GUEST POST: Laura Maisano, Author of SCHISM, Talks Themes

This morning I’m pleased to host the lady who made GRIT OF BERTH AND STONE possible, who fell in love with Grit and pushed me to go deeper in my writing. But we aren’t talking about GRIT today. Laura Maisano has her own story to tell, and a fine one it is! Be sure to scroll down to find links for SCHISM and a rafflecopter giveaway. Thanks for stopping by, Laura, and for… well, everything else! 

Digging deep – What themes come
out in SCHISM?

Thank you for hosting me on your blog today and letting me share a little
about my book. When I went into writing SCHISM I had a couple of themes I
planned to explore, but writing has a little magic, which revealed other
nuggets of gold I never expected to find. The story created its own vibrant
background and some things resonated much deeper than I anticipated.
The main theme I explored was identity from all sides. How do we define
ourselves and how do others perceive us? Also, what makes someone who they are?
Is it nature…nurture…a combination of both?
SCHISM begins with Gabe who has lost his memory. He feels he doesn’t know
who he truly is because he can’t remember, however he makes choices and has a
personality even without his lost past. The story explores how he changes when
he recovers his memory, and how he stays the same.
Lea explores the other aspect of identity, perception. She throws on a
mask and shows people a different side than she feels. She expects them to
believe that is her true self, while she knows the real secret inside. So,
there’s always a conflict between what’s shown and what really is. I suspect
Lea isn’t as certain of herself as she lets on.
Another overt theme is that of equality and racism. In Illirin (the other
dimension within the story), there are five different traits—Winged, Legged,
Finned, Tailed, and Seer. In the past they were stratified in a hierarchy, and
once those conventions were abandoned for a sense of equality, lingering
persecutions remained. SCHISM explores the differences between policy and
personal conviction, as well as what happens when people allow prejudice to
Other themes developed from the story, or served to deepen these two.
Things you’ll notice when reading are:
The effects of revenge/vengeance
True love as a choice
Trust and faith
I’m sure there’s more, but I think that’s enough for now. Thanks again
for giving me a chance to share on your blog, and I hope everyone enjoys
reading and digging deeper into the text.
SCHISM (Illirin Book One)
By Laura Maisano
Art therapy hasn’t done squat for Gabe
Jones. A thousand sketches of his fiancée can’t bring his memory, or her, back
to him. Nothing on Earth can. His past lies in another dimension, a world just
out of sight.
student on campus, Lea Huckley, unknowingly shares Gabe’s obsession with the
fourth dimension. The monsters from the other side attacked her parents and
fled, getting her folks locked up in the loony bin. Proving this other world
exists is the only way to free them. Lea and Gabe strike a deal to help each
other, and together they manage to open a door to the world of Gabe’s true
origin. She’d use him for proof—if she didn’t already care too much.

While Gabe tries to reconcile his feelings for
Lea and his rediscovered memories of his fiancée, a much more sinister plot
unravels. He uncovers his history just in time to become the unwilling lynchpin
in a conspiracy to start a war. His memory holds the secret to the final riddle
the would-be conqueror needs to get the upper hand. Gabe must protect the
riddle at all costs, even if that means leaving Earth, and Lea, behind forever.

Lea packed light. Other than her phone’s GPS and a flashlight, she kept a small
notepad, her lucky pencil, and the thermometer in her cargo pocket. She didn’t
need to find data, now she needed proof.
She led the way down the alley where skyscrapers blocked the glowing moon and the lamps from the highway. Yellowed fixtures above each back entrance threw faint cones
of light onto the cement, like holes in Swiss cheese.
Lea checked the coordinates on her phone while she walked, and the little red arrow
crept closer to the flag icon she placed to mark the interaction point.
Gabe spent his time surveying the area for anything that might be a danger. He kept
fidgeting behind her and turning around every few seconds, a twitchy meerkat on
“We’re only between buildings. It’s not the end of the world.” Lea checked her phone
again to make sure they were headed in the right direction.
He glanced over his shoulder. “I still don’t like it. It’s night, people do get
mugged, you know.”
“The statistics of that are so low. We’re really not in any danger, considering the
population and how many times that sorta thing happens.”
He shifted uneasily behind her. “Whatever, we’re raising the chances by being out
here at night.”
Lea rolled her eyes. “I’m not missing this opportunity.”
“I know that. Neither am I.”
They came to a cross section behind two major offices where the loading docks and
dumpsters sat for both of them. A stream of water trickled down the concave
cement into the large sewer grate. Old garbage left a fume hanging around, and
the humidity only made it worse.
Lea double- and triple-checked her coordinates, cross-checking with her notes.
“This is it. Within I’d say, a fifteen foot diameter, low to the ground.” She
shoved the phone in her cargo pocket. “Perfect.”
“How long?”
“Roughly ten minutes.”
Ten minutes may as well have been six hours. She paced back and forth, her sneakers
scuffing the gritty pavement.
Gabe continued to keep a watchful eye out for muggers or vagrants. What a dork.
She snickered quietly. For someone who didn’t know his own experiences, he sure
seemed paranoid. She watched him standing straight, darting his eyes to the
entrance and even up to the windows above them. Watch out bad guys, Gabe’s on
to you. She smiled and turned to see what looked like heat waves rising from
the cold cement. Crap. The interaction had already started.
“Gabe…” She waved him over next to the loading dock.
This interaction provided no shining lights or obvious movement. Not much stood out
visually, except maybe the air glistening like summer heat waves if she
squinted hard enough, but her digital thermometer found the coldest point.
“Here,” she whispered, not wanting anyone or anything on the other side to hear. She
stretched her arms forward, and Gabe did likewise.
“On the count of three.” She waited for him to nod. “One…two…three.”
They both reached through the interaction point and grabbed at the thicker air. Nothing. They tried again, pulling, grasping, and making any sort of motion to trigger a rip. Finally, Gabe leaned in and pulled out at just the right angle, because the light tore across like a jagged line. Lea grabbed the edge of it and tugged, opening the tear wider until they both fell through.

About the Author

Laura has an MA in Technical writing and is a Senior Editor at Anaiah Press for their YA/NA Christian Fiction. She’s excited to release her debut YA Urban Fantasy SCHISM, and she’s finishing up the sequel UNITY.
Her gamer husband and amazing daughter give support and inspiration every day. Their cats, Talyn and Moya, provide entertainment through living room battles and phantom-dust-mote hunting. Somehow, they all manage to survive living in Texas where it is hotter than any human being should have to endure. Check out her blog at
Twitter: @MaisanoLaura



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