Aimee Tupps grew up in a small farm community in Connersville, Indiana. She currently resides in Grand Blanc, Michigan. In her spare time she enjoys daydreaming, traveling, sunsets, the outdoors but most of all spending time with her family. As a young girl she entertained herself by living adventures from her imagination. Aimee looks at every day as a blessing and another day to make her dreams a reality. She is still in touch with her inner teenager and enjoys the mischief she can get into. Family is one of the most important things in her life. She has a degree in Medical Transcription. Currently she works as an optical technician/tester. She has one adoring husband who joins in her mischief or is the recipient of it along with her two loveable children and one hyper dog.
Title: Shadow Tears
Author: A. J. Tupps
Page count: 302
Genre: YA coming of age
Price: $16.95 for paperback and $5.99 e-book
Tell us about your book:
Shadow Tears is the first book in a series. In this book you meet Selena Goodwin who discovers more about her heritage than she ever wanted. She has special abilities that are fascinating while others are frightening to her. All her beliefs are tested when she finds out that the mortal rules don’t apply to everybody or everything. Her knowledge of the supernatural and myths might become her only means to survive. She must accept who she is meant to be.
Being thrust into a world full of secrets, danger, and a family she didn’t know existed is overwhelming, not to mention a responsibility. Luckily she still has the love and support of her adoptive father who had known all along who she is meant to be. To make things worse she discovers her very existence is threatened by an unknown enemy. The normal obstacles of being a teenager are hard enough. Now she has to learn how to live a lie while falling in love and accepting her life as it was meant to be. High school is supposed to be the best years of your life.
Selena must rely on strangers who she is not sure are reliable. The only person she can rely on must stand between her and the possibility of death. Selena faces these realms with reality always reminding her she is fallible. Yet she can overcome anything with the love of her family and friends.
How long did it take to write the book?
I don’t have a good answer for that. I wrote a series and then began dividing it into books. It has taken eleven years to write the series and a year to edit the first book.
What inspired you to write the book?
My husband had cancer when my children were younger. We spent a lot of time going to appointments, staying in a hotel across from Cleveland Clinic. During those times I made up stories for my children. They have heard many different parts of this series. One night while in the hotel room my son asked for the book. It hit me that there was no book for him to read. I told him the story was in my head. Like any child he thought it was a simple matter. He and his sister wanted me to write it down for them and their friends. It was Christmas time and I watched them looking out the misty window and came up with the title Shadow Tears. My children didn’t cry. At times I felt the environment cried for them especially when they looked out those windows. My little girl and I spent a lot of time looking out all the different windows we would come across.
That night I began writing the story down. At first I thought I would have it bound at an office store and give it to them as a present. Then I found out how much relief it gave me to concentrate on these stories. I love my story and there is a lot of me in this book. Here we are eleven years later and the series is written and is waiting to be edited. My husband was very encouraging and felt my books needed to be shared with others.
We are a family who have survived the big C and are now facing it again. There are a number of reasons. I want to share this book. I want to be an encouragement to someone facing life. Writing was an escape for me and telling those stories helped my children to cope as well. The Lord provided the guidance to lead me in this direction. I want people to be inspired to overcome what they feel impossible. My stories encourage that even though my characters are fallible…human. I didn’t want the fairytale story I wanted young adults, or caregivers, or adults, to see this is the road given us, fight. Writing is my way of coping.
Talk about the writing process. Did you have a writing routine? Did you do any research, and if so, what did that involve?
I let the story flow. Of course, there is a guideline but I never know what the characters may need until writing those scenes. Trust me bridges are a pain in the neck. There have been times where I did write a scene that I knew about in advance. By the time I get to that scene things change and always cause a rewrite. My characters tell me their directions as I apply the guidelines.
I do have what I call my characters guidelines or bibles and with each realm I have a written law book that guides the story. I don’t like to find inconsistences. This series also required a prophecy book which is also written so that I can refer back to it when I have a question along with a detail of certain events that have affected the characters growth. My filing cabinet is full with these notebooks. Of course I do have a computer program that helps put all these guidelines into effect.
A part of my routine is my comfy room. I must be warm, have soft blankets and music as I write. Music is not background noise in our house. It is an event no matter what type it is. We are a musical family and love all types of music. We listen from classical, foreign to the modern genres. In fact I have a young gentleman who writes beautiful music and he has enhanced my book with music made just for my series. I can’t wait to share them. He is in the process of copyrighting them so it won’t be much longer. He has done several styles of music but the music he has created for Shadow Tears is perfect. It matches.
I have a cozy room in my home that is for my writing. This room contains more than just the normal thing you find in a study. I am a person who loves comfort and my family. We have three desks and have always had a children’s corner. I have a comfy chair to read new releases from my favorite authors or to play Destiny Ninja Warrior. Yeah, I am in touch with my inner teenager. Crazy, I know. I write on my computer and I do use notebooks to back me up. This one little room is the heart of the house in many ways. The children call it the comfy room that is warm.
We do have time limits in a way but my children are grown now. We eat dinner as a family after work. I do work late into the night on my books. Both my children are night owls too.
I love that you asked if I did any research. I have. I have done a lot of traveling and reading on all the things that influence this book. I have studied mythology, the paranormal, superstitions, history, historical battles, military strategies from different perspectives, herbs, medical books, which are a part of my career, Celts and the arts and finally weapons. I have been taught by a friend who is a police officer how to use daggers. I found I have a fascination with their uses. If you get me started I could go on forever. I love learning and I have loved learning these items with my family. My books may be an adventure but the history and education is there. I have herbal recipes and pictures from herbalists who know amazing things. My children have loved the adventures we have explored.
What do you hope your readers come away with after reading your book?
I want children to be able to face anything sent their way. No illness would be allowed to steal our joy of life. So I used things I saw that influenced those around me and put a paranormal spin to them. Selena faces things that the average teenager and young adult faces while the adults face their own dilemmas. This book isn’t just for girls it is for guys too. I have seen plenty of the problems young men face and we girls might need to realize it is not so easy to be a guy. This may be a sci-fi fantasy book but there are life lessons. No problem is small to the person going through the event but they can be overcomed.
Excerpt from book:
Carefully, I leaned back against the rough wall thinking about the man’s gentle face that I saw earlier. It made me wonder why I thought he had blue eyes. His face looked so familiar. I am sure I have seen it somewhere before. He looked sort of happy, but something else too. Again my eyes were drawn to the mist. I could still make out shapes in the swirl. It had to be my vivid imagination. There were animals of all kinds, bodies dancing, and eyes, but not everything looked friendly. Hastily I closed my eyes as the thunder shouted at me, almost as if demanding for me to look. That was something I didn’t want to do. How was Heather sleeping through this? I knew she was a sound sleeper, but this was ridiculous.
Again the air ricocheted with the sounds of lightning and thunder, forcing me to jerk my eyes open. My body was screaming how tired I was. I wanted to block all of this from my mind but couldn’t. I wondered what all this forest has seen? Slowly my eyes fought to shut as I allowed my mind to wander. I could imagine voyageurs, soldiers, and Indians passing through here. This area was loaded with history. There had to be plenty of stories this forest could tell. In fact there was a piece of folklore about our little area that I always wondered about because of my interest in the supernatural. This piece of lore dealt with shadow people and super humans who lived together for a time in peace. But a war broke out and they were pitted against each other supposedly trying to save their world. What was it from? Shep always told me this story and I had heard it so many times, why would I forget it now?
The thunder and lightning seemed to get louder as if it was concentrated right over us, and Heather still did not wake up. As my mind relaxed I became aware of angry voices, but I couldn’t tell what they were saying.
My eyes flew open and adjusted quickly. A fog was rolling towards our shelter, and in the fog, an arch seemed to be growing, intertwined with branches and vines. It had a triangle top, not a round arch found in traditional architecture. To my surprise I could see three men standing at it and a bright light bursting through. The fog was rolling towards them, and in the fog I saw many dark shapes. They were coming closer and closer to the men. I spotted another human within the darkness. His eyes looked strange, almost like they were swirling. He was arguing with the three men. By the way they were dressed I could assume they were voyageurs. Two of the voyageurs seemed to be moving their hands, which made the fog swirl around feverishly. Suddenly one of the men began shouting at the abnormal one. It was obvious he wasn’t going to allow the man to exit the arch. The shadow’s eyes changed from a swirl to a vibrant green as he smirked. Evidently he felt confident in pushing the issue as he was joined by other silhouetted forms. Abruptly he turned into a dark form, with flashes of light jumping on the man in front of him. I heard the man’s neck snap with sounds of electricity echoing in the surrounding area. Shouts from other voyageurs drew my attention as they rushed in, waving their hands frantically at the opposing crowd. The fog and shadows seemed to be moving back through the tree, slowly fading from sight in the blur of the rain. The storm around them was getting worse. I hadn’t noticed it before, but there were women there too.
What was happening? I needed to get out of here! The thunder clapped really loud as lightning struck a tree not too far away from us. I watched as it zigzagged across the purple sky. When I looked back to the fight, I found nothing but swirls of mist. Luckily I had been dreaming. In a rush I reached over towards Heather to reassure myself that all was fine. We were still in our little shelter and we were safe. I then felt an icy coldness that startled me when I found myself looking beside Heather at a woman wiping Heather’s head, smiling. At that moment I realized it was a mist, and it evaporated. This dream seemed so real.
Where can we go to buy your book?
Shadow Tears is now available on the Halo Publishing website, Amazon.com, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Nook, Bowker Books, Ingram Distributing, B. Dalton, and many more
Any other links or info you'd like to share?
Pen Name: A.J. Tupps
Pen Name: A.J. Tupps
Author Website: www.ajtupps.com
Twitter URL: AjTupps@AjTupps
Facebook URL: Facebook.com/TheShadowRealmSaga:ShadowTears
Book Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kqOgW98tpAs