By A.J. Larrieu, author of BROKEN SHADOWS
I’m a Southerner by birth and upbringing, but for the past decade, I’ve lived in not-so-sunny San Francisco. Homesickness is something I’ve learned to live with, a low level of unease and loneliness that simmers in my head. One of the ways I’ve dealt with that feeling is by writing my way back home to Louisiana—there’s nothing like writing about a place to help you feel close to it. But with Broken Shadows, the third book in my Shadowminds series, I took a different path. Instead of writing my way back home, I wrote about the city that has—slowly but inevitably—become home to me.
There’s a famous quote by Tennessee Williams: “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” I don’t agree with this—every city has it a unique personality—but I do think it’s true that San Francisco has an unmistakable character all it’s own. And one of the things I became fascinated with while writing Broken Shadows was exploring how that character is changing.
San Francisco is growing. The tech boom has created a huge number of jobs in high-tech fields, and those jobs have fueled real estate growth that has changed the face of the city. Neighborhoods that used to be full of three-unit apartment buildings from the 1920s and cramped locally owned grocers are being reshaped to include high-rise luxury condo complexes and fancy gourmet supermarkets. It’s a big deal—and a controversial one. And it forms the backdrop of my hero and heroine’s own converging searches for identity.
I’m fascinated by the ways that place influences our senses of ourselves. The search for identity and purpose amid opposing forces is something I see this city grapple with every day, and I ended up being fascinating by the same sorts of forces at work on my characters. The setting of a complicated, changing city was perfect for a woman struggling with changing ideas about herself and where she fits in the world.
My heroine, Mina, is struggling with an identity crisis of sorts. A telekinetic who’s lost her powers, she’s unsure of where she fits in the supernatural world she was raised in. She’s tried to forget, but just like the unique personalities of San Francisco’s neighborhoods, the roots of her character can’t be wished away. In the end, she has to build something new out of her past and her hopes for her future. I hope readers will enjoy Mina’s story as much as I have, and maybe, like me, recognize a little bit of their own journeys in hers.
Mina Tanner was once a converter, a human with telekinetic and telepathic abilities. After a vicious mental assault by an evil shadowmind stripped her of her powers, she was forced to flee her home to escape her attacker. Now, she’s trying to start a new life in San Francisco, far away from any and all reminders of the gifts she grew up using.
But her precariously balanced “normal” life topples as her apartment and her job fall victim to a new luxury development. Jackson Herring, an old family friend and powerful converter, offers Mina his spare bedroom while she gets on her feet, and she agrees…reluctantly. Mina’s finding it difficult enough to adjust without a daily reminder of what she’s lost, especially when that reminder is six-foot-four, super-talented and gorgeous.
When a mugger attacks her and she somehow burns his hands, Mina realizes that despite everything she’s lost, she may have gained something far more powerful–and dangerous–than she ever imagined. And when the rest of the shadowmind community learns about it, Mina will find herself on the run once again.
Book three of The Shadowminds
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A.J. Larrieu is a Southerner in San Francisco, a scientist, and a lover of beta heroes. She is the author the dark, sexy Shadowminds series, which follows a group of ordinary people with extraordinary powers. She loves to hear from readers! Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, friend her on facebook, or follow her on twitter. You can find out more about A.J. and her books at www.ajlarrieu.com.