I am so pleased to host an interview of author Sharon Sant and promote her novel Sky Song today.
A little about Sky Song:
Sky song is a novel that brought me immediately back to the excitement of being ten years old and reading the Dark is Rising trilogy. Jacob, a teen with mood-ring eyes, discovers that he’s something entirely different than human, and that he’s tasked with the great responsibility of being the next Watcher. Throw in an adorable since-childhood threesome who start to discover their more adult feelings for each other, and some fantastic other-worldly conflict, and Sky Song becomes a fulfilling, compelling read with the promise of an exciting trilogy.
I had the privilege of interviewing the author, Sharon Sant.
What was your inspiration for writing Sky Song?
Sky Song started off as a younger children’s tale about a girl whose father watched the skies every night for something. I don’t even remember now what sparked off the initial idea. Sometimes it can be a throwaway comment, a song lyric, a seemingly innocuous thing. Only the other day an idea for a book came to me from a random comment made on Twitter!
The little girl in my story didn’t know what her father watched for, but it soon became clear to her that whatever it was, it didn’t belong to the world she was familiar with. As I thought about it, though, the idea seemed to morph independently, into something completely different. The main character became a fifteen-year-old boy instead of a young girl. I started to think about what could come from the starry heavens. My first answer was aliens, but, for me, that was too obvious. Then I got to thinking about all the various belief systems that have stuck with humanity over the years of its evolution, and the one recurring theme was that the stars are linked with our destinies. But what sort of destiny could come from the sky? Cue aliens again! And what would you do if your destiny called but you didn’t want it? That’s the story at the heart of Sky Song.
What can we look forward to for The Young Moon?
At the end of Sky Song, we left Jacob **Sound of a truck roaring past** so, The Young Moon picks up two years on from there. There was always going to be three books and each one continues the overall story arc. Sky Song was as much about Jacob’s dilemma over his life choices as it was about his battle with the bad guy. In The Young Moon there’s a whole bunch of different dilemmas around loyalties and who gets to choose who lives and who dies. Jacob gets faced with some really tough decisions and quite often has to deal with the consequences of making the wrong ones. Aside from that, The Young Moon is a quest story, essentially; Jacob needs to find something before Makash does; if you’ve already read Sky Song, you’ll have a pretty good idea what that is!
Quick! Your top three favourite books!
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by good ol’ JK.
Ask me tomorrow and they’ll change, though!
What are your thoughts on the current state of books and Indie Publishing?
I think it’s the most exciting time there has ever been for Indie publishing. I think if you’re prepared to work hard and have a little luck on your side, you can achieve things now as an indie that have never been possible before. The biggest change is the Kindle platform, of course. I love that because it kicks the backsides of vanity publishers and other system abusers by giving authors a choice. And authors also have a choice now about whether they want to even bother trying to get a traditional deal. I know lots of indie authors who make a good living from self-publishing and are not interested in working any other way. I have another novel coming out through a fairly small publisher (though they are awesome) in June, so I’m not just saying that as a self-published author with no insight into traditional publishing, I’m saying it because there should be a level playing field for those who are able to play it. Having said that, I do feel that there has to be a place for traditional publishing as well, the books they produce must be the yardstick by which indie publishers measure themselves. Indies have to strive to match and exceed the quality of traditionally published books, and that can only be a good thing for publishing as a whole.
Advice for aspiring writers?
Don’t do it! But if you must, be prepared to eat really cheap food!
On a more serious note, I could spout the usual advice about perfecting your craft and getting used to rejection, but I’m not going to. Everyone’s journey is different and it wouldn’t do for me to preach. All I can do is share what helped me along on my journey. The first thing was to get a good support network; I found this studying creative writing at university. The people I met there are some of my closest friends today and I can always rely on them to give me a no-bull opinion on something I’m working on. Which leads me neatly to the fact that it was also at university where I really honed my craft. I took notice of every word the tutors said, even when I was doubtful about it, and every word turned out to be useful somewhere along the line. Even now, I never dismiss advice until I’ve evaluated it first, no matter how silly it initially sounds. The other thing I did was to get involved in everything that came my way. I got my first editing job after working unpaid for a publisher for two years, a job that I offered to do when the chief editor of the company came to visit our creative writing class. When they needed a new fiction editor, I was already there; I knew their business, I had experience from the unpaid work I had been doing for them, so they gave the job to me. I worked for them for another few years as editor, and when they decided to branch out into young adult fiction, guess who was there with a manuscript in the bottom of her bag? That manuscript just happens to be the book I have coming out in June.
What are you reading right now?
I happen to be reading a book by one Lindsay Leggett called Flight, which I’m loving. (You heard it here first, folks! ;)) I’m also reading something else as a beta reader so I’m not allowed to say what that is yet. I recently finished The Night Circus, which was glorious.
Sharon Sant was born in Dorset but now lives in Stoke-on-Trent. She graduated from StaffordshireUniversity in 2009 with a degree in English and creative writing. She currently works part time as a freelance editor and continues to write her own 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. Sometimes she pretends to be clever but really loves nothing more than watching geeky TV and eating Pringles. Sky Song is her debut young adult novel. The second book of the Sky Song trilogy, The Young Moon, is due for release March 8th 2013.
About 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?
Get Sky Song:
And keep an eye out for The Young Moon, the next installment of the Sky Song Trilogy!