The Awakened Blog Tour: Author Interview + Review + Giveaway

12:00 AM Serena 0 Comments

Hi, all! Today I'm SO excited to be one of the last stops on the blog tour for The Awakened, Sara E. Santana's debut, that released the first of this month! I've had the pleasure of meeting Sara and watching her road to being published, so I'm super proud of her and so glad that people finally get to read this book! My part of the tour includes a review and an interview with Sara. There's also a tour-wide giveaway, open internationally, at the end of this post. Let's get started!

About The Awakened:

Zoey Valentine is concerned with two things: surviving the multitude of self-defense classes her dad makes her take and avoiding Ash Matthews.

That is, until the Z virus hits, wiping out a third of the population in a matter of weeks. If that weren’t frightening enough, the bodies of the victims disappear and suddenly reappear, awakened from their dead state. They're faster, smarter, and they work together to get the one thing they crave, human flesh.

The United States is in a panic and then the government decides the unthinkable: to bomb every major city overrun with the awakened.

Now Zoey is on the run, with her dad and Ash, desperate to find a place of safety amongst the ruined remains of the country. 

Purchase: Amazon (If you purchase a Kindle or paperback, email Sara @ with proof of purchase for a signed bookmark!)

About Sara E. Santana:

Sara Elizabeth Santana is a young adult and new adult fiction writer. She has worked as a smoothie artist, Disneyland cast member, restaurant supervisor, nanny, photographer, pizza delivery driver and barista but writing is what she loves most. Her first story was written at age nine. She runs her own nerd girl/book review blog, What A Nerd Girl Says. Her favorite books are a tie between Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling and Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce. She lives in Southern California with her dad, five siblings and two dogs. Her debut novel is The Awakened.

The Interview:

*My questions/butt-ins will be bolded, like so, and Sara's answers will be not-bolded, like so.*

1. Describe The Awakened in seven words or less.

Okay, wow. Hmm. This is hard.

Zombies. Survival. Cute boy. Action.

2. Who are your author inspirations?

This is SO hard too! You ask all the hard questions. You should be on 60 Minutes or something. (HA! I'll consider this for the future.)

It honestly just depends on what kind of book that I’m writing. For instance, JK Rowling and Tamora Pierce are my favorite authors so they’re always a big influence for me. For The Awakened, Rick Yancey, Jessica Brody and Melissa Landers were HUGE influences. I loved their blend of science fiction and romance and survival and all of that. i think they’re great at what they do.

This summer I wrote an NA romance, and Cora Carmack, Jennifer L Armentrout and Sarina Bowen (LOVE those three!) were huge influences for that. It really just sort of depends on what I’m writing :)

3. What was your favorite scene to write in The Awakened? The most difficult?

My favorite scene? Hmm. I love writing fight scenes. This is the first book ever where I’ve had to write fight scenes and I have found that I really like it. There’s a serious challenge to bringing something so physical and visual to life with words. They were also the most difficult scenes to write too, because I had never done them before. I didn’t want to repeat myself and I wanted them to be exciting. I really hope I accomplished that.

I also love writing kissing scenes because…well kissing scenes are fun and I’m a total hopeless romantic. There’s a particular kissing scene that takes place on a kitchen counter and that was SUPER fun to write. It was actually one of the first scenes I ever wrote in the book and that was fun.

4. Do you write to music? If so, who do you have on your playlist?

I do! Or I write with Netflix on in the background, which people think is weird but I usually have something on that I’ve already watched before. I just like noise. I grew up with five younger siblings and a crowded house and that’s still what I have so I’m used to it. I like it. There’s a quote in Sarah Dessen’s Just Listen that I always thought completely wrapped it up well, “Silence is so loud.” And I’m not fond of it.

That being said! I have a playlist on my website for the songs that are sort of connected with The Awakened. I listened to a TON of Set it Off, Our Last Night and Issues while writing it and I’m listening to them again as I work on the sequel.

5. Do you find yourself putting pieces of yourself or other people you know in your characters? Is there a character in particular that stands out to you?

I think I always do it, whether intentional or not. I get ideas about stories or characters and whatnot and what they become is partly because of the circumstances and partly me. I can’t help it. Some characters are more like me than others. I wrote 3 books before The Awakened and I think they all have a little bit of me in them. Zoey has a lot of me in her and yet she’s completely different. All of my characters are influenced by someone, whether its myself or my sister or my friends or a teacher I had in seventh grade or someone who ordered a coffee from me one day. To me, anchoring them on someone in reality, even if its in the tiniest detail, makes that character more real to me.

6. What can you tell us about your future projects?

Well I’m always writing. I just finished up a new adult sports romance called Benched this past summer. Its about a girl named Evie who lives in a baseball obsessed town and how she falls in love with a baseball player, even though one broke her heart. It was fun to write, and actually, romance is what I tend to write. Right now, I’m sort of floating between The Awakened 2 (which has a title that I can’t share yet!) and Benched 2 (which legit just doesn’t have a title).

7. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

One, don’t give up. I know that sounds cheesy and repetitive but its SO true. Don’t give up. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just focus on yourself and your book. Or your next book. Or your next book. Don’t stop writing. I’m 27 years old. I’ve been writing books since I was 13. And my books when I was 13 were SO terrible. Don’t stop writing. Its not a race. Just keep trying. Its going to happen. I believe that.

The Review:

I have tons of feelings about The Awakened because WOW, what a cool book! I don't want to say too much and be spoilery though, since this is one of those books where I think people are better of going into blind. So instead of writing an actual review, I'm going to do a nice little list of things I loved, so you'll be just as surprised as I was when you read it. ;)

  • The Awakened - Sara’s take on zombies. They were different from traditional zombies because they seemed more human, which was interesting.
  • Ash and Ash’s relationship with Zoey - Ash is your stereotypical hot, cocky, sarcastic YA hero, and I wouldn't have him any other way. He's HILARIOUS. It was so entertaining to see the progression of his and Zoey’s relationship from pseudo-enemies to something more.
  • The writing - the plot flow, the quick, fun dialogue, the fight scenes - all of it was written so well.
  • Bandit - Okay, this was totally added in at the last second because Sara said Bandit was lots of people’s favorite character. He's definitely an added bonus! Dogs are the way to my heart, right after cute boys.

If you're looking for a fun paranormal read with a kick-butt heroine and a plot that'll have you on the edge of your seat, check out The Awakened! This debut is one of my favorites of the year.

The Giveaway:

This giveaway is international Prizes will be shipped after Christmas. The prizes include:
i. One Grand Prize Winner – Signed Copy of The Awakened, Signed Exclusive Poster, Signed Bookmark
ii. One First Place Winner – Signed Poster and Signed Bookmark
iii. Two Second Place Winners – A Kindle Edition of The Awakened and a Signed Bookmark

Enter at the Rafflecopter below!

And that's all I have for you guys today! Check out The Awakened, available online now!

Have you read The Awakened? Let me know what you think!