Dive into this fast-paced, suspenseful Sci-Fi fantasy novel that melds sizzling romance, action, heart-stopping horror, and a high-stakes battle to save humanity.
Changing Tide by Robert Joncas
Genre: YA SciFi Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Horror
I had to do it.
I wouldn't let anyone else I love die.
What did I do ...
A wild adventure that takes you on a journey from the California coast to the depths of the Grand Canyon. Dive into this fast-paced, suspenseful Sci-Fi fantasy novel that melds sizzling romance, action, heart-stopping horror, and a high-stakes battle to save humanity.
After her father's tragic death, eighteen-year-old Skye Conner and her mom visit her Nana on the California coast. There, Skye stumbles across a mystical conch shell in the surf. Suddenly her dull, empty life takes on a thrilling and terrifying turn.
Skye has had to endure a despondent mother drowning in grief, living in a private world of darkness. Nana is a feisty, intelligent, take-no-bull grandmother with a flaming sense of pride and heart of gold. Then comes a handsome, mesmerizing alien on a mission to save the Earth. But are his intentions sincere, or does he have another agenda?
Skye has finally found someone to love, but can he be trusted? Changing Tide is a witty, original page-turning thriller that will make you look at First Contact in a whole new way.
--snippet of a review from OnlineBookClub.org--
“Robert Joncas has crafted a compelling narrative that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The pacing is well-balanced, and the author's ability to evoke a wide range of emotions is commendable. Skye's character development is particularly noteworthy, as readers witness her transformation from a grieving and vulnerable girl into a brave and determined young woman. ....Changing Tide is a remarkable book that grabs the reader's attention from the very first page. With its compelling characters, intriguing plot twists, and seamless blending of genres, it is a true page-turner. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment spent reading this book and was genuinely sad when it came to an end. Without a doubt, I highly recommend picking up Changing Tide by Robert Joncas and awarding it a well-deserved 5 out of 5 stars.
--snippet of a Review from Literary Titan-- In “Changing Tide,” Robert Joncas masterfully entwines an evocative narrative of a young girl, Skye, wrestling with her personal turmoil while being swept into a journey far beyond her understanding. Haunted by cryptic dreams and grappling with the tragic loss of her father and her mother’s spiraling depression, Skye’s world is painted with a brush of melancholy. However, a glimmer of hope emerges as she rekindles a connection with Paul, an alluring figure from her past, previously known for his childhood mischief. Robert Joncas showcases an exceptional ability to portray raw emotions and delicate sentiments. His narrative is an intricate tapestry of romance, familial bonds, suspense, and an unmistakably human touch enveloped in a mantle of science fiction. The characters are vividly constructed, each contributing a unique hue to the narrative palette. Nana, Skye’s vivacious and fearless grandmother, was a particular standout, embodying a captivating blend of loyalty and audacious spirit. The narrative is particularly successful in illustrating Skye’s internal struggle – her battle against emotional turmoil and her hesitant forays into new friendships. The character development of the alien entity is equally commendable, with its adaptation and backstory revealed in a layered, compelling manner.
“Changing Tide” is a warmly recommended read, particularly for young adults who yearn for a slice of relatable, yet enchantingly fantastic, reality. This novel embodies the essence of heartfelt storytelling interlaced with an adventurous spirit, ensuring a riveting reading experience.
I never thought anyone close to me would die. I know it seems unrealistic because, sooner or later, we all die. But dying is supposed to happen in the future, like getting old. When you're eighteen, you shouldn't have to think about death. The idea of death takes you to a dark place where no one young ever wants to be.
It was the second week of June, and the first faint evidence of dawn trickled into the room. I pulled the curtain back, and fog blanketed the beach, darkening my mood. But then, a peculiar light shone from the shoreline in the distance, casting an eerie glow, like a beacon, in the mist.
I pulled a pink tee shirt from the closet and grabbed a pair of shorts from the pine dresser. Finally, I jerked a purple hoodie over my head, slipped on my flip-flops, and ran outside.
The strange light in the distance glowed like a full moon on a cloudy night. I crossed the beach and drifted in that direction. The long lines of white waves that swept across the shore glowed with a warm, radiant light. I kicked off my sandals at the shoreline, treading barefoot in the cold surf. Shivering, I clutched the sweatshirt tight around my neck. The ocean swirled around my ankles. I felt tiny shells and bits of seaweed in the ribbed sand under my feet.
Last week, after my high school graduation, Mom and I had flown from Phoenix to Nana's house in Crescent Cove, a small tourist town on the California coast. It was a two-hour flight from Phoenix to Sacramento, then another forty-five minutes in a small plane to the nearest airport. It would have been almost ten hours in the car had we driven. Unfortunately, Mom was in no condition to help me drive, so Nana said she would pick us up at the airport.
By the time we picked up our luggage, Nana was waiting outside the terminal in her old VW van. The trip was hard on Mom. Dark circles of exhaustion were under her eyes, and her hair hung in matted strings against her pale cheeks. She collapsed into the front seat while Nana helped me load the baggage into the back of the van.
When we drove up to the house, I knew it right away, even though it had been five years since I'd last been there. The red shutters and gray wood shingle siding looked the same as I remembered. I knew the inside would smell of lemon polish, and everything would be spotless and scrubbed.
Without seeing it, I knew the old back deck would be the same: weathered but sturdy and always covered in sand. I could picture Dad grilling and sipping beer while Mom and I watched the waves crash on the shore. I had hoped coming here would be a distraction, but memories of Dad continued to flood my mind.
My stomach ached as I remembered the heavy black dress I wore to Dad's funeral on that scorching day in Phoenix. The air was sizzling, too hot. I'd had to take deep breaths to keep from passing out. Although a canopy shaded the gravesite, the temperature was over 100 degrees. I ached with grief that I couldn't at least see Dad one last time — to make sure it was really him who'd died in that horrible accident. The burning car wreck left his body unidentifiable. The funeral home cremated what was left of his remains.
As I followed the light through the surf, the sea surged with a rolling wave that knocked me over. It was as if something had stirred below the ocean and was rising from the deep. I threw my hands out to break my fall but landed in the shallows on my butt. I sat motionless in the surf, shivering in my wet clothes…
Robert grew up in Southern California and has worked as a Real Estate Broker in Flagstaff, AZ, for many years. He has a BS in Health Science and graduated with Distinction from the prestigious UCLA Writers' Program, where he studied under Author Lynn Hightower in her Master Novel Classes. He is a member of the Alliance of Independent Authors and the Horror Writers Association.
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I have always read books since I was a kid. I knew that eventually I would write a novel.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
I have always believed in reincarnation. Even as a kid, I could not relate to other children my age. I have always felt like an old soul.
What are some of your pet peeves?
People that need a lot of attention. I am never bored; I always have something to do or somewhere to go.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I was born in Colchester, England and grew up in Southern California. It was nice to be able to go from the mountains to the beach in one weekend. I also liked the mild weather.
Who is your hero and why?
I don't really have one person as a hero. I admire people that struggle to succeed. It's easy to give up.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
What are you passionate about these days?
My work and writing. I am a Real Estate Broker and sell mostly second home mountain resort properties. Lots of people in Phoenix want to get out of the heat in the summer. I sell to a lot of teachers and retired folk. I enjoy what I do.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
I did a lot of skiing and backpacking. Now I'm getting older I enjoy traveling and writing. I spent the last few years during COVID finishing my novel.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Stress free, laid back.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had a short story published a few years ago in an anthology of International Writers. It was about a girl that bought an old muffin pan at a thrift store and the muffins she baked in it killed people.
Do you have a favorite movie?
I would have to say "Silence of the Lambs" is one of my top 10.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Haha! I only have one out. Changing Tide would make a great movie. Also, it wouldn't break the bank to cast it.
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
I guess it would have to be an alien. One of the greys, like in my book.
What inspired you to write this book?
It started out as a short story I wrote for my granddaughter when she was twelve. Skye was also twelve and it was about 6,000 words long.
What can we expect from you in the future?
A sequel to Changing Tide. I never thought it would take off like it did and get great reviews. I left it open for a sequel just in case.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
I felt sorry for Karly. She didn't deserve to get hurt the way she did in the book.
Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Changing Tide?
In the beginning Skye has just graduated from high school but has had a tough time dealing with her father's death and her mother's depression. Her world has come crashing down on her. When she goes to visit Nana at the beach for the summer everything changes. Skye finds a conch shell that has an alien entity inside it. This sets in motion a series of events that change her life.
Skye's grandmother (Nana) is a knowledgeable, aging hippy that doesn't take any bull but has a heart of gold. She's a loveable character. I don't want to say too much about Paul. It would give away some of the story.
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
I originally fashioned Skye after my granddaughter, Kaylee. Because I wrote the short story for her. Nana is every gutsy older woman that doesn't care what they say or do. I rounded her out with a witty gentle side and lots of empathy. You can't help but love Nana.
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I liked the name Sky, but added an e. My mom was always called Nana by my son and granddaughter since she was from England. I used Paul because it was a common name but not old fashioned.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Not knowing where I was going with the story. I didn't have an outline. I'm a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants). I wrote two alternate endings and through them out to my writing class and they chose the ending.
How did you come up with the title of your first novel?
The original short story was called "The Seashell." It sounded too bland for a novel. "Changing Tide" addresses the sea and the change that Skye goes through in the book.
Who designed your book cover?
I hired a company in Phoenix, 1106 Design to do the book layout. They sent me cover samples, but I had a different idea for the cover. I wanted something that grabbed the reader when they were searching for a book. I had my Real Estate photographer Barbara Sherman helped me design the cover. Barbara also does photography for the schools in Flagstaff. The background on the cover are some rocks in Buckskin Gultch, up by the Grand Canyon. The crow with the one blue eye is symbolic with the story and the conch shell sits on my desk in my office.
Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Since this is my first novel, I learned writing isn't as easy as I thought. I also learned that I edited too much while I wrote. The next novel I will concentrate more on getting the story down and worry about the editing when it's completed.
If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
I hadn't though about Skye, but I would like to see Kathy Bates play Nana.
Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
What is your favorite part of this book and why?
I like the fast pace and adventure of the Grand Canyon. It's a wild ride and it was fun to write.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
I'd like to have lunch with Nana. I would also like to sit down with the alien and talk about life and the universe.
Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?
None of my characters are based on one specific person. They are a combination of personalities of people I have known.
Convince us why you feel your book is a must read.
Because of the good reviews and I am an avid reader and each time I had to read through it while it was being edited, I fell in love with it. Another reason, my friends Kathy and Kevin. Kathy read my manuscript and told Kevin about it. Kevin hasn't read a book in almost 20 years. He couldn't put it down.
What did you edit out of this book?
I edited out some of the cuss words. Originally Nana was throwing F bombs throughout the book. I realized that I wanted to clean it up so that it would be acceptable for younger people. I left a few cuss words though. When I edited Nana's mouth, I realized I liked her a whole lot more.
What book do you think everyone should read?
There are so many but "The Stand" by Stephen King and "Swan Song" by Robert McCammon left a big impression on me. It's funny because the story lines are similar in both novels.
How long have you been writing?
About ten years.
Do the characters all come to you at the same time or do some of them come to you as you write?
I had the characters in my mind before I wrote the book. They were in my short story.
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
In "Changing Tide" I had to research the Hopi's legend of the Ant People. Also, a lot of research on archeology and astronomy. Even though I have a science degree, it's been a while since I've been in school. I also wrote a lot of the end of the book at the Grand Canyon. It's not far from where I live.
Do you see writing as a career?
I would like to.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I am a member of the Horror Writer's Association. I like horror and fantasy. I also like crime and mystery novels. I read a lot. I have also read a lot of YA novels in the last few years as research for this book.
Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I like to write with music in the background. My favorite is soft rock, like Linda Ronstadt or Stevie Nicks, and to be fair to the guys, I like to listen to Cat Stevens and Paul Simon when I write. I like all kinds of music, but I need mellow to concentrate while writing.
What made you want to become an author and do you feel it was the right decision?
As an avid reader I though, I could do that. Write a novel. So, I did. I just wish I had done it sooner. But I also realize that it's hard when you have a full time job, family, etc.
Advice they would give new authors?
Start when you are young and be patient. If it takes ten years just plug away at it. If you stick with it you will end up with a novel.
Describe your writing style.
I looked at many novels through the eyes of a writer instead of a reader. What makes them good? What sells them besides the story? I found that James Patterson is so popular because his novels have short chapters. It's an easy read. You can read him on break at work or while on the bus or airport. So, I made my chapters short. I also made the font larger. I listened to what other readers said. People don't like to squint when they read a book with tiny font.
Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I feel my story is original. I tried to find something similar but there are not a lot of alien romance books that are similar to mine. I'd have to say it's sort of like Twilight with aliens instead of vampires.
What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It was hard to write Skye in the beginning. I had lots of help from the women in my class and coworkers. When I finally got the hang of an eighteen-year-old girl, Skye took off. I also had help from my mentor, the Author Lynn Hightower. She would critic my chapters.