October Releases

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Awakening Blog Tour - Interview + Review: Awakening (The Chrysalis Series #1) by Elene Sallinger

Author: Elene Sallinger
Series: The Chrysalis Series
Number in Series: 1
Format: ARC ePub
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Pages: 224
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: BDSM/Contemporary Romance/Erotic Romance

Buy here:

Synopsis from Goodreads

River Rock, Vermont, 2011. This is the story of Claire Ryan and Evan Lang. 35-year-old Claire joins a local book club for romance readers in order to get over the breakdown of her 10-year relationship, there she meets book shop owner Evan, a dominant man who has never recovered from the sudden death of his submissive wife. As their relationship develops and they embark on the path of Claire's submission, it becomes harder and harder for Evan to keep his emotional distance. Claire is open and responsive and he wants her badly, but refuses to let himself go. As Claire falls deeper in love with Evan, she realises that he is holding back and decides to end their relationship, forcing Evan to confront his own past and his feelings in order to save his new love.


Interview with Elene Sallinger

­OBVB: Welcome to Offbeat Vagabond, Elene! To get things started, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

ES: Thank you for hosting me, it's a pleasure to be here. As for me, well, I've been writing seriously for almost 10 years. I've got a 13-year old daughter and two goofy, lovable American Pit Bull Terrier. In fact, my Floyd, was the model for Chester in Awakening! When I'm not writing, I knit, read, and watch movies until my eyes bleed.

OBVB: I read that in 2004, you started your writing career in 2004. What was the first book you wrote and what did you want to be before that?

ES: I actually started out writing children's stories. My first short story was about a little girl named Hannah who had to wait out a tornado with her dad after losing her best friend, a collie named Jasper. The story focused on facing fear and accepting loss. My first book, was in fact, Awakening. As for what I wanted to be when I grew up :-) … I wanted to be a jewelry appraiser and run the gem division of Sothebys. To that end I am a diamond graduate, a certified diamond grader and have an MBA! Thankfully, the writing bug hit before I completed that path.

OBVB: What first attracted you to the Contemporary/Erotic Romance genre?

ES: My decision to write in the Contemporary/Erotic Romance genre came when I found myself dissatisfied with many of the selections I'd purchased. So many seemed to lack any depth of character development, which I craved, so I decided to give it a try myself. I put out a few short stories and then decided to write Awakening.

OBVB: You started off writing children's books. What was it like making a transition from writing children's books to erotic romance?

ES: It wasn't that hard. All of my stories, regardless of genre, focus on people overcoming fear and/or their emotional baggage. My children's stories followed these themes in scenarios tailored for children aged six – eight. My erotica is primarily women who are emotionally damaged in some say and must overcome their baggage to embrace who they are including their sexuality. Both ice cream, just different flavors!

OBVB: How did you celebrate once the book was published and when you won the New Writing Competition?

ES: I did a happy dance in my cubicle at work -where I happened to be - when I read the email about the competition. Later that night, my family and I ate at my favorite Asian restaurant that night to celebrate.

OBVB: Were there any characters more challenging to write than others?

ES: Evan was actually pretty challenging to write. I wanted him to be sensitive, but extremely masculine at the same time. I worked hard to find a balance so that he came off dominant, but not egotistical or conceited.

OBVB: If you can write any book outside of the Romance genre, what would it be and why?

ES: I'd love to have the chops to write a serious Fantasy novel. I grew up on the likes of Lloyd Alexander, Katherine Kurtz, and other fantasy novels. My all-time favorite book, Dragondoom, is a fantasy novel, but my writing just doesn't take me there so far.

OBVB: When you are not writing, what do you do in your free time?

ES: When I'm not writing, I knit, watch movies, and play with my American Pit Bull Terriers. I have two, Floyd and Bella.

OBVB: Is there anything you must have or do when you start writing?

ES: Lots of coffee!

OBVB: Last but not least, are there any other projects you are working on?

ES: Actually, the second book in this series, Reflection which follows Bridget Ross from Awakening, was just released in the United Kingdom and will be out here in the US in May 2014. I'm currently writing book three, Unsettled.

OBVB: Thank you so much for visiting Offbeat Vagabond hon. Hope to have you here again.

ES: It's been my pleasure. Thank you and I'd love to return.


     Awakening is a captivating story about a woman named Claire. Claire is in a horrible state. She has just separated from her boyfriend of 14 years. But the problem in the relationship wasn't him, it was her. She was the abuser, she was the initiator. Claire doesn't know what is wrong with her. She thinks she is sick. After isolating herself, she takes a dive and joins a bookclub at her local bookstore. When there, she notices the very handsome and aloof owner, Evan. But she doesn't know that he has noticed her as well. They both are full of pain and are more alike than they realize. They both have a taste for BDSM, but while Evan is experienced, Claire is just now discovering who she is and what she wants.

     This is definitely quite different from other erotic books I have read. I really liked that Sallinger changed up the dynamics a bit. Claire was in an abusive relationship where she was the abuser. She didn't physically abuse her ex, but provoked him to the point so that he would abuse her. She knows how sick it sounds and she can't find the words to explain it to anyone. But while at the new bookstore, she finds a new passion for erotica and her eyes are opened. She is finally starting to understand what she might need. I loved being on this journey with Claire. We see her transition from a woman afraid of herself and her own shadow to a woman who wants her life back and is willing to become the woman she should be.

      I really loved Claire and her journey. But I also really enjoyed Evan and his journey. Evan is a Dom who gave up after he lost his wife and sub, Marianne. She sadly has lost her life to cancer and he is now a lost man. All he knows now is his bookstore. Things change when he sees Claire, however, and he doesn't like it one bit. He has seen plenty of women and none of them have had any affect on him until now. He hates it because it feels like he is cheating on his wife. He sadly takes his frustrations out on Claire. He was a bit of jerk for half of the book, but I understood it. He hated that he was attracted to another woman. He still misses his wife a lot. But he can't fight the attraction anymore than Claire can fight the attraction. 

     This really was a book about finding yourself and learning how to trust. Claire and Evan were attracted to each other from the get go, but they both had pain they had to look past first before they could really find each other. I loved how they took the time to get to know each other. I liked that this book shows the buildup of getting into the BDSM lifestyle. Evan knows that Claire is a sub, but he doesn't want her to just get into it without knowing what she wants. She can be hurt further, both physically and mentally. I like that we see that. It is a nice change in pace to other books I have read. This book isn't really all about BDSM. It is quite light with the BDSM, but the book is still quite naughty. Even so, this book is so much more than just sex. It will definitely leave an impact on you.

     I really loved this book. It is definitely a favorite this year. I loved the characters especially Bridget. Her and Claire have a quick connection in this book. I loved her instantly. She has experienced quite a tragedy, but has grown from it. She is feisty, smart and strong. I am so glad that this is a series because I am dying to hear her story. This book is so beautifully put together. Sallinger really knows how to grab an audience. She poured a lot of emotion into this book and I felt every one of them. I really connected with these characters specifically Claire. It was very easy to put myself in her shoes and I think that may be true for a lot of people who will read this as well. I highly recommend this for someone looking for an emotional and in-depth erotic with a very unique style.     



About Elene Sallinger

Hailing from Washington, DC, Elene Sallinger first caught the writing bug in 2004 after writing and illustrating several stories for her then four-year-old daughter. Her writing career has encompassed two award-winning children’s stories, a stint as a consumer-education advocate, as well as writing her debut novel, Awakening – a novel of erotic fiction that won the New Writing Competition at the Festival of Romance 2011.

She is a lover of all things lingual, a warrior of words, and a vixen of vocabulary. Her goal is to titillate, provoke, empower and move you with her work which ranges from the erotic to the dramatic and everything in between.

When not writing, Elene is a mom to a feisty 13-year old daughter and two adorable Pitbulls.

Connect with Elene Sallinger:
Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter

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