About the Author:
Lani Wendt Young's Blog
I was born and raised in Samoa. I went to university in the USA and New Zealand, studying English Literature, Women's Studies and Education. Back in Samoa I worked as a secondary school English teacher for 7 years and did lots of writing in between for the local newspaper and for myself.
My short fiction has been published in Samoa, NZ, Australia and the UK. My collection of short stories "Sleepless in Samoa" won the 2011 USP Press Fiction Award. I also write stories for children that are used in primary school reading programs. In 2009 I was commissioned by Hans Joe Keil to research and write the narrative non-fiction book 'Pacific Tsunami Galu Afi'. The book was funded by the Australian Govt Aid program and all book sale profits go back to tsunami survivors who were interviewed for the record.
My book 'TELESA The Covenant Keeper' is the first in a YA urban fantasy series and it was launched in Oct 2011. I'm married to Darren Young (who is probably the most patient and most hottest man alive) and we have five children ranging in age from 4 to 16yrs. We are now based in New Zealand but get to go home to Samoa enough to keep me brown. (and broke.) I blog about the misadventures of a (slightly demented) Domestic Goddess over at Sleepless in Samoa.
Date Published: June 2012
Leila returns to the land of her birth in search of family and instead discovers she is heir to a fiery elemental birthright...all while navigating through the drama of a new high school with the help of her new best friend "Simone daahling" - a boy with flawless makeup and the catwalk style of Kate Moss. She is introduced to the national sport of rugby and meets an irritating boy that would be much easier to hate if he didn't have chipped emerald eyes that are always laughing at her and a glorious golden smile. (The glistening, bronzed abs and Pacific warrior tattoos don't help either.) There's hate, love, jealousy, volcanoes and lots of delicious Samoan food in Leila's coming-of-age journey as she realizes that ancient Pacific myths of elemental spirit women Telesa, contain more truth than fiction. Secrets are revealed and things get blown up as Leila must choose between sisterhood and the boy she loves. Can their love stand against the Covenant Keeper?
There are many different kinds of love. All of them require sacrifice. Who will give everything for the one they love?
A thriller-romance with a difference. If you enjoyed Twilight, then you will be enthralled by Telesa as it blends the richness (and humor) of Pacific mythology into a contemporary young adult love story that will stay with you long after you have turned the final page.
" Tired of vampires and werewolves? TELESA has a supernatural element but a unique one... Like Air Benders and X-Men combined. Way cool. The Telesa women are an environmental terrorist group that wield their elemental powers with a fierce beauty and devastating impact..."
|Excerpt One |
“No … please … how to stop it? How can I stop it?”
I burst into useless tears. Tears that fizzed and hissed in a heartbeat of heat. No amount of crying would help now. I wrung my hands, no way out of it. It was hopeless. In a few minutes I would be a mass murderer. A killer. In my mind’s eye, I could see it now. People on fire running in circles, frantically beating at the hungry flames. The smell of flesh scorching, peeling off ashy bone. Screams. Pleas for help. I sank to my knees, drained dry of strength. Unwilling to watch the carnage but unable to take my eyes away. I was drowning in a sea of fiery despair. Suffocating in a red night of terror.
A clear, calm voice spoke from beside me. “Leila. Call it back. You can do it. Call it back. Call it back NOW.”
I looked up, eyes glistening with molten tears. He stood as close to me as he dared, shielding his face from the heat with his hands, the edges of his clothes singed and charred.
“I can’t.” Abject despair in my voice. “I don’t know how.”
“Yes you can. You have the power. You know you do. You spoke to it before. It listens to you. Call it back now before it’s too late. Please.”
It was the ‘please’ that did it. That snapped me out of the depths. He wanted me to call the fire. He believed that I could. And I wanted him to believe in me. Slowly, I raised myself from the ground, closed my eyes and willed that fiery beast to come home.
To listen to me – its mistress. To return and feed instead on my molten core. I trembled at the very thought of the blaze finding its way back. How could I possibly summon it all when it had grown so exponentially as it fed? But this was my fault. I had to find the strength from somewhere. I opened my eyes and shuddered at the majesty of the sight before me.
Directly ahead of me was a massive wall of fire. It had stopped advancing across the field and now it stood waiting; the beast waited for my command. Now – it asked – what would you have me do? Opening my arms, every ounce of my being quivering with fear, I summoned it home.
I burned. Inside and out. I burned. There was indescribable pain and the knife edge of pleasure. It was ecstasy and hell all at once. Then, as swiftly as it had begun, it stopped.
I was empty. A dried husk scorched beyond belief. Withered and dead. I fell.
The steaming darkness claimed me.
|Excerpt Two |
Nafanua regarded me with pity in her eyes. “Leila, this is a part of you. This is who you are. I’m sorry, your powers are not going to go away, no matter how much you may want them to.”
I was hostile. “How the hell do you know that?”
Nafanua did not speak. She stood and walked the few steps out the open front doors and down the verandah steps. I followed her, confused as to her intentions. Almost lazily, she beckoned with her right hand and out of a blank blue sky, thunder clapped loud enough to make me jump. Another hand flicked gracefully and white light jagged, crackled and hissed as lightning seared the ground beside her. I gripped the verandah rails for support, my mind struggling to accept what I was seeing. Nafanua spun in a soft circle and the lightning burned out a path around her. When the circle was complete she stopped and stepped out of the smoke, brushing a stray piece of cindered grass off her skirt. She looked straight at me.
“I know because I am telesā. And you are my daughter. I am matagi. Storm. Air. Wind. Lightning. You are fanua. Earth. Blessed with earth’s fire. And your gift is not going to go away, no matter what you do or where you live. It’s part of who you are and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you can get the help you need to make sure that you don’t hurt anyone. Unless you want to that is.” She half smiled and walked slowly towards me. I slid to sit on the wooden step.
The morning sunlight danced over the garden and a blue kingfisher sat on the wood railing and regarded me with dark eyes. It was supposed to be another day in paradise. Yesterday I had kissed a beautiful boy that a girl like me could only dream about. Today, here I was, watching the woman who was my mother call down lightning from the sky and burn circles of fire in the grass.