Tag Archives: The Veil

THE VEIL by Cory P. Oakes: Perfect Combination of Magic, Suspense, and Imagination for Young Adult Readers

I recently read the book THE VEIL, by Cory Putman Oakes, which is her first fiction literature novel for young adults. It’s original and creatively crafted, as well as well-written with wonderful character development. It’s a must-read for young adults (and for any adults who love YA lit)!! The book is a great mixture of magic, the supernatural, and science fiction fantasy coupled with normal teen issues, real life scenarios, and teen romance. Cory captures it all with THE VEIL!

Continue reading my review of THE VEIL here, then grab a cup of coffee and check out my exclusive interview with Cory P. Oakes below the review and book description. You won’t want to miss learning about what inspired her book, her decision to write full-time, and her tasty writer’s block brownie recipe!! We love to hear comments, so leave them below the post!!

I loved how Cory conceived a fairly new way of looking at a type of parallel or one-dimensional existence in THE VEIL, without much of the proverbial time travel or space travel involved.  She seems to have accomplished this by having the existence of another race unseen, but yet in our own time and place.  More simply, the Annorasi world is invisible….to most.  Addison Russell, a seventeen year old quiet and average girl, can suddenly see bits and pieces of the invisible world of the Annorasi.  As you can guess, she becomes quite confused and when she learns to lift the “Veil” (and why she can when others can’t)…..well, you’ll just have to read the book to get in on that suprise.

The book is penned so gracefully, it’s almost as if it could happen to any one of us at any time.  THE VEIL was not far-fetched, but extremely believable and the characters totally endearing.  I believe young adult readers would connect with her characters.  My favorite character was her Gran, with her crazy cooking and disdain for decorating for holidays. 

Though I found myself wanting to know more about the lifestyle of the Annorasi and how they exist, the author did a wonderful job of telling the story through the eyes of the main characters, especially Addison and Luc.  Addison is a bright teenager whose world is suddenly turned upside down by the existence of this invisible world. Luc, the handsome boy she has a crush on, turns out to be more than just someone she thinks she’d never have a chance with. In fact, he’s pretty intertwined in her life too and swears to protect her.  She’s been accused of a crime she didn’t commit and has to answer for it while learning to discern if the people around her are truly who they say they are, or who she thought they were. Even her beloved pet cats aren’t so simple!!!

As a reader, I liked traveling along the action with Addison and seeing her grow and achieve more than she might have thought she could before everything started to change. I loved how the character is a great role model for young girls, as she becomes so brave and fearless. 

Cory’s real-life time spent as an attorney was richly evident in her book during the height of the novel, as well as her knowledge of the real-life hang-outs her characters frequented. I also enjoyed how Cory put in classic tale allegories such as the tale of King Arthur in regards to love and loyalty in the book.  She loves literature and travel herself and seems to draw on that as she writes her books.  This lends a richness to her writing.

This would be a wonderful book for any young adult reader to enjoy.  They would certainly want to finish it within a few days, because they wouldn’t want to put it down!!  There is just enough drama, suspense, and romance for a middle to high school reader to want to keep flipping the pages. I can’t wait to read the sequel myself, which Cory is currently working on and is untitled as of press time of this blog.

Book Jacket Preview

Seventeen-year-old Addison Russell is in for a shock when she discovers that she can see the invisible world of the Annorasi. Suddenly, nothing is as it appears to be—the house she lives in, the woman who raised her, even the most beautiful boy in town all turn out to be more than what they seem. And when this strange new world forces Addy to answer for a crime that was committed long ago, by parents she has never known, she has no choice but to trust Luc, the mysterious Annorasi who has been sent to protect her.

Or so he says . . .

Interview with Cory Putman Oakes

Erin: Hi Cory, I am so happy to have met you via Twitter and Facebook! As fellow mommies and writers, we sure have lots to talk about. I can’t wait for readers to get to know you a little better. Thanks so much for agreeing to this interview!

Cory:  Thanks so much for having me, Erin!

Q: You’re first book, THE VEIL, is just coming out in November and is your first book. Many people compare the launch of their first book much like birthing a baby! Do you agree, and why or why not?

A:  Ha ha, yes, actually – the book launch feels like I am giving birth all over again and, at the same time, sending the baby straight off to college. I have a very parental feeling of pride and helplessness that the book is going to be “out there” on its own, facing the big-bad world. I just have to hope I brought it up right!

Q: What inspired you to write the story of THE VEIL?

A: THE VEIL was a writing exercise that got totally out of control. I started writing it as a break from another project I was working on. I had this idea about a “guardian-angel-but-not” rolling around in my head – I had no clue where I was going to go with it at all, but I gave myself exactly one week to get it out on paper. I started with the very beginning (the Prologue) and then I just kept going . . . and going . . . way past my one week deadline. I kept thinking that at some point I would write myself into a corner and have to stop – normally I am a big “outliner” and I know exactly where I am headed in a story. But THE VEIL was different. At the end of a very intense month, I had a first draft and I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. Obviously there have been edits and changes since then, but the bones of the story have stayed pretty much as-is.

Q: You’ve used a lot of reference from your own life in THE VEIL. Can you explain how and why?

A: Because THE VEIL was just supposed to be an exercise – something nobody else was ever going to see – I put a lot of personal things into it. I set the book in my hometown of Novato, California (and the surrounding area of San Francisco) and a lot of places where the characters go are places that my friends and I used to hang out in high school; the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, the Marin Headlands, Jest Jewels, even “Sully’s Café” on Grant Avenue is based on a real coffee shop which, unfortunately, is no longer there. But they really did make the best “morning buns” in the entire world – just like in the book. My mom and I still crave them!

Q: When did you start writing? How did you know you wanted to be a writer?

A: I was always a big reader and I liked to write stories when I was a kid, but I didn’t start thinking about it as a profession until sixth grade when I read Alanna: The First Adventure (by Tamora Pierce) and The Blue Sword (by Robin McKinley) in the same year – I was very inspired by these two books and that is when I started thinking about how cool it would be to make up things for a living.

Q:  Do you have a day job?

A: I knew that getting published was a long shot, so I actually went to law school so I would have a “Plan B.” I worked at a law firm called Sullivan & Cromwell and it wasn’t long before I realized that Plan B was becoming The Plan – I started getting really emotionally invested in the legal world and it just wasn’t possible to be the kind of lawyer I wanted to be and also have time to write. I had to make a decision: was I a lawyer or was I a writer? I picked writer – I left the firm and started writing full-time. That was about six years ago, and it was a really key decision in my life. I don’t regret it for one minute. (Nothing against S&C – they were very good to me, I just couldn’t give them 100% when my heart really belonged to writing).

Q: How do you feel you might inspire someone else to live their dream and get “out of the rat race?”

A: I think it’s all about doing what you really want to do and feeling satisfied about it. For some people, that is the “rat race” – and that is not a bad thing. But I do think that people can sometimes feel “trapped” when they work hard to achieve something and then realize that maybe they made the wrong decision. It’s important to realize that things can be different. Life is short. Why not go for what you really want? Even if it’s something crazy, at least you can say you tried.

Erin’s Comment: Absolutely, life is too short and you have to go for your dreams! It’s hard to be rich as a writer, but you’ll be rich in your soul. That’s what I say!

Q: What is the thing you love the most about being a full-time writer?

A: I love those days when everything comes together, the words flow, and I’m excited about what I am writing. It doesn’t happen every day – just often enough to remind me of why I love to do this.

Q: Why did you choose to write YA novels?

A: The books that made me really fall in love with reading were YA novels, so I think that’s naturally the place I go to when I start thinking up my own stories.

Q: What are the authors you’ve adored over the years and who has influenced you?

A: I already mentioned Tamora Pierce and Robin McKinley – those are the biggies for me. I also have a soft spot for Madeleine L’Engle, J.K. Rowling, Stefanie Meyer, and Eoin Colfer.

Erin’s Comment: Some of my very favorites as well. And I love YA literature.

Q: How would you inspire other authors to not give up their dream of writing and being published?

A: I think the key is to write for the love of writing and not because you expect to become the next J.K. Rowling. Let’s be honest – that’s only happened once. Although I did quit my day job in order to be a full-time writer, I did so with the full support of my husband (well, he was my fiancé at the time) and I honestly could not have done it without him. Like, seriously I couldn’t have – I would have been eating Ramen noodles and living in a cardboard box. It’s hard to make enough money to support yourself as a writer – so do it because you love it and if an opportunity does come along to get published, that’s just gravy.

Q: What is your favorite TV show right now?

A: I’m a big Survivor fan, even though I think I would be the absolute worst Survivor contestant ever. I’m too gullible and I’m not good at reading people – but when I watch the show I like to pretend that I’d rock it.

Q: Do you travel? If so, where? What travel destination are you dying to go to?

A: I love to travel! My husband and I recently went to London for our fifth anniversary (we got engaged there, so it’s always been a very special place for us). We missed our daughter so much (she was at home getting spoiled by her grandparents) that we bought her a teddy bear on the first day and took pictures of the bear everywhere we went (we now have a great collection of pictures of the bear beside Big Ben, at the British Museum, in Bath, at the Globe Theater, etc – I think I’m going to put them all in an iBook for my daughter).

Erin’s Comment: That is the sweetest thing to do for your little girl. You should make a book, that’s such a good idea. Print it out for her to look at!

Q: Your favorite dessert?

A: Anything chocolate! 🙂

Q: We’ve talked about baking together recently and shared our love for it. Does it help with stress relief? What is you fave recipe, can you share?

A: I do love to bake! It’s what I do to overcome writer’s block (because even when it doesn’t work, writer’s block is easier to endure when you have a tasty snack). My favorite recipe is the one for Writer’s Block Brownies on my website: http://www.corypoakes.com/writers-block-brownies/. It came into being a few years ago when I was completely obsessed with brownies and tried every recipe I could find. I eventually started experimenting on my own and this is what I came up with. It’s still evolving – I recently added a ½ cup of flour to it so if anybody tries it, be sure to let me know what you think!

Erin’s Comments: I have a good brownie recipe too, I’ll try yours and pass mine along to you~!

Q: What is the best part(s) about your life? What brings you JOY?

A: My family. My husband and my daughter are the two lights of my life. Knowing that they are happy makes me happy in a way that I never could have imagined before they came along.

Q: What else do you have in the works? Please share!

A:  I am writing a sequel to THE VEIL, and I am also revising a middle grade fantasy series I have working on for some time. You can see previews of both on my website: “The Sequel” preview is at: http://www.corypoakes.com/the-veil/the-sequel/ and the “Avannia Prophecies” preview is at: http://www.corypoakes.com/the-avannia-books/.

Erin’s Comments: I honestly can’t wait to read the Avannia Prophecies…write, Cory, write!! 🙂

Q: How can readers and other writers connect with you?

A: My website is a good place to start: http://www.corypoakes.com. I am also on Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/CoryPutmanOakes) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/CPOAuthor).

Q: Where can readers purchase THE VEIL?

A: THE VEIL comes out on Nov 1! Until then, you can preorder the paperback on Amazon at http://amzn.to/TheVeil and at Barnes and Noble.com at http://bit.ly/nkEDRN. Starting Nov 1, THE VEIL will be available for purchase at the same locations, but it will also be available in Kindle, iBook and Nook formats.

Erin:  Thanks so much Cory for stopping by to shine the light on YOU, as an author and as a person. We look forward to reading many more novels by you!!

Cory also graciously did a guest post for me a week or so ago on writing AND being a mom! Lots of scheduling and drama comes with that combination.  You can see that post here and learn how she does it:  https://hookofabook.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/on-being-a-mom…p-oakes-author/. It’s part of a series and I’m looking for more mommy writers, so give me a shout if you are interested.

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On Being a Mom AND a Writer: Cory P. Oakes, Author

Readers, this is the first part of a series of guest posts I am hosting in regards to “Being a Mom AND a writer.” As moms and writers, we all struggle with time for dinners, homework, sports, diapers, and fitting writing in. How do you do it? Do you have thoughts?  I hope you find this series funny, insightful, and supportive. If you, or someone you know, would be great for a guest post pertaining to the subject of being a writer and a mother of young children, please contact me at hookofabook@hotmail.com. Thanks for reading, Erin

My first guest post is by Cory Oakes, author of newly published THE VEIL a young adult fantasy novel, and mother of a busy eighteen-month-old daughter.

Cory Oakes: On Being a Mom and Publishing a First Novel

I am a stay-at-home mom to an eighteen-month old tornado of energy with the power to tear apart a room in five seconds flat and then giggle uncontrollably about it until I start laughing too. I am also a writer with a book coming out this November 1 and a planned sequel looming large over my head.

This situation comes with its share of challenges. Like most Writer-Moms (and, I suspect, most Moms in general) there are many nights when I go to sleep wishing there was more of me to go around so that everything and everyone in my life who matters – my daughter, my husband, my writing, my friends, my pets (and heck, even my hair!) – could get all of the love, attention, and time that they deserve from me.

 But that’s the tough stuff. I’d rather talk about the surprising ways that being a mom has actually improved my writing.

Perspective – Publishing can be a tough world. In my twenties, rejections from agents or an unkind word about something I had written often knocked me flat for days at a time. Even today, bad news is always hard but ever since my daughter came along, the “Need To Be Successful In The Publishing World” has slipped down a few notches on my ladder of importance, well below “My Daughter is Happy and Healthy” and “My Husband Still Loves Me”. Not to mention that toddlers do not come with Pause buttons – when an email or a phone call sends me reeling, having a good, long mope about it doesn’t always fit into my busy schedule of diapers, meals, playtime, playgroup, and snacks. Kids force you to get a grip, and quickly, so you can be there for them.

Focus – Gone are the long, lazy days when I had time to nourish my inner writer with “mood music” or when I could put off writing a certain scene until I was “really feeling it.” These days, my writing time is either bought (with a baby-sitter), stolen (“sure, take all of the tissues out of the box one by one while I just finish this last part . . .”) or bargained-for (“I’ll watch your kid if you watch mine next week”) and I’m hyper-aware that I have to make every minute count. This means no frills. When I get forty-five minutes or an hour to write, I have to dive right in – whether I am “feeling it” or not! This was the hardest adjustment for me (and one I am still working on) but it has really done wonders for my writing.

To be honest, I am not always able to kick it into gear with no notice, limited time, and with a baby monitor blinking beside my computer screen. But when it works, I am able to crank out stuff that would have taken me hours before. And it’s not because I am “super writer” all of a sudden – it’s simply because I no longer have the option of agonizing over every single detail. And I suppose time will tell if that turns out to be a good thing or not, but so far it seems to be helping me “cut to the chase” with my writing a lot faster.

A large part of writing, at least for me, is making decisions. Will this character be tall or short? Good-hearted or selfish? Will she fall in love with this character or this other one? What direction do I want the story to go? Each decision shapes the novel by opening up new paths while simultaneously closing off other ones. Sometimes it’s about making the right decision – after all, if J.K. Rowling had decided that Harry Potter was going to take a pass on attending Hogwarts, we probably wouldn’t still be talking about her today. Some decisions deserve to be agonized over. But sometimes, moving forward in a story means just coming to a decision – any decision – and making it work. I am much better at doing that these days, if only because I constantly have one eye on the clock.

Life Experience – There is nothing like creating and giving birth to a human being to give you a mini “insta-dose” of wisdom! Ok fine, so I’m not wise. But all of the emotion and experience that comes with the day-to-day of being a mom is wonderful fodder for writing. There are a lot of things about being a parent that you just can’t know until you are one and as a consequence, I have found that my parental-type characters are much more well-rounded and truthful these days.

Motivation – This is the big one for me. I had always pretty much assumed that having a child would be the death of my writing career, and I was shocked to discover that it was the exact opposite.

I took about a year off after I had my daughter, but around the time she turned one, some invisible timer went off inside of me and told me, forcefully, that it was time to finally do something about this “getting published” thing. That led to a decision to self publish which, ironically, led to me signing with a publisher, which set this whole, crazy thing in motion. I give my daughter credit for this (well, most of it – Octane Press, my publisher, should get some credit too!). As cheesy as it sounds, I did it because I wanted her to be proud of me. I wanted to be able to tell her that I had a lifelong dream to do something and that I went after it with everything I had (and that she should do the same). Obviously it would be great if the book really takes off, but even if this is the last book I ever publish, a large part of me will be okay with that, because I now have something concrete that I can hand to my daughter one day as evidence that dreams do come true.

 And that is something that I never would have been able to say before I became a mom.

Cory’s debut young adult novel, THE VEIL, is out this November 1, 2011 and is now available for preorder on Amazon (http://amzn.to/TheVeil) and Barnes&Noble.com (http://bit.ly/nkEDRN). Watch  for a review on THE VEIL and an exclusive interview with Cory coming soon to this blog.

Cory now lives in Austin, Texas with Mark and their beautiful daughter, Sophia. In addition to writing, Cory enjoys reading, cooking, running, and hanging out with her family and pets.

 For more on Cory or THE VEIL, please visit her website at http://www.corypoakes.com.

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