Through our first month of class, I sat back and observed the quiet girl who moved with the same weighted motions I did. She understood loneliness. It was clear in the way she would brighten at an instructor's question, but dim as she refused to allow herself to answer. The way she moved with awkward grace, always bumping into things, but never people. I had overheard her and Bethany talking, and I knew she would be at that party. It was why I'd gone. But I felt like a creeper. I had been hiding out, berating myself for being there, when she came flying down the stairs.
I watched Amelia leap from the bottom stair of the deck like she could fly ― all of the awkwardness gone and her movements fluid and beautiful. She pushed her way into the oncoming tide. She was lit up in the moonlight as her head dropped back and from my angle, I could see her smile. I was an intruder on the moment, but her smile broke something open inside of me. She was content and I was jealous. I wanted to know her secrets. I wanted to know how she found that place. She was my beginning and my end. Because now that she's gone, I'm some kind of magical freak and I'm alone — again. (Aidan)
"Bethany? Are you okay?" I looked down at her as she contained her wild hair and looked up at me with red-rimmed eyes. She wasn't wearing any make-up. I'd never seen her look so vulnerable. I shouldn't have been surprised when she responded with her normal sarcasm. "You know, I can't imagine why anything would be wrong, Aidan. My best friend was kidnapped right out from under my nose, I was held hostage by a psychopathic Queen on a power trip after I had been kidnapped by animal witches, or AniMages, or whatever they're called, my boyfriend turned out to be a two-timing douche with magic powers, and I'm nothing but a human who gets used as bait and leverage. Can I do anything to help any of them? Nope. Sure can't. So, it's been a fine week. How about you?" she ended, a completely fake smile on her face as she stared daggers up at me. I couldn't help but laugh. "Well," I said as I dropped into the sand beside her, "I don't know if I can beat that, but I'll counter with the fact that my girlfriend is engaged to a prince of some kind of magical people I didn't know existed until last week, who also happens to be a guy I thought I was friends with. She had a chance to run away with me and didn't take it, choosing him over me, and pretty much eviscerating my heart in the process. And, I woke up not long ago suddenly able to turn into a wolf. My eyes light up like blue headlights and I lose entire chunks of time. I wake up naked every time it happens and have no idea where I am. How'd I do?" (Aidan)
I looked up at Julia, her sense of victory emanating from every pore. I wanted to blast her with everything I had. To yank off the cuff, call on the wind to send the Hunters scattering, and pin her to the wall in the way she had done to me. I wanted to watch her smile disappear as she fought to breathe, just as I had done. Clearly, the Keeper still had some impact, even from her locked room inside me. Instead, I allowed a slow smile to develop. I squeezed Micah's hand and took a step toward the Queen, bringing him along. I pushed my power through me, sending a slow wave of energy from my core outward, allowing it build. "You can force this betrothal. You can force a marriage. But you cannot force me to consummate anything." Pressure built at the base of my skull and I saw the reaction from the Hunters in my peripheral vision, confirming my eyes were shining in the Elder violet no one had seen in years. My eyes never left Julia's as I continued. "But, I am not enslaved to you like these Hunters, or an AniMage who fears for their life. You need me. We both know it. Which means you do not have all the power here." Micah pulled me into his chest just as she exploded. Red fire shot from her palm, missing me by a hair. "That," she said evenly, "was intentional. I will not miss a second time." (Amelia)
Bound by Spells, in Five WordsAction – Bound by Spells drops you right into the action and basically doesn’t quit. You’ll follow Amelia and Aidan separately, but meet a lot of new faces and never stop learning along the way.
Growth – Both Amelia and Aidan are young, just eighteen and nineteen. They are still figuring out who they are and what they are capable of. As the story progresses, you’re going to see some significant change out of both of them.
Connections – As a reader walking along with Amelia and Aidan, you’ll make a lot of connections between what you learned in Bound by Duty and what the realities of their situations truly are. You’ll also find the ties between some of our central secondary characters.
Friendship – If you were hoping to see Bethany again, of course I brought her back! But, there are also a lot of new friends introduced, and the whole story is impacted by friendships that were forged (or broken) years ago.
Love - Because at the heart of every good story and complicated ending is love. Sometimes it is between hearts, and sometimes it is the bond between people who are simply tied together by the will of another. But love changes everything.
Fun Facts about Bound by Spell by Stormy Smith
- Queen Julia was initially King Julian. That’s technically a Bound by Duty fact but one not many people actually know. It wasn’t until the fourth draft that he became a she, and it’s one of the best decisions I made.
- I don’t plan out a lot of my secondary characters and as I was writing one scene in particular, a little ten-year-old with scruffy red hair and a penchant for formality came to life. Dillon turned into one of my favorite characters in Spells.
- Cresthaven, the Queen’s home in Washington, was actually named by one of my readers, Maggie. I was struggling to come up with a great name for an old Versailles-like mansion and went to my amazing Facebook community for help. I loved Maggie’s idea and ran with it!
- One of the critical plot surprises in Spells (can’t share – spoiler alert) was something that I inadvertently set up in Bound by Duty. I was jumping for joy when I did my Duty reread and realized that I had set myself up perfectly for where the story really needed to go.
- I have a really bad relationship with outlines. I try to do them but I’m someone who doesn’t get to write every day and when I do write, I’m in for the long haul. When I’m heads down like that and the words start flowing, crazy stuff happens and my characters just do what they need to do. I can think of a handful of scenes and ideas that came in my fugue states and those are hands down my favorite parts of the book.
- Writing in a guy’s perspective was not as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve been either dating or married to my husband for fourteen years in total and I consider myself a fairly observant person, so watching him and the interactions between he and his friends provided me all the material I could hope for.
- Aidan’s mom, Kayla, was named after a reader of mine in Des Moines, Ia. The real Kayla is a local librarian, was a huge supporter of Bound by Duty and won a contest I held at my launch party. She is forever immortalized in Aidan’s story.