Thursday, 21 February 2013

INTERVIEW: Jax Garren - How Beauty Saved the Beast - GIVEAWAY

Today I would like to welcome Jax Garren to Turner's Antics. Jax is the author of the series, Tales of the Underlight. AND because I love this series, I will be giving away 2 chances to win either book, winner's choice. Read the interview and at the bottom is the rafflecopter widget.

How Beauty Met the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #1)

The Beast
Scarred. Damaged. Living with a terrible secret. Agent of the Underlight Wesley "Hauk" Haukon has nothing left but the fight for liberty against the oppressive Order of Ananke. He's starting to lose hope…and then he sees her.
The Beauty
Despite her night job as a burlesque dancer, grad student Jolie Benoit has always played the mostly good girl. That all changes following a scorching sexual encounter with a stranger whose face she doesn't see. After she's kidnapped by thugs and rescued by a man with a very familiar voice, Jolie becomes a pawn in a struggle she never knew existed.
Hauk knows he cannot have her, and resolves to protect his heart and his secrets. But as they work together and grow closer, he finds new reason to keep fighting. Dare he risk hope in a new life, one where Jolie can see past his ravaged face and where their friendship can grow into something more?

You can read my review HERE.

How Beauty Saved the Beast (Tales of the Underlight #2)

Jolie Benoit left her old life behind to become an agent of the Underlight. Training under Sergeant Wesley Haukon, she’s honing her combat skills, all the while coping with the intense sexual attraction she feels for Hauk. She keeps their friendship casual, but when his high school sweetheart transfers into their division, Jolie finds herself grappling with jealousy.
The Underlight gave Hauk a purpose, but he can’t escape his past completely. The physical and emotional scars from the fire that killed seven fellow Army Rangers will mark him forever. Jolie sends his protective instincts into overdrive, but he’s convinced he’ll never be worthy of her love.
Hauk is determined to keep Jolie from harm. But when the Order of Ananke ambushes them with a new weapon that neutralizes Hauk, making him vulnerable, it’s Jolie who must tap into her hidden strengths to rescue him—or risk losing him forever…

You can read my reivew HERE.


Can you please tell us a little about yourself with 5 fun facts? 
  1. I am obsessed with Vikings and learned how to write Viking alliterative poetry for a scene in How Beauty Loved the Beat (the final book in the trilogy). I am also a nerd. J  
  2. I just started watching Supernatural (the CW show) and am almost done with season 2. (Maybe I’ve started season three by the time this posts.) Gotta say, I LOVE those Winchester boys. Why haven’t I been watching this all along?
  3. My husband Scott and I met making costumes for a Madrigal choir. The ladies in charge of costuming needed somebody who could cut spring steel into the shapes needed for the bones of the bodices. Much hilarity ensued over Scott being in charge of boning. ;) 
  4. I am fascinated by world religions and love visiting temples of various sorts and attending ceremonies. My most recent adventure happened when I accidentally stumbled on the Baha’i temple outside of Chicago at the right time to attend a meditation. What a glorious building! 
  5. My favourite movie is Raiders of the Lost Ark followed closely by Star Wars. I’m excited about Disney’s acquisition of Lucas Films (I will always be grateful to Lucas for the wondrous world he crafted, despite my disappointment with the prequels), and have hope for the future. But if Princess Leia gets Disney-fied, she’d better lift the rest of the princesses up to her level and not vice versa. 

When did you realise you wanted to be a writer and what was the very first thing you ever wrote?

I've been writing for as long as I can remember, starting with telling stories to my stuffed animals at night instead of going to sleep after Mom shut off the lights. I only started taking publication seriously a few years ago, though. I have all kinds of excuses for why it took me so long to go from writing for fun to attempting to write for fun and profit, but I'm glad I finally made the leap!

My very first stories were (not that I knew the word at the time) Star Wars fan fiction told to my pillow and Patty Bear. The first story I wrote down was a fantasy about unicorns and walking a rainbow bridge to a magical land of mermaids and dragons. I've been a speculative fiction gal pretty much my whole life.

Is there another author that you aspire to be like? 

Hm… I don’t think anyone’s path can be identical to another’s. Our differences, in the way we go about things and the way we write, are what make people interesting. But I do have a few favourite authors. I love Kresley Cole’s ability to write what I call juicy scenes, just dripping with emotion and so deeply in a character’s head. She can make the most vile characters into heroes, and I love that about her. I also love Stacia Kane for her ability to make well-rounded characters with flaws that seem so real you love them despite (or maybe even for) those flaws.

How do you come up with your characters? Are they based on real people’s characteristics? 

For the Beauty and the Beast stories, I had the fairy tale to inspire me, of course. I tend to create people who have interests that I’d like to learn more about. Hauk’s an ex-soldier (like my father and grandfather) who does metalworking, which has fascinated me ever since I saw a blacksmithing demonstration at a Renaissance Festival. Jolie is a burlesque dancer, which was something I knew very little about but thought would be fun to check out. Plus it worked well with the “beauty” angle, and made an interesting contrast to the scarred soldier—he sees taking his gloves off as a big deal and she’s comfortable taking it all off in front of a crowd. But that’s normally my thing, I basically take something I'm interested in but don’t know much about and go research, meet people, watch YouTube videos, and learn! Research is one of my favourite parts of writing.

Who designed your book cover and why did you choose that particular design? 

Carina, my publisher, does all the book cover designs for us. We get a little input, but mostly the look is up to marketing. I like both of my book covers, though, so that’s been nice! The second did make me laugh, and I re-sent a description of Hauk to them, as the guy on the front cover looks, er, NOTHING like my hero the scarred, tattooed soldier. After my input, they added the Mjolnir necklace (Thor’s hammer; the symbol of the Heathen faith) and kept him all pretty. I figure the hot guy on the cover is the external representation of Hauk’s inner sexiness…

In one sentence, can you tell the readers why they should read your book? 

Hmm… it’s a face-paced read with burlesque dancing, a hero that isn’t handsome and anarchists battling sorcerers. What more could you want? ;)

Do you have a favourite non-spoilery scene or quote from How Beauty Saved the Beast? 

Hahahaha! Uh… usually I have the most fun writing the most intense scenes with the big turning points, so I'm not sure I could give a favourite scene without spoiling too much plot! But, without giving too much away I'll say I had the most fun crafting the scene in the backroom of the after-party, about 2/3 of the way through the book. Jolie’s feeling all kinds of frustrated, has had a little too much martini and finds Hauk alone. It’s a major turning point not just for this book, but for the series as a whole.

What’s next after the Tales of the Underlight series and when is it due to be released? 

The final book in the Beauty and the Beast arc comes out in May (I'm not sure what date yet). That’s the last book I'm on contract for at the moment, but I'm working on a few other things—one featuring Brayden (Hauk’s best friend), another that’s a sci-fi romance set in post-apocalyptic Las Vegas and lastly a paranormal romance between a modern hedgewitch and a man cursed to eternal servitude by a witch during the French Inquisition. I don’t know which will get finished first!

If you could have one special ability, what would it be and why? 

Like a superpower? Teleportation—particularly if I could take other people with me. I LOVE to travel, but the expense of airplanes and hotels makes it impossible to do anywhere near as much as I’d like. But if I could teleport, I could have dinner in Beijing tonight and go hiking Kilimanjaro tomorrow. I could even sleep at home if I don’t feel like spending the money on a hotel or if I want to see my cats!

If you mean like a realistic special ability, I would be a polyglot. I love studying foreign languages, but admit I don’t have the dedication needed to memorize vocabulary and intricate grammar rules, so I have the bare bones basics of several languages down, but couldn't carry on a conversation to save my life!

What’s one piece of technology you cannot live without? 

My phone! I barely use it as a phone, but it’s my calendar, my eReader, my email checker, my roadmap, my To Do list… this thing has revolutionized my life and I can’t imagine how I would get anything done without it anymore. And it fits in my pocket! The future is here, and it is smaller than a pack of notecards.

When you are writing, do you have a set routine that gets you started or just go with the flow? 

I was doing a daily page count, and that goal was enough to keep me going—particularly when I was on deadline! But my husband and I became parents this July (we’re fostering with the hope of adopting two lovely sisters, ages 4 and 7), and that’s completely blown all routines we used to have to smithereens. So, now I'm trying to get my head screwed on straight enough to have the concentration to write! Haha. I'm hoping that as things continue calming down I'll start figuring out how to put life’s pieces together. Being parents is still so new to both of us, and while the girls are amazing young people, they’re carrying some baggage that creates extra stress. But we’re all learning from each other, and things are getting better. I hope to be back on my daily page count soon.


Tea, coffee or hot chocolate? Coffee! (I like all three, but I’m not supposed to have chocolate for medical reasons. There are not enough frown-y faces in the world for this.)
Sweet or savoury? Savory, definitely. I am a salt-a-holic
Cats or dogs? Cats! (I have one in my lap right now)
Day or night? Night
eBooks or paperbacks? eBooks, no question. I read everything on my phone now. Favourite all time book? Hmm…That’s a tough one! At different points of my life Watership Down, Anne of Green Gables, This Side of Paradise and Jane Eyre would all have been named, but I'm not sure I have a favourite anymore.

Thank you Jax for stopping by today.

About the Author

Jax Garren is descended from Valkyries and Vikings (she’s part Swedish) but was raised a small town girl in the Texas Hill Country. She graduated from The University of Texas with a degree in English and a minor in Latin and stayed in Austin to teach high school. During her eight years in public education she was in a riot, broke up fights, had cops storm her class with guns drawn… and met the most amazing young people who taught her more about life and hope than she taught them about any school subject. 

Jax believes in happily ever afters. She married her real life hero, a handsome engineer who is saving the world through clean energy technology. Her heroine is Marion Ravenwood from Raiders of the Lost Ark, the perfect blend of tough and feminine. Jax blames Marion for her dream of travelling to Nepal to experience Himalayan palaces and monasteries and to drink yak butter tea. Jax can be found at or on Facebook. She would love to raise a glass with her readers to toast courage, adventure, and love.


Because I love this series, I am offering 2 winner's a choice of a Kindle copy of either book in Tales of the Underlight series.

Two (2) Kindle copies of either How Beauty Met the Beast OR How Beauty Saved the Beast
Open internationally if you can accept Amazon gifts
Entries close midnight Sunday 24th February (a quick one) 


  1. This series looks so good! I adore Beauty and the Beast retellings and have been dying to read this one. Great interview. Sorry about not being able to drink hot chocolate :( Thanks for the giveaway!!

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

    1. Thanks Jesse! I can use all the sympathy on that chocolate thing that I can get. Life without chocolate is lacking a fundamental goodness. ;)