Tag Archives: Fantasy

Book Review: ‘Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem’ by Jennifer Arnston

Title: Scavenger Girl: Season of Atchem

Published: 20th October 2017

Author: Jennifer Arnston

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scavengergirl

Twitter: @JennArntson and @Una_of_Ashlund

Instagram: www.instagram.com/scavenger_girl_series

 

Synopsis:

Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family’s bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger…and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.

When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms – free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she’s always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family’s survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?

 

Review:

Goes down as another off my 2017 Bookworm Bingo Challenge – A book set on another planet. Now this world is similar to our own but different in others. More moons for one so I’m counting it as another planet. An interesting one to delve into anyway so enjoy.

Delve into a fantasy world with a family full of secrets and mystery. When these secrets come out they could turn their world up side down in a moment. Dreams could be clues and if you get a weird feeling about someone you should really listen to it.

Una, Calish, Marsh’s parents have been stripped of their birthright as Citizens, which branded them and their future children as Scavengers. They survive by picking up what others too easily discard without really being seen. Scavengers have much to be fearful of with the Authority. The first being that any daughters they have are sold at the first sign of womanhood at the festival, said festival coming up with Una soon to be attending. The other being the Talium Hunt where if her family aren’t safe behind their barriers it seems they are fair game in the hunt. All Una really wants is a way to protect her family from what’s coming. Seems a vision put everything in motion from the moment she was born. She’s different and is only now starting to figure out the world around her and her place in it.

A way for Una to save her family and get security for herself comes in the form of Blue. Now don’t get too blown over with his soft charm to begin with, as he seems to have an entitled feel to him the more you get to know him. He gets what he wants when he wants and right know he wants Una. He might want to shower her with gifts but the luxuries of the Citizens grow old when you see how twisted they have become with the gods they worship. Seems a lesson has been lost along the way. Blue says he will give her time to win her heart but that’s going to be hard to do as it belongs to another.

Una has a lot of thinking to do and it’s not helped when she is almost thrown into the deep end with what the festival is really like. Her family only has to by law attend the last evening and you can see why they would have shielded her from the other days. This is not a festival to be celebrated as some really despicable things happen there in the name of their “gods”. Things Una wishes she could unsee. Seems her mother might have the right idea to just worship the Great One. Seems we might be seeing a bit more of this in future books.

Now one brother’s story I didn’t see coming but the others and hers you could see a mile off. But that was from snippets of conversations people were either having to Una or around her when they thought she wasn’t listening. It’s giving you breadcrumb clues to try and see if you can figure it out before she does.

A good setup for the fantasy world created, very imaginative. Good at interlinking the story around the world and leading you on a journey with Una. Who she chooses and where her journey goes from here on out will be interesting to see. Is she to follow her heart for herself or her head to protect her family? Lets hope we find out soon.

4 out of 5 stars

I received this ARC from the author for my honest review.

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Author Interview: ‘Fleet’ by Brian T. Marshall

About the Book:

A man, lost and naked, on the streets of Manhattan, pleading in an unknown tongue. The retired linguist who realizes it’s an archaic Greek, unspoken for three thousand years. And the young woman who befriends them both, just in time for an unlikely quest. From New York to LA, Nebraska to Delphi, Fleet travels a labyrinth, with a mystery as old as mankind lying at its very heart.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

As for who I am, it’s just plain me. What matters is what I say.

All writers start out as readers. And all readers are looking for the magical experience of getting lost in a book. But only those of us brave enough— or stupid enough— to try writing one discover that this same joy is ten times greater when you’re shaping, and not just following, the story. Or at least when it’s going well. We won’t talk about when it isn’t.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Early morning. It’s dark outside. No one else in the house is stirring. And if you’re really lucky, there’s a steady patter of raindrops falling off the eaves. A cup of tea, steaming away. Your face bathed in the monitor’s glow. This is when the magic happens. This is the moment you live for.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

From cradle to grave, we’re awash in stories, some great, some good, some awful. And I think all of us, no matter how imaginative or groundbreaking we appear, are just taking the same old puzzle pieces and putting them back together. The key is finding a way of doing so that makes your story feel fresh, alive and inviting.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Yes, I need an outline, and the few times I’ve tried writing without one, I’ve fallen flat on my face. If you’ve got the general arc in place, and know what each chapter needs to say, in then frees your mind to make all the thousands of tiny choices that frame a scene, choose a metaphor, define that thing called Your Voice.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

Defining yourself within a genre might be a smart marketing move, but it can also limit you as a writer. Every genre has its own conventions and expectations, and these can allow you to become lazy, to perform only up to the level demanded by the field. That said, I’ve dabbled in fantasy, mystery and mainstream literary fiction.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

For Fleet, we’d need three primary leads. Tom Hiddleston would make a great Noman, with his lean build and piercing gaze, even if he is a bit old for the part. For Simon, we’d want someone frumpy and British. One of those great character actors you recognize right off the bat, even if you don’t know his name. And Sarah, our waif with a backbone of steel, might well be Natalie Portman, even though she also might technically be “too old”.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Yes, I’ve always got a book at hand. How could you live without one? As for favorite authors, it’s pretty much all over the map. For concision, Hemingway. For language, Lawrence Durrell. For a good yarn well-told, John D. MacDonald. Neil Gaiman, Lev Grossman, William Gibson for genre work. And why aren’t any women coming to mind? I must be a sexist pig.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

A lot of time lately has been spent reading work by fellow indies or members of my writer’s group, which has been a mixed blessing. And the fact that I’m a poor starving artist means I can’t just rush out and buy whatever book everyone’s raving about. So you take your chances. Read the jacket. Sift through the reviews. Find a fair amount of dross, along with the occasional gem.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I know this sounds incredibly trite, but what else can I say? How many authors can usurp the gods, and create a world of their own? Tell a tale so inherently right it carries the weight of myth? And yes, there’s a million ways to pick it apart, and point out all the things it isn’t, but I still can’t imagine a better gift to pass on to a hungry young mind.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Beware. There be dragons here. If you stick to your craft, and write what you love, you’ll find endless hours of pleasure. And if you set out to be a success, to find fame or that pot of gold, chances are you’ll be disappointed. Writing is writing, the act of creation, of finding out what you have to say. Everything that follows, good or bad, is completely beyond your control.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Because everyone says a writer needs a website, I finally cobbled together one of my own, http://www.missppelled.com . In it I indulge in various rambles on writing and self-publication, plus there’s the exciting adventures of Doug Walker, Dog Walker. As for everything else, Facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, it pretty much drives me crazy, even though the connected author is now expected to spend more time hyping their work than sitting down and writing.

 

About the Author:

Raised by a band of feral authors hidden in the deep north woods, Brian Marshall was no ordinary child. Proper syntax flowed through his veins. Semi-colons were his crib mates. And as he grew older, he came to realize these unique gifts were meant to serve good, not evil.

Abandoning his wayward clan, he set out in search of a sensei, the fabled Tan Line, Master of Men, and high priest of punctuation. Under his rigid tutelage, the boy’s talents found full flower, till the fateful day had finally arrived when the pupil outpaced his master. Would he now rise to take that mantle? Assail the bestsellers list?

Alas, no. For along with great power, he had found something else. A rare prize called humility. From that day forward he would toil away in deepest obscurity. Not for him the accolades, or the tawdry lure of fame, but instead the pursuit of merest spark, to be Kindled to full flame.

For is it not written that to win the world, a wise man begins with one reader.

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Series Blitz: ‘The Watchers Series’ by Ellison Blackburn

 

Book Titles: If There Be Giants / Second Son

The Watchers Series

Author:  Ellison Blackburn

Genre: Fantasy / Mythology

Ellison Blackburn is the author of several mindful science-fiction/fantasy novels including Flash Back, Second Nature, and If There Be Giants.

Despite earning degrees in both Biology and English Literature, her career for many years was in a completely unrelated field (web design and development). It was not until she had authored her first science-fiction book that her education and work background mingled sensibly. In addition to storytelling and scribbling poetry, Ellison enjoys abstract painting, international travel, watching foreign films, and reading novels.

 

If There Be Giants

About the Book

Buried treasure or a curse unearthed?

Archeologist, Dr. Mallory Jacks has uncovered an anomaly, a strange creature amidst familiar surroundings. The discovery could change the world’s perspective of anthropology and science, as well as shake the religious faith of millions. However, the latter is beside the scientific point.

The newly found artifacts do not fit neatly or logically into the timeline of events comprising the history of life on planet. Unfortunately, this could be just the cusp of the problem; who knows what else might be unveiled as the project continues.

The situation evolves more perplexingly as one of Mallory’s student helpers, Grey McKnight, becomes enmeshed in the mystery; especially, as she and Grey’s relationship progresses beyond that of mentor and student. With each passing day, the upheaval surrounding the findings threatens to shatter their lives into countless surreal pieces.

Learn more and read excerpts: www.EllisonBlackburn.com/If-There-Be-Giants

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•

 

Second Son

About the Book

Raven or dove—birds of a feather flock together.

Every person alive was affected by the relics found amongst the ruins of the Gwellen stone circle. However, as though a trendy topic gone viral for a short time, except for a tabloid headline or two, the world continued to spin very scientifically on its axis. Even Dr. Mallory Jacks remained skeptical, despite all she had witnessed, regardless that she had been specially warned.

Two years after that astonishing moment of first discovery, the artifacts still defied rational explanation. It was likely the true impact of the finds would rumble through the halls of laboratories, universities, museums, and pews for ages to come; granting human life on the planet still exists.

For beyond the boundaries of terra firma and people’s limited senses, unseen forces have kept vigil since the dawn of civilization. And, when Grey returns to Cornwall and Mallory a changed man—with another fantastic story to tell—their love will be tested, and humanity along with its mortality will be judged one last time. The time of the Watcher has arrived.

Learn more and read excerpts: www.EllisonBlackburn.com/Second-Son

 

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•.☆.•°*°•

 

About the Author

 

Ellison Blackburn grew up in Chicago, Illinois, but home has been many other places too—where ever she happens to live for a prolonged time—be it the West Coast or the Midwest.

The daughter of a former, histologist father and nurse mother, as well as a sister of scientifically-minded siblings, Ellison earned a degree in Biology—as it seemed a matter of natural, familial course. Being equally right and left brained, she later received another credential in English Literature, however, she mostly worked in the fields of internet development and graphic design before and after earning each degree. Read more about her unusual road to self-discovery and how it inspired her to become a storyteller too.

Now, her creative inklings as well as other aspects of publishing are her professional focus, although being an ‘inkling’ is more a way of life than it just being a career. As an Indie Author, Ellison published her first novel, Flash Back (previously titledRegeneration X) in early 2015. See the current list of her published works.

On the surface, Ellison lives the life of an ordinary human being, adapting day-to-day, moment-by-moment, to an ever changing, sometimes right here. By joining this readers group you will receive exclusive freebies and extras, specials and pre-release announcements, as well as the most recent news in Ellison’s monthly newsletter.

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Release Blitz and Author Interview: ‘Scavenger Girl Series – Season of Atchem’ by Jennifer Arntson

Title: Season of Atchem

Scavenger Girl Series Book 1

Author: Jennifer Arnston

Genre: Fantasy / Dystopian

Release Date: 21st October 2017

 

Stripped of their birthright and shunned by the people of Ashlund, Una and her family are forced to live on the fringe of society as Scavengers. There is no question that her family’s bond is strong, but the law of the Authority is stronger…and soon it will come to collect her. After all, the family is on borrowed time already.

When a night of torment and truth reveals well kept secrets, Una takes new freedoms – free from the Authority, her family, and possibly her fate. Pulled between the life she’s always known and a world where status and rituals are everything, Una struggles to understand a culture that has rejected all she holds dear. As Atchem comes to an end and she learns who she really is, will Una find the courage to do what it takes to ensure her family’s survival, or will she find the faith to follow her heart?

 

Add to Goodreads

Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

Free for release day only so click away!!

 

Excerpt

Mother tried to help with the daily chores, but as I expected, she tired easily. As much as I hated to admit it, my father was right; she did need someone here to help her. I tucked her into bed, making sure she had fresh water on her bedside table. “You get some sleep, and I’ll start dinner. Did you want me to use the pork from the storage crock or are the men bringing home fish?”

“We never know what the river will give.” She yawned.

“Pork it is.” I kissed her forehead.

The best part of preparing dinner by myself was getting to decide what to have. Since I had no one to ask, I could fix whatever I wanted, and no one could complain. Tonight I wished to have cabbage and wild onions with the roast, simply because the men of our family didn’t prefer it. That’ll teach them for leaving me behind.

After putting the meat over the fire in the roasting pot, I found my plucking blade and headed to the vacant field across the road to find the onions. We had some in our garden, but the ones that grew on their own were much sweeter and had a richer flavor than their domesticated cousins.

I was searching at the edge of the tree line when I heard a branch snap. Gripping my blade, I crouched down immediately. While it was rare for anyone to come this far down our road, it wasn’t impossible. My eyes darted through the brush to find the source of the sound. It was too loud to be a rodent, and since I couldn’t see it, I assumed it was hiding from me.

My house was not that far away. I saw the corner of the perimeter from where I hid. Whoever was out there knew where I was and had the advantage. The gardening tool in my hand was not my weapon of choice. I had two options. I could stay and let them get closer, or take my chances and run. If they caught up to me, at least I’d be somewhat armed.

I checked my shoes and gathered my skirt in my free hand. There was no movement. My heartbeat pounded in my ears. Lunging from my spot, I sprinted toward home. Whoever was out there would either be chasing me or would let me flee, unless they attacked me with a spear gun or arrows. I glanced back to satisfy my fear only to miss the mole hole that tripped me. I fell and lost grip of my blade, which landed just out of reach. Panting, I rolled onto my back and searched the lot for movement again. This time, I saw something.

I crept back, searching blindly for the blade somewhere behind me in the grass. The shrubs rustled several yards away. If I were on my feet, I could outrun them for sure, but I wasn’t. To my surprise, I found the blade. Preparing myself for an attack, I rose above the grass, facing the moving darkness of the woods.

Slow and uninterested, a brown horse presented itself, still chewing the long reeds it found.

“Rebel?” My shoulders dropped in relief. The horse moseyed to where I lost the onions and folded open the cloth I had wrapped them in. “Hey! No!” I shouted, running back to get them.

The horse, with his massive face, gobbled them up before I got to them. “Seriously?” I shoved his nose away from the fabric. There was only one halfeaten bulb left.

I sighed. How did the horse get out here anyway? As angry as I was at him, at least I was here and could bring him back home. “Come on,” I said, walking away from him. When he didn’t follow, I showed him the bulb he hadn’t finished in an attempt to bribe him. “I said, let’s go.”

Rebel started to follow me back but stopped when we got to the road. As hard as I tried to convince him, he refused to go any farther. I teased him with the onion, pulled his mane, and even cussed at him. I would have pushed him from behind if I didn’t know better than to be at the back end of a horse. Desperate to move the beast, I slapped his hindquarters, and he started to move. Unfortunately, he moved in the wrong direction.

“Stop! Rebel, no!” I stood in front of him, but he kept walking, using his head to push me out of his way.

If only I had a rope! I ran back to our land, sprinting across the bridge and over to the hay barn. I grabbed the rope hanging on the outside of it, and at the same time, pushed myself off of it to redirect my run. I never stopped moving. With my skirt pulled high, I made it back to the road faster than I expected. I called out to Rebel, who had picked up his pace and was skipping down the road like a misbehaving child.

I would have let him go, except he was the only horse we had. My mother wouldn’t be of any help, and the men were at the river. I promised my family that I would not leave the house alone, yet there was no one to come with me. We needed that animal, and I could not let him simply walk away. Neither of my brothers would give a second thought to chasing him down. Why should I? There was no point arguing with myself; there was no right answer. I would be wrong if I went after him, or if I let him go.

As fast as I went, Rebel never seemed to get any closer. Out of breath and out of stamina, I stopped running. As long as I could see him, I would follow him. Horses got tried too, didn’t they? Apparently not as easily as I did. I was regretting my decision to miss breakfast this morning. I felt around in my pockets and found the half-eaten onion. “Ergh,” I moaned, turning it over in my hand. As much as I liked them, it made me ill to think of eating it raw and covered in horse drool. I shoved it back into my pocket with new motivation to put a noose around that horse’s neck. If I were lucky, I might be home in time for dinner.

Over the course of the day, the road we traveled whittled down to the width of a game trail, giving no evidence of it ever being used by men. I had never been out this far in this direction. We had long passed by the field of wildflowers, and I hadn’t seen anyone else for hours. At that point, I gave up my fear and stopped expecting enemies lying in wait. Initially, I worried about the Authority, but why would they be all the way out here? There was nothing to police this far from the village. Not during this season, anyway. Talium would be a different matter, but right now, I figured they’d be caught up in the preparations for the Festival and making sure Citizens were following the laws of Atchem.

The Temple didn’t have its own enforcement, so they would utilize the Authority whenever it suited them. Atchem was the holiest of times because of the three moons and their proximity to each other. For the God-fearing folks, this was the pinnacle of the year—celebration and fear of damnation all at the same time. Like little river swans, they’d follow the leader simply because everyone else did. If you spent enough time at the river watching their behavior, you’d learn that the leader rarely did anything except tire the smaller ones out.

Rebel finally stopped in a heavily wooded area with thick underbrush. Grateful for the rest, I sat on a boulder and let him graze on the greens. I didn’t intend on walking back; that horse was going to carry me back. I most certainly had earned it. The least I could do is let him eat before I made him take me home.

Under the tall evergreen trees, covering the undergrowth as far as the eye could see, grew a collection of the rarest shrubs in known existence. Rebel’s impromptu day trip turned up the find of a lifetime. In utter disbelief, I walked among them with my arms spread wide, touching the tops as if I were in a dream. Nobu-trees, characterized by their broad, waxy leaves and small, dark purple berries, were the things of tales and legends. The berries were useful if you needed to make yourself sick, but the thin woody stems were more valuable than gold. They were extremely flexible when harvested, but within hours of removing their bark, the wood dried out, becoming hard as stone. They were used for everything from nails, fishing hooks, and sewing needles to fine jewelry and much more.

From what I’d learned, these shrubs grew only during Talium, when it was dark. I wasn’t sure why I was seeing them now. To find them growing wild was impossible because they had been harvested to the brink of extinction decades ago. The Authority collected the roots of the few they found and now the last few only existed in the Temple Gardens, or so I’d been told. Nobu-trees were heavily protected and were considered sacred plants of Malderbud, the tree god.

The legend was that Malderbud fell in love with a mortal woman whose body reminded him of a flower. He took her from her family and locked her within the tall, stone walls of his private garden for his personal enjoyment. He would visit her each day, bringing her gifts and hoping to make her fall in love with him, yet each attempt failed. His continued presence sickened her. Every gift he would bring, she would reject. The only thing she congratulated him for was the beauty of what she saw around the garden, but each plant, vine, fruit, and flower, reminded her of home and the family that she desperately missed.

After several seasons, he tired of her constant sorrow and was angered by her refusal to love him, despite his attempts at winning her affection. In a fit of rage, he dug his feet deep into the garden’s soil and poisoned the plants from their roots to the end of their leaves. It was as if he burned them from the ground up. The pain of losing his garden was unbearable, so he created the Nobu-tree and placed it in the center of the ashes as his final gift to the woman. He thought, no matter where she was, she would see it as a symbol of his hope to win her love. He told her that once she confessed her love for him, he’d bring the gardens back and together they’d create new life. His plan couldn’t have failed him more. The only thing the woman saw was a reminder of his vengeance, and it broke her will to live. She decided she’d rather die than keep company with a deplorable tree for the rest of her mortal life.

During the change of seasons, when his attention was on the hills and the valley, she attempted to kill the tree by pulling at the stems and skinning them with her teeth. As she held it in her hands, she felt it firm up in the shape in which she held it. Then she created a new plan. She spent the next several hours cutting the branches into spikes and putting them together on the ground next to the wall of the garden. She whittled each one to be razor-sharp, pointing toward the sky. At dusk, when the wood had turned to rock, she climbed the garden’s wall as high as she was able before she pushed herself off, falling backward onto the bed of honed spikes.

Meanwhile, seeing all the beauty he created for mortals, Malderbud decided he had been unjust in his attempts at the woman’s love. He concluded that he’d rather see her happy and enjoying his creation outside his personal garden than entrapped in a desolate one with a single, unappreciated, blooming tree. When he returned home, he decided he would open the gates and set the beautiful woman free. His new hope was that she would learn to love him through the nature he created each season.

However, this particular season was long and laborious. When Malderbud returned, his plans suddenly didn’t matter. First, he found the mutilated tree in the center of the garden. Angered by her vandalism, but determined to set her free, he called for the woman for an explanation. She did not answer. He broke down the walls and watched for her to leave, but he never saw her. Feeling guilty for crushing her spirit, he roamed the garden, calling for her. To his dismay, he found her dried, dead body broken by the bed of hardened spikes the disheveled tree had provided. He was too late and knew he was the reason for her death.

They say that Malderbud only grows the Nobu-tree in his absence, during the darkness of Talium, in remembrance of the only woman he ever loved. Unlike many other useful vegetation species, it has no defense against harvesting. The roots are small, and its coloring stands out among the ground cover. Some say it’s an effort of repentance for his unbridled selfishness.

So, why was it growing here during the harvest season? Knowing the treasure I’d found, I collected as many Nobu branches as I was able to bind with the rope I intended to use to lead Rebel back. While I didn’t expect a leisurely ride home, I now had a sense of urgency to get there. These twigs would dry slower with their bark still attached, and time was a luxury I was not about to waste. My father would be so pleased with my recapture of Rebel, not to mention how impressed he’d be with my claim!

I felt like a thief as I hurried Rebel back the way we’d come. Thankfully, he did as I commanded and stopped refusing my lead. The constant pressure to check for strangers made me perspire with anticipation. If caught, would I be arrested? I was merely doing what Scavengers did; I was claiming what was given by the gods, right? Would that matter to a passing Citizen? Growing ever more anxious, I kicked Rebel to go faster. We needed to get home, now.

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you in to writing?

Like most people, I wear a lot of hats. I’m a dreaming artist, a 1050’s housewife, a well-rounded consultant, and a mom who’s rushing her kids to the bus each morning. I started writing as a way to express my thoughts and feelings, but journaling never quite did it for me. I didn’t want to write about my life; I wanted to write about Una.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

I write everywhere I am able. I have a spot at my desk, kitchen table, and outside on my wine deck, but I’ve also been known to sit on bathroom floors while my kids were bathing, or in my car during swim lessons.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

Scavenger Girl began as a dream I had. When I woke up, I couldn’t shake it. I thought about all the reasons they were in the predicament they were in, and how they’d get out of it. It consumed my thoughts for days until I finally sat down and started writing it. I figured if I wrote it down, I’d be able to stop thinking about it. After five books, that still has yet to happen.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Actually, a little bit of both! I have main ideas of where I wanted to go, but no real map on how to get there. I let the characters decide.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

I like books about the underdog, that over exaggerate reality. As such, dystopian seems to be more of a backdrop to the story, but certainly is present!

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

It’s always fun to picture the characters as real people. For Scavenger Girl, most of the characters features were based on actual people I either know, or people I’ve come in contact with. Sadly, none of these people are actors. In fact, I’m pretty sure they don’t even know they were my inspiration! That being said, if I’d have to pick an all-star cast, I’d probably say these talented people might be able to pull it off.

Una – Nina Dobrev

Calish – Jeremy Irvine

Marsh – Chris Pratt

Redena – Ashley Judd

Tawl – Hugh Jackman

Blue – Jeremy Sumpter

Haly – Amy Adams

Pantis – Sir Ian McKellen

Marquette – Kathy Bates

People not in the story, but whom I’d like on set anyway:

Dwayne Johnson (but the reason why is for a different interview)

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.

Being an indie author, I tend to follow Indies more than mainstream / big name authors. Indie’s tend to follow less ‘rules’ of storytelling and therefore take my imagination to fantastic places. Of course, I tend to read what is popular ever once in a while, just to see what the buzz is all about.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Currently I’m reading “Generation Gap,” by Alex McGilvery. It’s about a time when the plights of age have been nearly eliminated, so only the oldest (and I mean OLD) rule. As such, the younger generation, up to 80-years old or so, strive to attain the necessary means to ‘retire.’ The story follows a student who makes a daring escape and through a series of riddles and clues, finds an underground group of defectors living under the radar, enforcing their own form of justice. I’m only about half way through, but I’m gobbling it up!

9: What is your favourite book and why?

Ok, you’re going to laugh…Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson. I love the rhyming, the imagery, illustrations and message. I read it out loud to my kids and their friends whenever possible and have a captive audience every time.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Ha! I might not be the best person to ask – some people have watched my journey and say, “I had no idea it was so hard. Why are you doing this?” Well, if you want to be a writer, you first have to be a special kind of nutter. I’m not judging anyone, heck, I’m the self proclaimed Queen of the Nutters! And if you didn’t start out a nutter, you’ll turn into one. Your stories will become all consuming. You’ll fall in love with these characters, even the ones other people HATE. Why? Because you know why they ended up like that, and a part of you feels sorry for them. Like children, you’ve created them so you may not like them, but you’ll still love them. You’ll start to look at the world differently when you realize all of us have a story. Some people hide them, some tell all, but everybody is the main character of their own story. I think the secret is finding the story you want to tell and do it. When you do, give it your all.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Website: www.scavengergirl.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/scavengergirl

Twitter: @JennArntson / Characters: @Una_Ashlund @Cal_of_Ashlund @Mar_of_Ashlund

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/15083562.Jennifer_Arntson

Instagram: www.instagram.com/scavenger_girl_series

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/scavengerg

#IAmAScavenger

About the Author:

Author, dreamer, and sworn enemy of Caillou

Jennifer Arntson has a long history of crafting tales that people find unbelievable, but often true. As an observer of human and social development through the ages, a curiosity of faith, and dedication to the underprivileged of the developing world, Jennifer finds her creative outlet in stories and fables. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two children, and a mini-farm of otherwise useless animals where the family eagerly caters to their every need.

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Author Interview: ‘Aaru’ by David Meredith

About the Book:

“…Death and the stillness of death are the only things certain and common to all in this future…”
-Friedrich Nietzsche

Rose is dying. Her body is wasted and skeletal. She is too sick and weak to move. Every day is an agony and her only hope is that death will find her swiftly before the pain grows too great to bear.

She is sixteen years old.

Rose has made peace with her fate, but her younger sister, Koren, certainly has not. Though all hope appears lost Koren convinces Rose to make one final attempt at saving her life after a mysterious man in a white lab coat approaches their family about an unorthodox and experimental procedure. A copy of Rose’s radiant mind is uploaded to a massive super computer called Aaru – a virtual paradise where the great and the righteous might live forever in an arcadian world free from pain, illness, and death. Elysian Industries is set to begin offering the service to those who can afford it and hires Koren to be their spokes-model.

Within a matter of weeks, the sisters’ faces are nationally ubiquitous, but they soon discover that neither celebrity nor immortality is as utopian as they think. Not everyone is pleased with the idea of life everlasting for sale.
What unfolds is a whirlwind of controversy, sabotage, obsession, and danger. Rose and Koren must struggle to find meaning in their chaotic new lives and at the same time hold true to each other as Aaru challenges all they ever knew about life, love, and death and everything they thought they really believed.

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Purchase Links:

Amazon – UK / US

 

Author Interview:

1: Tell us a little about yourself and what got you into writing?

I’m a veteran English instructor with 18 years’ experience both in the US and in Japan. I’ve always had an interest in writing. It started with crappy fan-fic back in middle school or high school, (that I’d be really embarrassed if anyone read now), and I had several false starts before I actually completed a novel, but I’ve always had the feeling that I’ve got these stories inside that need to come out. I just needed the writing and life experience to express them in a way other people would want to read.

2: Do you have a favourite time and place where you write?

Especially since I just finished my doctorate degree, I’ve been pretty busy. I usually work on my laptop whenever and wherever I have a couple of free minutes.

3: Where do your ideas come from?

I get inspired from many sources. I often feel the creative juices flowing right after reading a great book or watching a really good movie. However, I also derive inspiration from real life experiences, both my own and those of others I hear about, and even dreams.

4: Do you have a plan in your head of where the story is going before you start writing or do you let it carry you along as you go?

Usually I have a plan, at least up to a point, but I also try to leave myself open to going where the story leads. Quite often I end up very different places from where I thought I was going at the beginning, but it always ends up being better that way, I think.

5: What genre are your books and what drew you to that genre?

They vary, but all of my work includes an element of fantasy. Those were the first books I read as a kid and I’ve continued to enjoy the freedom the genre allows. There are just lots of things you can do in speculative fiction that you can’t in other genres.

6: What dream cast would you like to see playing the characters in your latest book?

Rose and Koren are pretty young, so I might be most interested in some up and coming actresses who nobody knows about yet, but maybe someone like a Taylor Momsen or Elle Fanning for Koren, and a Kira Kosarin, Demi Lavato, or Kristen Stewart for Rose. I think Keefer Sutherland would be great as Magic Man, the antagonist. He does sinister and creepy really well. Maybe Ben Kingsly as Mr. Adams, the scientist who approaches Rose’s family with the Aaru proposal, (I’d really like to see how he looks with hair 😊). Woody Harrelson would be great as Rose and Koren’s dad, Bill Johnson. Someone like a Cherlize Theron for Gypsie Johnson, their mother. It’s all fun to think about. I’d love to see Aaru made into a movie.

7: Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors?

Most of my reading lately has been required course material for my doctoral program, but some of my favorite authors are Tad Williams, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Robin Hobb. I also like work by Robert Jordan, Liza Dolby, and James Clavell.

8: What book/s are you reading at present?

Life has been pretty hectic, so I haven’t had a lot of time for pleasure reading, but I am still about two thirds of the way through the first volume of Game of Thrones. It’s good, so hopefully I’ll find some time soon to sit down and finish it.

9: What is your favourite book and why?

If I had to pick I guess I’d go with The Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn Trilogy by Tad Williams (The Dragon Bone Chair, The Stone of Farewell, and To Green Angel Tower). I first read it back in high school and still go back and reread it every year or two. I guess it’s because I can identify with the characters, who are all very well developed, believably imperfect, and human. Even the villains are complex and relatable, and I’m always drawn to strong characterization. It’s what I strive for first and foremost in my own writing.

10: What advice would you give for someone thinking about becoming a writer?

Keep at it. False starts and failures are all part of the process. And mind your craft. You can always get better.

11: What are the best Social Media Sites for people to find out about you and your work?  

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com/-/e/B013R6K5R6?ref_=pe_1724030_132998070

Facebook Author Page: www.facebook.com/DavidMeredithWriting

Goodreads Author Page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/7383607.David_Meredith

 

About the Author:

David Meredith is a writer and educator originally from Knoxville, Tennessee. He received both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts from East Tennessee State University, in Johnson City, Tennessee. He received his Doctorate in Educational Leadership (Ed.D.) from Trevecca Nazarene University in Nashville, Tennessee. On and off, he spent nearly a decade, from 1999-2010 teaching English in Northern Japan, but currently lives with his wife and three children in the Nashville Area where he continues to write and teach English.

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