Congratulations to my lovely friend, debut author Kristy Fairlamb on the release of her YA supernatural thriller LUCID this week. Such a fantastic book. And, listen, I loved it so much I acquired it myself at Lakewater Press!!!! It's got EVERYTHING a YA book should have but also so much more. And the concept is so original and dark and unusual that you will just love it!
Check out all the details you need here and be sure to keep scrolling to the bottom so you can enter the release giveaway to win CHOCOLATE!
LUCID BY KRISTY FAIRLAMB
A Terrifying Power. A Horrifying Curse.
Lucy Piper lives a lonely existence on the precipice between life and death. She possesses the horrifying ability to resurrect real-life tragic events in her nightmares, reliving over and over, as if she were there, the last few moments before the victim takes their final breath. Car accidents, drownings, plane crashes – Lucy has seen it all. No one understands what it’s like living death by night and fearing sleep by day.
When Tyler Sims and his family move to town to escape past traumas, Lucy is drawn to him. The two of them are linked through their dreams, and with Tyler’s trust and friendship, hope for a brighter future returns to Lucy’s world. But Tyler’s presence awakens something else in Lucy, and with this new knowledge she will be forced to make impossible decisions. Decisions that will change history, and the future.
Chilling, haunting and compelling, this novel is the first in a two-part series for fans of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and The Hidden Memory of Objects that will leave you breathless for days.
Kristy Fairlamb is an Australian author of young adult novels. She enjoys spending her days drinking coffee and torturing her characters with loads of tension (both love related and the nail-biting kind)!
Long before her days of writing began, she spent half her childhood in a make believe world, daydreaming about growing up, falling in love, and travelling the world. She’s worked as a nanny in country England, a junior matron in a boy’s boarding school south of London, a governess in East Timor, and made coffees and cleared tables in the New South Wales snow fields.
Kristy lives with her husband, teenage daughter, and two sons in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, where they’re lucky enough to get the occasional visit from the local koalas. She’s terrible at gardening, likes her bookshelves sorted by colour, and recently checked off a lifelong dream of jumping from a plane. When she’s not writing or daydreaming about her stories, you’ll find her reading, cooking for her family, or doing anything to avoid the housework.
WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN WIN!
I'm delighted to welcome the wonderful Savannah Hendricks to the blog today to help celebrate the release of her latest novel, GROUNDED IN JANUARY! Check it out!
Kate Wilson hates to admit it, but she’s unhappy and can’t figure out why. Fearful of flying yet determined to find a reason for her unhappiness, she boards a flight headed for her Washington hometown.
Inn of the Woods owner and pilot, Oxnard Swanson struggles with accepting his multiple sclerosis diagnosis, realizing his dreams of marriage and a family might be over. Determined, he bides his time managing the inn, piloting his Cessna, and training his rescue dog Bayou.
Sparks quickly fly between Oxnard and Kate, when a snow storm forces her to find refuge in the Inn of the Woods. Maggie, a wise guest, suggests the couple step outside, where the magic of the snow offers answers to their search for happiness and a second chance at love.
Kate and Oxnard find love is like a snowflake, a unique and beautiful reminder of life’s continuation, as each snowflake melts into the eternal hope of spring.
INTERVIEW WITH SAVANNAH
Can you tell us a little of your journey to publication with this book?
To be honest, Grounded in January took a rather quick path to publication. I work full-time and managed to write the story in about five months. I started small with submissions because it was my first time submitting an adult novel and I was hoping that if it was rejected I could obtain some feedback before I continued on. I’ve been writing for over fifteen years and most of my work is in children’s literature, so this was a huge step in a different direction. While I have written other adult pieces, this was the first time submitting a full-length novel.
How and why did you write it, how long did it take, how did you find your publisher, etc?
I wrote Grounded in January because I’ve always wanted to spread awareness about multiple sclerosis. My mom was diagnosed with it and our short relationship was centered on the disease. It affected my childhood in a negative and positive way. Of course, I didn’t want to make Grounded in January a depressing story. I’ve seen so many great outcomes of people with MS that I wanted to make sure when I had control (unlike real life) that everything worked out alright.
I started working on the story in November of 2017 and submitted it to a small number of publishers in June of 2018. At the time I’d recently lost my ‘heart’ dog and decided to write him into the story. To be honest I didn’t really see the dog’s role as a big piece until I started on edits and realized he blossomed into a bigger character and I loved it. A lot of writers out there will probably strangle me (I swear I have been in the trenches with rejections for years with other stories), but I had amazing feedback and requests for ‘fulls’ instantly.
I’d submitted children’s lit to Brother Mockingbird Publishing earlier, but they passed. So I figured I’d try again with Grounded in January. I was looking for a small publishing company because I wanted to have more say on the cover art and wanted the important aspects of the story to remain as is, and they allowed for both of these.
Is there a message in your novel for readers? Anything you'd love for them to take away from the experience?
Yes, I think because of my early childhood education background I find myself always writing with a universal message. For Grounded in January the message is about hope and discovery. It’s also about not assuming that your path has ended simply because you made a wrong turn earlier in life. I felt this way about my own life, getting married at nineteen, and divorcing twelve years later. I thought because I picked that specific path nothing would work out later in life, that I’d “blown it” so to speak. And I’m grateful that I had the hope and the faith to remind myself that it didn’t mean that at all.
What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Oh gosh, outside of writing in general (because plotting, characters, etc is hard work), writing about MS and putting my sweet dog’s mannerisms in the story was the hardest. Seeing my dog come back to life on the pages was bitter-sweet.
How have you grown as a writer and person from writing this novel?
This book has taught me more than I could possibly discuss in an interview without boring people! But overall, it has helped me realize I can write a complex story and that I’m rather great at it. It sounds stuck-up, but when I read the editor notes going through, even she wondered how I managed to weave all these little things in and out of the story. I’ve improved on my abilities to tell a story and improved my editing skills. There was a time when I would send a chapter to a CP and it was all marked up with red because of so many small grammar errors, but as grew in my skill set the red lessened immensely.
What books have most influenced your life and writing style/approach?
This is tough because when I wrote and sold my first picture book (Nonnie and I) nearly all of my fifty plus rejects read: LOVE THE STORY! HATE THE VOICE!
And I couldn’t change my writing style or voice so I improved on my craft, the way I told a story. Everyone that knows me knows how much I adore The Truth About Twinkie Pie by Kat Yeh, her writing has influenced me the most because it’s amazing. I actually find myself pausing and re-reading sentences in her books, and I never do this with other authors. My favorite books are books from the nineties and early two-thousands; I simply love the way they were written and the richness of the storytelling.
Which writer/s would you consider a mentor/inspiration?
(Again) Kat Yeh. She is so nice, always replying on social media if you reach out to her. I understand authors are busy and many are at celebrity status, but there is a disconnect for me when that happens. I love to showcase books I’m reading and post about them and if the author reaches out to me and acknowledges that, I remember. We are all equal and without readers, authors wouldn’t sell a single book.
Will we meet these characters again? What's next for you?
I’ve toyed with the idea of a follow up for Grounded in January with a few secondary characters, but we will see how well it does. I have two other sweet romance novels I’m readying for submission and those come first. After that I’m returning to a manuscript that I love more than chocolate cake and seeing what I can revise on it because I want it to see on bookshelves. I’m not giving up on it!
I have two picture books coming out later this year as well and will need to switch my focus over to them in the coming months. One is with the same publisher as Grounded in January, titled: Winston Versus the Snow, and the other is: The Book Who Lost its Title with Big Belly Book Co.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
When Savannah Hendricks is not writing, she is a medical social worker. Prior she worked with special needs preschoolers and spent seven years as a nanny. She holds degrees in Early Childhood Education and a Master’s in Criminal Justice. She is the author of Nonnie and I, a picture book about the first day of school anxieties set in Botswana. Her stories have been included in over 20 children’s magazines, and is the co-author of Child Genius 101: The Ultimate Guide to Early Childhood Development: Vol 1 & 2. She has two new picture books releasing this year, Winston Versus the Snow and The Book Who Lost its Title.
FOLLOW SAVANNAH'S JOURNEY HERE!
Her Crown of Fire
Cover Reveal: All Boy by Mia Kerick
Welcome to the Cover Reveal for
All Boy by Mia Kerick!
Be on the lookout for this new title from Lakewater Press.
What do you think of the cover?
All Boy by Mia Kerick
Available for pre-order:
IT'S PARTY TIME FOR MY LOVELY AUTHOR FRIEND FIONA ERSKINE TODAY!
And what a book it is! I first read Jaq Silver's story a couple of years ago and what can I say -- I knew then that what Fiona had created was a masterpiece and just what the world of thrillers needed: an intelligent, smart, woman of science main character.
You will love this book because it has clever and beautiful writing, a fast and exciting plot, and more tension than most books can handle!
I couldn't be more delighted for Fiona and all I can say is GET THIS BOOK TODAY!
Grab your copy here:
And follow Fiona here:
Here's an interview with Fiona and her publisher so you can find out more about this brilliant book!
How did you begin writing The Chemical Detective?
In 2012, I had a skiing accident. Waiting to recover enough to fly home, I took strong painkillers and gazed out at the slopes through the panoramic windows of a hotel bar. My daytime companions were Russian men who started drinking at breakfast. Jaq Silver appeared with a story to tell and wouldn’t let go.
How long did it take you to write it?
About six months. I needed time off work after surgery and devoted myself to writing. And then it took six years to edit that awful first draft into The Chemical Detective, leaving plenty of material to spare.
What did you enjoy most about the writing process?
For me, writing fiction is a way to make sense of the world around me. It’s also an escape. I travel a lot with the day job and it fills the waiting hours far from home. My characters come first and when they run off to places without permission, or pick fights with one another, I have enormous fun weaving plots around their antics. It’s also delightful to ski expertly and fight injustice while tucked up in bed.
Your heroine, Jaq Silver is a chemical engineer, and like you, she lives in Teesside. Are there autobiographical elements in her character?
The similarities stop there. Jaq is much better than me at all things academic and athletic. She had a traumatic childhood, caught up in a civil war – my childhood was peaceful and idyllic – growing up in Scotland and the Lake District with my brother and sister, bikes and enormous freedom. Jaq loathes her feckless mother, I adored my brilliant, eccentric, loving parents. Jaq has serious commitment issues – I have been in love with the same man, my husband Jonathan, since we met in 1982.
Is she an alter ego?!
Aha, now you have me. She seduces fit young men, eats and drinks exactly what she fancies, remembers everything she ever learned, and takes sweet revenge on the corporate psychopaths of the world.
Would you recommend being a chemical engineer?
I would heartily recommend it. Chemical engineering is all about transforming raw materials into useful, everyday products. The clothes we wear, the food and drink we consume, and the energy we use. Better nutrition and improved health; greater social mobility; warmth and light; protection of the environment, conservation of our scarcest resources, clean air and water. Having a practical skill set allows you to choose where and when you work, and to travel the world if you want.
What are the advantages… and the drawbacks of working in a male-dominated profession?
When I started work, I was the first female engineer among hundreds of men. There is no doubt I got my first opportunity, in part at least, because of my gender. The local management were terrified by my request to work night shift. Leith docks could be rough when the ships came in and the other working women were afforded less respect. So, they gave me a fantastic chaperone, an experienced shift foreman with all the practical experience I lacked. Effectively I was given a full-time coach and mentor and we remain firm friends. Since then I’ve worked with female scaffolding crews in China and female construction labourers in India and female scientists, technicians and engineers the world over. I think we focus far too much on gender and not enough on the natural variations between people. The best teams have complementary skills, regardless of race, class, gender, sexual orientation. The loneliest places for women are still at the top, but I think that’s the same in all professions. And it is changing.
Is blowing things up a part of the job?
Not for me. I supervised several factory demolitions, but neither wrecking balls nor explosives were used. Most of my working life has been dedicated to avoiding explosions by careful control of the hazards. However, it’s far more memorable to read stories about things that go wrong.
Which thrillers do you enjoy reading? Are you a fan of the James Bond films?
I devoured every Graham Greene novel as a teenager. And many of the Russian greats (loved War and Peace, loathed Anna Karenina) and Dickens. I only started reading thrillers after I tried to write one, to see where I had gone wrong. Now I adore Lionel Davison, Robert Harris, John le Carré and Lee Child. And yes, I was always a fan of James Bond films. Although never entirely comfortable with the disposable women.
Which is your favourite James Bond film?
I love them all. Daniel Craig brings a fantastic gravitas to the role. The opening chase scene in the remake of Casino Royale, on a building site, is one of my favourites, as is the Tosca scene in Quantum of Solace: perfect timing. But if I had to pick my all-time favourite James Bond film, it would have to be From Russia with Love. Sean Connery is gorgeous as 007 and Lotte Lenya is terrifyingly brilliant as Rosa Clebb, but Istanbul and Venice steal the show.
If you had a choice, who would play Jaq in a film?
Meghan Markle or Ira Verbitskaya (Wake me Up, 2016)
The Chemical Detective taps into real fears about terrorism and chemical attack. Could the events you describe actually happen?
Thanks to the work of the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) it is increasingly unlikely. When I worked for a fine chemicals company, we tracked and accounted for every drop of scheduled chemical used (substances that have legitimate uses but could be horribly misused). Handling even the most basic chemicals safely requires an extremely sophisticated organisation. The recent events in Salisbury remind us that it is not just terrorists we have to worry about, but national governments.
The book opens in the Julian Alps in Slovenia and travels to Portugal, Russia, Belarus, Poland and Chernobyl - why did you choose these locations?
My first foreign holiday was a school trip to Russia and Ukraine in 1977. I was studying Russian language and Russian history at school, thanks to a Scottish education system that eschewed the artificial arts-science divide. I have maintained a hopeless love for the former Soviet Union ever since.
On a more recent family holiday in Slovenia, my husband and I swam the lakes while our children went cycling and canyoning and para-gliding. The mountain scenery is glorious, and it was the perfect place to open the story.
I lived and worked in Portugal for almost a decade, I speak Portuguese and suffer saudades - that sense of love and longing for a place that is no longer your home.
I remember the Chernobyl accident in 1986 and the shock that an accident so distant could affect so much of Western Europe. Writing a technical paper for the 30th anniversary of the accident, I was dumfounded to realise that the initiating cause was a safety test that went catastrophically wrong.
Teesside also features prominently in the book. Why did you choose to set the book there?
It’s not a place that people are familiar with and deserves to be on the map. Teesside is still a major driver of the British export economy, with a thriving chemical industry. It’s my home now, and a great place to live and work. The people are fantastic, music everywhere, it’s surrounded by gorgeous countryside – North York moors, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District, Northumbrian coast.
What’s next for Jaq Silver?
Poor Jaq. However hard she tries to get back to straightforward engineering projects, she’s going to have to do a bit more crime fighting. Next stop, China. Then she’s off to Brazil. And maybe India to complete the BRIC quartet.
HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY, FIONA!!!!!
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