Monday, July 6, 2020

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: The Order of the Key by Justine Manzano @justine_manzano @XpressoTours

The Order of the Key
Justine Manzano
Publication date: July 9th 2020
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

Jacklyn Madison never expected to be attacked by a beast on an evening snack run. Add a rescue mission enacted by a trained regiment of teenaged warriors, and her night officially becomes just like a scene from one of her beloved comic books. Turns out, her parents were once members of the Order of the Key, gifted humans that protect humanity from creatures spilling through inter-dimensional rifts. Unable to control her newfound abilities, Jacklyn and her family rejoin the Order.

After an attack on their headquarters leaves Jacklyn questioning their leadership, Kyp—the boy who led her initial rescue—reveals a darker secret. The Order’s leader may be corrupt, and Jacklyn’s questions could put her family in danger. Drawn into the search for proof, Jacklyn must use her guts and magical brawn to protect her family, her friends, and herself from the monsters spilling from rifts, and those hiding within the Order.

Interview with Justine Manzano

    For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
    The theme of the book is about the way power corrupts, and I really think if you want to dive deeply into that theme, there are plenty of places to look within the world around us. We constantly see examples of people who abuse their power.
    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
    There are really two themes to the story. One is the idea of the way power corrupts. Now, when I speak about this, I speak about this on both the smallest scale and the largest one. You really see it all the time. There are plenty of good people in this world (I honestly believe there are more people who mean well than not). And then there are the people who get a little power and completely run away with it. And I think I’ve been playing with the idea of that in my head since one of my elementary school teachers started messing with my grades and picking on me in class because she thought I got special treatment (for allergies--I wouldn’t take the class guinea pig home). It was a bizarre first meeting with the way power can affect people. And I’ve been sorting my way through this in my home life, my work life, and now as I work in the publishing industry. Power tends to breed the desire for more power--at any cost. And that is a dangerous game.

    I’ve developed a bit of a problem with authority since then. ;)

    And then, of course, as there is in many YA books, there is the other theme of how to find your way in the world. Another universal experience. I wanted to talk to a child like me. I hadn’t had the easiest childhood, and I truly wanted someone to look at Jacklyn--at her father’s abandonment, at her mother’s absenteeism, at the way she must step up and take care of her sister--and I wanted them to see parts of themselves.

    The super abilities and monsters are just set dressing really.
    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them? 
    My two biggest goals for this book was to explore my listed themes, and to have fun doing it, and while I think I still have more to say on the topics, I have definitely enjoyed myself. Thankfully, I’ve started working on a potential sequel for Order, and I’m hoping I get to have more fun diving deep into the dynamics of power.
    Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
    Always stand up for the things you believe in, and always be yourself. You’re the only you you’ve got. You have a voice. Please don’t let others silence you so they can shout louder.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Dialogue and character building. I fell in true love with these characters. They feel real to me, like old friends, which is why I can’t really leave them behind. There is definitely the desire to have their voices in my head again.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?
It’s still a secret while I’m typing this, but by the time you post this interview, I will have announced that I have another book coming out next year. This one is a YA Contemporary Romance with a splash of Fantasy called Never Say Never.

In addition, as I mentioned above, I’m working on a potential book 2 for Order. I also have a few other scattered ideas. There is much more planned for the future.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I was a child, stopped for a while, picked it up again in college, lost my confidence, and then dabbled for a while with no further movement. I got pregnant and gave birth to my son. I struggled with postpartum depression, while my son struggled with colic. And suddenly, when I’d gotten through that, I realized I could get through literally anything.

I started putting my writing out there and have never looked back.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Order of the Key?
The book is an ensemble so there are a lot of characters. The cast is large, but I’ll tell you a bit about the top three.

Our main character is Jacklyn Madison, and she is a tough girl, born and raised in Bronx, NY, and as I mentioned above, she’s struggling with some deep family issues. She’s super geeky, and the idea of becoming a member of The Order of the Key is exciting to her, because it means she gets her chance to be a superhero like the heroes that help her escape from her problems. She is clever and sarcastic, and a rebel through and through. She discovers she’s a Body Key, which means she has enhanced speed, strength, and senses. She refuses to do things by anybody else’s rules, and is often too quick to explode without thinking of the consequences. Her family is the most important thing in her life.

Then there’s Kyp Franklin. He’s loyal and awkward, and has a deep dark secret. He’s troubled and brooding and more idealistic than is obviously good for him. He believes in his cause, no matter what the cost, and that often gets him into a great deal of trouble. He was Jacklyn’s best friend when they were very young children, and when they reunite, they immediately fall into the old patterns. Particularly because Kyp is a Mind Key, which means he not only is extremely intelligent and has the ability to read minds, but he also has a perfect memory.

Gana Madison is Jacklyn’s sister, who is four years younger than her. She’s got a lot of Jacklyn’s sass, but, as Jacklyn notices, not much of her sense of humor. She’s an angry little thing who, unlike Jacklyn, actually enjoyed being at school and does not want to be a superhero or anything like it. She’s a bit of a nerd, her brain is always working, and she’s truly Jacklyn’s greatest ally. Not even Kyp can compare. Loyal to her sister, and utterly depressed to be there, Gana’s spending her time looking out for Jacklyn, and finding any way to get out of their predicament.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from The Order of the Key who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.
I personally love Gana. She’s snotty and sassy and just so much fun. She always speaks the truth and keeps you on your toes. You never have to wonder if she’s your friend or if she likes you, because if she doesn’t, she’ll tell you. I would take her out for normal young teen things, like to go get ice cream, or normal nerdy kid things, like to a trip to the book fair or a concept book store. Or maybe a tech convention. She doesn’t like being underestimated, and I wouldn’t like being on her bad side. Plus, taking her out would help take a little of the weight off of Jacklyn’s shoulders, and I’ve got to help my main girl wherever I can.  

Author Bio:

Justine Manzano is a YA author and editor living in Bronx, NY with her husband, son, and a cacophony of cats. Her novel, The Order of the Key will be available from Black Rose Writing in July 2020. She can normally be found at her website,,and she’s on all the usual social media haunts. If you’ve looked in all these places and can’t find her, she’s probably off reading fanfiction. She’ll be back soon.



Giselle said...

Thanks for hosting! :)

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