Hot New Fantasy Brings Up Real Issues for Teen Readers

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Freelance writer turns short story into debut paranormal novel Bloodspell

Bloodspell

“The characters in ‘Bloodspell’ struggle with issues like fitting in while staying true to themselves, falling in love for the first time, bullying, losing people close to them and finding the strength to fight for what they believe in.”

Sure Amalie Howard’s Bloodspell, releasing June 1, features sexy vampires and witches, and it certainly tells a mesmerizing story. But the characters in her new urban fantasy encounter obstacles similar to those teens face today – with or without fangs and powers.

Howard, who speaks with teens and their parents about image issues, overcame a four-year fight with anorexia and bulimia after losing her best friend in college. Her personal battle helped develop a tale to which any teenager can relate.

“The characters in ‘Bloodspell’ struggle with issues like fitting in while staying true to themselves, falling in love for the first time, bullying, losing people close to them and finding the strength to fight for what they believe in,” Howard said. “Even a paranormal novel needs some depth.”

Bloodspell, transformed from a short story Howard wrote years ago, introduces readers to Victoria Warrick, a high school outcast who learns on her 17th birthday she’s actually a witch with an unimaginable power – and her blood is literally her enemy. Victoria must fight for her life as friends turn their backs on her and new people in her life aren’t so easy to trust, including the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux who has a sinister secret of his own.

“A love story at its core, this book doesn’t lose sight of the fact that the worlds of witches and vampires are blood-thirsty and frightening,” said Brad Blanks, entertainment reporter with KQRS Minneapolis.

An extensive world traveler—she’s been to 141 cities in 18 countries—Howard based some of the book’s surroundings on sites she’s visited in France, and on places in the U.S., including New York and Maine.

Howard grew up on a small Caribbean island and moved to the U.S. for college in Maine. She worked in Los Angeles and Boston before settling down just outside New York City with her husband—who moved from London to marry her—and their three children. At only 13 years old, Howard’s poem “The Candle” was published in a University of Warwick journal. She was also a recipient of a Royal Commonwealth Society essay award (a global youth writing competition). Today a freelance writer and member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Bloodspell is Howard’s debut novel.

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Emily Weiss
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