Delcroix Academy (Book 1: The Candidates) by Inara Scott
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH (August 24, 2010)
Dancia Lewis is far from popular. And that's not just because of her average grades or her less-than-glamorous wardrobe. In fact, Dancia's mediocrity is a welcome cover for her secret: whenever she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, belieiving this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden.
But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over. Only, Delcroix is a school for diplomats' kids and child geniuses--not B students with uncontrollable telekinetic tendencies. So why are they treating Dancia like she's special? Even the hottest guy on campus seems to be going out of his way to make Dancia feel welcome.
And then there's her mysterious new friend Jack, who can't stay out of trouble. He suspects something dangerous is going on at the Academy and wants Dancia to help him figure out what. But Dancia isn't convinced. She hopes that maybe the recruiters know more about her "gift" than they're letting on. Maybe they can help her understand how to use it...But not even Dancia could have imagined what awaits her behind the gates of Delcroix Academy.
I didn’t see the kid running toward me until we were about to collide. He was looking over his shoulder and scowling at the road behind him, eyebrows knit together like a dark smear across his forehead. He had long legs and arms, black hair and pale skin. I thought I saw the scrawl of a tattoo across one bicep.
“Hey!” I yelled, ducking out of the way just in time to avoid being flattened.
He stopped and spun around. His gaze darted wildly from my face to the road and back. Sweat beaded on his forehead. He brushed it off with an impatient, trembling hand.
I saw panic in his eyes, and fear in the rigid, jerky way he kept moving, as if he couldn’t afford to stand still.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
He looked over his shoulder again, and then took a step closer to me. Grabbing my shoulders, he peered right into my face. “If a man asks if you’ve seen me, say no, okay?”
Beautiful silvery-grey eyes stared out from spiky black eyelashes. I froze, unable to tear my gaze from his.
“Okay?” he repeated, shaking my shoulders. His voice cracked.
I gulped, my heart pounding in my chest. Suddenly, I had a taste of the fear that seemed to consume him. “Should I call the police?”
“No!” His voice cracked again. “No,” he repeated. “Just say you haven’t seen me.”
He let me go and started running down the block.
Do you remember the first words you ever wrote for Delcroix Academy and are they still in the novel today?
"On my twelfth birthday, I discovered I could Make Things Happen."
And no. That was the first line of the first draft of the book, and like most first chapters I write, it ended up in the trash.
What three words do you think best describe Dancia?
Ooo, that's a great questions -- tough, funny, and deeply protective of those she loves. (Hey, I'm a writer -- three words isn't enough!)
Can you share with us some of the challenges you faced to publish Delcroix Academy? Is there anything about the process that you would do differently, knowing what you do now?
Challenges? Let's see. Delcroix Academy was the third book I wrote (the other two will never see the light of day) and I received well over a hundred rejections in my search for publication. The book was originally scheduled to release in Fall of 2009, but when the economy collapsed at the end of 2008 it was pushed back until August 2010. But I don't really think of these as challenges. I actually feel like I got really lucky with Delcroix. I found a great agent who wanted to see Delcroix succeed, and she found an editor who loved the book enough to buy it and a sequel. Many fantastic novels never get that far.
If you had to attach a musical score to your novel, what songs do you imagine playing during prominent scenes?
I should have a great answer to this question, but the truth is that I'm not very musically inclined. If anyone out there has suggestions, please send them my way!
If your novel was to be made into a movie, do you have certain actors you envision in the lead roles or do you think unknowns would be best suited to play them?
I had Zac Efron in mind when I first envisioned Cam, but Jenny from the Forever Young Adult blog did a fabulous job casting the book, and she suggested William Moseley. I think that might be even better than Zac! I don't know who could bring Dancia or Jack to life. Jenny suggested Richard Madden, who looks really hot, but I haven't actually seen him act so I can't say for sure. Jack's got a really raw, untouched quality to him, and Dancia's so beautiful in an insecure, unsure of herself sort of way -- it might be hard for a well-known actor to capture those qualities.
Really, my only request is that the actor not be a thirty year-old trying to play a freshman in high school. I hate when they do that.
Dancia has powers she tries to control and keep hidden. What do you think would be the best and worst thing about having her capabilities?
The best and worst part would be the same -- knowing you could change the course of events, and having to take responsibility for what might result.
Did you model aspects of Delcroix Academy after any school in particular? If so, can you tell us about it?
I went to an amazing high school that definitely provided some inspiration -- City Honors, in Buffalo NY. City Honors is a college prep magnet school and it's really small, and there weren't big athletics, and no cheerleaders or football players. In my memory (which is admittedly rosy!) there were all sort of cliques, but everyone pretty much got along, and everyone seemed to have some exceptional talent.
If you could inhabit the life of one literary character and dive into their world for just one day, who would you choose and why?
I think Rose, from Louisa May Alcott's Rose in Bloom. Rose is adorable, wealthy, and surrounded by men fighting for her affection. What could be more fun?
Can you give us any inside scoop as to what we can look forward to in the next installment in the series?
All I can say is there will be more romance, action, and dangerous secrets unfolding at Delcroix Academy...
I grew up in winter wonderland of Buffalo, NY. Consequently, I spent much of my childhood complaining about being cold. To spare the world my whining, I fled the cold climate and eventually wound up in the Pacific NW. I love it here — we get occasional snow, tons of rain in the winter, and lots of sun in the summer. The forests are huge, and the old Douglas Fir trees and thick ferns make you think you’ve wandered into a fairy tale. I would be surprised if there weren’t fairies and elves living here. Seriously.
I love to hike, canoe, and play outside. I am addicted to yoga. I have a deep affinity for water (I used to believe I could learn to breathe underwater, if I stayed down there long enough).
I’m a geek through and through. I fear deep, intellectual books and love romance and fantasies. I listen to cheesy, happy music. When I was in high school, my friends considered having a clothing
intervention for me because I insisted on making my own clothes and shopping at thrift stores. Somehow, I survived.
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