Wager’s Price Soulkeepers Reborn by G. P. Ching

From the bestselling author of the THE SOULKEEPERS comes a new series about dark magic, redemption and an unusual theater with life or death stakes…

Finn Wager’s luck has run out. Arrested for the one crime he didn’t actually commit, he’s forced to finish his education at an alternative school. The Revelations Institute is an upscale, private reform school with a 100% success rate. Delinquents go in and model citizens come out.

But students who don’t perform to expectations disappear. And although their bodies return model citizens, their minds are hardly their own. Something evil lurks inside Revelations, and if Finn and his new friend Hope can’t find a way to stop it, they’ll risk more than their lives. The repercussions could cost them their souls.

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G.P. Ching is a USA Today bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy novels for young adults and not-so-young adults. She bakes wicked cookies, is commonly believed to be raised by wolves, and thinks both the ocean and the North Woods hold magical healing powers. G.P.’s idea of the perfect day involves several cups of coffee and a heavy dose of nature. She splits her time between central Illinois and Hilton Head Island with her husband, two children, and a Brittany spaniel named Jack, who is always ready for the next adventure. Learn more about G.P. Ching and her work at gpching.com.

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Interview with author G.P. Ching

Try to describe your book in one sentence.

When Finn is arrested for a crime he didn’t commit, he’s sentenced to a reform school with an unorthodox and deadly curriculum.

State a random fact about yourself that would surprise your readers.

I’m not sure if this would surprise my readers or not, but I was a horribly difficult child to raise. When I was about six years old, my parents thought it would be fun to give me a gift from Santa for Christmas. Only, it wasn’t from the real Santa. My imposter gift was from the store, wrapped and labeled “From: Santa” by my parents.

The problem was, even at six, I had a vivid imagination. I knew that a gift from Santa would be magical and I had a pretty good idea what it would be like. I pictured peeling the wrapping paper back to reveal a can of enchanted popcorn, sparkling silver white, with instructions of how I could fly if I ate it. Or a bag of stardust that could change anything I sprinkled it on into anything else. I desperately wanted a pet unicorn that year and spent hours imagining how I would use my stardust to transform a squirrel from my back yard into a single horned beast. I planned to keep it in the garage. There would be plenty of room because we could sell the cars and ride the unicorn.

I was prepared, in the event I hadn’t been quite as good all year as I should have been, to be the recipient of a stuffed reindeer that would come alive at midnight and grant me wishes. The reindeer wasn’t what I wanted, but I’d take it in a pinch. Truth be told, I was hoping for the stardust.

Anyway, Christmas morning came and I opened the gift… It was a Barbie, and I was devastated. There was no way the real Santa would get me, the girl who dreamt of magic and unicorns and sparkle dust, a plastic-person statue. Voice cracking, I sobbed, “It’s just a dumb old doll.” And then I chucked that thing across the room.

My parents have never let me live that down. I guess I was supposed to like Barbie. I did not.

 

What’s your current guilty pleasure?

Stranger Things. I watched the entire last season in two days. My eyes were sore.

 

If you couldn’t be a writer, what would you be?

I’m going to interpret this question as, “If you couldn’t make a living as a writer, what would you do for a living?” because the truth is you are a writer long before you can support yourself with it. I love writing, and I’d write books even if I didn’t make a dime.

So what would I do for a living? I think I’d open a restaurant called Pi Cafe. Inside a circular building, I’d build a round kitchen surrounded by round tables. The menu would consist exclusively of pie—pizza pie, potpie, dessert pie, etc. All of the drinks would cost $3.14.

I’d call it Pi Cafe: Well-rounded Cuisine.

Who is your favorite character in your new release?

Although I love all of my characters, there is a special place in my heart for Hope. She’s spent her entire life knowing she’s the last Soulkeeper and that someday she’d have to live up to the name. Although she trains with an angel named Gabriel, she tries her hardest to be a normal human girl, performing with the dance team at her high school, going to parties, and generally avoiding the parts of her role that are more than she’s ready for. So when she’s accused of a crime she didn’t commit and sent to Revelations, knowing that she must solve the mystery of the lost souls, she does so reluctantly.

There’s a part of the book where Hope is undergoing a painful and terrifying trial, and she vocalizes her anger toward God. As a Soulkeeper, she knows first hand that there is a God because He is responsible for her role and the angel who trains her. But for her, that makes her suffering far, far worse. Because knowing there is a God allowing her to suffer seems cruel compared to believing her pain is completely due to chance. So, she’s rather bitter and sullen about her lot in life.

I find her character utterly relatable. I wrote this book right after losing a young family member to a demon of a disease and while my sister endured treatment for AML. Faith is hard in times of trial, no matter what religion you are. Even as an atheist, I think it can be hard to have faith in yourself or others when it seems everything is going wrong. Hope represents that universal struggle in this book.

 

Why did you choose the genre you write in?

Honestly, my genre chose me. From my earliest memories, I’ve been drawn to paranormal fantasy. I read books like The Lion, The Witch, and the wardrobe as a kid, obsessed over Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the Lost Boys as a teen, spent my college years reading books like Bram Stoker’s Dracula and watching Charmed and Buffy the Vampire slayer, and raised my children on the Harry Potter books and later, the Vampire Diaries.

For me, paranormal fantasy represents the ultimate in escapism. The reader isn’t confined by the rules of our world. Death can truly be a doorway, magic can change everything, and love can save the world.

What inspired you to write, you took any ideas from other books, movies etc?

The idea behind Revelations Institute started with an interest in Cirque du Soleil. As an author of fantasy, I peddle wonder in the form of the written word. Cirque du Soleil does it in the form of a theatrical production. The first Cirque I ever saw was O at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, followed by Mystere, Ka, La Nouba, and others. If you’ve seen one of these shows, you know the performers convince you that humans can truly have supernatural abilities. You can’t watch a man fly around a stage, suspended only by one contorted arm gripping a red silk curtain, without wondering how it came to be. What training, what upbringing, what genetic abilities led one to a life of flight.

My research also brought me to the work of Elizabeth Streb whose dancing and performance art absolutely moved me. Elizabeth seemed to me to be a person on the edge of every boundary, pushing norms in herself and others in a way that challenged everything I took for granted about the world. If you’ve never heard of her, Google her right now or watch the PBS special Born to Fly, and if you are lucky enough to be where she has a show, do not miss it. (By the way, I met Streb briefly on the River Walk in San Antonio of all places and was completely tongue-tied. A major talent.)

Anyway, after a full year of researching this type of entertainment, I plotted Wager’s Price with the idea that a reform school built on top of a fallen star could provide an environment where more could be demanded of students than humanly possible. This idea morphed into Wager’s Price.

What book is currently on your nightstand?

I am currently reading Turtles All the Way Down by John Green and Origin by Dan Brown.

How can readers stay in touch?

If what you want to know most as a reader is when the next book will come out, the best thing to do is to join my newsletter list at http://smarturl.it/GPChingVIPlist. I am not the type of author who spams their readers with frequent emails. Usually, I send out about 4-6 per year, mostly to inform readers about new releases  or sales.

If you want to get to know me on a more personal level, ask me a specific question about a book, or perhaps message me about my books, you should join my Facebook group, G.P. Ching’s Fearless Readers: https://www.facebook.com/groups/450457555307350/.

One way you will not reach me is through reviews. I don’t read them. So if you post a question inside a review on Amazon or Goodreads or another venue, I will not see it. There is an “ask the author” section on Goodreads that I do respond to, but not the reviews. Reviews are for readers, not authors.

If you could visit any place in the world or a place created by a book, where would you visit?

Hogwarts. I’m A Harry Potter freak. And yes, I’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and it was amazing.

How many more books can we expect in this series?

There will be two more books in this series. Book 2, Hope’s Promise is about 90% complete and will release in February of 2018. Book 3, Lucifer’s Pride, is about 25% complete, and is tentatively slated for March of 2018.

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