Interview with @jamie_grey and The Star Thief!

Today I get to interview author Jamie Grey. First let’s check out her book, The Star Thief. Does this not look SO awesome?

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She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out of the business.  But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency. MYTH needs Renna’s special skills, and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – unless she’d like to spend the rest of her life on a prison ship. To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn. A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army. The intended target? The human star fleet. Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.

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The Interview

1.    The Star Thief is about the biggest of Cons—Galactic sized. What inspired you to write about it?

I’d been looking for a good sci-fi romance and I’d read quite a few that I liked but none of them were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted a female Han Solo type, with ambiguous morals and a hear of gold. And a steamy romance. So, I wrote one!

2.     The cover is GORGEOUS. What was your process in obtaining it?

I actually don’t remember how I found my artist’s site – I think I might have been trolling forums looking for cover designers. When I saw her site, I just knew she’d come up with something perfect for me! I didn’t exactly know what I wanted to begin with, so we went back and forth on a few concepts until we found the perfect art. She blew me away with her final design! I’m working on the sequel’s cover now with her, and SO excited for everyone to see it! (Her name is Christa at paperandsage.com)

3.     If one song out there could define your book, what would it be?

Ohhh. Tough question! There are quite a few that would work. I basically wrote the entire book to the soundtrack to the Mass Effect video games. But I think if I had to pick one, I’d probably say All Along the Watchtower, by Jimi Hendrix. The lyrics themselves are perfect -“There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief” and it was part of one of my favorite sci-fi TV series – Battlestar Galactica!

4.     If you met your main character at a bar, how would you interact?

I think I’d be totally intimidated by Renna. She’s gorgeous, charming, and self confident. But I think once we started talking, we’d get along pretty well. I think we both have a sarcastic sense of humor and similar outlook on life. (Which may or may not be a good thing LOL)

5.     If you could live in any literary universe, which would it be?

How to choose just one!? I think i’d have to go with Narnia. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe series was my favorite growing up, and they’re still comfort reads today, so getting to live in Narnia would be amazing!

6.     Are you a plotter or a pantser?

A little bit of both? I have to have a plot/outline to frame up my book, otherwise I get completely stuck when I’m drafting. But I totally pants when I’m filling in the details. As long as I have the outer structure built, I can go in pretty much any direction with the rest of the story.

7.     How has writing changed your life?

I’ve always written, so it’s just become an essential part of who I am and my identity. I think being a writer lets me look at things a little differently than from non-writers – I sometimes watch real life events like they’re happening in a story, analyzing them for plot and drama, or if it would make an interesting scene. Not always a good thing when something horrible is going on, but it’s definitely an interesting way to look at the world.

8.     What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Most of it’s tried and true – Write what you love and would like to read. Write what interests you. Don’t edit until you have a complete draft (tho I know people who can work this way, I can’t!). Find a good support system – writing friends, critique partners, etc and let them help you grow as a writer, but stay true to your story and vision. Most of all, have fun with it. The moment you stop having fun, is the moment you should stop writing.

Thanks so much for having me on! This was such fun 🙂

 

Find out more about Jamie Grey:

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FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/jamiegreybooks?ref=hl

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/Jamie_Grey

BLOG: http://www.jamiegreybooks.com/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19146092-the-star-thief

Get The Star Thief:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Smashwords

Review: Zenn Scarlett by C.J Schoon

About the Book:

When you’re studying to be exoveterinarian specializing in exotic, alien life forms, school… is a different kind of animal.

Zenn Scarlett is a resourceful, determined 17-year-old girl working hard to make it through her novice year of exovet training. That means she’s learning to care for alien creatures that are mostly large, generally dangerous and profoundly fascinating. Zenn’s all-important end-of-term tests at the Ciscan Cloister Exovet Clinic on Mars are coming up, and, she’s feeling confident of acing the exams. But when a series of inexplicable animal escapes and other disturbing events hit the school, Zenn finds herself being blamed for the problems. As if this isn’t enough to deal with, her absent father has abruptly stopped communicating with her; Liam Tucker, a local towner boy, is acting unusually, annoyingly friendly; and, strangest of all: Zenn is worried she’s started sharing the thoughts of the creatures around her. Which is impossible, of course. Nonetheless, she can’t deny what she’s feeling.

Now, with the help of Liam and Hamish, an eight-foot sentient insectoid also training at the clinic, Zenn must learn what’s happened to her father, solve the mystery of who, if anyone, is sabotaging the cloister, and determine if she’s actually sensing the consciousness of her alien patients… or just losing her mind. All without failing her novice year…

Review

Zenn Scarlett is a novel with an interesting premise and a gorgeous cover. I loved the idea of Zenn, who lived on a colonized Mars and worked for the Cloister helping alien animals. The first part of the book was very interesting science fiction, and reminded me of reading some of the greats.

That being said, after a while the book fell a bit flat. There wasn’t much of a forward-moving impulse to keep me going. It was more of a day-by-day account of Zenn’s life. I would have liked to see a bit more action, or at least some urgency in the mystery, but I didn’t find it.

Overall, it’s a very interesting read and Sci-fi fans will enjoy the lovely prose and the world Zenn lives in, just don’t expect a big adventure, because it just doesn’t arrive in this book. (Probably the sequel).

 

Note: This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Interview with #Author Sharon Sant @sharonsant

I am so pleased to host an interview of author Sharon Sant and promote her novel Sky Song today.

A little about Sky Song:

skyson

 

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.

 

About Sharon: 

sharon

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?

 

www.sharonsant.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sharonjsant?ref=hl

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6888220.Sharon_Sant

Twitter: @sharonsant

 

Get Sky Song:

 

skyson

 

 

 

 

 

And keep an eye out for The Young Moon,  the next installment of the Sky Song Trilogy!

 

 

Interview with Author Suzanne Van Rooyen

It is my distinct pleasure to present an interview with YA author Suzanne Van Rooyen. Suzanne’s latest book, OBSCURA BURNING, is a deeply woven tale about the struggle of one young man, Kyle, dealing with the death of his best friends while rogue planet OBSCURA threatens the earth. Possibly due to Obscura’s presence, he’s able to hop between two universes, one where Shira died, and one where Daniel died. Kyle is given the ultimate ultimatum: which universe should he save?

AN INTERVIEW WITH SUZANNE VAN ROOYEN

One of the things that makes Obscura Burning so original is that Kyle is bisexual. What inspired you to write an LGBT main character?

I’m not sure. It wasn’t something I decided like, ‘Oh hey I’m gonna write an LGBT character now.’ As Kyle emerged from the depths of my imagination – or where-ever these characters exist before they do on paper – he was confused, a bit bi, but mostly gay and that was who he was, so that was what I wrote.

I’m open about my support of QUILTBAG rights, so I’m glad to see more diverse characters trickling into YA, especially in science fiction which is a genre often white- and straight-washed.

How have your real life experiences affected the narrative, especially the setting?

I’ve never been to New Mexico but I’ve lived in hot, arid places. I grew up in South Africa where summer temperatures often reached the high thirties (Celsius). Then I lived in Western Australia and experienced scorching temperatures reaching the high forties! I have no love affair with heat (one of the reasons I moved to Finland) so when this idea started to take form I knew I wanted to set it somewhere hot and oppressive, with cactus and dust devils, and an unrelenting sun. New Mexico was the ideal setting and also provided subtle nod to one of my favourite science fiction TV series growing up, ‘Roswell.’

As for other aspects of the story, I did draw from real life experiences like a boy I knew as a kid, who was a problem fire-setter – a compulsion that both fascinated and terrified me, and still does. There are various other bits and pieces I’ve purloined from my life experiences too.

The publishing landscape has been changing so rapidly. How do you adjust to keep up?

It’s hard work. It requires daily participation in the industry like reading blogs, following the Twitter accounts of people in the business, watching what’s selling on Amazon, which books are making waves on Goodreads etc. That’s how I keep up. I think authors need to embrace these changes and be open to new developments in the publishing landscape if they want to succeed.

Obscura Burning is such a deeply layered story. What was your original inspiration?

It really came out of nowhere one day while I was listening to the haunting music by the band Explosions in the Sky. The music conjured the image of a boy walking in a desert and gradually, that boy’s story started to unfold.

Do you have any upcoming book tours? Do you find it difficult to market a book to North America from overseas?

I’ve just finished a Book Blitz but I’ve got a few interviews and guest posts coming up soon. It is trickier marketting a book from so far away. I’d love to organise book signings and library visits but that just isn’t feasible so that leaves most of my marketting done online, which is the way most authors are doing it today anyway.

Do you write by the seat of your pants, or are you a planner?

I’m a bit of a hybrid here. I don’t enjoy writing from outlines so once I have the basic premise and story trajectory down, I start writing. As the story progresses, I’ll inevitably have to rewrite and replot, usually changing quite a bit from that original outline. Once I know how my story ends though, it’s just a matter of getting there. I try my best to write according to the seven point plot structure even when I’m pantsing it. It doesn’t always work out but I love revisions.

What do you have coming up next?

My agent has two manuscripts of mine at the moment. Both YA, one paranormal and the other science fiction. Hopefully I’ll be able to share more good news regarding those soon. While waiting on those, I’m working on a couple of projects for both YA and NA markets but they’re very much works in progress.

What book are you currently reading?

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay – This book has a fantastic cover and the prologue is one of the best I’ve ever read!

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Watch OBSCURA BURNING’s Book Trailer.

BUY OBSCURA BURNING

Kindle    Amazon

The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay

Amazon

Burning Tree Reads is looking for interviewees! If you’re an author of speculative fiction and would like to be featured, please visit the About page or email me at lindsay@burningtree.ca

Thank you for reading, and share the love!

Coming up: An #author Interview with Suzanne Van Rooyen

I’m proud to announce that I will be interviewing Suzanne Van Rooyen (http://www.suzannevanrooyen.com) tomorrow about writing, publishing, LGBT characters and more.

In the meantime, check out her newest book, OBSCURA BURNING. It’s fantastic.