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Interview with Karen King: Rise of the Soul Catchers

It’s interview time!

Today my lovely friend Karen King is dropping by for a chat. Why not grab a cuppa and come and join us?

What inspired you to write your book?

Rise of the Soul Catchers is a mixture of my favourite genres, fantasy and romance. It’ s inspired by my belief that love is eternal and that we meet our loved ones again when we die.  The two main characters, teenagers Sapphire and Will, are killed in the first chapter and separated. They discover that the afterworld is split into seven zones, each named after a colour of the rainbow. They each believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. The story is written from both their viewpoints, so for some of the story we follow their individual journey separately. It was first published as Sapphire Blue but has now been republished and rebranded, by Littwitz Press.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

I never base any of my characters on an existing person but I do take bits from people I  know or meet, things they say or do, certain mannerisms they have, so it’s very likely that some traits, actions or incidents will appear in one of my books. My daughters often say to me ‘you got that off me!’ or that they can think one of their characters is based on something one of their sisters did. And I confess in my acknowledgements that they are a constant inspiration for me

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

None! As it’s set in the afterlife I could make the world and characters however I wanted them to be!

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I don’t have a preference it depends on the character and the story. Rise of the Soul Catchers is written in the present tense, using first person viewpoint for Sapphire and third person for Will.  It was the way the story came to me, so I went with it. I chose different viewpoints for Sapphire and Will so that it would be immediately clear which character viewpoint we’re in. So far, I’ve used third person past tense for all my romance novels, but first person past for my other YA, Perfect Summer. The YA I’m now working on is written in first person too, so maybe it’s a YA thing!

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

A bit of both. I always work out my main characters and story plot before I start so I have a base to work from then I just write the first draft as it comes. The characters often do things I hadn’t planned, and the plot might go off at an unexpected tangent, but I go with it. Once I’ve finished the first draft I start rereading and revising, deleting anything I don’t think works.

Anything else you want to tell us?

Yes, can I give a shout out for my romcom, The Bridesmaid’s Dilemma, which is now on pre-order  and will be published by Accent Press on 7 June.

***

Blurb- Rise of the Soul Catchers

Can love survive anything – even death?

Sapphire and Will vow to love each other forever. But when a car crash ends that dream all too soon, they find themselves separated in an afterlife with zones named after the colours of the rainbow. Determined to find each other, they start an adventurous journey alongside a cast of characters they don’t know whether to trust. They finally meet again in the terror-fuelled Red Zone where the dreaded Soul Catchers are planning on taking over the entire afterworld and are plunged into a dangerous battle. Is their love strong enough to survive against the odds?

 (Previously published as Sapphire Blue)

***

Here’s a great extract for you…

Rise of the Soul Catchers extract. Sapphire’s Viewpoint

Chapter Two 

I am alive.

I lie still, keeping my eyes closed, trying to feel if I’m hurt, if anything is broken. I flex my fingers, my toes, move my head real slow from side to side. Everything seems fine.

Oh God, Will! Is Will okay?  I snap open my eyes, sit up, look over at the passenger seat praying that Will is alive too. Only there’s no passenger seat. No car. No Will.

What the hell has happened? Did I dream it?

I couldn’t have dreamt it. I remember it all so vividly. Will driving along, singing, the container in the middle of the road, the tree zooming toward us, the crash. Besides I’m not in bed. I’m…

I look around. Everywhere is covered by a thick, white mist and it’s eerily quiet. Where am I?

“Sapphire!”

Grandpa?  Surprised, I swing around and stare at my grandpa walking through the mist toward me, waving with a big smile on his face. Now I know I’m dreaming. Grandpa died two years ago.

“Sapphire!” Grandpa’s right in front of me. He holds out his arms for me to run into them, like I used to when I was little, but I can’t move. My feet are glued to the ground as I gape at him. “Grandpa?” I whisper

. “It’s me,” he says. “It’s really me.” He reaches out and envelopes me in a big hug. I feel his arms wrap around me, smell the familiar musky-scent and relax a little, allow myself to sink into the warmth and comfort of his embrace. “Don’t be frightened, I’ll look after you.” Grandpa’s voice is soft, gentle and I’m so glad to see him again that I nestle in closer and rest my head on his shoulder just like I used to do when I was little.

“I’ve missed you, Grandpa,” I mumble.

“I’ve missed you too, sweetie. It’s so lovely to see you again, but not like this. Not so soon. You’re too young.” His eyes are shining with tears.

Too young for what? Suddenly I’m jolted back to the present. What’s happening? What’s Grandpa doing here? I want to wake up. I don’t like this dream. I focus on waking, imagine myself opening my eyes, finding myself in my comfy bed with its bright, daisy-flowered duvet cover, snuggling up to the big, yellow Miss Sunshine cushion Will bought. That’s what he calls me. His Little Miss Sunshine. He says I brighten up his life.

Will.

Where’s Will? “Wake up,” I whisper to myself. “Wake up.”

“This isn’t a dream, love,” Grandpa tells me as he strokes my hair. “I know it’s a lot to take in and it will seem strange at first, but you’ll get used to it. There’s lots of family waiting to meet you, aunts and uncle and your great-grandparents. We’ll all look after you.”

His words freak me out. I try to pull away from him. “They’re all dead!” I scream. “And, so are you. You’re dead!” I pinch my arm. Hard. Squeeze my eyes shut. This is a dream. It must be a dream.

Wake up! Wake up! Wake up! …

***

Buy Links

Rise of the Soul Catchers is available for pre-order from Amazon and will be published on 25th April.

Amazon: http://ow.ly/Fz1L30j0hqh

 

Author bio

Karen King writes edgy YA with a heart and sassy, heart-warming romance. Her first YA, Perfect Summer, was runner up in the Red Telephone Books 2011 YA Novel Competition and her second YA, Sapphire Blue, now republished as Rise of the Soul Catchers by Littwitz Press, was called ‘the best YA book out there right now’ by a reviewer for Ind’Tale magazine.

Karen has four romcoms published by Accent Press, and a fifth one is due out in June this year, Her latest romcom, The Cornish Hotel by the Sea, was #3 in the Amazon bestseller holiday reads.  She has recently signed a two book-contract with Bookouture for more romance novels.

Karen has also written several short stories for women’s magazine and had 120 children’s books published.

When she isn’t writing, Karen likes travelling, watching the ‘soaps’ and reading. Give her a good book and a box of chocolates and she thinks she’s in Heaven.

Author links

Website: http://www.karenking.net/

Twitter: @karen_king

Karen King Young Adult Books Facebook Page

Karen King Romance Author Facebook Page

Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/karenkingauthor/ 

***

Many thanks Karen. Great interview.

I happen to know this is a fabulous book- so happy reading folks,

Jenny xx


Opening Lines: CRONE by Jeannie Wycherley

Welcome to my brand new ‘Opening Lines’ blog series.

Each Thursday an author will share a little about their work – and JUST the first 500 words of one of their novels – even if that means leaving things mid-sentence…

I’m delighted to welcome Jeannie Wycherley as my first guest of the series.

Over to you Jeannie…

Crone is my debut novel, set in and around Ottery St Mary and Sidmouth in Devon (the fictional Abbotts Cromleigh and Elbury of the novel). It’s a story that emanates very much from the landscape. The physicality of Aefre, whom we meet as she is being reborn in the opening lines, is actually drawn from the detritus of the forest floor.

Birth and death are central to the novel, and in between those events some of the intriguing characters, such as the enigmatic Mr Kephisto (also known as the Story Keeper) live extremely long lives. Crone is a dark fantasy novel, so as the author I was able to play with the longevity of each character’s existence, but at its heart it is actually a mystery with supernatural elements, and I have been contacted by many readers who start their email with the words, “This isn’t the sort of book I would normally read, but …” I am so thrilled that Crone has drawn such a diverse audience and appeals to such a cross section of readers.

It was vitally important to me to maintain truth within the supernatural, so yes, you have to suspend some disbelief as you do in any fantasy novel, but all the magic involved, among the elderly Guardians who are hunting Aefre for example, is ultimately feasible. I wasn’t interested in writing about sparkly wizards, and glittery unicorns. This is witchcraft with dirty hands and broken nails. It’s about real human experience. But ultimately, it is the age old story of a mother’s love for her child.

Crone Blurb

Heather Keynes’ teenage son died in a tragic car accident. Or so she thinks. However, deep in the wilds of the Devon countryside, an ancient evil has awoken … and is intent on hunting the residents of Abbotts Cromleigh.

No one is safe.

When Heather delves into a series of coincidental deaths, she is drawn reluctantly into the company of an odd group of elderly Guardians. Who are they, and what is their connection to the Great Oak? Why do they believe only Heather can put an end to centuries of horror? Who is the mysterious old woman in the forest and what is it that feeds her anger?

When Heather determines the true cause of her son’s death, she is hell-bent on vengeance. Determined to halt the march of the Crone once and for all, hatred becomes Heather’s ultimate weapon.

Furies collide in this twisted tale of murder, magic and salvation.

 

 

500 words – Opening Lines

Prologue

The cracking and snapping of dry bones reverberated through the stillness of the night. In the freezing air, at the very heart of the wood, in the slumped ruins of a long-forgotten dwelling, something dark began to manifest itself.

Little more than a mummified corpse, she unfolded her outer layer in a shower of dust and dry mould. Her skin, what remained of it, creaked like ancient leather and her flesh stretched taut over foul stringy innards. Then reaching, stretching, groaning, retching—she hauled herself upright. Once risen, she floated inches above the ground, while the mist—salty from the nearby sea—enveloped her like a pall and covered her foul nakedness.

She slipped out of her shack, and the wildlife in the undergrowth shrank from her black charisma, keeping their distance from her rancid stench, the stink of putrefaction.

In the treetops, caught out by her rapid manifestation, an owl blinked uneasily. Fearful, he observed her as she moved beneath him, then hopeful of evading her gaze he casually pivoted his head, pretended she was unseen and he was unseeing. But Aefre, even in her newly woken state, was both observant and deadly.

She was fast, lashed out at the owl, a missile of energy directed from her mind. His body exploded in a cloud of downy feathers. Her deformed claw-like fingers caught his remains as he fell from his perch, and she stuffed him into her mouth, whole. She chewed once, twice. Swallowed. A single line of blood dribbled from her chin, and the thinnest layer of fresh skin started to form a mouldering translucent veneer.

There was a halo of light to the east. Civilisation. For Aefre, the time was ripe. She was awake. It was time to bask in the thrill of the hunt. This time she would locate her sisters and join them in a merry dance of carnage.

First things first, however. She needed sustenance. She headed for town. She would find everything she needed there.

***

The boys tumbled out of the multiplex, blinking in the garish sodium lights of the car park, high on an adrenaline kick after enjoying the latest blockbuster. Max was grateful that James now had a driving licence and a car to go with it and they weren’t dependent on the non-existent bus service. It was hell being stuck in Abbotts Cromleigh with nothing to do.

Max was completing his A levels this year, and come September he would be off to University in a city where you didn’t need a car. Everything he needed would be on his doorstep. Live music venues, sporting facilities: Sheffield promised to be everything his small Devon home town couldn’t be.

He’d miss The Storykeeper though. Sheffield had bookshops, sure, but The Storykeeper was something special. It was housed in a higgledy-piggledy Elizabethan structure that had been added to time and again over the years, and thus appeared to stretch back and up endlessly. Shelves meandered like mysterious rivers throughout the building…

Buy link

Crone: myBook.to/CroneJW 

Jeannie Wycherley Bio

Jeannie Wycherley is the author of Crone (2017) and Deadly Encounters (2017) and numerous short stories that favour the weird including A Concerto for the Dead and Dying (2018). Crone is the recipient on an Indie B.R.A.G Medallion, and a Chill with a Book Readers’ Award. Jeannie’s next novel Beyond the Veil is due April 2018. Jeannie runs a gift shop with her husband in Sidmouth, adores her dogs, and make her evening meals in a cauldron. She lives somewhere between the forest and the sea in East Devon, England and draws literary inspiration from the landscape.

Social Media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Thecushionlady

Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/jeanniewycherley/

Website: https://www.jeanniewycherley.co.uk/

Thank you for such a fabulous blog, Jeannie. Intriguing first 500 words…

Next week, Opening Lines, will feature contemporary fiction/romance writer, Nicola May.

Happy reading,

Jenny

 



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