BOOK TOUR GUEST POST & GIVEAWAY: Welcome to the Darkness by L.M. Justus
Welcome to the Darkness
by LM Justus
Darkness Trilogy, Book One
A typical teenager, seventeen-year-old Reed Hennessy doesn’t realize how lucky he is to lead a normal life until he loses everything, including his humanity. The attacker who slaughters his family and destroys their home turns out to be a vampire, a creature Reed had considered a myth.
Now a vampire himself, but with the unique ability to walk in sunlight, Reed struggles in the dark underworld he didn’t even know existed. His only two allies in his fight to stay alive are his reluctant mentor, Nathaniel, a vampire with over two hundred years’ worth of emotional baggage, and Sarah, a rookie cop with a secret ability of her own.
Together, Reed and his companions face a harrowing, cross-country journey before stumbling into a plot which could mean the end of everything for humans and vampires alike.
My Journey to Becoming a Writer
by LM Justus
Around the age of eleven or so, I really started to love books. I was only allowed to borrow a maximum of twelve books at a time on my library card, so I would always take out exactly twelve books each time. Happy times!
By the age of thirteen, I had been reading the Choose Your Own Adventure series for a couple of years, and I decided to write one of my own. This took quite a bit of planning as the story branched off in many directions. I scribbled everything down on various pieces of paper, and gave up after completing only a small fraction of the book.
In grade 9, I wrote a short story for a school assignment, and my teacher called me in after class to have a serious talk. She asked me if I knew what plagiarism was. In retrospect, it’s flattering that she thought my story was so good it might have been copied from a real author, but at the time I was terrified. Luckily, I was wearing a necklace that I’d described in great detail in my story, and I showed the necklace to my teacher. Everything worked out – phew.
Despite my penchant for writing, I never considered a career in the field because I felt I was expected to do something that . . . made more money. My parents wanted me to be a doctor or a computer programmer. I attended the University of Waterloo to earn myself a Computer Science (CS) degree and graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics – the Math faculty being the one offering CS degrees. I started working at a high-tech company testing software and . . . I hated it. After taking some aptitude tests, I discovered all the writing-related jobs at the top of the list. I was fortunate to make a sideways move within the same company to a documentation job, writing the manuals and online help files for the software I’d been testing.
In my spare time, I started writing various works of fiction, but never got much past the prologue and chapter one. Then, a friend of mine introduced me to NaNoWriMo, which is a challenge to write a short (50,000 word) novel in a single month. This was a pivotal moment for me, because I did it! I managed to write a novel to its completion. I’m not even sure how I managed it because I was sick with the worst cold of my entire life that month, and I had three kids under the age of six. I knew my novel was probably mediocre at best, but I self-published it anyway because I wanted a “real” copy of my book.
The next year, I wrote a book for my kids. I was having trouble finding early chapter books for them, so I wrote a book for them myself. It’s full of inside jokes and things they used to say, which they loved, but it wasn’t meant for mass consumption. I really wanted to write something that was aimed at the masses though, and I finally got the chance once my youngest daughter started grade 1, i.e., when all of my kids were in school full days.
I sent them off to school that September and sat down to write. I turned on some relaxing music, and quickly realized I can’t write anything with music playing. I bashed out the first few chapters feeling quite good about myself. I contacted a friend of a friend, whom I had actually worked with years earlier at my documentation job, and she invited me to join her writers’ group. That was another key moment for me, because I soon learned there was plenty of room for improvement in my writing. After nine months of writing, and another year’s worth of editing, revising, etc., . . . Welcome to the Darkness was released to the world. Only time will tell how the rest of my journey as a writer will continue!
About the Author
Lisa Justus’ path to becoming an author took a circuitous route through the University of Waterloo where she earned a Bachelor of Mathematics, followed by jobs in quality assurance and technical writing at a high-tech company. With a keen interest in creative fiction, she wrote her first fantasy novel as part of NaNoWriMo as well as an early chapter book for her kids when they were younger. Her YA paranormal fantasy novel Welcome to the Darkness is the first book in the Darkness Trilogy.
These days Lisa is busy writing her fourth novel, reading, finishing her basement, doing volunteer work, and trying to stay in shape by running somewhat regularly. She, her husband, and their three children live in Ottawa, Ontario.