Interview & Excerpt: Paige Weaver, Promise Me Darkness

A New York Times & USA Today Best Seller

"He was my darkness and I was his light. We couldn't exist without each other."

For me, life was simple. I went to school and studied. I spent time with my friends and stayed out of trouble. I didn't drink or swear and I only dated gentlemen. I was the typical good girl with a bright future. My world seemed perfect.

But that was about to change.

Ryder Delaney was the one imperfection in my life. He was the bad boy, the black sheep, the one your mother always warned you about. He had only one hard-and-fast rule - Don't fall in love.

But some rules were meant to be broken.

We were best friends, inseparable since childhood despite our differences. I knew the real man hiding behind the tattoos and bad attitude. He knew all my secrets and dreams. But he didn't know there was one thing I wanted and couldn't have...him.

But sometimes Fate has a way of intervening. Soon our world collapsed. War erupted. Darkness prevailed. Alone and on the run, our only goal was to survive and to ignore the feelings we had for each other. But love is powerful...

and so is the darkness.

Interview with Paige Weaver: 

SRNA: How blown away have you been over the success of Promise Me Darkness?

PW: I have been amazed by the success of Promise Me Darkness. I never thought it would become a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. Only in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen to me. Months before the release, I told my husband that I hoped to sell a hundred copies. To think that I sold that many within two hours of releasing the book is still surreal.

I have received numerous emails from fans telling me how wonderful my book is but the messages I will never forget are the ones letting me know how much Promise Me Darkness affected them. From people who have lost loved ones to readers suffering in some other way, Promise Me Darkness has seemed to touch fans in a way that I never foresaw. Those messages mean more to me than all the five star reviews.

SRNA: When you wrote it, did you intend for it to be a self-published book? Or were there other determining factors?

PW: I always intended for it to be a self-published book. I did not submit to agents or publishers before the release. I have never written a query letter. I saw self-publishing as a means to do something that I had always loved to do – write, without getting someone’s else’s opinion that I was allowed to do it. It’s a free market and that’s what I love.

SRNA: Are you happy you self-published and would you do it again?

PW: I am extremely happy that I self-published and I would do it again and again. I control everything, from my cover to what and when I want to write, it’s all my decision. I have been writing since I was thirteen. There are many unfinished books sitting on my computer but without self-publishing, they would still be sitting on my hard drive for no one else to see but me. Self-publishing gave me a voice and allowed me to reach for my dream.

SRNA: What's been the hardest part about self-publishing?

PW: In my opinion, the hardest part of self-publishing is the business aspect. Formatting an e-book takes time and patience. Lots of patience. Uploading to various websites can be frustrating and confusing. Each website is different and you have to learn all the details for every one and what they require. Mistakes occur and they are almost impossible to correct sometimes. Marketing and publicity are very time-consuming and do not always have positive outcomes. There have been many days that I either wanted to pull my hair out or cry (and those days still exist). It can be a 24/7 job but it’s well worth it.

SRNA: Why New Adult?

PW: I've been a bookworm my whole life. I started reading romance novels when I was thirteen. (Yes, thirteen! I spent summers with my grandmother and she gave me my first bodice-ripping novel one summer. After that, I was hooked.) I grew up reading the romances of the nineties, featuring half-naked men with flowing, long hair and women wearing big, antebellum dresses. I loved those novels (still do) but there is something about New Adult that is fresh and exciting. I wanted to write about college students because I loved that time in my life. I think a person’s early twenties are a turning point and that’s why New Adult novels have such appeal. For Promise Me Darkness, I wanted the New Adult feel but I also wanted to add suspense and edge of your seat scenes. Thus, the twist came about.

SRNA: Are you working on anything new at the moment that you'd like to tell us about?

PW: I am working on Promise Me Light, the sequel to Promise Me Darkness. It will be released later this year. I’m also working on a stand-alone book with a completely different storyline. It will be lighter, more traditional. Many fans are requesting books for all the characters of Promise Me Darkness so that is also an option for the future.

SRNA: Are you a panster or a plotter?

PW: Both. I plot a story in my mind, sometimes letting it build for days, but when I sit down and start typing, all my plans are thrown out the window. The characters take over and I have to write what they want me to write. I end up flying by the seat of my pants most of the time. I don’t think I could write any other way.

SRNA: Do you have any writing rituals or superstitions?

PW: While I am writing, I prefer not to talk about the book. My husband is the only person I use as a sounding board and sometimes, I don’t even want to talk to him about what I am writing. There is something about keeping it secret that helps me write. It keeps me grounded and I find myself more creative when I don’t discuss it with anyone else.

SRNA: Last but not least, and just for fun... what's your sign?

PW: Scorpio

(No wonder she prefers to not discuss the book while she's writing it. Scorpios are notoriously secretive *grin*)

~Devoured Words~ 

I opened up the car door and was surprised when Ryder turned off the ignition and climbed out of the truck. “I’ll walk you in.”
I couldn’t say why the butterflies took flight in my stomach or why my hands started to shake when I attempted to unlock the front door, but they did. I had been alone with Ryder plenty of times but tonight felt different.
In the kitchen, I flipped on the light and grimaced when I saw his face. It looked awful, painful. To think those bruises were there because of me...hurt.
“Your face looks horrible. Have a seat. I’ll get something to doctor it,” I said.
“Its fine. Don’t worry about it,” he said, taking a seat anyway. That put his eyes closer to my level, making my nervousness double and my heart pound.
“Doctoring you is the least I could do after you defended my honor,” I said, teasingly. A smile slowly spread across his face. Stretching out his long legs, he watched me closely, studying my every move.
Ryder’s a friend. Only a friend. The words kept replaying in my mind as I headed to the bathroom for the first-­‐aid. What was wrong with me that I needed to remind myself of our friendship all the time?
For some reason, I dropped the butterfly bandages twice before walking back to the kitchen.
When I rounded the corner and saw him, I almost stumbled. He had taken off his hat, leaving his hair messy and flattened. He looked innocent and sweet. Nothing like his true self. As I poured antiseptic on a cotton ball, he ran a hand through his hair, making it spike up all over. Now he looked like the bad boy I knew him to be.
Taking a deep breath, I stepped toward him. He spread his knees so I could stand closer but I kept my distance. Even this close, I could smell his aftershave – something clean and manly -­‐ unlike the heavy cologne that Ben wore.
“You don’t have to do this, Maddie.”
“Sure, I do. Someone needs to be my guinea pig so I can practice my nursing skills. Might as well be you,” I teased.
He grinned and put a hand on my hip. “What’s your deal? I’m not going to bite,” he said, pulling me forward to stand between his legs. His hand lingered on my hip a second before dropping away.
I blushed, the skin on my hip burning beneath my dress. His eyes were now level with my breasts and his legs were mere centimeters away from my thighs. One more small step and I would be in his lap. Where I wanted to be.
What was wrong with me?
I avoided his eyes as I put the cotton ball on his cheekbone. “Shit!” he hissed.
“So you get tattooed but you can’t handle a little burn. What’s wrong with this
picture?” I asked, unable to hold back a grin.
He laughed lightly. His eyes dropped down to my chest and quickly back up again. My blush returned, turning my face a bright red. I quickly placed the butterfly bandage on the cut on his cheek, needing to hurry and get away from him before I made that straddling wish a reality.

Wetting another cotton ball with antiseptic, I leaned closer, planning to put it on his lip. Instead, he took it from me and placed it on the cut himself. Hissing, he closed his eyes at the pain.
I was still standing between his legs when his blue eyes opened and looked at me, searing me with heat. I took a step back, putting a safe distance between us.
“You and your boyfriend still an item?” he asked, putting the hat back on his head. “Yes, Ben and I are still together.”
“Is it serious?”
I shrugged indifferently. I was not going to tell Ryder that Ben had been pushing me to have sex. Ryder and I shared everything but our sex life (or in my case -­‐ lack of one) was not something we talked about. Thank goodness too. I hated his promiscuous behavior. Ryder was the ultimate player and seeing him with so many women hurt. A lot.
He stood up, towering over me. The kitchen suddenly felt small and crowded. Intimate, if kitchens could feel that way. Moving closer, he ran a finger underneath the spaghetti strap of my sundress. Shivers raced across my skin.
“This dress is dangerous,” he whispered. “It’s just a dress, Ryder.”
“It’s more than just a dress, Maddie. It makes you look so innocent and sweet. Ripe for the taking. You don't know what that does to guys. Your boyfriend would kill you for wearing it to a bar.”
“He doesn't tell me what to wear.”
“If I was your boyfriend, I wouldn't want you to wear that unless it was to bed and then I would just rip it off of you. With pleasure.”
My breath caught in my throat as his eyes burned into mine and his finger continued to run across my skin.
Seconds ticked by on the kitchen clock.
He finally removed his finger and broke the silence, ending the moment between us. Whatever it was.
“I'm teasing, Maddie." he said with a smile, the heat leaving his eyes. "I like to see you blush."
I frowned and felt a tiny bit of hurt. Teasing like that wasn't funny. He stepped away from me, putting a safe distance between us.
"So I wanted to talk to you about something. Guess this is as good a time as any." He took a deep breath and let it out in a tumble of words. "I’m enlisting in the Army.”
I stared at him in shock, not expecting those words. His strong jaw flexed as he waited for me to say something. Words escaped me. I lost my voice. What do I say to that?
“I wanted you to be the first to know. I can get in as an officer since I have a college degree.” He leaned back against the table and crossed his arms over his chest. “I’ve got to get out of this one-­‐horse town and decided the Army was the best way to do it.”
Words stuck in my throat. He wanted to leave? I guess I took it for granted that Ryder would always be here. To me, he was a constant and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
“You can’t enlist,” I said.
One corner of his mouth lifted in a lopsided grin. “Leave it to you, Maddie, to tell me I can’t do something.” His eyes locked onto mine with intensity and his grin faded. “But before I sign up, there is one thing that I want to do.”

That's when my heart went crazy and my imagination went wild.

Paige Weaver’s first passion has always been reading. Many hours of her childhood were spent getting lost between the pages of a book. That turned into a love for writing at a young age. She wrote her first book as a teenager and many more followed. Thanks to pressure from family and friends, she finally decided to take the leap and self-publish. Her first book, Promise Me Darkness, became a New York Times and USA Today bestseller within a month after being released.

A native Texan who still resides in the town where she was born, Paige lives with her husband and two children. When she's not writing or reading, you can find her chasing her kids around and living her very own happily ever-after story.

Lori L. Clark

She Reads New Adult Admin: Lori L. Clark

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