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Author CONSTANCE GILLAM Is With Us Today !!!


by:  Constance Gillam

Until a few years ago, I wrote only adult fiction. I’d had requests for fulls and partials, but they hadn’t netted me an agent or publishing contract. I needed to try something different.

Twilight was all the rage, so I made myself a promise. By the next December I would have completed a young adult novel.

Everything about writing this book was a first; first young adult, first paranormal, first time writing in first person. I finished the novel, but it wasn’t easy. Plagued by self doubt, I added and discarded the number of POV’s in the story, moved from first to third person and from past back to present tense. My opening changed a zillion times (I’m never satisfied with my openings for any of my novels).

My one certainty- I was excited about my characters and setting.

I love New Orleans. I’ve visited many times, have a brother who lives there, and both my daughters attended college in or near New Orleans. I’m a history buff, and I’m married to a history professor. I visit cities that ooze history; Charleston, Savannah, St. Augustine, and Boston. New Orleans is the only city where I walk the streets of the quarter and feel as though I’m transported back three hundred years. The city is so colorful and alive I wanted to bring that sense of history to my young adult contemporary paranormal novel.

In New Orleans different cultures come together, creating interesting and beautiful faces. Taking what I knew of the history, along with the different people who inhabited the region, I created my main character. Lisette is a fifteen year old girl of Spanish, French, Haitian and Choctaw Indian heritage- a Creole.

Because the book was set in N.O., Voodoo was a natural paranormal element to add, but I needed a twist. Lisette is orphaned and lives with her paternal Grand’mere, who doesn’t tell her about her mother’s Haitian family who are alive and well, practicing Voodoo in the bayou.

I had a lot of fun writing this story, even though I pulled my hair out at times. I especially enjoyed creating my secondary characters, Scooter, Eric and Hancock.

Scooter is Lisette’s best friend, a high school dropout and a street thug. Although he’s the youngest child in his single family home, he’s the man of the house. He cleans up his big brother’s scrapes with the law and keeps his mother grounded. He’s very protective of Lisette and doesn’t understand her attraction to the mysterious, preppy Eric from her high school.

Eric is an enigma, the bad boy that every girl wants to tame. He has a girlfriend, who happens to be Lisette’s arch enemy, but Lisette can’t help being attracted to him. He’s the only one in her high school that makes her feel less like a freak.

When strange things start happening to Lisette, it’s Eric, not Scooter, who comes to her rescue with some unusual skills of his own.

By the end of the book, Lisette has come to terms with who she is and has to save herself and her two friends, at the risk of losing her soul.


The bayou at night is alive. I see very little in the darkness, but my hearing is heightened. Insects buzz, creatures call to each other, and fish splash in this byway cesspool. Like the kinky gray hair of an old lady, Spanish moss trails in the dirty water of the swamp, eerily beautiful. I shudder to think what is caught in the tangles of her hair.

My head jerks in the direction of a huge splash. Something large slithers into the water.

“Alligators,” my uncle says, piloting the pirogue with a long pole around another bend in the waterway.

Shivering, I strain to make out more, but can only see darkness behind us. I sit on my hands, more to still their trembling than for warmth. Long before the canoe reaches the spot, I feel the drums. The pounding travels through my nerve endings until my whole body is pulsating. I feel the same as I did several nights ago when I wandered the Quarter, restless and possessed.


Connie, thank you so much for joining us today…and in addition, she would like to offer a $25.00 Amazon gift card to one of our lucky commenter today.  Just leave a comment to be in the drawing…..And GOOD LUCK !!!

The 5th Realm is available in e-book and print format: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.  

Visit me at my website:, or facebook:  

Or twitter:@conniegillam




Mary Preston - November 19, 2012 - 3:23 am

All of what I know about New Orleans, and indeed Voodoo, comes from what I read. I actually have New Orleans on my travel wish list because the history does fascinate. I want to walk the streets and be transported back in time, as you said.

I imagine that the research for THE 5TH REALM would have been very interesting.

Marilyn Baron - November 19, 2012 - 5:42 am

Wow. Your book sounds very intriguing. Your writing is compelling, your concept is creative and your cover is fabulous. Your description of Spanish miss really resonates. I haven’t spent much time in New Orleans but my husband travels there on business almost weekly and considers himself an honorary citizen. Thank you so much for blogging with us and best of luck with your book.

Jessica Burde - November 19, 2012 - 8:59 am

Can I be self? While it sounds like a fascinating book, my first thought on reading the description was “Okay, can I get her resources?”

I have an idea for a story based around Haitian Voodoo, and while I know that there are distinct differences in Haitian and New Orleans practices, I’m always looking for more information. So if you don’t mind letting me know what resources you turned up in your research, I’d be extremely grateful!

On a less selfish note – if this book was inspired by Twilight, then something good has actually coming of the sparkly vampire insanity! I didn’t think it was possible, thank you for saving a small portion of my faith in humanity.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 9:42 am


Thanks for stopping by. If you get a chance, do visit the city. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Kathy Ivan - November 19, 2012 - 9:43 am

I love New Orleans and stories set there, so much my first romantic suspense, Desperate Choices, is set in New Orleans. There’s so much inherent mystery surrounding the city, it’s an amazing place.

Good luck with the book.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 9:45 am

Marilyn, thanks for the wonderful accolades. I enjoyed writing the book, and I love the city.

The next time your husband goes to N.O. go with him.

Pam Asberry - November 19, 2012 - 9:49 am

Sounds like a great read, Connie! I haven’t been to NO in years, but your post makes me want to go back soon. And buy your book TODAY!! Thanks for blogging with us.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 9:52 am


I would be happy to share some of my resources. I’m writing the sequel which will delve more into Voodoo than this first book.

As far as the Twilight books, I read the first two. Twilight, I found a fast read. The second one, not so much.

I was curious if I had the voice for young adult. After finaling in several contest and obtaining an agent, I think I do.

Thanks for stopping by. Email me through my website for those resources.

Rose Anderson - November 19, 2012 - 10:00 am

Voodoo is such an interesting topic. Hollywood has made stereotypes to get past. Did you find cinema voodoo popping into your head while you were writing the Voodoo Chronicles? :) Rose
(sorry if this is a repeat, I’m having trouble posting to your site)

Anonymous - November 19, 2012 - 11:08 am


New Orleans is not for everyone, but I hope you like it. It’s crazy and definitely a party city.

I love it for the history. I’m not such of a party person.

Thanks for leaving a comment. We have to talk about music the next time we meet. That’s another of my loves.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 11:18 am

That anonymous post to Pam was from me. I’m having trouble posting.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 11:24 am


I wanted to describe Voodoo as it really is, not the chicken slashing, blood drinking images from the movies.
In the first book Lisette gets just a little exposure to the religion. Book two will delve more into Voodoo.

The story is dark, but not morbid.

Thanks for leaving a comment.

Lynn Cahoon - November 19, 2012 - 11:30 am

Connie, what a great premise. I so want to visit New Orleans. I love my YA books and you just went on my TBR list. Thanks, Lynn

Pepper Phillips - November 19, 2012 - 12:24 pm

I LOVE New Orleans and generally get there at least once a year for a business conference.

One of the delights was finding ‘Chicken Man’ in the French Quarter who gave our group the directions for doing something to our nemesis. It was quite hilarious at the time, and if we’d had a shovel and a dead chicken we’d have done it. LOL

New Orleans also has some great food. But investigate the reviews first.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 12:32 pm


You nailed it! Mysterious is definitely how I would describe N.O.

Is Desperate Choices published? If so, I’ll look for it.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 12:34 pm


I’m happy the book sounds like one you’d enjoy. Thanks for commenting.

Susan Carlisle - November 19, 2012 - 1:07 pm

Your book sounds like great fun. I love the setting also. Thanks for joining us to day.

Pamela Varnado - November 19, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Connie, as you know, I visited Nawlins for the first time earlier this year. I feel in love with the vibrant city. It never seems to sleep, especially the French Quarter. It’s on my “must visit again real soon” list.

I enjoyed reading The 5th Realm. The descriptions in the book reminded me so much of my trip to New Orleans. The next time I go, I plan to book a tour on the bayou. Maybe I’ll come across a prehistoric gator prowling the dark murkey waters. :-)) Oooh, that would be so awesome!

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Thank you, Susan and the rest of the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales for having on the blog today.

Sandra Elzie - November 19, 2012 - 1:40 pm

Your book sounds very interesting. I’ve been to New Orleans…but only for a brief visit…and not at the height of the party season.

I just popped over to get your book. Can’t wait to read it….and the sequel.

Thanks so much for being with us today!

Jesse Kimmel-Freeman - November 19, 2012 - 1:58 pm

I love the excerpt. As sad is it to say, Twilight managed to change the YA genre. It was the book that really opened the genre to vampires and stuff. I’m not a fan of the book because of the weak heroine and I can’t get over the relationships and what they promote, but I can still see what it did. I like that it made you want to do a YA book.

I’ve never gotten to “visit” NO, only travel through it. I want to go there and actual get to take in the culture. And do a ghost tour! Your book sounds freaking awesome! Is it releases in print? As awesome as ebooks are, I don’t have a reader. Since I spend so much time on the computer fro my own writing, reading on it wouldn’t help make me go blind by 30. LOL.

Mary Marvella - November 19, 2012 - 2:08 pm

Hey,Connie! This book rocks! We CP’s must make a road trip to the “Big Easy”.

Maxine Davis - November 19, 2012 - 3:02 pm

Connie, your book sounds fantastic. Love New Orleans and love Voodoo – well, in that wierd voodoo way. I bet it will sell big.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:09 pm


How could I forget to mention the food?! Wonderful.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:15 pm


I’m glad you enjoyed New Orleans. Hope you and hubby can visit together.

Take him on a Ghost Tour. LOL.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:16 pm

Thank you, Sandy for hosting me. I’m glad to finally make it. Great comments!

Hope you enjoy the book.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:18 pm


I took my first Ghost Tour back in March. It was fun. The guide made the tour.

When you go, do take one.

Yes, the book is available in print. Hope you like it.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:20 pm

Mary Marvella-

Glad you stopped by. You are a great CP!

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 3:22 pm


Thanks for the kind words. I was an exciting book to write.

Linsey Lanier - November 19, 2012 - 4:21 pm

Connie I’m so thrilled for you. The 5th Realm sounds fantastic. Wishing you many, many sales. :)

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 4:34 pm


Thanks. I’m wishing for many, many sales, also. LOL.

Carol Burnside - November 19, 2012 - 5:49 pm

What a lovely, descriptive excerpt, Connie. I really enjoyed reading it and your information on the book and characters. Like Linsey said,”The 5th Realm sounds fantastic.”

Cover art is intriguing too. Good luck!

Sia Huff - November 19, 2012 - 6:09 pm

Hi Connie,
Great excerpt. I think you write first person well. I’m sure it was hard. I’ll be downloading “The 5th Realm” soon.
I’ve never been to NO, but want to go. Hubby loves the food and we’re planning a trip sometime in the future. I’ll have to get advice about what to do.
Wishing you continued success.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 7:08 pm


Thanks for stopping by. I’m happy you liked the excerpt. Tamara LeBlanc did a wonderful job on the cover art. She’s a very talented young lady.

C.E. Hart - November 19, 2012 - 7:11 pm

What better setting than New Orleans for this paranormal story! This sounds like a great read. I love the character names and the excerpt certainly drew me in!

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 7:11 pm


Writing first person was hard. It didn’t sound natural and I kept slipping into third. A interesting experience.

Hope you and your hubby make it to New Orleans. I think you like the experience.

Connie Gillam - November 19, 2012 - 7:14 pm


Coming up with the names was one of the best parts of the book. Lisette’s best friend just had to be Scooter. I don’t know why. The nickname just flew from the sky.

I’m glad you liked the excerpt. Thank you for leaving a comment.

Shirley Hailstock - November 19, 2012 - 7:41 pm

Like you, I love New Orleans. I’ve been there a few times. The food is wonderful. Mi am a picky eater and I ate everything the put in front of me.

Tamara LeBlanc - November 19, 2012 - 8:03 pm

I loved the fifth realm! And I’m proud of you for branching out into unknown territory!
Keep pushing the envelope, Connie!
Have a great evening,

Liese Sherwood-Fabre - November 20, 2012 - 9:16 am

Sounds like a fascinating plot and story! I love New Orleans too. There is a special to the area. Going to buy it now!

Connie Gillam - November 20, 2012 - 9:27 am


I love the food. Some of it is spicy, but I try it anyway. Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous - November 20, 2012 - 9:31 am

Thank you, Tamara-

One of the three winds beneath my wings.

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