Friday, March 8, 2013

The Charge: Character Interview With Lena

It's awesome to have Lena Lowell here, today, one of the three main characters in The Charge. The Charge is Sharon Bayliss' alternative history debut novel which I had the pleasure of reading the ARC. Since I'm drawn to strong female leads, I was dying to interview Lena. So--here we go!


Lena, you were so young when the bombing of Texas took the lives of your parents. You were raised in foster care. How did you become a spokesperson and activist for the Texas Freedom Campaign at only eighteen years old? Did they approach you? Do you feel you were exploited, used as a face in the campaign because your parents were killed in the bombing?

Lena:  I have wanted to do something to help the people of Texas for as long as I can remember. I survived when so many others died. God must have spared me for a reason. I feel like I have to do something important with my life, or I'm just wasting that gift. I might as well have died too.

In high school, me and some of my foster siblings volunteered at the TFC after school. It was mostly answering emails and preparing mass mailings. Then at the end of my senior year, they asked me join the spokesperson program. They were looking for young people like me who wanted to tell their story. I don't feel like I am being exploited. I want to help in any way I can. This is my choice.

Gwen:  Very admirable, Lena.

What is the goal of the Texas Freedom Campaign and how does the royal Wilde family fit into the plan? Would the Wilde’s have a governing role or would they be just a figurehead?

Lena: TheTexas Freedom Campaign is a group of Texans now living in the U.S. who advocate for the U.S. government to assist the survivors still living in the Texas territory in building a democratic government. Just like everyone else, we thought all the Wildes were dead until recently. Honestly, I think it threw us all for a loop. When the Wildes resurfaced a lot of the funders backed out. They didn't mind helping rebuild a war torn nation, but they didn't have the guts to take down the royalty.

 Since I thought the Wildes were dead, I never really thought about if they should have any role in the new government. I suppose if they were figureheads like the British royalty that wouldn't be too bad, but I don't know if they really deserve that special treatment. But on the other hand, they have been a big part of Texas culture for a long time, and a lot of Texans are still loyal to them. And to be fair, not all the Wildes are bad.

Gwen: Especially not Warren, huh? *winks* Okay, moving on.

You were labeled a terrorist. What exactly did you do, or what did the U.S. government accuse you of?

Lena:  To be clear, I am not a terrorist. And at least in the beginning no sane people really thought that. But it sells more tabloids if the President's son is dating a terrorist. Way more interesting than dating an unpaid intern from a controversial political group. The U.S. government did have me on some kind of "watch" list, which basically meant they spied on me. But Will told me they would probably do that to anyone he dated.

 Of course, after they found out I knew Warren King, things got a lot more serious.

Gwen: Yeah, I can imagine. The U.S. Government on one side, royalty on the other - and the little rebel girl right smack dab in the middle. Yes, it did get rather...interesting, at that point.

The United States and Texas are mortal enemies. I mean, the President’s husband (and Will Cole’s father) was responsible for the terrible bomb that devastated Texas and killed so many people, including your parents. How in the world did you meet Will Cole and why did you agree to go out with him?  Was it a case of, keep your friends close, but your enemies closer?

Lena:  I didn't agree to go out with him, at least not at first. One of the things I like about him is that he cares about politics too, even though he's young, and I heard he was sympathetic to the plight of TFC. Perhaps, he wants to do something to make up for what his father did, or maybe he just knows we're in the right.

 Anyway, I went to him to ask him to help us get support for a TFC sponsored bill. He was happy to talk to some people about it. A little while after we met, he asked me out. I said no, but it wasn't because I hold his father's actions against him. I don't believe that people are bad just because they're related to people who are.

 I said no because I want to be taken seriously. I don't want people to think I'm trying to advance my own political career by sleeping with him. But later he asked me out again and I said yes. Screw what people think.


Gwen: Amen, sister. Amen.
Girl, you sure know how to complicate your love life with romantic ties to both opposing factions of the TFC. But Warren King sure is a sweetie. Do you think he’s mature or wise enough to run a country? Would you give up the Texas Freedom Campaign and the fight for a democratic government to support Warren?

Lena:  Uh no...Warren is not mature or wise enough to run a country...I mean, I don't know. I think some of it is an act. Well, not the immature thing, but he tries to downplay his own intelligence. But I do think he's a good man, and that's a hell of a lot better than most of the other Kings of Texas. In any case, that's what wrong with a monarchy.

Gwen:  And as we spoke in private, we'll skip the last part of that question. Maybe a bit premature to ask about you and Warren anyway...
We haven’t talked about that “charge” thing yet. The charge, an electrical type energy possessed by all the Wilde’s, plays havoc quite a bit, not only with the Wilde’s but those around them. It’s often painful and debilitating. How were you able to maintain your equilibrium?  

Lena:  It's not easy. I mean, I thought the whole charge thing was a myth until I actually felt it coming off Warren. He says my energy is compatible with his energy, and he feels better when we're close. When I say it out loud, it sounds like a lame pick up line, but I know it's true. But when his energy is agitated, and I am touching him, I can feel it too. The charge usually feels like intense anxiety. You're just scared out of your mind for no real reason. But the energy is weird, it can change based on how he's feeling. Sometimes, it can feel...well, nevermind. *blushes*

Gwen:  Hmmm, maybe certain parts of that energy thing make the Wilde men rather in demand...
Last question. Quick, without thinking: Will or Warren?

Lena:  Nice Try.
Gwen:  Dang it!
Praise for The Charge, by Sharon Bayliss:

"A solid cast of well-developed characters, including a "super-tall" royal Texan family, stars in this thrill ride of a novel teetering between sci-fi adventure and alternate historical epic." ~Publishers Weekly Review (won in the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Competition)

About The Charge:

When King of the Texas Empire kidnaps Warren's brother, Warren embarks into a still Wild West to save him. On his journey, he makes a discovery that changes his life forever--he and his brother are long-lost members of the Texas royal family and the King wants them both dead.

He gets help from an activist Texan named Lena, who's itching to take on the King and happens to be a beautiful firecracker Warren can't stay away from. Convincing her he's not one of the bad guys becomes harder when a mysterious energy stirs in his body, turning his brain into a hive of emotions and memories--not all his own.

A legacy of violence is not all he inherited from the brutal Kings of Texas. The myth that the royal family possesses supernatural powers may not be myth at all.

Gone are the days when choosing a major was a big deal. Now Warren must save his brother and choose whether or not to be King, follow a King, or die before he can retire his fake ID.
Buy The Charge on Amazon.
About the Author:
As a child, Sharon enjoyed playing in mud, collecting frogs, and was so certain that there was a ghost in her closet that her mother admits that she half-expected to really find one there. She began writing her first novel at the age of fifteen (handwritten in a spiral marked ‘private’).

A proud Austinite, Sharon never saw much sense in moving anywhere else and got her degree in social work from the University of Texas at Austin. As an author and social worker, she has devoted her life to making the lives of real people better and the lives of fictional people much, much worse. In addition to her official credentials, she is also an expert in fictional Texas history and make-believe neuroscience.

When she’s not writing, she enjoys living in her “happily-ever-after” with her husband and two young sons. She can be found eating Tex-Mex on patios, wearing flip-flops, and still playing in the mud (which she now calls gardening).

Find Sharon here: 



  1. The USA and Texas against each other? Well, they keep saying Texas is its own country.

    Good luck with your book, Sharon.

  2. Dating the president's son really ups the ante! Congratulations, Sharon.

  3. Well, heck, with the political charge electrifying the country lately, it seemed this alternative world could have been more of a reality lol!!

    I really enjoyed the interview, Lena and Gwen.

    Wishing Sharon the very best with this and all other publications :-)

  4. What a wonderful story. Congrats on winning the breakthrough novel award too. Excellent post, Gwen. Thank you. :)

  5. This sounds awesome! Definitely looking forward to reading it!!

  6. "It's a whole other country" takes on new meaning. Hi from San Antonio!

    Great interview, Gwen :)

  7. I'm pleased to meet Lena and learn about Sharon's book.

  8. Congrats Sharon! Alt history is a cool genre. I'd love to try it at some point. Will add it to my TBR.

    Happy Friday, Gwen! :D

  9. Alternate historynifnfun. I do something similar only with parallel universes. Good luck to Sharon!

  10. Hello everyone!! Thank you so much for stopping by! It was a really fun interview. Gwen, Lena says thanks for having her. :)

  11. Congratulations to Sharon! Great interview. I'm reading this too late at night and I somehow didn't connect that it was a character interview. So I'm like WHOA! And then I re-read it, and I'm Oooh! Character. Cool. Need sleep.

  12. It's great to find out more about this book :-)

  13. Lena sounds like a really interesting character...and the premise is intriguing as well. TBR list here it comes! :)

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