C.L. Gaber writes YA fiction from her home in Nevada where she lives with her husband Ron, bonus daughter Sabrina and two unruly dogs. She is also the co-author of Jex Malone.
Is this Hell or is this High School?
THE ASCENDERS Book Saga Takes You To the In-between Where Teens Who Died Young Go On the Epic Adventure of an After-Lifetime
Walker Callaghan doesn’t know what happened to her. One minute she was living her teenage life in suburban Chicago…and the next minute, she was in a strange place and in a brand new school with absolutely no homework, no rules, and no consequences.
Walker Callaghan, 17, is dead.
She doesn’t go to heaven or hell. She lands at The Academy, a middle realm where teenagers have one thing in common: They were the morning announcement at their high schools because they died young.
These high school kids are now caught in a strange “in-between” zone where life hasn’t changed very much. In fact, this special teen limbo looks a lot like life in a quaint Michigan town complete with jocks, popular girls and cliques. “There are even cheerleaders in death,” Walker observes. It’s not a coincidence that the music teacher is a guy named Kurt who “used to have this band.” The drama teacher, Heath, is crush worthy because back in his life, he starred in some superhero movie.
Principal King explains the rules — there are none. Why? You can’t die twice.
There is no homework.
You’re just there to learn because the human brain isn’t fully formed until you’re 24.
By the way, you can’t get hurt physically, so race your Harley off that hillside. But falling in love is the most dangerous thing you can do …because no one knows how long you’ll stay in this realm or what’s next.
“Losing someone you love would be like dying twice,” Walker says.
Walker Callaghan has just arrived at the Academy after a tragic car accident. “Is this hell or is this high school?” she asks.
She finds out her new life is a bit of both as she falls in love with tat-covered, bad boy Daniel Reid who is about to break the only sacred rule of this place. He’s looking for a portal to return back to the living realm.
He needs just one hour to retrieve his younger brother who strangely never arrived at The Academy. Bobby is an Earth Bound Spirit, stuck at a plane crash site that took both of their lives as their rich father piloted his private jet nose-first into a cornfield on Christmas Eve.
Walker loves Daniel and risks it all to go with him.
Have they learned enough to outsmart dangerous forces while transporting a young child with them? Can their love survive the fragmented evil parts of themselves that are now hunting them down as they try to find a way back to the middle?
At the Academy, you learn the lessons of an after-lifetime.
A famous case. A missing girl. If they find her, will they be heroes? Or dead?
Bored out of her mind during a summer with her police detective father in Las Vegas, Jessica (aka “Jex”) Malone starts doing what she does best–snooping. When she meets three new friends who share her passion for crime, from the geek to the fashionista, suddenly, the stifling desert days don’t seem so long.
Her dad is never around, just like when her parents were married. But Jex’s crew, the Drew-Ids, take the pledge of eternal secrecy and then get down to the good stuff–digging through the cold-case files in Dad’s home office.
One of them, the thirteen-year-old case of Patty Matthews, is still a mystery. Finding Patty, who vanished into thin air, became such an obsession for Jex’s father that it destroyed the Malones’ marriage. So not only is this a big deal, it’s personal.
Jex is determined to find out what really happened, and her excitement is contagious. Soon her friends are all on board and so is the missing girl’s brother, the hunky Cooper Matthews.
But as they dig up more and more troubling information–more than the cops ever did–they also get the clear message that someone out there wants to prevent the truth from coming out. That somebody is also prepared to do anything, absolutely anything, to prevent it.
Jex isn’t afraid; after all, she’s a cop’s daughter. But maybe she should be.
Laced with humor, toughness, and real CSI investigation techniques, Jex Malone could be the Nancy Drew for a new generation–but with a chilling twist. These wannabe detectives are on the brink of finding out the fate of poor missing Patty. But will they disappear without a trace, too?
1. Could you tell us a bit about your most recent release and why it is a must-read?
I just released ASCENDERS: SKYPUNCH (Book 2), which is the second book in the Ascenders Saga. Ascenders revolves around 17-year-old Walker Callaghan who went to sleep in her own bed only to wake up in a new house in a new town. Walker finds out that she died last night. She has landed in a quaint town that looks a lot like the UP of Michigan. It’s a middle zone for those who have died young. There are no rules, except one. You can’t think about or try to go back to your earthly life. Walker meets rebel Daniel Reid who must go back to find his youngest brother, Bobby, 6, who died in a plane crash, but didn’t ascend. Walker risks it all to go with him to see her mother one last time. In Skypunch, we find out the repercussions of that journey, plus a new adventure begins where Walker and Daniel are tasked to go back in time to find something hidden in history.
2. What is your favorite part of this book?
I love a love story…and Daniel and Walker deepen their bond in Skypunch. One of my favorite parts is a small moment where in the face of great danger, they focus on each other and have a dance on their front porch. It’s those little moments that I love in books.
3. In addition to being a writer, do you have a day job? If so, what is it?
I do! I interview celebs for the New York Times wire and write about upcoming movies. It’s such a fun gig that I’ve done for over two decades. And it allows me to travel to New York and Los Angeles all the time, plus interview stars. Happy to answer your questions about your favorite celebs during my takeover!
Oh my wow! That has got to be so much fun!
4. What does your typical day look like?
My daughter is in high school, so we’re up early since school starts at 7! Why 7!! Why, why, why!!!! After I walk the dogs and grab some carbs, I’m writing all day. I spent part of the day on Ascenders and part on my newspaper writing and other projects.
Do not ask me why 7AM, I’ve no earthly idea. That should only be seen in the PM!
5. What do you love most about the writing process?
Ascenders is a fantasy series and I love that, as an author, you can make anything happen. Today I’m writing a major demon fighting scene on the streets of New York of the past. It’s such a blast to be able to let your imagination go wild.
6. Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?
I have to say I’m partial to Walker Callaghan from Ascenders. When we meet her, she’s insecure and trying to come to grips with the fact that her life has ended at 17. But there is so much more for her… An adventure of an after-lifetime. We see her grow into her own. She definitely becomes someone who doesn’t need to be saved and does some saving on her own. She is also fiercely loyal to Daniel, family and other loved ones.
7. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
As a journalist, I interview so many people. I think my characters contain traits of people who have come into my life, but then they’re infused with imagination. Even in a fantasy book, I like the reality of human life and try to bring that to my characters.
8. What is the biggest surprise you experienced after becoming a writer?
I love talking to readers. It’s so exciting for me to see new reviews or just have some message me about a certain part of the book. It’s actually thrilling! The other surprise is to hear how people are waiting for book 3 now. It really motivates me each day.
I became a fan after being in a Facebook takeover. I love your stories!
9. Since being a writer, what has been the best compliment?
After book one came out, people were asking about two. Now people are asking about three. Thank you, thank, you, thank you. That’s the best compliment for an author. I also loved how someone described the books as Epic. I’ll take Epic any day of the week.
10. If you could ask one question from any one person, living or dead, what would it be and from whom?
Wow, that’s such a good question. I lost both of my parents, so it would have to be one of them. I’d ask them, “What’s next?”
11. What is the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
I’ve done a lot of in person panels at book conventions and I’ve been told that you need to jump right in. I think I was a bit shy at first. But now I’m a talker!
12. If you were riding in an elevator with a new writer, what wisdom would you bestow upon him/her before you reached the top floor?
Write, write and write. Try to write each day even if it’s just a page or half a page. It all adds up. And also don’t write by committee. I hear other authors telling new writers to give their work to 10 people to read before it’s out. My advice: Have a great editor you can trust and one or two friends who will give you honest feedback.
Amen! I’m not down with that advise of new writers getting some consensus.
13. What is the most amusing thing that has ever happened to you?
I was asked to do an Oprah event for Ascenders in Washington DC. It was surreal!
Wow! I bet it was. Please tell our readers about it.
14. What websites or resources have been helpful to you, as a writer?
I love to read. As much as possible. And you can’t beat Google when you need some quick facts. I love for the history in books to be based in reality.
15. Do you have any hidden or uncommon talents?
Well, I can’t cook. Can’t ice skate. Can’t sing. But all dogs seem to love me!
That’s VERY telling. Animals know human spirit; especially, dogs. So glad I know you!
16. What would the main character in your most recent book have to say about you?
Wow, Walker might say that CL needs to start jogging because you have to run fast when demons are on your butt. She’d also say, “Tell my mom that I love her.” And she’d laugh when I told her that her hunk Daniel has been described by others as “chocolate cake!”
Bawhahaha That actually made me belly laugh.
17. What is something memorable you heard from a reader/fan?
It makes me tear up, but someone who was very ill wrote me to say that reading Ascenders made her feel hopeful about what happens next. That really touched me.
You just made me mist up!
18. If money were no object, where would you live and why?
I live in Nevada, which is really beautiful. I also love California. San Diego might be nice someday.
19. Currently, how many ideas for different books do you have going/jotted down?
I’m about halfway done with book three in the Ascenders saga…Ascenders: Omorrow. And then I’m going to jump into book four. Some big announcements with the series coming very soon.
Can’t wait to hear!
20. Where can we find you online?
I’m on Twitter under https://www.twitter.com/CLGaber/
I do most of my talking and dish about stars on my Facebook page… https://www.facebook.com/authorclgaber/
You can also reach me at CLGaber@Yahoo.com
Thanks everyone for all your support!! XO CL
Thank you for your time today. I’m blessed to call you friend, and encourage everyone to read these unique stories. I look forward to future releases from you!