Saturday, 31 May 2014

REV GIRL Blog Tour: Review and Q&A With Leigh Hutton

Hello, everyone! Today, I'm pleased to welcome Leigh Hutton to The Queen of Teen Fiction as part of her REV GIRL blog tour! Leigh recently took the time to answer a few questions. Enjoy!

Hi, Leigh! Can you tell us a little bit about your novel, REV GIRL?
Hi, Katie! Thanks so much for having me on your fabulous blog :) REV GIRL is about a young girl striving to become an international dirt bike racing star! It's the first book in The Go Girls Chronicles.

REV GIRL is inspired by your own experiences, but what made you decide to write the story?
I've always loved to write and had started REV GIRL as a short story many years ago, but it was very close to my own story and based mostly on my experiences in high school and around my best group of girlfriends. My Dad was the one who gave me the confidence to start writing a novel - it seemed like such a daunting task! The first draft was too close to my own life and VERY long! It was a lot of work and took a lot of help from great professional editors, but I had a lot of fun fictionalising the story and developing Clover and the other characters, as well as cutting and focusing to make the story as strong as possible.

Did you always know you were going to write the book for Young Adults?
When I started out, I didn't intend for the story to be for any specific age group . . . I was just having fun writing it, and writing a story I would want to read myself. I love YA - my favourite books have to be The Hunger Games Trilogy, Starfish Sisters, Ocean Pearl, Motocross Me, Thrill Seekers, REAP, and all of the Cinderella Series (I haven't read all of these yet, but they are in my to-read pile as I love the concept - girls in sports) just to name a few lol. I especially love connecting with and encouraging young girls to read and have had a huge response to my daily #realliferevgirl features at the REV GIRL Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/revgirlbook - I love doing these! I'm also a huge fan of women's fiction and authors including Nora Roberts, Jilly Cooper and Rachael Treasure, and I like to think my books bring a bit of their style to YA :)

REV GIRL is the first in The Go Girls Chronicles, how is the sequel coming along?
Really well! I'm very excited about my second novel, JUMP GIRL. It's set in the show jumping world and is about a foster girl named Ebony. JUMP GIRL is Cinderella meets Black Beauty meets contemporary romance and I really love it. JUMP GIRL will be ready to publish in early 2015 and I can not wait to release it!

What do you hope readers will take away from your story?
I hope readers are entertained and inspired by REV GIRL. I hope they enjoy the ride and can take some strength and confidence with them from Clover's struggles, as well as feel like they've gained some great new friends :)

Finally, could you give us a random fact about yourself?
Oh, this is hard one, Katie! Well . . . I broke my wrist when my horse stopped out at a fence when I was twelve and I broke my ankle falling off my dirt bike when I was eighteen. Hope those are random enough?! 

Big thanks to Leigh for her fabulous interview!

I've been lucky enough to have to the opportunity to read and review REV GIRL. Here are my thoughts!

Bookish Details:
Pages: 288, Paperback
Publisher: Leigh Hutton Books, distributed by Dennis Jones & Associates
Release Date: May 24th 2014
Source: Provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
Buy it From: Amazon

Synopsis:
Inspired by a true story
It's hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . .

Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?

Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.

She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.

Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

My Review:
If you’re bored of the same subjects in YA novels and you’re craving something new and refreshing, this is the book you need to pick up next.

I was immediately intrigued by the idea of this story. How many YA novels are out there at the moment about girls who are dirt bike racers? And that’s exactly why I wanted to read it.

The story follows Clover as she fights to become a champion in dirt bike racing. We follow her struggles to get to the top whilst juggling school and a social life alongside her racing.

I really enjoyed Clover’s urge to give her life a makeover at the start of the book. I feel like this is relatable to a lot of young girls. Most of us went through a period in high school when we’ve just thought ‘right, I’m going to dress up and go to a party!’ and it makes her more realistic to the reader.

Clover was an awesome character from start to finish. She had guts and determination throughout, and even when things seemed like they’d never improve, she refused to give up. One of the things I loved most about her was that even when she was faced with the most difficult choices, she never seriously saw giving up her racing dream as an option.

I’m not going to lie, I really disliked Dallas. Throughout the story, he became more and more infuriating! If he’d have been a more open character, and I’d understood his story more, then maybe I’d have sympathized with him a little. But I really didn’t.

The other characters in this story were great. I really liked Kerry, and would have liked to have seen more of her. The two of them felt like a great friendship match, and I enjoyed seeing Clover finally find someone so like herself.

I also felt sympathy for Sera’s situation. Even though she acted bitchy, I could see why she was upset. Again, the relationship between Clover and Sera were a very realistic and relatable part of the story.

I need to talk about how awesome the racing scenes were. Seriously, it’s completely epic. I had never read a book that featured dirt bike racing before, so it was great to read something completely new to me, and it was exciting to get a taste of the sport. I could picture everything so clearly in my mind, and it had a very cinematic feel to it.

So really, this book has a lot of different aspects to appeal to everyone. If you like the dynamics of a high school setting, with wild party scenes and typical teenage fun, they’re all in this book. But if you prefer super-cool action scenes that get your heart racing, you can also find it here. The cover of the book says it all really; two very different worlds mixed together in one story. And it works fabulously.  

Royal Rating:













I'd like to thank Leigh for giving me the opportunity to read and review her wonderful story! Also, make sure you stop by Breezy Reads tomorrow for the final stop on the REV GIRL blog tour!


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

City of Heavenly Fire Launch Party!

So yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend the City of Heavenly Fire Launch Party in London, hosted by Walker Books! It was such an incredible experience to be surrounded by fellow Shadowhunters on the official launch day for the book. Reading these books has been such a journey, and it was wonderful for us all to come together before the end!

My parabatai, Rachel, and I got to the event just before the start at 1pm. The theatre was absolutely gorgeous, definitely fitting for a TMI party! Magnus would be proud.


There were so many fans there, it was awesome! Everyone was dressed in their best Shadowhunter gear, or TMI related clothing. The stage in the theatre was set up with a rune body-art painting table, and a manicure bar.

                                      
Rachel and I headed straight for the rune queue, to have a pretty visibility rune painted on our arms.


There were even some very tall, and very gorgeous, Shadowhunter guys on the stage to take selfies with!



A huge screen was displaying quotes from the previous books, messages from Cassandra Clare, and even some questions to get the fans involved.




Our host for the afternoon was hilarious, and kept us all entertained by reading out tweets from the fans at the party. We even managed to get #TMIparty trending worldwide!


Then, at 2pm, we were able to watch an exclusive message from the lady herself, Cassandra Clare, including a brand new reading from the book. The atmosphere in the theatre was extremely tense as we all listened!

After that, we all got to watch the movie together. I have to say, being able to watch City of Bones in a room full of over 500 fans was one of the most amazing experiences. The cheering, and the whistling, the howling whenever Luke appeared on screen, and the actual emotional breakdown when Magnus addressed Alec for the first time was completely crazy! There is nothing quite like getting to fangirl with fellow fans.

When the movie was over, the excitement continued to build as we knew we’d be given a copy of the book on our way out. The eagerness of everyone was clear as we made our way outside to grab a goodie bag!

So now I have my copy of City of Heavenly Fire, and I’m just about to start reading. But before I do, I just want to thank the awesome fandom surrounding The Mortal Instruments series. You guys are all fantastic, and it’s been a pleasure to get emotional over my favourite characters with you. I can’t believe that this series is finally coming to an end after seven years. I have some unforgettable memories from the books, and the events, and the fans that I really will cherish forever.


Good luck, Shadowhunters, and may your favourite character survive this final battle!





Saturday, 24 May 2014

Get Ready for the #TMIParty!

Hello, Shadowhunters!

Tonight is the night of the awesome #TMIParty, which starts on Twitter at 7pm! Here's an exclusive invitation from the lady herself, Cassandra Clare:



So, are you getting involved?




Launch Day: REV GIRL by Leigh Hutton

Happy Launch Day to Leigh Hutton for the release of her novel, REV GIRL. You can now buy the book on Amazon! Leigh will be stopping by The Queen of Teen Fiction on May 31st as part of her REV GIRL blog tour. She'll be doing a Q&A and there'll also be a review of the book, so be sure to check it out!

REV GIRL

Inspired by a true story

It's hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . .

Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?

Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.

She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.

Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?

About Leigh:
 
Leigh Hutton grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains near Calgary, Alberta, Canada. She was lucky enough to travel extensively with her parents and younger sister, for horse show jumping – they spent a lot of time in Denver, Colorado, and Phoenix, Arizona – as well as holiday trips across America to the Baja Peninsula, and later on for her chosen sport of dirt bike racing. Her favourite race was Honey Lake, California, in 2002 – the same year she attended her first International Six Days Enduro (ISDE) in the Czech Republic. Here she met a lovely family from Sydney, as well as the Australian team. Leigh moved to Australia a few months later, to race motorcycles. She fell in love with a fellow racer and Brisbane boy, found journalism, which she studied at the Queensland University of Technology, and shifted into media and public relations, to promote Enduro and motocross and its competitors. Leigh has become especially passionate about promoting the growing number of girls and women in all action sports. She is thrilled to have drawn on her experiences to bring you REV GIRL, book one of The Go Girls Chronicles.






Friday, 23 May 2014

Review: Minty by Christina Banach

Bookish Details:
Pages: 388, Paperback
Publisher: Three Hares Publishing
Release Date: April 8th 2014
Source: Provided be author in exchange for honest review
But it From: Amazon


Synopsis:
Fourteen-year old twins Minty and Jess are inseparable. Maybe they bicker now and then, even crave a bit of space once in a while. But they have a connection. Unbreakable. Steadfast. Nothing can gear them apart. Until a family trip to the coast puts their bond in jeopardy. As Minty tries to rescue her dog from drowning she ends up fighting for her life. Will Minty survive? If she doesn't, how will Jess cope without her? Only the stormy sea has the answer.


My Review:
The real question here is what didn’t I love about Minty? I’m struggling to think of a single aspect of this story that I didn’t enjoy.

The book follows the struggles that 14 year old Minty has to face when she finds herself stuck in limbo after her death. Invisible to her family, she has to watch the shattering affects her death has had on her parents and her twin, Jess. 

Minty is a wonderful character. I thoroughly enjoyed her narration of the story, and I liked the strength and determination she showed throughout. Even though the most terrifying thing imaginable was happening to her, she held it together and was still more concerned for Jess than herself. She wanted nothing more than for Jess to be able to be happy again, and that was part of what made the story so special to read. 

This story focuses very much on the strong bond between Minty and Jess, making it compelling and touching to read. I think it’s wonderfully refreshing and very different to a lot of the other YA novels out there at the moment.

Despite this book essentially being about the death of a twin, there was a great sense of humour in the story, which was brilliant to read. Minty’s remarks provided some great comic relief, which is much needed in a story such as this one. With that being said; the story deals with the issue of grief perfectly. The pain caused by Minty’s death is beautifully written. It’s realistically done and it shows the more difficult side to the story. Although it is entertaining to read, there is a strong message behind the book.

As much as I loved Minty, the other characters were all just as wonderful. I have to talk about my love for Jack. What a fantastic character he was! From the moment he was introduced, I knew I was going to adore him, and I was right.  

I honestly flew through this book in a couple of days. I couldn’t put it down. It’s an entertaining read that broke my heart, before putting it back together again. It’s a fabulous debut from the author, and it’s a great UK YA novel, something I feel we’re really lacking at the moment! I really think this is something that can be enjoyed by anyone, so go check it out, because you really won’t regret it. 

Royal Rating:





Thursday, 22 May 2014

Take Part in the #TMIParty!

Okay, fellow Shadowhunters, listen up!

Are you super excited for the release of the final TMI book, City of Heavenly Fire? Yep, me too. Want to share your excitement with other fans? Well, you can! Walker Books are hosting an online Twitter party this Saturday, May 24th, to celebrate the upcoming book release.

You can get involved by using the hash tag #TMIparty on Twitter from 7pm, UK time. Share your love for the books, or even your hopes for the last installment. Make sure you follow the tag all evening for exclusive videos, content, competitions, and more! I'll be tweeting along with the party on my Twitter account, so I hope to see you there!

Follow Cassie on Twitter here.
Follow Walker Books on Twitter here.



Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world will change. Who will survive the explosive sixth and final instalment of the Mortal Instruments series? Darkness has descended on the Shadowhunter world. Chaos and destruction overwhelm the nephilim as Clary, Jace, Simon, and their friends band together to fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in this world can defeat Sebastian – but if they journey to the realm of demons, they just might have a chance…





Thursday, 15 May 2014

Review - Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw

Bookish Details:
Pages: 294
Publisher: Ink Smith Publishing
Release Date: January 30th 2014
Source: Received from author in exchange for an honest review
Buy it from: Amazon US - Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls. Kiara's suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do. After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn't trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.

My Review:
There’s a wonderful mixture of action, adventure, mystery, and a hint of romance in this exciting first instalment of the Five Corners series.

For starters, I’m extremely thankful that Cathi had a page at the start of the book that included the proper pronunciation of the names and words included in the story. Without that page, I really would have struggled to pronounce half of them! If more authors had a page like that at the start, I’d be a very happy reader.

The Marked Ones follows the story of three sisters; Mina, Thia, and Kiara. They aren’t biological sisters, but they were raised together by their foster mother, Brijit. They’re all very different girls when it comes to looks and personality, but they all have something in common: the Mark.

The Mark appears on children in the Five Corners for no apparent reason, and children with the Mark have started to show up dead. Throughout the story, the three girls strive to learn more about the Mark and what it means, and also discover that they’re not as alone as they once thought.

The story begins when Weylon, an Outlander, and his two sons; Teague and Caedmon, show up at the Inn that Brijit runs with her daughters.  Kiara and Caedmon take an instant dislike to each other, whilst Teague and Thia are shocked to see that the other is real after seeing one another in their dreams.

The group are forced together after an attack leaves Mina in grave danger. With Teague and Caedmon also having the Mark, they are sent on a journey to Seremela, the home of the Elders, to be kept safe.

The unique qualities to each of the girls are part of what made the story so exciting to read. As we follow each of them, we’re getting a different story and a different personality, and it keeps us hooked from chapter to chapter.

I enjoyed the group being broken apart during their travels, it meant that we got to see each of the sisters in a different situation, and it also meant we got to see a little more of the Five Corners. I loved all of the characters, which is quite a rare thing! There’s usually one who I don’t enjoy reading about, or one who I prefer to the others, but in this story they are all as equally wonderful.

The relationship development between Kiara and Caedmon is beautifully done. They’re both just as stubborn as each other and it means that neither of them is willing to admit their true feelings, which is frustrating, but great to read. Towards the end of the story, I really wanted to bang their heads together!

I’m completely intrigued by Teague and Thia’s story. I hope we get to find out more about their previous dream meetings later on in the series. They have a lot of history together, and I want to read about it. I really liked the interactions between the two of them, and I found myself anticipating their scenes together.

Mina is a really sweet character, and I get the feeling she’ll be the calm amongst the storm in the future of the series. She seems to be the sister that is more likely to keep the peace and not lose her head in any tense situations. I was really happy with the reveal of Meldiron and I can’t wait to read more of what it means for Mina.

This is a tricky story to work out, and it’s difficult to figure out who the actual enemy is. I’m sure this is something we’ll learn further on in the series, but for now, it’s a case of not knowing who to trust. As readers, we’re put in the same sense of paranoia as the characters over who they can really rely on.

The ending was fast-paced and exciting to read. I hope that the next instalment in the series will show more of a reaction to the events that happened at the end of the story, because it all happened so fast!

Overall, this is a great start to what I think will be a fantastic series. I’m looking forward to reading what lies ahead for the characters, and what it really means to have the Mark. 

Royal Rating:







About Cathi:
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children.  She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Cover Reveal - Empower: Fight Like a Girl

Hey, everyone! Today I'm excited to reveal the cover for Empower: Fight Like a Girl, a book of short stories by some fabulous authors. What is better than a good book? How about a good book for a good cause? All proceeds are being donated to the Lupus Foundation of America.


Women of TV have united against lupus! Presenting Empower: Fight Like A Girl, a special collection of short stories by top women writers from some of your favorite shows, including: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Family Guy, Person of Interest, Grimm, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Law & Order: SVU, Star Trek: Voyager, Eureka, Twisted, The 100, Malcolm in the Middle, Millennium, Being Human, The Shield, Castle, Chuck, Gilmore Girls, and Game of Thrones. In this anthology, you'll discover supernatural thrillers, crime mysteries, horror, comedies, and more.



Praise for Empower: Fight Like A Girl

"Even non-girls will feel empowered by these stories about ordinary, flawed characters finding their own strengths. Highly entertaining and original."

   - Lee Goldberg, New York Times bestselling author of The Chase and King City, whose mother lost her hearing to lupus.

All proceeds will be donated to the non-profit http://www.lupus.org">Lupus Foundation of America to help solve the cruel mystery of lupus.




Friday, 2 May 2014

Author Interview: Kimberly Loth

Hello, everyone! Today I'm please to welcome Kimberly Loth to The Queen of Teen Fiction, talking about her debut novel, Kissed.

Hi, Kim! Tell us a little bit about your novel, Kissed.
Kissed is about a sixteen-year-old girl, Naomi, who is rescued from a dreadful arranged marriage by the mysterious Kai who sends her off to Vegas with a sweet kiss and a promise of only a short time apart. There Naomi meets Puck, a boy with wine colored hair and kisses that rival Kai’s. Soon Naomi is swept into a glamorous world where kisses hold power and not is all is at it first appears.

Kissed is your debut novel, did you learn anything new about yourself during the writing process?
Kissed took me so long to write and finally publish. I wrote two other books while I was editing and waiting for replies. I think Kissed taught me that I could be patient. (Which I didn’t realize I had in me.)

Did you relate to any of your characters at all whilst writing the novel?
Probably to Naomi, my main character. One trait she possesses is an almost crippling need to be obedient. I was like that as a teenager. I hated doing anything wrong or displeasing people. I got over it as I got older and Naomi does too (though it only takes her a few months.)

What was is it that made you decide to write for Young Adults?
I hope I don’t offend people when I say this, but I find adult books boring. YA books move so much faster and usually have more drama. When I decided to start writing, there was never any question what I would write. Of course it would be YA.

What were some of your own favourite stories to read as a teenager? 
I loved RL Stine’s fear street novels and I read a lot of true crime. I can’t do that anymore, because if I read them, then I can’t sleep.

Are you working on any other novels at the moment?
I have three in the works. A contemporary YA, a high fantasy, and the sequel to Kissed.

Finally, give us a random fact about yourself! 
I’m American but I live in Egypt.

Thanks for stopping by, Kim!
Thanks for having me!



Trapped in a dark cult, sixteen-year-old Naomi Aren has lived a quiet, albeit unhappy, life nestled deep in the hills of the Ozarks. With uncut hair, denim skirts, and only roses for friends, Naomi seldom questions why her life is different from other kids at school. Until the day her abusive father, who is also the cult’s leader, announces her wedding. Naomi must marry Dwayne Yerdin, a bully who reeks of sweat and manure and is the only one person who scares her worse than her father.

Then she meets Kai, the mysterious boy who brings her exotic new roses and stolen midnight kisses. Kisses that bring her a supernatural strength she never knew she had. As the big day approaches, Naomi unearths more secrets of about her father’s cult. She learns she has power of her own and while Kai may have awakened that power, Naomi must find a way to use it to escape Dwayne and her father—without destroying herself.

You can get your copy of Kissed here, and be sure to keep an eye on the blog for my review, which will be posted soon!



Thursday, 1 May 2014

Raging Star Blog Tour: Moira Young's Top 10 Tips for Aspiring Writers

Today I'm pleased to welcome the fabulous Moira Young to The Queen of Teen Fiction on the 4th day of her Raging Star blog tour. I adore the Dustlands trilogy, so I was super excited to be asked to take part in the tour! Moira has taken the time to share her Top 10 Tips for all you aspiring writers out there. Enjoy!

The most frequently asked question of writers is, Where do you get your ideas? People who aren't writers find this mystifying. My own mother finds it mystifying. They'll shake their head and, in dubious tones, say something like, "Well, I don't know how you do it".

Where does it come from? The words, the images, the ideas, the inspiration? All that richness? That detail? It comes from the Well. That's what some writers, including me, call it.  It used to be called the Muse, but nobody much uses that word any more. My main advice to a young, aspiring writer is simply this: fill your Well.

1. Read and read and read and read and cast your reading net wide. Read fiction of all genres and eras. Read newspapers and magazines and flyers and posters and those little cards that people put in the window of paper shops. Read non-fiction; history, psychology, biography, anthropology, geography, science, philosophy, everything.  Yes. Really.

Go to some section of the library you've never been to before; military history, say. Is that you groaning? Never mind. Close your eyes, reach out and take a book from the shelf. Leaf through it, look at the pictures, read a little bit. Maybe it's interesting and you read a little more, maybe it's not; that isn't the point. What you're doing is getting in the habit of being open-minded about your reading. And you're collecting stories and ideas and words and all the many ways of telling a story and it's all going into the Well.

Writers and libraries go together like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. And if you don't know who they are, watch one of their movies - Swing Time maybe - and put that into your Well. Maybe you'll like it and watch more. Which brings me to

2. The movies. Films. Cinema. Again, be open-minded and adventurous. My earliest and greatest literary influence is the 1939 movie, The Wizard of Oz, which I first saw on TV when I was 4 or 5. My dad had been a cinema manager and shared his love of movies with me; Westerns, swashbucklers, musicals, all kinds of movies. Before I was 10, he'd taken me to see such epic films as Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia and Dr Zhivago; this was storytelling on a grand scale and went deep into my Well. I had no idea that the movies were teaching me how to tell stories.

3. Read poetry. Let it shake up your ideas about words and language. Open yourself to the richness and possibilities of language.

4. Listen to music. Feel the rhythms and phrases and take these into the words of the stories you tell.

If you confine yourself to current trends, bestsellers or a particular genre of film or book or music, you're wading in the shallows and your Well will be shallow and quickly depleted. Move away from the shore, from your comfort zone. Dive in the deep waters and swim around.

5. Go to plays, museums, art galleries, the opera. Yes, the opera! Stories told through music, how wonderful is that? Attend sports events, live music and dance, festivals, the circus. Get a hobby, start a band, paint your grandmother's shed. Fall in love, get your heart broken, learn to tap dance. Leave your room, leave the house, live your life, follow your bliss, fill the Well.

6. Become an eavesdropper, a student, an observer of other people and their lives. Gather their stories, listen to what they say and how they say it. This means you need to

7. Carry a notebook and pen with you. Write down thoughts, questions, ideas, observations, titles, descriptions of people and places, fragments of overheard conversations, draw a picture if you're so inclined. My thoughts and ideas are slippery critters; if I don't grab them by the tail as they dash in front of me, I'm bound to forget.

8. Take long walks by yourself. Some famous person or other said that "books are written with the feet". I think it was the philosopher Nietzsche. He was a great walker. As was Dickens. He worked out all of his books while walking around London.

9. Unplug yourself from the world. Turn off the noise and the chatter, the TV, the radio, the music, the computer.  Stare out the window and watch the clouds drift. Daydream.

So, you're filling your Well, you're observing, you're writing down things in your notebook and maybe, just maybe you might have an idea for a story ...

10. Ask yourself the question, "What if ...?" Stories start to brew when you ask, "What if ...?"

In 2006, I was fraught with anxiety at our inaction on climate change. But my writerly self was musing, "What if the planet heats by 2 degrees? By 3 degrees? What would happen? What would our world be like?" From that one question, "What if?", the first book of my Dustlands trilogy, Blood Red Road, began to stir inside me.

And I began to write. I began to draw on my Well. I had to draw deeply and for nearly eight years to write the Dustlands. Now that it's done, I've got time to daydream and watch movies and read books and go for long walks and fill my Well again and start asking "What if ...? What if ...?"



Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton...until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The few who can pay.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.



Big thanks to Moira for stopping by! You can purchase Raging Star on Amazon right here, and don't forget to follow Moira on Twitter. Make sure you head over to Fluttering Butterflies tomorrow for the final stop on the tour.


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