I'm pleased today to welcome author Liz Long to the blog to tell us a little bit about the world building in her paranormal Donovan Circus series. The second book, Burned, is available now. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Liz!
Thank you so much to Jenny for hosting me on her blog today! I’m lucky to know good people :) I thought for today’s post, we’d run away to the circus together. The Donovan Circus, that is!
In my first book GIFTED, the protagonist, Lucy Sullivan, is thrown into a world full of gifted beings – that is, people with special powers like Telekinetics, Empaths, Runners, Levitators, and many, many more. Lucy is a Firestarter, meaning she can create and control fire at her will. Her gift is a dangerous one, and it’s pushed to the limits in GIFTED.
Many readers often tell me how they think the concept of this world is so neat – because the story takes place in today’s real world, the idea of supernatural beings hiding right in plain sight at the circus is pretty unique! When first introduced to the Donovan Circus, Lucy is overwhelmed by the bright lights, loud colors, and whirlwind of activity – just read about her first hour there:
“We followed the already worn walkway around a corner, where a sea of activity blinded me. Whereas the campers were quiet, the actual circus grounds thrived with members preparing for the day.
My senses hit overdrive—colors, smells, and sounds assaulted me. Costumes covered in sequins and feathers were traded off between artists; my nose detected popcorn machines, sawdust with hay, and sweat, both human and animal. And the sounds! It was so loud between the people yelling, animals’ screeches, and equipment in use to set up stands and booths. I would have to shout at Delia to be heard.
I suddenly became very aware of why Sheffield and Delia warned me against being surprised. People made no secret of their gifts in safe company. I saw another Runner dart in and out of the crowd while Levitators floated seamlessly between the bodies. Birds flew all over, carried messages or small objects such as tools or costume props. The air filled with sounds of conversation, animals protested their displeasure of cages, and men barked orders on the best way to get tents up fast.”
See what I mean about being overwhelmed? There’s a lot going on in that show! I have to admit, I’d be totally intimidated if it were me, but to Lucy’s credit, she dives right in and does her best to work hard and belong to the group.
The second book in the Donovan Circus series is called BURNED and while we see a bit of Lucy’s familiar circus grounds, you’re soon introduced to the Grayson Circus, another show that Lucy visits in order to gain support. When a vicious Shapeshifter named Medved attacks her on the Donovan grounds, ringmaster Sheffield Donovan insists she and her friends travel to Grayson’s circus in order to make friends and allies in case of another attack.
The catch? The Grayson Circus is nearly the opposite of the Donovan Circus. Lucy is used to being around lots of gifted, but there are even more humans in the Grayson show, so gifts aren’t quite so in-your-face there. Things are much quieter there, the equipment and tents older, the people more frightened. See?
“The Grayson Circus vibe was not uncomfortable so much as it was different. Their grounds were clean enough, but all of their equipment and games looked old-fashioned, with plenty of wear and tear. Maybe they were going for that vintage look, but it felt older than the Donovan property.
The two circus groups couldn’t have been more different. When I walked through the Donovan grounds, there were always noises, colors, passersby running into and cursing you. Here, colors weren’t so bright; the overcast weather made for a dull, gray backdrop. Many things were in need of a new paint job. Our tents were red, black, and white, the Big Top like a striped candy cane. Their worn, dingy gray tents showed the years of use and travel. Several of the lights on their games were out and half the booths looked slapped together with plywood and haphazardly placed nails.
The grounds and people were quieter; instead of meeting my eyes to glare at me (like most of Donovan did when I arrived), they looked away or eyed the ground until I passed them. No one stood tall and proud, no smiles told me they were happy to be here. A handful of stares met mine; only some could hide their fear. These people seemed terrified of us…of me.”
It’s obviously going to be hard for the Grayson group to trust Lucy, not just because she’s a Firestarter, but because it’s difficult for circus folk to trust anyone outside their own shows. Even worse, the differences between them might mean an unwillingness to cooperate. Will Lucy be able to get the Grayson group on her side when things are so vastly different between them?
I hope you enjoyed the brief look inside the Donovan and Grayson Circuses. Thanks again to Jenny for hosting me today! And in case you’re interested in checking out the books, GIFTED is currently on sale for 99 cents, while BURNED is just $2.99.
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Liz Long is a ridiculously proud graduate of Longwood University with a BA in English. Her inspiration comes from action and thriller genres and she spends entirely too much time watching superhero movies. Her fabulous day job as a social media editor includes writing for a publishing company in Roanoke, VA.
Her first book, Gifted, is the first book in the Donovan Circus series. Her second book Witch Hearts, a story about a serial killer hunting witches for their powers, is available at Amazon on Kindle and paperback.