It was a no-brainer for me to invite Sarah to my blogoversary. Sarah's taught me many things, the most important being that author's aren't untouchable, they can be considered friends. And I have to say that Sarah was the first author friend I have ever made, and one that I still communicate with often today. Her debut novel, SANCTUM, is among my favorites ever, and anything written by her is pretty much pure brilliance. Thank you so much for stopping by, Sarah!
~*~Guest Post On Why Her Novels are Darker~*~
Recently, I did a workshop at a writers’ conference, called “Writing the Teen.” In fact, Lili helped me a lot with that talk [THANK YOU, LILI! Also, HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY, LILI!]. During the presentation, I discussed some research about how teens think and used lots of examples from YA books.
At the end of it, someone said, “Hey. All your examples are pretty intense and gritty.”
I looked up at my slideshow. I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. Enclave by Ann Aguirre. The Marbury Lens by Andrew Smith. That person was completely correct! That’s what I like to read. Dark, scary, full of broken characters.
It’s also what I like to write. Sanctum is the story of a traumatized, wary girl named Lela who gives her all to save the soul of her best friend, but it’s as much about her own redemption as it is about her rescue mission.
I’ve always been drawn to the darker aspects of human experience and the human mind (I am a clinical psychologist, after all), but it’s not about reveling in depressing stuff. What fascinates me is people’s ability to overcome all sorts of heartbreak, miserable luck, abuse, genetic vulnerability, grief … and emerge scarred, sometimes terribly so, but still able to love, and to sacrifice, and to kick ass.
In Sanctum, nearly every character is like that. They’ve endured terrible tragedies and been completely destroyed, and they’re in the process of putting themselves back together. The setting of the book—a vast, walled city that serves as the afterlife for millions of people who have taken their own lives—is essentially the giant crucible in which they do that. And despite it being a terrible place, there are moments of beauty and hope. I think they’re more startling because they occur in such a dark place, and I believe they’re more satisfying because they happen to characters who haven’t experienced much kindness, who are more shocked by the miracle of a gentle touch than they are by an assault.
In Fractured, the second book in the series, the setting is completely different. It takes place in Rhode Island! The characters are in high school! They can do things like … go to movies! Parties! PROM! Wheeee! And yet, the process of creating the story was quite similar to Sanctum. I once again found myself looking under rocks, exploring places where people are lost and forgotten and abandoned. I couldn’t help it! Thank goodness there are readers who can love characters with a few scars on their bodies and souls, and who enjoy a bit of grit on the page (and if you are one of those readers, hello. I <3 you)
1. Must be 14 years or older
2. One entry per household
3. All cheaters will be disqualified from any and all giveaways
4. Open to US and CA
5. The winner has 24 hours to respond before I pick a new winner
6. The giveaway ends at midnight on June 22nd