Claribel Ortega: Friday Author Feature

Let’s give a hearty Friday Author Feature welcome to Claribel Ortega, author of The Skinwalker’s Apprentice.

Claribel Ortega

“Welcome to The Empire State, where banshees, witches, and skinwalkers wait…”

Margo Pennyfeather is being hunted. The 16-year-old witch has always been an outcast, in her home back in England, and now in the village of East Hampton, New York, where her family has settled. No one but her family has ever cared for Margo, but now the most important witch in the magic world wants her as an apprentice, giving her a chance to bring her family out of poverty.
Before long, Margo realizes things aren’t what they seem, least of all, what kind of witch she really is. Now, the young witch must face a terrifying monster on her own, and the reverberations will reach farther than she could have ever imagined.

More than three hundred years later, in 1984 Emerald Kipp is a high school senior in New York City. A troubled teen with a rebellious streak, Emerald can’t seem to figure out what to do with her life, and unfortunately for her, “witch” isn’t one of the available career choices in her guidance counselor’s office. As she struggles to figure herself out, Emerald is faced with the threat of being stuck in school and missing her final summer with her three best friends. Her last year of high school is turning out to be the worst yet, and Emerald thinks it can’t possibly get any worse. Unfortunately for her, she’s dead wrong.
And there’s something else, something far more sinister stirring in Emerald’s world, and she’ll have to believe in herself if she wants to get through it alive.

Two witches, three hundred years apart, one inescapable fate.

The Skinwalker’s Apprentice is a prequel to the upcoming novel, Emerald Kipp and The Riddle of The Timekeeper, a terrifying magical scavenger hunt through the gritty streets of 1980’s New York City,set to a killer soundtrack, and perfect for fans of Harry Potter and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Part of The Empire Witches series.

Find The Skinwalker’s Apprentice on Barnes and Noble, Apple iBooks, and Goodreads

Visit Claribel Ortega’s website

How long have you been writing?

I think I began writing when I was around ten. I loved writing poetry and song lyrics, and I decided to pursue a career in Journalism once I got older.

What inspired you to write this book?

Witches have always intrigued me, and I was sitting on the subway on the way to work one day when I started writing a magical battle scene. I started researching witches in New York City and found so many interesting, quirky people in history and stories that were not well known, and I began crafting the story of Emerald Kipp, skinwalkers and The Timekeeper from there.  There’s something about New York City; it has this air of magic and mystery about it, and I thought it would be really cool to set a story about witches here and try to capture that. There are so many hidden places, so many dark alleyways which aren’t what they seem, the city really lends itself to a fantasy novel.

The Skinwalker’s Apprentice which comes out on Feb. 24th, is the prequel to a trilogy. Book one – Emerald Kipp & The Riddle of the Timekeeper – is set in 1980′s New York and is part of  The Empire Witches Series. The trilogy is full of historical references, with little known but real NY residents whose stories I’ve weaved into my fantasy world, it makes you feel like it could almost be real ;)

Which character is your favorite and why?

This is hard to answer without giving away a huge spoiler, but I’ll just say one of Emerald’s best friends (Emerald Kipp is my main character).

What advice do you have for young authors?

Work on your writing before you jump into anything else, it’s the most important part of the whole puzzle. I think it’s hard to focus now a days since there is so much more that goes into being a writer. You essentially need to be a marketing genius in order to get an indie book noticed and it’s not easy. The thing is though, no matter how good your marketing is, if your book is no good, it’s not going to do much for you once people begin reading it and spreading the word. You have to have a product that people can relate to, get lost in, and really connect with on some level. That doesn’t mean it has to be Shakespeare, it just means people have to enjoy it. If you do that, you did your job. I also think writers need to remember that just because YOU think your story is amazing, that doesn’t mean anyone else will. Be prepared for rejection…a lot of it. There are many talented and brilliant authors, and publishers and readers are many times looking for something specific. That doesn’t mean your work isn’t good, it just might not be the best it can be.  Nobody owes you anything, and if you don’t get picked up by an agent or publisher don’t blame them, just go back and see what you can do to improve your writing. It all goes back to that. Keep it positive! Especially on social media, hate to see writers complaining and burning bridges for the world to see. Oh and also don’t flip out over bad reviews, call your best friend and cry, eat some ice cream and pick yourself back up. We all get them and raging online at the reviewer will do nothing but lose you readers and make a bad name for yourself. Bloggers and the online community have a lot of power and sway over books and how well they do.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

I work as a social media manager for a book marketing company in New York and I watch a lot of TV which rots my brain. I also love to read, spend time with my family and get lost in the black hole that is the internet.

Thanks to Claribel Ortega for stopping by the Friday Author Feature!