, and emotional scenes. Which type of scenes do you prefer to write?
I enjoyed the dream sequence in the prologue and Chapter 4 of the book. Although no dialogue, it was supposed to have a deeper meaning, delving into Dahlia’s past, which she thinks is nothing more than a dream, an illusion. You get to understand what happened to her a child and why she is who she is. I wanted the reader to get to know who Dahlia is as a person before we get into why all these strange things are happening to her all of a sudden.
Although I enjoyed writing this scene, I also really like writing scenes where my characters get to banter back and forth with each other. You get to see more of their personalities that way.
- I hear that you are currently working on the sequel to Dahlia—which is awesome—and I was wondering how that is going. Have you met any writer’s block while creating the next book? If not, can you tell us any information about the books coming in the future?
The sequel’s already done! I’m currently in the process of editing and hoping it will be released by the end of March. *Fingers crossed* I actually split the sequel into a novella called, Fallen Tears, as well as the upcoming second full-length book in the series, both featuring the next female lead, Rowan. I wanted to have the same Blood Crave Series storyline, but written in the perspectives of different characters so you get an overall picture of what all the characters go through.
If you want a sneak peek into Rowan’s life, I suggest checking out the novella. Rowan’s basically your no-nonsense girl with a rough past. Since this is a series, there’s a definite connection to Dahlia in the second book coming up and I think there are a few surprises here and there that readers won’t expect (or maybe they will) lol. New characters will be introduced, more drama will ensue, and of course, both blood and love in the future :) We always need a little love in a YA book and this is the Blood Crave Series.