Book Release – The Memory Game by Sharon Sant

Today sees the book release of The Memory Game. Sharon’s Sant’s newest YA offering. And in my opinion, it is one of her best. I was lucky enough to read this a while ago and I absolutely loved it. In fact it was actually the first thing I read by Sharon and it now holds a special place in my heart.

She handles the emotion of the piece incredibly well and has you gasping in disbelief at the end, with a rollercoaster of emotions from start to finish.

I’m so thrilled to be able to share this with you on release day.

So Sharon -Happy publication day!

The Memory Game by Sharon Sant

Memory Game‘If there is a hell, I think maybe this is it.’

Three weeks after fifteen-year-old David died, he’s still hanging around and he doesn’t know why. The only person who can see and hear him is the girl he spent his schooldays bullying.

Bethany is the most hated girl at school. She hides away, alone with her secrets until, one day, the ghost of a boy killed in a hit-and-run starts to haunt her.

Together, they find that the end is only the beginning…

 

 

 

You can check out The Memory Game on Goodreads.  Why not add it to your bookshelf?

Amazon UK  Amazon US

You can find Sharon on her blog Here.

Recently Read – Runners by Sharon Sant

The Recently Read posts are not typical book reviews. As a writer, I do not believe I should be reviewing the hard work of other writers. These posts are simply books I have recently read and enjoyed and will share with you. They will not always be crime books as I am trying to widen my reading selection. I hope you enjoy some of these with me.

Runners by Sharon Sant

RunnersElijah is nothing special. He’s just a skinny kid doing his best to stay one step ahead of starvation and the people who would have him locked away in a labour camp – just another Runner. But what he stumbles upon in a forest in Hampshire shows him that the harsh world he knows will become an even more sinister place, unless he can stop it. As past and present and parallel dimensions collide, freedom becomes the last thing on his mind as he is suddenly faced with a battle to save his world from extinction. But before Elijah can find the courage to be the hero the world needs, he must banish his own demons and learn to trust his friends. And all the while, the sinister figure of Maxwell Braithwaite looms, his path inextricably bound to Elijah’s by a long dead physicist, and hell bent on stopping Elijah, whatever the cost.

My Thoughts;

I absolutely loved this book! I was expecting some kind of bleak dystopian novel, and though it is classed as dystopian, it wasn’t what I expected. I completely missed the part in the description about colliding worlds and missing physicists, as this would have definitely piqued my interest. Instead I was left to my own devices, or should I say, Sant’s devices as she wove the story about a group of kids, in a future world, running from something they are unsure of, but at the same time afraid of. The group and dynamics feel real and though they are afraid, they are determined. The characterisation is strong as the fight for leadership and survival plays out. But what really got my attention in the book was the colliding worlds theme and seeing Sant cleverly keep all her knowledge and timelines flowing smoothly without a flicker of doubt in her mind. The denouement was smoothly executed with everything tying up into an understandable format for the reader. It was a brilliant and emotional read for Sant’s readers as she delivered a brilliant YA read.

Yes, after crime, YA and contemporary fiction seem to be my go-to reads.

 

 

Blog Award

With many thanks to the lovely Anita Davison for nominating me for this Blog Award
For those I nominate in turn – I promise not to ask you to compile seven formerly unknown things about you and your mother-in-law. Nor shall I ask you to reveal to the world your most embarrassing moment – This one is easy and invites you to visit a list of wonderful writing and author blogs you may never have seen before.

Sisterhood 2

 

What a great award, that is simply about passing it on and getting your bloggers to check out fellow bloggers blogs.

So, without further ado, I suggest you check out the following great blogs as well as Anita’s blog above.

Sharon Sant

Mel Sherratt

Margot Kinberg

DJ Kirkby

Jane Isaac

FC Malby

Elaine Aldred

PamReader

What’s Your First Draft Like?

Today in the First Draft hot seat is YA author Sharon Sant.

Sharon was born in Dorset and divides her time between working as a freelance editor, holding down a day job, and writing her stories.  An avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. She loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. She is the author of several books including The Sky Song Trilogy and most recently a Dystopian YA, Runners.

me with book

When you decide to write something new, what is the first thing you do?

That depends on where I am. If I have a cracking idea, you can usually bet I’m in the supermarket queue or driving to work at the time – somewhere where it’s impossible to begin anything. If I’m home, I get straight on the laptop. When I’m out I always have a notebook with me so I’ll scribble in there. If I’m at the office in my day job, I’ll email a plan or first paragraph home to myself. Wherever it is, most of my ideas come with a first line or paragraph which I’ll write out and then start to plan the rest of the plot (which will always be fairly vague at that point).

Do you have a set routine approaching it?

Again, it depends on where I am at the time. I will always have the loosest outline or even just a premise or a scene to start with and everything follows from there. I always aim to have the strongest opening I can and that’s probably about the only concrete thing you’ll get from me at this point!

Pen and paper or straight to the keyboard?

I can type much faster than I can write and my initial thoughts are always at the speed of light so I have to type if I can. I only write by hand if I can’t get to a computer but I find it frustrating because it just won’t be fast enough.

How important is research to you?

It depends on what the project is. Sometimes I need to describe a location accurately and I will research, but with my fantasy locations that’s not quite so necessary. Recently I began work on something historical and I did some research for that, but rather than it being bogged down with detail, I simply wanted a flavour of the era so I didn’t do lots and lots.

How do you go about researching?

If it’s a location I need to research and I am able to get there I will go and look around, make notes and take photos. If I can’t then I’ll go online and look at it but I’m never happy relying on this because things often look very different in real life. For Runners I had to work out a lot of travelling times and distances between towns so I printed out loads of maps and sat measuring them with rulers. Likewise, for The Young Moon I needed to know train times and connections for a real location but I found all these on travel websites. For other things I quite often go to the local second hand bookshop near my house and pick up cheap books; I’ve been known to use the university library too.

How do you store everything; ideas, research, images that catch your eye?

I bookmark on the computer or write notes and print out pages to stick in my notebooks. My old notebooks are crammed with loose maps and timetables!

Sharon Sant first draftTell us how that first draft takes shape?

It always starts with a first paragraph that has popped into my head. I tend to hammer at it and try not to stop until it’s done, and much as I want to edit as I go along, I don’t. I know that if I have to leave a book mid-draft, it’s very hard for me to pick it up again so if I don’t get through it first go, it’s likely it will never be finished or it will wait for literally years before it is (I have a half-done first draft on my laptop that I began in 2008). Once the story is down, then the luxury of editing can come.

Are there any rituals you have to do or items you must have with you while writing that draft?

I need a window to look out of and a lot of tea. I graze a lot too, but trips to the kettle for tea and food are more for movement than because I need them; when I’m stuck it helps to get the mojo working to get up and potter about the kitchen. I usually find that I’ll come unstuck then and get back to it.

Does the outside world exist or are you lost to us for a period of time as the magic works?

I very much inhabit the world I’m creating, to the point where I can’t actually communicate with my family and friends, and I’ll be like that for weeks – driving to wrong places, burning food and completely forgetting arrangements. If you’d asked me what my name was when I was writing Runners, I probably would have told you it was Rosa.

What does your work space look like?

I’d love to say that I have a fabulous summer house at the bottom of the garden, but in reality I have a corner of the dining table or a tub chair in the bedroom. Sometimes I get the luxury of the university library, coffee shop or post-grad office, but that’s not often as it means packing up and shipping out of the house which is just a pain.

Edit as you go or just keep getting words out?

I have to keep writing, if I stop to edit, I usually lose the thread of the story and won’t finish the draft.

I see many writers counting words in a day. Word counter or other method of keeping track of progression?

I have a word count facility as I work in MS Word. I try not to look at it too often though or I can become more obsessed with that than actually writing.

So, that first draft is down. Roughly how long did it take? And what shape is it in?

Depending on the novel and my other life commitments, it can take anywhere between 4-12 weeks. It will usually need at least 3 re-drafts and then a couple of edits. Even then I’ll go and tweak bits as I think about them and that can go on for weeks too.

In what format do you like to read it through, ereader, paper or the computer screen?

I use the computer screen for the first few drafts, then when I’m happy with those I will line edit and proofread from my kindle – I just feel like everything looks much clearer on there.

What happens now that first draft is done?

I sit and hate it for a few days! Then I take another look and decide it’s not as bad as I thought. I try not to start editing straight away as I know you’re supposed to give it some distance, but sometimes I just want to dive right in! I’ve been known to start a new first draft in between first draft and edits on a previous project. I did that with the second and third books of the Sky Song trilogy as it seemed like a good idea to capture the story as it progressed in my head, in much the same way I’d tackle a standalone novel. Of course, editing is next and though some people hate it, I love it. This is the bit where your lump of coal can become a diamond and that process is very exciting, which is why I think I enjoy editing other people’s novels too.

Thanks for digging into the depths of the first draft. It’s been a pleasure having you.


You can find Sharon on her Website, Twitter and

Not Of Our Sky – Cover Reveal!

On May 1st, author, Sharon Sant is releasing the third book in her Sky Song trilogy and she has kindly allowed us to have a peek at the cover and the book blurb.

I’ve been lucky enough to have read the book, and I loved it. I read a large chunk of it on a train journey and at one point had to try extremely hard not to cry in front of two young lads that were seated in front of me. I can only imagine the faces I was pulling as I tried to keep a stiff upper and lower lip! Sharon delivers the emotion effortlessly. It was a gripping and wonderful third book.

So, I’m pleased to show you Not of Our Sky!

not of our sky

Jacob fights for his life and Ellen faces her toughest decision yet: whether to finally reveal his true identity to his parents. For Jacob is one of the Watchers of Astrae, a race of beings with extraordinary powers, and sworn to protect the natural order of the universe. But Jacob has broken one of Astrae’s oldest laws and chaos threatens to cover the Earth.

Alex faces the fall into darkness that has long been prophesised. Her only ally is Makash, their bitter and twisted uncle, and Jacob has already succumbed to the shadows. Who will be there to catch her?

With the first part of the ancient prophecy already coming to pass, it seems their only hope lies in the second part – the riddle of the star that will bring them back to the light. But what does it mean? And why do Jacob, Alex and Ellen all dream of the same lighthouse, night after night?

You can find Sharon on her – website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads and following my Marketing post yesterday, rather than directing you to check out her book, I really would suggest you go visit her website/blog or connect with her on one of the other platforms. I love reading Sharon’s blog. She’s funny and generous and often self depreciating and she also has girl crushes on Doctor Who and Merlin!

Author Interview – Sharon Sant

So, today I want to welcome to the blog, YA author Sharon Sant.

Sharon SantSharon was born in Dorset but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent with her husband and two children. She graduated from Staffordshire University in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing, and currently divides her time between working as a freelance editor and writing her own stories. She’s an avid reader with eclectic tastes across many genres, when not busy trying in vain to be a domestic goddess, she can often be found lurking in local coffee shops with her head in a book. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles.

So Sharon, you have recently released your second book, The Young Moon, which is part of a YA fantasy trilogy. I have read both Sky Song and The Young Moon, and loved them both! Your website states you have eclectic reading tastes. What made you want to write YA?

I can’t honestly say why I write mostly YA. It just seems that whenever I put my fingers to keyboard for something new, I tend to imagine the main character as a teenager. Somebody asked me to name my favourite three books the other day, just off the top of my head I came up with three very different books – Oliver Twist, The Book of Lost Things and Harry Potter. On the face of it, they don’t have much in common, but then I realised that they do – they all have a teenage boy as the protagonist. I must just connect, somehow, with that age group. I probably haven’t left it myself in my head! I think there are new horizons opening up, things that are allowed, mistakes that can be forgiven for people of that age group that the rest of us aren’t afforded the luxury of, and that presents fantastic possibilities to write. I remember how overwhelming but exciting life seemed when I was in my teens and maybe writing it brings that back for me.

I think it’s because I have read your books, that I have started reading YA myself and you’re right, the possibilities in the books are great. When I’m writing crime fiction, there is always someone to answer to, to be responsible to and for. YA is completely different. Tell us a little bit about the protagonist in the Sky Song trilogy and about the inspiration for him/ how he evolved for you?

Despite the fact that Jacob came from my head, I find him a difficult character to sum up. He’s an academic high flyer, though he doesn’t want to be. He’s attractive in his own quirky way, though he doesn’t really know how to deal with the attention that it brings. Aware that he is one of life’s outsiders, all he really wants is to fit in. He has grown up not really knowing who he is. So when his destiny is sprung on him one fateful night, all these things suddenly start to make sense. I adored writing him, because he is so complex and lots of people tell me that his personality is one of their favourite things about the book. One review I read recently said he was using the ‘how to be an idiot handbook’ and that made me laugh because, quite often, he does mess things up.

He actually started out in my head as a young girl! There’s some interesting thought processes for you! I can’t exactly remember the point at which he became Jacob, but the story had been rattling around in my head for a good year, and every time I thought about it, something wasn’t quite right. One day I just wrote this teenage boy (I found an old memory stick the other day, and on it he was called Pablo, which is a bit random!) and I instinctively knew which story he belonged in. Usually I get one character in place and the others seem to follow quickly and Sky Song was no different. Because Jacob’s personality is quite intense, I knew that he needed a foil, and that’s where easy-going Luca came from. And there has to be a kick-ass girl, of course, so along came Ellen.

Wow, that sounds a complex and quite convoluted way of getting a character together. Can you tell us, are you a plotter or a pantser?

I think I’m a bit of both – a plontser! I have a starting point and a vague idea where I want to end up, with events that I want to happen along the way. I sort of join the dots from there. I’m very much a lightbulb writer, so I’ll have a flash of inspiration, start writing straight away, maybe a first chapter, a few scenes, then I might get stuck for ages because I don’t really know where it’s going. So at any one time I might have half a dozen or more of these works in progress. Sometimes they sit for years and one day I’ll just know what to do with them. That happened a couple of days ago, I had a 15k piece that had been sitting on the laptop for 2 years because I just didn’t know where to take it next, then I saw a photo of something online and BOOM, the solution came to me and I’m working on it again now. Brains are very weird things!

Do you have your own writing space at home and can we have a photo of where you write please? 🙂

Sadly, there’s no spare room for me to have an office but I have claimed a corner of the dining table for my own. Trouble is, the dining room and living room are connected so often there’s other stuff going on. If I need to really concentrate, I take myself off into the bedroom with the laptop.

Sharon office (2)

That looks extremely neat and organised. Not at all like your writing process! My desk looks more like you describe your writing process to be. Stuff all over.

Ahem… I might have tidied up a bit for the photo…

Ha!

What do you need with you, to make sure you sit down and write? And what is your biggest distraction? 

I need lots of tea! As long as I have a constant flow I’m happy. I quite like a window to look out of too. That sounds weird, but sometimes sitting and staring and letting my mind float away helps solutions to plot issues to pop up. There are lots of things that distract me. I do really need a very quiet place, especially when working on early drafts, so I can immerse myself in the world I’m trying to create. Social media is a problem, if my phone pings for Twitter I just can’t help running off to get it! 

Chocolate or Pringles?

What a cruel decision. I love Pringles; it says so on my bio! But I’m partial to a bit of chocolate every now and again. 

Tea or wine? 

The most boring answer I could give, but it has to be tea. 

When can we expect the final part of the Sky Song Trilogy? I just can’t wait!

Aww, thanks, neither can I! I’m aiming for early May, mostly because I’m going on holiday during the first week and I want to get it finished before then! That’s one of the big perks of self-publishing; you can set your own deadlines! 

Thank you for taking the time to answer some questions, it’s been great having you here, and I’m looking forward to May and the release of the third chapter of the trilogy. 

It’s been lovely to be here.

You can find Sharon on her – website Twitter Facebook  and Goodreads

Sky Song

Sky Song Amazon UK 

 The Young Moon

The Young Moon Amazon UK

‘It is a prophecy, Watcher. And it foretells your destruction.’

So comes the stark warning from Astrae. But what does the prophecy that tells of the young moon actually mean?

Two years have passed and Jacob’s search for the second Successor brings him back to Earth. But his Watcher powers seem to be useless as the other Successor remains shrouded in mystery… And he soon discovers that his bitter uncle, Makash, is also hot on the trail.

Jacob’s quest takes him and Luca halfway across the globe in a race to get to the other Successor first. As they get closer to their goal the body count starts to rise and Jacob and Luca are dragged deeper into Makash’s deadly game as the net closes around them.

All Jacob has to do is cheat death, yet again, find another like him amongst the seven billion people that swarm over the face of the planet before Makash does, and thwart the prophecy that spells his doom. No pressure then…

New YA Release

20130118-063417.jpg

Last weekend a friend of mine, Sharon Sant, released the first book in a YA trilogy. It’s also the first book in a long list of books as she’s a prolific writer.

Last week I was lucky enough to read another YA standalone she had written but that hasn’t been released yet – It’s so great having friends who are writers! It was stunning. YA is a genre I haven’t really touched yet and after reading Sharon’s stuff I’m left wondering why. Her writing is beautiful and clean and the characters have a real depth to them. I’ve bought Sky Song and I’m part way through it and really enjoying it.

So, without further ado, here are the details for the new YA I’m reading.

Sky Song

What the man told him was too incredible to believe, yet Jacob did believe it. On some deep unconscious level he had always known it to be true. He was an invention, a fictional character. Jacob Lightfoot didn’t exist.

A strange-eyed boy with no memory of his true identity or real parents, Jacob could have no idea of the mortal danger he has been in every day of his fifteen years. Now that danger has found him and suddenly he doesn’t know who he can trust and what is real anymore. All he knows is that his new identity is almost as terrifying as the peril unleashing it has brought. Caught in the universal power struggle of an ancient race of beings and a destiny demanded of him that he does not want, he must fight to protect his own life and everyone he holds dear. But when the time comes, will he be strong enough to make the sacrifices that saving them will demand?