UFI welcomes L.J. Kentowksi Author of Guardian of Fate. Thanks for Joining us!!
What can you tell my readers about yourself that they might not know from looking on your bio or reading in another interview?
First off, I want to thank you so much for having me on Urban Fantasy Investigations. It’s such an honor to be here with you and all of your readers!
My bio states that I’m living in disguise as a debut author. If I had had my way growing up, this wouldn’t have been that far from the truth; although, it wouldn’t have been as an author. My educational background is in Criminology & Psychology. My dream was to be a criminal profilist for the FBI, hunting down serial killers. I actually got through the first round of FBI tests, passed them, and chose not to go forward with it in order to marry my husband. I may have given up my dream back then, but being an author allows me to make my own character profiles. Serial killers don’t have a chance with some of the characters I’ve come up with!
What do you enjoy doing on your down time?
I have downtime? No, really, in the little amount of downtime I have I enjoy hanging out with my family. My son is at that silly stage where all he wants to do is make us laugh, so it’s a blast being with him, even though the battle of wits has begun between us. I’m winning, by the way…so far. I also love devouring great books. I make it a point to read at least a chapter a night before bed if I can’t get any more in throughout the day. Of course, writing is always a passion.
What is your Favorite part of writing?
Ironically, my favorite part of writing is also the most frustrating. Just when you think you have a handle on where the story is going, a character spins your head around Linda Blair-style (Crap, I sure hope everyone knows who that is, and I’m not aging myself!). I love when a character takes over the story and presents me with a new and exciting twist, but it can be really tough when you have no idea where it’s leading and whether it will fit with everything you’ve already got down.
Do you have any certain routines you must follow as you write?
With a full-time job and a family, it’s really hard for me to even find time to write, so I really don’t get the luxury of having a routine. I kind of shoot from the hip when I can. But one thing I do need in order to write is headphones with my favorite tunes screaming in my ears. Music takes me into a whole other world, where no one exists, no matter if they are sitting in front of my face and asking me questions. I find bouncing my head up and down to the beat is very helpful in these situations. Keeps everyone happy.
What are some of your Favorite books or Authors in the Urban Fantasy?
I’m obsessed with Karen Marie Moning’s novels, especially the Fever series. I finished the series long ago, but it still haunts me, especially the characters - Barrons. In my opinion, the world that she built was so creative and brilliant. I loved every tension-filled page. Other faves of mine are Jeaniene Frost and Ilona Andrews. Their writing abilities are inspirational. And if you haven’t caught the pattern, I love a tough, snarky woman lead, and hot, alpha males.
J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series makes my mouth water. Each books seems to get better than the last, with every one of them unique in its own right. I love how she ties them all together, but every book has its own complete story. Same with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. These books are just hot, and I can’t seem to turn the pages fast enough. I have yet to finish both series, but I look forward to all of them.
How would you pitch Guardian of Fate to someone who has not heard of it before?
If you’re looking for a new take on the battle of good versus evil, filled with lots of tension, twists, a kick-ass female lead, who’s discovering her own fate smack dab in the middle of it all, hot alpha males, and a bit of steam, then Guardian Of Fate is definitely a read for you.
Can you tell us a little bit about the world that Guardian of Fate is set in?
Guardian Of Fate is set in the present day world, but one with supernatural elements, where Guardians use their prophetic visions to thwart demons from Hell from stealing innocent souls. But Hell has secret weapons against the Guardians and they plan on using them to take over the earth and eventually the universe.
Do you have a favorite scene in Guardian of Fate?
That’s a tough question. I like different scenes for different reasons, but I’ll give you a peek of one of them.
Here’s the setup: Cassandra, the main character, initially had plans to have a first date with one of the two mysterious men who had suddenly appeared in her life. But Hunter, the other mystery man, and one with quite the ego, managed to weasel his way into the date using her best friend, Nora. At the last minute, Nora has to cancel, and Cassie is only a little relieved until Hunter weasels his way in again.
I glanced up at the wall clock. It was almost five. As I headed for the door, I wondered if Caleb had gotten out early and decided to come pick me up. I didn’t feel much in the mood for going anymore, being too worried about Nora. But she did say she’d try to meet up at the restaurant, so I put thoughts of getting a rain check for the date out of my head.
I pushed the speaker button on the wall.
“Hello?” I greeted.
“It’s Hunter. You guys ready?”
Oh crap! I thought. Obviously Nora hadn’t called him to tell him about the change of plans.
“Actually, Hunter, Nora had to run out unexpectedly. She might not even make it. Sorry for the change in plans so late. I thought she would have called to tell you.”
“I see.” I felt his calm resolve through the speaker box. Nothing fazed this guy.
I was about to say goodnight when his low voice came through again, “Are you and Caleb still going?”
“Uh…yes.” I didn’t want to tell him that Nora may meet us up there. It was none of his business anyway. If Nora showed up, she could call him then. With no guarantee she was going to make it, I had an out.
“You said she might not make it. Does that mean she said she would try?”
Damn! “Well, yes, but she may not come at all. I’m sure you don’t want to be a third wheel.” Maybe if I was blunt about it, he’d get the hint.
“But if she does, then she will be the third…Cassandra, just let me up. I’m not going to talk to the door anymore.”
I couldn’t tell if I was afraid of him that made me want to keep my distance, or if it was the way I’d reacted to him in our previous encounters. I felt much safer with doors, walls, and stairwells between us, but I gave a sigh and buzzed him in anyway.
A minute later he was at the door knocking. I opened it, but blocked his entrance. I didn’t want to be alone with him in the apartment. After a long appraisal of my attire, and what was underneath it from the way his eyes seared into me, he stepped towards me. “Hello, Cassandra,” he said slowly. I had to step back to avoid being too close to him. He smiled and stepped around me.
“Hello, Hunter,” I said irritated, after closing the door and turning towards him. “So, like I said before, Nora had to leave. She probably won’t even make it to the restaurant later, so maybe we can do this some other time.” I started to fidget under his intense gaze. Why did he have to look at me as if he were trying to see to my very soul?
He shook his head, tsking me. “I’ll go just in case she shows up. I’d hate for her to feel like a third wheel if she’s able to make it. What happened with her, anyway?”
I moved to the couch in resignation. Sitting down, I grabbed one of the “devil’s own” sandals, which I was determined to conquer. “Not sure. She left so quickly that she didn’t have time to tell me. She said she’d fill me in later.”
“Has she ever done that before?” he asked, standing next to the couch, looking down at me.
“What? Left when we had plans? Yeah, plenty of times, but I do it a lot too, so I don’t get too upset. We’re kind of the same way like that.” I paused for a minute as I thought about what I just said. Could she be...No, that wasn’t possible, was it?
I felt the couch stir beneath me, and I realized that Hunter had come around and sat down on the other end, his distance a little too close for comfort. His eyes were on my chest, which I hadn't realized had become a slightly exposed as I leaned over struggling with the straps of my shoe. I sat up quickly and my shoe fell from my foot.
I put my hand to my chest, making sure that my dress was back where it should be. I could feel the quick rhythm of my heart beneath it, while my breath kept the same pace. I needed to gain my composure, but his presence was overwhelming me again.
“Yeah…so…the reservations are for six now at Celestino's. It’s one of the best rest…aur…ants…” My voice faded as I watched him reach forward and grab the shoe from the floor in front of me.
“Well, I guess we better get going then,” he said, almost in a whisper, as he held the shoe in his hand and reached for my leg with the other. I drew in a hard breath as his hand slowly slid down my calves, gently raising it up and resting my foot in his lap. My calf burned from his touch and the heat made its way up my thigh settling in between my legs. He moved the shoe into his other hand, cupped the back of my ankle, and began to gently put it onto my foot.
“What are you—”
“At the rate you’re going with these, we’ll never make it to dinner. However, I’m not opposed to staying here all night and helping you with your accessories.” He chuckled as he held my foot tighter when I tried to tug it free. A minute later he had the straps expertly in place. I quickly lifted my leg from his lap and put it down on the floor, shocked at how quickly he had mastered the complicated straps.
“Uh…thanks.” I said, reaching for the other shoe.
He started to reach forward again and I held my hand up to ward him. “I can manage this one, Hunter!” He seemed to find that rather humorous too, which only fueled my anger more. At this point all I wanted to do was get the hell out of my apartment. The walls were starting to feel like they were closing in on us, and it seemed I couldn’t trust my body to take orders from my mind.
I fumbled with the shoe, but my fear of him taking over again made me determined and I managed to work it out after a few minutes. I stood and started to walk past him, but he jumped up in front of me and grabbed my wrist, swinging me around to face him. Looking into his eyes, I braced myself for his pull, but it didn’t come. I could sense that he was fighting with himself, his breath coming a little harder, and his grip on my wrist tightened. I looked down when I felt a sting of pain, and he let up, but didn’t let go.
“Why do you fight your feelings, Cassandra?”
My chest heaved with the adrenaline pumping through it. It pissed me off that he had the nerve to assume I had any feelings for him at all. I snatched my wrist from his grasp.
“The only thing I’m fighting is the urge to slap you. What makes you think I like having your hands on me? What gives you the right to even think you can put your hands on me?”
He didn’t even twitch from the anger pouring out of me.
“I apologize, Cassandra. I assumed you didn’t mind. In fact, I thought enjoyed it, just as you did in the park.”
His cocky look challenged me to finish my lie. “Ugh! Let’s just go, ok?” I stomped away, grabbing my purse off the counter, and yanked the door open.
“As you wish.” He slowly walked past me and into the hallway, smiling the entire way.
The car ride was silent, aside from my blunt directions to Celestino's. I was still fuming from our argument, if you could call it that. Sure I was mad at him for being so damn smug and taking obligations that he shouldn’t, but I was so completely angry at myself for allowing all of it to happen without one protest, until after it was always too late.
I tried to push all my anger aside in order to enjoy the night with Caleb, but my mind kept sneaking back to Hunter’s expertise with my shoe.
“Hunter, how is it you can handle a pair of women’s strappy sandals better than I can?”
He laughed. “Ahhh. Therein, lies another lesson, Cassandra. There are a lot of things that I am an expert at with women. I’d be happy to show you all of them.”
I looked down and he put his hand my thigh. With a grunt, I shoved it off of me. I didn’t even have to look at him to feel the arrogance emanating from him over my reaction.
“How about I give you a little lesson about me? Maybe all of the women you know, or have known, like it when you molest them. But you touch me again without my permission, and I’ll make sure I wipe that shit-ass grin off your face after. And that goes for Nora too.” I sat up straighter in my seat, feeling my backbone growing stronger. It felt really good and was long overdue.
“Understood, but know this. You will give me your permission, and I promise you’ll be the one with the smile on your face.”
I threw my head back, closed my eyes, and breathed an exasperated sigh. “This is hopeless,” I whispered. “You’re hopeless.” I didn’t bother with another word to him.
Which character was your favorite to write about? What about the hardest to write about?
I loved writing about Caleb and Hunter, they are both so confident and cocky, but each with a different style. It was a way to let my sarcastic humor run free, and I got to be men with an attitude, the kind I would try to shoot down every chance I got, but secretly long for LOL. To be honest, Cassie was the hardest for me to write. I’m all about the kick-ass female lead, but Cassie is learning about who she really is throughout the novel so it was hard to hold back and not make her too tough when she’s entering into a world she has no clue about.
What Other Projects can we look forward to reading from you?
Currently I’m just finishing up Seeker Of Fate, book #2 in the Fate series, set to come out later this year, with plans of a book #3, if not more, depending on how that one twists out on me. I’ve also wavered on a couple of novellas from other characters’ point of views, and possibly some spin-offs. But I’m itching to start another series as well with an idea that’s been festering in my head lately.
Thank you all for listening in on all my deepest, darkest secrets! I had a blast being here. I hope you enjoyed the interview, and I hope Guardian Of Fate has caught your interest as well. See you around!
Find L.J. and her books
Guardian of Fate
Fear of death is all too common. Visions of it chill the bones and skip heartbeats. Seeing it coming and knowing only you can rescue the soul of the victim from the fiery bowels of hell…that’s downright life-altering.
Cassandra Cosgrove’s life was altered at the age of sixteen when she found out that it was her responsibility to save the lives, and ultimately the souls, of innocent victims targeted by Hell’s demons. As impossible as it seemed at first, she was able to live a fairly normal life, while secretly fulfilling her obligation as a Guardian of Fate.
But years later Fate has its own plan when her visions begin drastically changing at the same time two mysterious men appear in her life. Cassandra suddenly finds herself caught in a battle between good and evil, with her own soul on the line. When it seems everyone in her life has a secret they’ve been hiding from her, who can she trust to be the Guardian of her Fate?