Alice Soon

My Literary Life & other obsessions…

A TOUCH OF DARKNESS – Interview & Review


I’m delighted to have my fellow literary agent-mates, Yelena Casale & Tina Moss speak a little bit about their new paranormal romance & urban fantasy book, A TOUCH OF DARKNESS, releasing Oct. 31st, 2013 by E-Lit Books.

But first, here’s a little blurb:

Cassie’s working for a tightwad boss at a pretentious NYC diner, dealing with paralyzing pain that doctors can’t diagnose, and trying to hide her hands that glow purple whenever she …well, whenever.

So, when a mysterious stranger walks out of her dreams and into her life to spout some nonsense about her being a mythical creature, she chalks it up to one more crazy thing to add to her it’s-a-crappy-life list. Yet, when the stranger’s predictions start to come true, she discovers a world that could shake up her humdrum existence.

I also had the opportunity to probe the minds of these two authors and here’s what they had to say about the book and the process of writing:

1) How and where did you get the idea for this book?

Tina had an idea of a story about this unique character running around in her head and Yelena always loved angelic mythology. When the writing partnership was born, it was a fairly fast and easy choice of what to write.

2) This book is certainly full of a fast-paced, action-packed plot twists & turns – How did you decide to come up with the plot elements as a team?

We would brainstorm ideas and plot elements every time we had our weekly writing meetings. Usually, the meetings took place at a diner after hard karate training and a full day of work. Even though we were exhausted, we were excited and passionate about our writing project. Our brainstorming sessions often ended up being laugh fests, but we always came away with the next idea to move the plot along.

3) Which are your favorite/least favorite characters in your story? And why?

Yelena: Of course I love our main characters, Cassie and Gabe. But I am partial to Rafe.
Tina: Oh Rafe. He is your classic bad boy and hard not to love. A definite favorite. My least favorite is Dan, because he’s off the deep end of evil. But, he’s interesting to write.

4) How did you decide on the names of your characters? For example, I love that VAL is Valefar.

We did a lot of research on the mythology of angels and demons. We wanted to pick names that were unique and meaningful to the characters’ personalities. We also played on the -el ending of angel names.

5) World-building: Obviously, when dealing with the paranormal, a great deal of the plot and sometimes setting & characters don’t exist in real life, so you to make-up a pretend world that exists elsewhere. (i.e. How did you come up with your vision of a world filled with both angels & demons, the laws that govern their conduct, and everything in between?)

Urban Fantasy with angel and demon mythology abounds and we wanted to bring a fresh twist to it. Without giving away too much, we liked the idea of parallel planes of existence. We didn’t want to go with the more traditional slant. Also, it was fun to play with the idea of nothing being entirely black or white.

6) Who are you favorite writers or favorite books you like to read?

Yelena: One of my absolute favorites since I read it at 13 years old is a book called Master and Margarita by a Russian author M. Bulgakov, which is part dark satire, part philosophical and psychological thriller with paranormal elements and romance. Suffice to say that one of the main characters is the devil that came to Moscow of the 1930s in the guise of a foreign professor and magician. Among his entourage is a trouble-making, talking big black cat.

In general, my two favorite genres to read are historical fiction and urban fantasy/paranormal romance. I believe my love for historical fiction started with books by Alexander Dumas (Three Musketeers, Queen Margot, Count of Monte Kristo). Current favorites in urban fantasy and paranormal romance include Jeaniene Frost, Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews.

Tina: Seconding Master and Margarita. I think it’s one of the books that we first talked about together too. I also love a ton of authors in our genre. In addition to the ones Yelena named, I’ll add: Larissa Ione, Marjorie Liu, J.R. Ward, and Patricia Briggs just to name a few. And of course in fantasy, J. R. R. Tolkien. I still want to visit the Shire.

7) Do you have any quirky writer habits?

Yelena: Not really a habit, but I seem to work well under pressure. If I know I have a deadline and it’s getting close, I often do my best writing (aside from when inspiration is driving me).

Tina: Eep. Besides texting my agent on a Sunday, because I have an idea that I can’t wait until Monday to share? *waves to Jenn* Well…I talk to my characters. Really. I have complete conversations and even argue with them sometimes. I know, I think it’s crazy too. But, it works!

8) Your best advice to aspiring writers.

Yelena: Do what you need to hold on to the passion you feel when you first start writing.

Tina: Don’t just have a thick skin, don armor! This industry is not for the timid. So, don’t take things personally and always believe in yourself. It’s the only way anyone else will.

9) Obviously this is BOOK #1 of a series…When can we expect the next one to come out???

We originally envisioned the Key series as four books, but started and stopped writing the sequel twice and debated on the direction. Luckily, we have options and this book can stand alone. So, we’re going to allow reader interest to decide. If readers want more, then we’re ready to give them more.

Thanks for your insightful comments!

I also had the opportunity to receive an advanced reading copy (ARC) of this book and was thrilled to write a review:

A daring, atmospheric romance steeped in a dangerous world of angels and demons battling for supreme control over the Earth’s fate.

Cassie, the heroine, is a complex and spirited character with a tragic past. The book begins as she tries to understand why her hands grow eerily purple with a strange power she doesn’t comprehend and the persistent headaches which go along with it. She then meets Gabe, an irresistible, if not at times a slightly wrathful “fallen” angel with troubles of his own. He helps Cassie to uncover the source of her powers and tells her she must eventually make a crucial decision that will leave the lives of everyone on Earth hanging in the balance.

As they travel across the country, from the noir and bustle of New York City, the desert heat of Arizona, the flashy underbelly of Las Vegas and finally to nature’s purity in Vermont, the pair must work together to confront Cassie’s ultimate decision to choose between the Dark and the Light.

Littered with a cast of intriguing characters from another “fallen” angel resembling the form of Albert Einstein, to the nefarious Valefar, Sin City’s most powerful demon, this book is sure to please fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy. A Touch of Darkness is a rip-roaring, thrill ride of a love story, reminding us that the power of love can lead your heart to make the right choice and to openly embrace your ultimate destiny.

Thanks to both Yelena & Tina for their time.


Tina Moss is an author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, romantic suspense, and New Adult novels. She lives in NYC with a supportive husband and alpha corgi, though both males hog the bed and refuse to share the covers. When not writing, she enjoys reading, watching cheesy horror flicks, traveling, and karate. As a 5’1″ Shotokan black belt, she firmly believes that fierce things come in small packages.

Yelena Casale is an Urban Fantasy & Paranormal Romance author. When she is not writing, she loves to read, watch TV with her husband (and without), take long walks and cuddle with her cat Bones. She is a second degree black belt/Shotokan karate instructor, and archaeology, history & art enthusiast.

Tina’s contact info:
Twitter: @Tina_Moss

Yelena’s contact info:
Twitter: @Yelena_Casale

For more information on the book, visit:


3 thoughts on “A TOUCH OF DARKNESS – Interview & Review

  1. Thank you for having us here, Alice! And for the review! 🙂

  2. Thank you, Alice! Much appreciated!

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