Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Author Spotlight: Elusion + Etherworld by Cheryl Klam and Claudia Gabel

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 1:00 PM


Cheryl Guttridge grew up in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan, and received a degree in political science from the University of Michigan. A romantic at heart, she never pursued a career in politics. Instead, she immediately tossed her diploma in a drawer and went in search of love and adventure.

She found work as a professional actress and model and traveled the country, appearing in an eclectic mix of B-list TV shows, commercials, movies and auto shows. Eventually, she landed a job at National Geographic Television in Washington, D.C., writing video box copy and titling films. It was there that she finally realized what she wanted to do when she grew up: write.

After short, unprofitable stints as a poet, a playwright and a screenwriter, a teacher told her to write what she knew. She immediately began writing a romance. In 1996, she sold that first novel as part of a three-book deal as Margaret Allison and never looked back. Now, she writes as Cheryl Klam.

Cheryl lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband and two daughters. She firmly believes that love conquers all and never tires of hearing stories that support her theory.


Claudia Gabel is the author of several young adult novels published by Scholastic Inc and HarperCollins. The In or Out series consists of four novels--In or Out, Loves Me Loves Me Not, Sweet & Vicious, and Friends Close, Enemies Closer.


Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam are the authors of Elusion. They met when Claudia edited Cheryl's previous novels, Learning to Swimand The Pretty One. Claudia works as an editor in New York, but she's also the author of several books for tweens and teens, including the In or Out series and the mash-up Romeo & Juliet & Vampires. They liked working together so much that they decided to write a bunch of things together, including movie proposals and TV sitcom scripts. And then one day they had the idea forElusion, and the rest is the future.


Title: Elusion
Author: Claudia Gabel + Cheryl Klam
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication: March 18th 2014
Cover Rating: 5/5

I’m not one for dystopian, but the few I have read, I have enjoyed. I’m happy to say that this has been added to that list.

The earth is in bad shape. The main character, Regan, her dad, David, created Elusion. People are able to go to a place that has clean air and a land that is beautiful.

I haven’t read anything like this before and I was intrigued. To a point it felt realistic to me because a lot of the time these people were in this world that he created. Which to me felt like how everyone today is always on their phones or technology in general.

Another thing this book showed was how bad our planet can get in the future. We don’t take good care of it and it is a problem now, which will only get worse.

There were many twists and turns. You didn’t know what to believe or not. Information came at you from different sources. You don’t know who to fully trust either. Each character gave some kind of betrayal to Regan. She went to wherever the clues were dad left took her.

Regan is a smart character. She followed her dad’s clues because she knows him. She knew he was trying to tell her something. I liked Patrick in the beginning, but when Josh started to hang with Regan, I didn’t like him so much because he changed. Josh on the other hand, I love. Yes, he does some things, but I love him either way.

Overall, this was a very interesting read and I can’t wait to see where the story leads.


I rate this 5/5. 



Title: Etherworld
Author: Claudia Gabel + Cheryl Klam
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication: March 31st 2015
Cover Rating: 5/5

I enjoyed Elusion and with how it ended, I couldn’t wait to see what was going to happen in Etherworld. Which blew me away.

Etherworld was a faster pace and more things were happening. The roller-coaster was crazier. There were many bumps in the road with twists and turns. Friendships are stretched, while others got stronger.

During this whole book there is a mess and the mess gets bigger and bigger. Regan does everything that she can to try and fix the problem and help everyone. Regan is a strong character. She does what she can, whatever it may be and it doesn’t matter what she has been through. She fights for things to be better.

Zoe was a minor character in Elusion and she came back with a bigger part. She became the friend Regan needed when no one else in the real world, that she trusted, believed her. Zoe helped Regan with what she needed. Zoe gained respect from me for doing what she did for Regan when her best friend Patrick thought she was sick.

Patrick really made me mad. He is supposed to be Regan’s best friend and when she really needed him, he wasn’t there for her. It took her going to Zoe and doing other things for him to realize she has been telling him the truth the whole time. He went to great lengths to earned everyone’s trust back and I liked seeing that.

Overall, I thought Etherworld was better than Elusion. The ride was so intense and crazy and I loved it all. The ending was so great. It had its bad moments, but things worked out.


I rate this 5/5. 


I would recommend this book to people who have read and enjoyed A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. These books are very sci-fi heavy so anyone who enjoys a great sci-fi book should check these out!


1. What inspired you to become a writer?

Cheryl: I grew up acting in plays and the short films of my friends. I loved the idea of escaping through a story and seeing the world through a character’s eyes. I began writing plays, switched to short stories and eventually graduated to books.

Claudia: When I was in second grade, my teacher read a chapter of A Wrinkle in Time to our class every day and I really got hooked on the magic of books. I’d already been writing my own stories down on loose-leaf paper, but after I encountered the awesomeness of Madeline L’Engle, I couldn’t help wanting to follow in her footsteps one day.


2. Why did you choose the science fiction genre as the setting for the Elusion series?

We’re both action/adventure, sci-fi fans (in fact, Claudia has an excellent picture of her meeting George Takei when she was a kid!) We had each written contemporary young adult books, and we were anxious to write something different, more ambitious, than our previous work. We were brainstorming ideas and when we hit on the story for Elusion, three teens who discover the virtual reality game sweeping the nation is much more dangerous than anyone suspects, we both agreed we had to write it! We knew it would be a lot of fun, and it was.

3. What genre do you want to write about next?

Cheryl: I’m working on a high fantasy/sci-fi book. (I have to admit, I got hooked on world building while working on Elusion!) 

Claudia: As a mother of a newborn baby, it might take me a while to write a full-length novel again! We’ll have to see what the future holds, but I can’t help but wonder what it might be like to work on a book aimed at adults…

4. Which character was the easiest to write?

Claudia: Josh. On the surface, he seems like a tough guy, but in reality, he’s a smart, loyal, honest person who values family above all else. There’s nothing he wouldn’t do for the people he loves. What girl couldn’t be attracted to all that?!

Cheryl: Patrick. Even though he seems like the kind of guy who has it all, he really doesn’t. Sure, he’s got money and power, but he’s kind of emotionally stunted and has a lot of growing up to do. His heart is in the right place, though – and ultimately, that’s what saves him.



5. Do you have a favorite character from the Elusion series?

Our favorite character would have to be Regan, the heroine of the novel. We wanted her to be a real person making difficult choices – and like all of us, she’s not perfect. When the series begins, Regan is a bit lost. Her dad has just died, her best friend is a workaholic with little time for her and her mom has succumbed to grief. Regan is struggling to hold it all together and make it through the day. But as the book continues, Regan really matures, and as she gains confidence, her inner strength and courage shine through. She is the type of girl both of us would love to have as a friend, vulnerable enough to fall in love yet courageous enough to attempt to save the world!


6. Is this a duology or will there be more books in the future?

A duology. Elusion and Etherworld are it.


7. What inspired you to create a world with an alternate reality and the earth in peril?

We were inspired by the amount of time we all spend online and on social media sites. It’s becoming such a big part of all of our lives. And it’s understandable. With just a few key taps, we can connect with friends, see their latest pictures, read, watch movies…the possibilities are endless. We wanted to take that experience to the ultimate extreme: what if there was a virtual reality that was so easy to access, that people could use it to “escape” whenever they wanted? Only this would be a virtual reality that could take you to exciting locales where you could be as adventurous as you wished…

As for the earth in peril, science fiction writers tend to look at the worst-case scenario. That’s when it gets exciting! ☺

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