Sunday, 1 February 2015

REVIEW - SOUND OF SIRENS - TALES OF SKYLGE BY JEN MINKMAN

The setting of Tales of Skylge is loosely based on the Dutch island of Terschelling, or Schylge in the island’s dialect. Although the names and places in this book will sound very familiar to people living on the island, the characters and events are, of course, entirely fictitious in nature.

Title: Sound Of Sirens
Series: Tales Of Skylge
Author: Jen Minkman
Release Date: 28th November 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
An ancient land protected by a Tower of Light,
its people ever tempted by Siren song,
and a girl who falls for the wrong boy.


On the island of Skylge, electricity is only for the Currents – the rich ruling class who once came from across the sea and brought the holy fire of St. Brandan to Skylge. Ever since, the light in the Brandaris Tower has protected the islanders. Heeding the Siren's call will drown your body and steal your soul, but the sacred light in the Tower will chase the merfolk away.

When Skylger girl Enna welcomes her brother back from a long sea voyage, he gives her a special present from the mainland – an electronic record only playable on a Current device. The problem is that Royce Bolton, Current heartthrob and the town’s most gifted pianist, wants it too. After she stubbornly refuses to sell the LP featuring his favorite artist, he suggests sharing the record by secretly meeting up in his private summer house. Taken aback yet thrilled, Enna agrees – and discovers that there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Current society and the history of Skylge. Why do the Sirens tempt the islanders to give themselves up to the sea? And where does the Currents’ monopoly on electricity really come from? 

While struggling with these questions, Enna begins to fall for Royce, risking everything to be with a guy who is clearly wrong for her. She will learn that the sound of Sirens isn’t the most treacherous thing out there to haunt her dreams.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK


BOOK TRAILER

LINK


REVIEW

INITIAL THOUGHTS
As I read and really enjoyed the other dystopian series by Jen Minkman I admit to having fairly high expectations from this beginning of a new dystopian series. ?I've had this one on my Want To Read List since I found out Jen was writing it! I wonder if the island of Skylge will have anything in common with the Island in Jen's other series? Will any of the characters in this new book remind me of the Island characters?

MY REVIEW
I received this book frees, directly from the author in exchange for my honest review. The cover shows a female character submerged in water, is the character an islander of Skylge or a Nixen/Siren? The blue colour of the water representing the ocean is eye catching, which I think would make this book stand out on a book shelf. I also like the placement on the title, author and series title too. The cover could be depicting a couple of scenes in the book, the one where Enna is in the water (I can't say any more as it would reveal spoilers, then again the female could also depict Enna's mother or even Royce's mother as they gave themselves over to the Nixen in the sea. Would the cover attract my eye enough on a book store shelf to pick it up? Yes as I said before the blue is eye catching and the cover arouses your curiosity wanting to know what the female is doing submerging herself under the sea.
The main character's in the book are Enna, her father and her older brother who is a fisherman called Sytse. We also learn about Enna's best friend Dani, all of which are poorer descendants of those native to the island called Skylgers. On the more prosperous, electric and gadget using Currents live. The current we learn the most about is a young male around Sytse age that is called Royce. Royce is the good looking male at school that all the girls fawn over. Enna and Royce are an unlikely pairing but circumstances throw them together with interesting coincidence. The history of the island is important to all the inhabitants on the island and they are taught about it in school almost religiously so. A man named St Brandon is said to have come to the island and builst the sacred fire that wards off the Nixen when they come to shore to claim more souls. Both Enna and Royce's mother were sufferers of "the sadness" and ended up either going with or been taken by the Nixen. Nixen is the name given to those creatures that live in the sea. It is said that the Skylgers were once Nixen many years ago but when washed up on the island they began living on the island rather than in the sea.
Naturally there is some friction between the two groups of island dwellers. the Currents are the richer, more prosperous, of the two groups. the Currents have all the access to the electricity grid. Where as the Skylgers have their own old language, traditions and customs with no access to the electricity grid other than being told that it is the electricity and the generosity of the Currents which protect them from the Nixen. Naturally there are many Skylgers who resent the Currents and all they stand for, being the "ruling class". Ove time though Skylger stories have been forgotten and their language not taught as much, however there seems to be a small number of Skylgers who have had access to knowledge about the true history of the island. It seems that the Nixen and Skylgers used to be friends and live in peace. The controversial history books that some on Skylge have found also shows that the precious St Brandons fire that the Currents take credit for was built prior to St Brandons visit to the island.
So i guess I should explain how Enna, a native Skylger ends up friends or perhaps more with Royce the privileged Current. Syste (Enna's brother) brings records back when he visits the mainland during his fishing trips, though we learn these fishing trips are perhaps not as innocent as they at first appear. The problem with the latest record that Syste brings back for Enna is that it need an electric record player which is something that only the Currents have access to. Royce learns about the orecious record Enna has and attempts to buy it from her. When she insistently refuses, he comes up with the idea of them "sharing" the record. He asks Enna to meet him at a house in Strotum that belongs to him. Naturally it is frowned upon for Sklygers and Currents to mix with each other from both sets of islanders, so when Syste finds out and argues with Enna, etc but I can't really say much more I feel I have given away more than enough already. Unlikely friendships and relationships are formed, tested to the limit, broken then possibly repaired. There are lots of different types of relationships described such as Syste and how he looks at Enna as a child. there is also the kinship felt between Enna and Royce as they both lost their mothers to the ocean. They also both love music too but for all the things they have in common can they overcome the whole culture/racial divide. Could their friendship ever be publicly accepted? There is definitely an element of Romeo & Juliet crossed with West Side Story
So did I enjoy this book? Yes, I did enjoy reading the book. The only thing I initially wasn't keen on was the other race being called currents, as in sea/ocean Currents and electric Currents, but once you are drawn into the book it really doesn't make a difference, what the two races of people are called. Would I recommend the book? Definitely if you enjoyed the Island (I never thought I'd say this but. . .) then this is a must read for you.
Would I want to read more in this series? I would as I think this book was setting the scene and tone for what is about to come . . I also hope to "meet some Nixen" perhaps? I  love the historical elements within Jen's books. I ended reading this book thinking, there is sooo much more to come, and lots of options for things that may happen. Would I want to read more titles by Jen Minkman? Of course! I have read a lot of books/novella's by Jen and intend to read many more! As long as she continues to write them.

Saturday, 31 January 2015

PROMO & REVIEW - MOTHER - THE SILENT YEARS BY JENNIFER POVEY

Title: Mother
Series: The Silent Years
Author: Jennifer R. Povey
Release Date: 27th November 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Dorothy Mayling thought her worst problem was the long-standing family feud over her sister's choice of husband. Or her sons' grades. Then the rumors started - bird flu in Seattle, SARS in Washington State? The truth is a hideous, terrible disease, one that slowly steals away the ability to speak and reason, turning people into nothing more than zombies. Worst of all, it was meant to be a weapon. Can Dorothy hold her family together as the world ends around them and people fall, one by one, to the silent plague?


PURCHASE LINKS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Jennifer R. Povey was born in the city of Robin Hood - Nottingham, England. The daughter of a professional musician, she graduated from the University of York with a degree in Archaeology. Two years later she emigrated to the United States and married her American husband, Gregory. She is now an American citizen.

Jennifer writes across a variety of genres, but her focus is speculative fiction - science fiction, fantasy, and horror. She has had a number of stories published in a variety of anthologies and periodicals, both print and electronic. Her first novel, Transpecial, was published by Musa Publishing in the spring of 2013.

When not working on fiction, she works as a freelancer, both writing and editing non-fiction. She also indulges herself in role-playing games and rides horses regularly.


AUTHOR LINKS
Amazon Author Page


MY REVIEW
Title: Mother
Series: The Silent Years
Author: Jennifer R. Povey
Release Date: 27th November 2014

BLURB from Goodreads
Dorothy Mayling thought her worst problem was the long-standing family feud over her sister's choice of husband. Or her sons' grades. Then the rumors started - bird flu in Seattle, SARS in Washington State? The truth is a hideous, terrible disease, one that slowly steals away the ability to speak and reason, turning people into nothing more than zombies. Worst of all, it was meant to be a weapon. Can Dorothy hold her family together as the world ends around them and people fall, one by one, to the silent plague?

Goodreads Link

INITIAL THOUGHTS
I wasn't sure what this novella was going to be like. It sound post apocalyptic, but will I enjoy this novella, I mean can you do a post apocalyptic novella. I like questions and loose ends to be answered.
MY REVIEW
I received an e-copy of this directly from the author in exchange for my honest review. The cover features what could be described as a metal door or cover, the way it is aged makes you think it is a worn and perhaps battle hardened door with rusted parts on it. The "door" looks weathered and worn rather like the main female character in the novella becomes due to her surroundings and the life she is forced to live. 
Would the cover make me pick up the book in a book store? I would pick it up to read the blurb to learn more about the novella, I'd say the cover definitely has a post apocalyptic look about it.
The main female character is an older no nonsense mother of two, a hard working, traditional woman called Dorothy. Dorothy is married to her husband, and has two sons, who attend the local school. Then there's a rumour that a virus of some sort has been released. The virus turns people into zombies. The initial signs of the virus is that people stumble over their words, then they speak but it makes no sense and next they cannot speak and the end stage is when the "zombies" turn violent. There is also a reference to part of the title, but I won't say how or why as I want you to discover the book and meaning of it's title for yourself. There is no treatment for this virus, the only thing that can be done is for someone to shoot/kill those infected. To begin with Dorothy thinks the news is just exaggerating but curiosity gets the better of her and she decides to check out whats going on via the internet. Sadly her worst fears are realised. The first action she takes is to remove her treasured sons from school, she suggests her husband not go into work and that they go to her brother farm. They pack up the car with as many necessities they can fit in it to take what ends up being a harrowing journey. They pass many infected on their way to the farm but do not stop in fact they speed up to escape those zombie-like people. Once at the farm they all pull together to feed the animals and work the ground to be as self sufficient as possible. They also take turns on watch with their shotguns. Having the farm may improve their chances of survival but there are always the infected wandering near and then there's the other survivors who wish to have what they have. Sadly we witness some of Dorothy's family succumbing to the virus. Dorothy feels like she is counting down to her own death but there is just something that makes her push on. The story also tells of her hazardous journey when she finally leaves the farm. We learn others have survived, and how they are being forced to live. You see the "good" and the "bad" in people. You do really go on a roller coaster ride of emotions through the incidents that happen to Dorothy.
I like how Dorothy meets back up with a character who was in the novella beofre the "virus" spread. I like this other character too. Dorothy and this other character (I am determined not to give too many spoilers) who in the "before the virus" were unlikely friend, end up banding together to survive a situation neither thought they would ever be placed in. I am really looking forward to reading about more of their journey.
So did I enjoy the novella? Yes, I really did. There is a lot of angst, action and drama packed into this novella. Would I recommend the novella? Yes! I'd compare it to the novella's that make up Volume 1 of After The Silence Series by Jacqueline Paige, I really loved those. Would I want to read more of this series? I'd love to read more of the series of novella's as soon as I can. Would I want to read more books by this author? I will certainly be checking Jennifer Povey out of Goodreads and Amazon UK.

Friday, 30 January 2015

COVER REVEAL - ADAMANT - ALLIANCE BY EMMA L ADAMS

Title: Adamant
Series: Alliance
Author: Emma L. Adams
Genre: Contemporary Fantasy
Target Audience: Adult
Publisher: Self/Indie
Release Date: 11th March 2015

BLURB supplied by Author
On an alternative 21st-century Earth in which our world is one of many in the Multiverse, the Inter-World Alliance exists to keep the peace between the worlds, and keep the monsters out.

Ada Fletcher is twenty-one, keeps a collection of knives in her room, and is more interested in fighting than her day job as a cashier. She also risks her life on a daily basis, helping refugees from a devastating magical war on her homeworld hide on the low-magic Earth. But when she’s taken into custody by the Alliance, her unusual magic makes her a prime suspect for a supervisor’s suspicious death.

For Kay Walker, whose family founded the organization, there has never been any doubt that his future is with the Alliance – even if it means dealing with sarcastic centaurs and dangerous monsters in the dark Passages between worlds. But when his supervisor is murdered, Kay discovers that a research project might have been the reason, and faces the choice of whether to ignore his instincts or risk becoming the next target, not to mention digging into the Alliance’s history and memories he’d rather keep buried. And there’s something not quite right about the strange, fierce girl he arrested as a suspect.

The last thing Ada wants is to help the infuriating Alliance guard who arrested her, but it soon becomes clear that the Alliance knows too much about Ada’s offworld origins. More, in fact, than she knows herself. Now she has to choose between loyalty to her family, and helping the Alliance save the Earth – and the Multiverse – from a deadly enemy.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon UK
(not yet available)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Emma spent her childhood creating imaginary worlds to compensate for a disappointingly average reality, so it was probably inevitable that she ended up writing speculative fiction. She was born in Birmingham, UK, which she fled at the first opportunity to study English Literature at Lancaster University. In her three years at Lancaster, she hiked up mountains, skydived in Australia, and endured a traumatic episode involving a swarm of bees in the Costa Rican jungle. She also entertained her creative writing group and baffled her tutors by submitting strange fantasy tales featuring dragons and supernatural monsters to workshops. These included her first publication, a rather bleak dystopian piece, and a disturbing story about a homicidal duck (which she hopes will never see the light of day).

Now a reluctant graduate, Emma refuses to settle down and be normal. When not embarking on wild excursions and writing fantasy novels, she edits and proofreads novels for various publishing houses and reads an improbable number of books. Emma is currently working on the Alliance series, a multiple-universe adult fantasy featuring magic, monsters, cool gadgets and sarcasm. Her upper-YA urban fantasy Darkworld series is published by Curiosity Quills Press.

AUTHOR LINKS
Newsletter


TEASER'S!



***GIVEAWAY***
This is a Tour wide Giveaway
You could win $20 Amazon Gift card
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour organised by


BOOK BLITZ - EVER DARKENING BY JANEAL FALOR

Title: Ever Darkening
Author: Janeal Falor 
Release Date: 28/01/15

BLURB from Goodreads
Perfection. Goodness. Elimination of evil. It's what seventeen-year-old Kaylyn has trained her entire life to achieve. But no one is prepared for the consequences of her actually defeating all evil people on the planet. Finally successful in her mission, Kaylyn faces an unfamiliar world, full of good people doing good things, in which she no longer has purpose.


When the skies grow dark, and a stranger from another village pleads for her help, her instincts roar to life. It turns out their perfect world isn't exactly what it seems. Kaylyn's new quest, harder than any she's been on before, will rip apart her friendships, her life, and her soul more than any evil man ever managed to.


PURCHASE LINKS


EXCERPT

Being the one chosen to kill the entire evil population is a burden heavier than sin. Not that I know what it’s like to sin, but I imagine this is worse. Killing is never taken lightly, even when sanctioned by our leaders, the same leaders who chose me to carry it out. I’ve lost count of how many Malryx I’ve executed for that exact reason. And now there is only one left. Only one evil being. My purpose of being is almost complete.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Janeal Falor lives in Utah where she’s finally managed to live in the same house for more than five years without moving. In her spare time she reads books like they’re nuts covered in caramel and chocolate, cooks whatever strikes her fancy, and enjoys the outdoors. Her husband and three children try to keep up with her overactive imagination. Usually they settle for having dinner on the table, even if she’s still going on about the voices in her head.

AUTHOR LINKS

***GIVEAWAY***
BLITZ WIDE & INTERNATIONAL
PRIZE: $50 Amazon Gift Card



Book Blitz Organized by:

BOOK BLITZ - STATE OF ALLIANCE - COLLAPSE SERIES BY SUMMER LANE

Title: State of Alliance 
Series: Collapse Series #5
Author: Summer Lane 
Publication date: January 30th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic

BLURB supplied by Xpresso Tours
There is no such thing as safe.
For Commander Cassidy Hart, staying alive is only one of her day-to-day problems. As a newly minted Senator of the State of California, she must travel to Monterey Bay with the hope of bringing an agreement between the militia forces and the Pacific Northwest Alliance as the United States desperately battles against the shadow invasion forces of Omega.
But Monterey is not what it seems. The threat of another Omega attack looms on the horizon, and Commander Chris Young – the love of Cassidy’s life – is not the only important person in Cassidy’s life who is keeping secrets. Assassinations, betrayal and startling revelations lie ahead.
The war is now. Fight or die.
Choose your side.
The fifth installment in the international bestselling Collapse Series, a YA/NA post-apocalyptic romantic adventure.



PURCHASE LINKS


ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Summer Lane is the author of the international bestselling Collapse Series and Zero Trilogy. She owns WB Publishing and Writing Belle, an online magazine dedicated to the Art of Storytelling. Summer is also an accomplished creative writing teacher and professional journalist. She lives in the Central Valley of California where she creates her stories and shares them with the world.

AUTHOR LINKS

GUEST POST



The Carmel Mission and State of Alliance

By Summer Lane
  
When I was writing State of Chaos in 2013, I did a lot of hands-on research to get a feel for what Cassidy Hart would be experiencing when she began fighting with a guerilla-war rebel group. I went to a range and took a rifleman course (the longest day of my life! I’ve got the scars to prove it!) to make sure I wrote about weaponry and marksmanship as accurately as possible. What’s my point? I love research, and if I’m going to write about something, I’m going to get as close to the subject as possible.

For State of Alliance, I went to Monterey to research geographical locations for the fifth installment of Cassidy’s story. One of the places that really resonated with me was the Carmel Mission, perhaps the most famous mission on the California coastline. Father Junipero Serra – the Father of the California Missions – is buried here. It is a gorgeous, deeply spiritual place. I connected with it. I loved the atmosphere and the architecture. As I visited, I saw Cassidy coming here for an integral part of the story. I took about five hundred pictures, stowed them away, then scurried home. The Carmel Mission makes a lovely cameo in State of Alliance, providing Cassidy Hart with something important that she’ll need to survive the storyline! 

***GIVEAWAY***
Blitz Wide Giveaway
Prizes consist of 13 e-books
The Soul Thief, Majanka Verstraete 
Trigger, Jill Meengs 
Dead Girl Walking, by Ruth Silver
Spirit Warrior, by DEL Connor 
Fractured Dream, by KM Randall
The Green Dagger, by Kelly Hess 
Jacob, King of Portalia, by Casey Cubb
A Reaper Made by Liz Long 
The Road by G. Michael Hopf 
The Death, by John W. Vance 
Last Woman by Jacqueline Druga 
Realm of the Unknown by James McPike 
Element Wielder, by Cesar Gonzalez 
&
1 paperback of The Lost and the Wicked by Cesar Gonzalez
1 signed copy of Day Zero by Summer Lane
$10 Amazon Gift Card 




Thursday, 29 January 2015

BOOK BLITZ - THE SEVENTH BY S.D. WASLEY

Title: The Seventh
Author: S.D. Wasley
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance, Suspense
Release Date: 23rd Jan 2015

BLURB supplied by Bridging The Gap
Sixteen year old Mimi Alston has company. No less than three ghosts follow her around, and only she can see them. At her last school, she was known as the girl with imaginary friends. Now Mimi’s starting fresh in a new town, where she’s determined to make some real friends and fit in for once. She’s ready for a normal life...except Mimi never counted on her fascination with troubled goth-boy, Drew.


When she’s invited to join the elite Gifted Program, Mimi discovers she’s not the only one at the school with an unusual talent. Maybe being normal isn’t even an option anymore.


PURCHASE LINKS
Evernight Teen    
Smashwords    


EXCERPT
“Mimi, would you mind telling us about yourself now?”
I swallowed again. How did she expect me to make a coherent sentence after what I’d just heard? If there was another Mimi, a logical one that could step outside of my own body and look at the situation objectively, she would say: Get a grip, Miette. This is bullshit. These people are either lunatics … or they are playing the cruellest prank in history. But the problem was, logical Mimi had gone AWOL. I believed these kids. Deep in my heart, I knew without a shadow of a doubt they were telling the truth and––whether what they were describing was real or not––they believed in their gifts as fact. Doctor Mayer would have a field day with them.
I heard myself launch into speech and marvelled at how unlike myself I sounded. I heard a Mimi I hadn’t heard in years: excited, happy and relieved. “I’m Mimi Alston. I come from Perry Ridge. I have one brother, who’s much older. He lives in Canada with his wife. I love drawing, especially portraits. I had a nickname at my old school. Mimi-and-her-imaginary-friends.” I couldn’t believe I was telling them this secret … a secret I had been so determined to keep that I’d actually been prepared to fake my whole personality, day in and day out, at this new school.
“It’s because I have company with me, pretty much all the time. Meet my ghosts, Hannah, Albert and Marvin.” I pointed at the chairs beside me and the other kids stared. Even Drew raised his head to look at me in amazement. “Hannah joined me when I was thirteen. She was a kitchen maid. She was nineteen, and she was pregnant with her boss’s child. She died having the baby. Albert joined me when I was fourteen. He was a soldier in World War II. He died on the stretcher after getting a serious shrapnel injury. And Marvin only joined me earlier this year. He was homeless after losing his house because of his gambling debts. He died of hypothermia during a cold snap.”
Patience’s eyes looked like horrified saucers as she stared at the empty chairs beside me. After a moment, Mona let out a shuddering breath and even contemptuous Cassie looked impressed. Gabe sat watching me curiously, as if he didn’t expect quite what he was seeing or hearing.
“You’re a Necromancer,” nodded Ms Deering.
Necro … doesn’t that mean dead?” asked Mona.
“And mancy is magic, or conjuring,” affirmed Ms Deering. “Mimi calls the dead.”
“I call them?” I couldn’t help exclaiming. “I never called them! I don’t want them around!”
Ms Deering just smiled ruefully. “I don’t think you can help it. I didn’t mean you actively call them––I meant you bring them … attract them. You invite their spirits to make contact.”
“Why?” I asked.
“The million-dollar question,” Mona laughed shortly, dragging her eyes off the empty chairs beside me. “Why do any of us have these gifts?”
“Can you hear them?” Patience asked me, her face still terrified. Great. She was freaked out. Oh, well … at least she didn’t think I was crazy.
“Yes,” I said. “That’s how I know what happened to them.” My mind drifted towards some of the other things they’d said to me and I hastily changed my train of thought. “They used to talk more, but I started trying to ignore them so they stopped being so … chatty.”
Mona cackled at that. I decided I wouldn’t mention the medication I had been taking to help me “ignore” my ghosts. I could feel Drew still watching me, so I looked back at him. I badly wanted to ask him why he looked so stunned. I also wanted to ask him what his gift was. But I couldn’t form a sentence because his face was so painfully beautiful in that moment that I forgot to breathe and just stared.
“Drew,” Ms Deering said in a firm tone. “Please tell us about you.”

Drew snapped out of our little two-way staring contest and cast an angry look at Ms Deering before getting up and shouldering his satchel.


AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?
S.D. Wasley (Sasha), born in Perth, Western Australia and still living here now. I live in a wine-growing region close to the famous Swan River.

Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
Easy question. YES. I have always wanted to be a writer but didn’t actually feel confident that it was possible. So I filled in the gaps with various other careers and aspirations, including university lecturer, migrant English teacher, pharmacy assistant, vet, PR account manager, and finally settled on being a copywriter.

When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
When I signed my contract for publication. Before that I considered myself a wannabe.

Did it take a long time to get your first book published?
Yes, it did. I have written a few books over the years and this was the first one I got past the publishing line. I had plenty of nibbles but no bites before The Seventh.

Do you work another job as well as your writing work?
In addition to my writing work, I work as a writer. Haha! But it’s true. I’m also a copywriter who writes blogs, e-newsletters, websites, and lots of other corporate and marketing stuff.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
The Seventh. Sixteen year old Mimi is followed around by three ghosts. She thinks she’s crazy until she meets other gifted kids.

Who is your publisher? or do you self publish?
Canadian publisher, Evernight Teen.

Do you have a "lucky charm" or "lucky routine" you follow when waiting for your book to be accepted by a publisher?
When I hit send or pop it into a mailbox I also blow an imaginary kiss and wish my book will land on the desk of the right submissions editor! I guess the kiss I blew for The Seventh finally hit the mark.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
It depends on the book but I write fast. I can start and finish writing a book within about three months, in amongst my other workload, but I would then want to spend several months editing. That’s the slow bit, for me.

Which of your books were easier/harder to write than the others?
The Seventh came very naturally. Once I found Mimi’s voice, the words just poured. I have tried to write a semi-non-fiction book about some life experiences and that has come very hard to me. I think it’s because when you write that kind of book it’s a gruelling, emotional process. I need to dredge through some unhappy memories to do it, so it tends to get put aside.

What can we expect from you in the future?  ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
There are more Mimi books coming! I have at least two more stories I need to write about her. I am currently working on a new adult paranormal romance (ie 16-25 yo) and I have another sitting on the backburner that needs some major editing. I also have a middle school urban fantasy I really love, but again, it needs serious editing. I wish I had time to work on them all right now!

What genre would you place your books into?
Young Adult Paranormal Romance.

What made you decide to write that genre of book?
It’s one of my favourite genres to read. I am a sucker for ‘magic meets love’ – and the dangerous situations our characters find themselves in make for just the right challenging circumstances in which to find intense love. And those teenage years are so intense, too! I love the depth of emotion my characters experience.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from? What/Who is your inspiration?
Music is a big one for me. I am intrigued by lyrics and good ones can inspire book ideas. I also lie in bed at night and work on storylines. Sometimes my research inspires ideas, too. A book I read recently that covered the history of a number of famous artists sparked loads of ideas for the book I was writing.

Do you have a certain routine you have for writing? ie You listen to music, sit in a certain chair?
I like to either sit at my desk to tap away at my computer, or curl up in a chair with my notepad. I like to have a coffee or, if it’s later in the day, a glass of wine. I get up occasionally and do a housework job to stretch my legs, or I head over to my social profiles to interact with other humans for a while! One dog usually lies at my feet, and the other one next to my desk. Occasionally I play my Youtube favourites music playlist while I edit.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
Yes, my partner reads them, and sometimes my sisters. Occasionally I will ask a trusted friend or someone from my target market to take a look. Their feedback informs the editing process and helps me iron out issues. I’ve very lucky to now have an editor through my publisher, who has helped enormously with closing plot holes and questioning the characters’ actions. I would like to access more beta readers in future.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
YES. I value all feedback, good or bad.

What was the toughest/best review you have ever had?
My book is very new so there are only a handful of reviews (and no bad ones at the time of writing). I got a fabulous one from a fellow ET author, Marcus Damanda, the other day – he totally ‘got’ what I had tried to do in this story, so I was over the moon to read it! It’s on Amazon and my blog, if you’re interested.

Would you ever ask a reviewer to change their review if it was not all positive about your book/books?
No way. But I might have a conversation with them to find out more about why they didn’t like it.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
My publisher arranged the cover design and fortunately they took on board all my ideas and suggestions! I wanted to feature a significant drawing from the story on the cover and it was also important to me that Mimi not be depicted as too ‘sexy.’ I wanted her to be like her character in the book. I always find it hard to cope with when the cover image doesn’t match the character. For me, the three important elements I wanted included were a lake/water (check), the special drawing (check), and dark-haired Mimi, preferably facing away from the viewer (check). They nailed it! I adore my book’s cover.

Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I actually had a different title for a long time and then discovered another book with the same name and in the same genre. So I changed mine. Usually, I write first and pick a title later.

How do you come up with characters’ names and place names in your books?
I am very particular about names. They have to suit the character. If they don’t, then that’s deliberate – intentionally jarring. I try not to use very common names, especially surnames, but I prefer to use real names (not made up ones). The place names usually also have significance for what the place represents. For example, the town where my characters go to school is called Etherall Valley, with a close reference to the word ‘ethereal.’

Do you decide on character traits (ie shy, quiet, tomboy girl) before writing the whole book or as you go along?
I usually have their personalities in my head but they always develop as I write.

Do you basic plot/plan for your book, before you actually begin writing it out? Or do you let the writing flow and see where it takes the story?
A bit of both. I need a rough outline to start with but then the story writes itself. I have had many a wonderful plot twist happen on the page before I even thought of it!

What do you think makes a book a really good/bestseller?
Really great characters – complex characters who are not perfect but still likeable. And a plot that keeps you guessing. And maybe also a strong marketing team!

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
Not really – maybe a little bit, very occasionally. If something’s not coming together, I sit down and do some plot outlining. I find that if I get stuck it’s almost always because I’m unsure of what’s supposed to happen next in the story.

What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
Writing is my hobby. But I also love wandering around the yard with my chickens. I like fishing but don’t actually like catching fish – I always put them back if they are okay. That’s why I fish in the local river – there’s hardly any fish in there!

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?
Yes, definitely. I have used people’s words or actions or personality traits to build my characters. I have also used my own life experiences and events as plot elements or in characters’ backgrounds.

Are there any hidden messages or morals contained in your books? (Morals as in like Aesops Fables type of "The moral of this story is..")
Oh yeah! Books reflect life, so of course there will be some questioning and challenging of values and morals in them. I like to explore compassion and identity. I guess the moral of The Seventh is: “Everyone’s on their own quest for self-worth and you’re the only person to whom yours matters. So when you have it, hang on to it like hell.”

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?
Many. Jane Austen, JK Rowling, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth George, Charles Dickens, Roald Dahl.

Which format of book do you prefer, ebook, hardback, or paperback?
Ebook or paperback. More recently, ebooks are preferable. I love the flexibility and instant gratification.

What is your favourite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?
Persuasion by Jane Austen. I’ve read it many times. The beautiful romance between Anne and Mr Wentworth has so much quiet dignity and pathos. And I love Jane Austen’s characters – Mary and the Admiral are wonderful.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst  book to movie transfer?
Yes, depending on the book. But Sense and Sensibility as a movie – I loathed it. Emma Thompson playing a 19yro? Come on. And then, unexpectedly, I loved Vampire Academy as a book-to-film adaptation! They totally nailed Rose’s character and the paranormal/school-y vibe.
[my daughter and I also loved the Vampire Academy series and agree the film was a good adaptation too. I recently watched Maze Runner and sadly it's sort of put me off reading the books, as I didn't like the film so much.]

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
I’m reading Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle in paperback. I am enjoying it. I am finding it easier to unravel the mysteries with each case I read! I’m also reading Dorianna by Catherine Stine on my Kindle. It’s intriguing. I’m really worried about the main character.

Do you think ebooks will ever totally replace printed books?
No, not a chance!

Do you have a treasured book from your childhood? If yes, what is it?
Alice in Wonderland, and also Harriet the Spy.

Do you have a favourite genre of book?
Ghost stories, true hauntings, and romance. But I also like contemporary literary and historical fiction. I actually enjoy reading history and philosophical theory too.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn't finish?
Fifty Shades of Grey. I dabbled in it but it’s not my cup of tea. You’d have to tie me up to get me to read the rest of it … oh, wait…
[I have to totally agree with you there. I don't mind a little steam and sizzle withinin context but I just simply did not want to read something like Fifty Shades Of Grey!]

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?
I sort of do – I use my initials because there is another Sasha on my publisher’s list of authors and I wanted to avoid confusion. I would probably use a pen name if I wanted to try my hand at non-fiction or write far outside the genre I am known for … just so my readers wouldn’t be disappointed if they bought what they thought was my newest YA paranormal and found themselves reading a history of birdwatching in the Swan Valley, or something.

If you could invite three favourite writers to dinner, who would you invite and enjoy chatting with?
Jane Austen, Elizabeth George, and Allie Brosh.

Where can readers follow you?
Your blog details?
Your web site ? (same)
Your facebook page?
Your Goodreads author page?
Your Twitter details?


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