Normally around this time of the month I review a book that I’ve recently read. I’ve been super busy with Camp NaNoWriMo, so I’ve hardly had the chance to pick up a book, let alone finish one. So, for this month I thought I would do something a little different.
Over the last year I’ve been involved with some fantastic podcasts, interviews and takeovers, and I’ve also received some amazing feedback and reviews for Sorceress of Truth. I want to share these with you and relive some of the highs.
First up we have the podcast that I recorded with Dr. Aparajita Jeedigunta just before I released Sorceress of Truth(SofT) in November last year. It was part of her LEGupward Inclusion Spotlight and I got to talk about all things SofT, as well as more serious matters such as real life influences and Diversity and Inclusion.
You can take a listen here. And, FYI, I was super nervous!
My first big review came on release day form The Magic Book Corner and, at 4.5 out of 5 stars, I was bouncing around the living room reading it excitedly to my husband. The comments I was most proud of were about originality, and the realness of my characters.
“Extremely imaginative and beautifully written, this YA novel seamlessly intertwines pretty cool magic with vampires, fae, elves, angels and demons, as well as a promise of much more to come. And in a fantasy world where all the above elements have already been depicted in a myriad of ways, this author still manages to pull off something new and bring originality to the table.”
The Magic Book Corner – Read the full review here!
When I took part in my first author Q&A, that was probably the moment that it really sunk in that I was a writer. Ally Aldridge asked me to appear in a new feature on her website and I simply couldn’t say no. It was a lot of fun, and it made want to do more. So I did!
My most recent interview was a Heart-to-Heart with The Magic Book Corner as part of #TheMagicBookCornersWednesdayatWIW . There we discussed in depth not only Sorceress of Truth, but also my short story, Envy, and other projects I have going on in the background.
Since releasing SofT, I’ve been so happy with all of the reviews I’ve received, and the latest from Sarah Neofield is no exception.
“For all its similarities to Twilight, ‘Sorceress of Truth’ is more on almost every level. It contains a much richer world of mythical creatures, for starters.”
This comment alone made my day. Actually, scrap that, I’ll go with year! I know for many Twilight isn’t the epitome of YA literature, but you cannot deny the popularity and huge fandom that it created.
During the early years, as Sorceress of Truth was coming to life, Twilight was THE novel that everyone was into. Even now the series remains sitting on my bookshelves next to all of my other fantasy novels. I can’t say that they didn’t inspire me in some way because I’m almost positive they did.
So, to put it a different way… would you like your book to be compared to a best seller that has sold over 100 million copies world wide and come out on top? I think the correct answer would be, ‘Hell, yeah!’.
If you haven’t read Sorceress of Truth yet, I think you should add it to your ‘to be read’ pile straight away. But, of course I would say that, wouldn’t I? If you need a little more encouragement, I’ll leave you with one final review quote.
“Sorceress of Truth is the first YA fantasy book I’ve read in a while, and JD Groom’s book is the perfect example of why I love this genre.”
July’s Author Q&A is with Megan Jones. We first met through Instagram and a Facebook group for writers, and it was there we both discovered that we are in the same part of the World.
Megan’s new release is in my basket on Amazon, waiting for the day I can add to my TBR pile. Take a look below at what it’s all about, and where the inspiration came from.
I’m Megan Jones. I started writing when I was around 12/13, and all the ideas I had continued to linger in my head for a long time. Then I did something about it. A Drug called Freedom was started when I was thirteen. It travelled with me through my life. Since then I have graduated University, got married, and have spent eight years working in childcare. But Emma and Jake kept returning to me. After I finished my degree, I returned to the Apex Division and the ideas would not stop flowing. So much so that I am now writing the 9th book. A book I never knew existed.
I am from Yorkshire; England and I love it here. It truly is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. I’m now coming up to my 27th birthday and achieving things I never thought were possible.
Welcome to the Apex Division everyone.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author? A Friend who was an indie author. She was real and reachable as an author and it really inspired me because I want people who love my work, or who have been touched by my work, to be able to contact me and reach out. And for me to be able to reach back.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? I love spending time with friends and family. I walk my dogs a lot, I’m so fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the North Yorkshire countryside, and York is only a short drive away. I like cinema and films, me and my husband watch a lot. We really enjoy the cinematic experience.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? The freedom of being able to put anything on a page. Between me and my laptop, there is no judgement or limitation and a lot of my writing gets changed but it’s the freedom for ideas to come to life.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process? Sit down and write. I don’t plan, nothing has a structure until I write it. Everything happens in my head and then flows onto the page.
How do you get inspired to write? When I was younger, it would be anything that caught my eye or my ears. A part of a film, music, or photos. But now, it is more what my own characters have become, and wanting to tell each of their stories.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers? There isn’t a wrong way to write or create. You will find your audience. You will find your own way of doing things. And, it might take time, but find your own little world and bask in it.
What are your five favorite books, and why? I have books I love because they first got me into reading, they were the first books I was hooked on as a child and a teenager. First was Harry Potter, my favourite one being Prisoner of Azkaban. I remember getting Order of the Phoenix through my door, at 6 in the morning and I was 10 years old! I ended up reading as much as I could before school.
Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, and all the book by Louise Rennison. They really set the tone for my teenage reading and the tone of first person for me. How a book can be from someone’s point of view, but you still feel really involved.
More recently, I really loved The High Druid’s Blade by Terry Brooks. I liked his other stuff and have read it, but for some reason, I liked Paxon much more than his other lead males.
Gods of Asphalt by H.E.Ellis, because she is the writer I was talking about above and it really opened my eyes to indie authors.
We Are All Made of Stars by Rowan Coleman. It’s a book I will never forget because it was so thought provoking and touching, it’s something I would never usually read but was so glad I picked up. I don’t think I’ll ever read another book like it and that’s maybe why I loved it so much.
How do you discover the books you read? At the moment, I’m trying to read indie only. I’m reading a lot of books from Story Origin, to help authors out with reviews, and I’m trying to read books from Indie’s who have inspired and helped me on Instagram too.
What books are on your reading list this year? My list is huge at the moment, and like I said, full of indie authors. Top of my list is to finish Kara. S Weaver’sCrown of Conspiracy. Then I want to move onto her second book. I have all three of J. M. Bucklers books on my list. I have Envy downloaded onto my kindle app and ready to go!
A Drug Called Freedom
★Have you ever read a story where the main character gets pushed down and continuously gets back up again? Sure, you have. But I assure you. I’m different.★
I’m the most powerful person on the planet. I simply don’t know it yet. To get to the point of knowing it, I must be pushed to the edge of death and back. I must learn to trust again. And I must become part of the Apex Division. My story is full of death and destruction. It’s also full of hot romance and huge life lessons. The question is – can you grit your teeth during the hard parts to see if I make it? To see if I become powerful enough to get revenge on the people who hurt me. To see if I grow up enough to trust the people around me. To see if I truly am immortal.
★Come test your limits with me – Emma Cooper. And Welcome to the Apex Division. ★
What inspired you to write Apex Division: A Drug Called Freedom? Well it all started with my first series which was called Realm Keepers, an epic fantasy version of Apex Division, which is urban and set in a not too distant future. I started it when I was twelve, as I was writing it, my characters became great, but the storyline became something I had read over and over again in epic fantasy. So, I switched it up and took the characters with me. I had over a million words in that series, it was really hard to let it go but what the characters and the story became by moving it into an urban setting was much more exciting, and I’ve gained more than I have lost.
Is there going to be a follow up to A Drug Called Freedom? Many many more. At the moment, there is 12 more that I’ve planned to write, but I really don’t know where the Apex Division will end for me. The next book, which I’m hoping to be out soon, is An Addiction Called Loyalty. Followed by The Hangover that is Honesty, The Withdrawal that Comes with the Past, and then to end that series, The Hope that Comes in Redemption. We then move onto the next Apex Division series, which combines epic fantasy and urban fantasy in The Definition of Mercy.
Our June Q&A is with author, Julia Scott. I’ve been a follower of Julia’s on Instagram for a couple of years now, since I became more active on the platform. Her feed always looks so organised and pretty, you really should take a look.
I’ve had her novel, The Mirror Souls, in my TBR pile for a while and finally got around to it during lock-down. Take a look at my review here. Julia is multi talented as she also has a formatting and logo creation business. I would highly recommend these services as, if you’ve taken a look inside my own book (Sorceress of Truth) you will see her handiwork first hand. She really has a way of bringing the pages to life.
Anyway, back to the Q&A, and here’s a little bio.
Julia Scott is a British author, whose goal is to take you out of ‘regular life’ and teleport you to new worlds and alternate futures through her writing. The Mirror Souls is her debut novel, and like many sci-fi and fantasy books, it started off as a dream.
In her ‘other’ life, Julia lives in Essex, England with her husband and two children. She spends her time mum-ing, writing, prettifying books (via Evenstar Books), graphic designing, singing, and digging or planting stuff up in the garden without really knowing what she’s doing.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author? I spent lots of time at the beginning of my journey researching whether or not I wanted to walk the path of traditional publishing or not. Ultimately, I decided to become an indie author right now, because I was impatient and didn’t want to wait years for my book to make its way to print! I also wanted more creative control over my book. That’s not to say I’d never consider traditional publishing in the future. You never know what’s going to happen…
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? I’m a mum, so all of the things that come along with that take up a fair amount of my time! I love to sing, plant pretty things in the garden, game, and read of course. I’ve recently discovered audiobooks and doing diamond art at the same time as a fun pastime; it really pulls me out of the real world for a while.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? It’s probably the response from readers. Not from an egotistical point of view, but just knowing when my stories have brought someone joy, or made them think, or just given them some time out of the stress of life – it’s a great feeling.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process? When I wrote The Mirror Souls, I generally had no clue what I was doing. I just wrote and wrote and wrote without any kind of direction. It worked out pretty well, even if I did need to change some (many!) things afterwards! However, with the second and third book in the trilogy, things are having to be pulled together in a much more structured way. I usually plot in sections though, rather than a whole book at once, because the ideas come to me as I go along. Or just before I’m about to go to sleep!
How do you get inspired to write? Us writers can’t help but be inspired to come up with new story ideas. A book outside of The Mirror Souls trilogy that I’m looking forward to writing is a sci-fi, and came from the question ‘what if’? And The Mirror Souls came from that exact same question. I love ‘what ifs’, and I encourage other writers to think about them as much as possible, not just in their writing but also in the business of publishing books. Dream big!
What’s your advice for aspiring writers? Take every piece of ‘writing advice’ with a pinch of salt. Not every method will suit everyone. Listen to those who are successful and learn from them, but ultimately, everyone’s journey will look different. Just be you.
What are your five favorite books, and why? Don’t make me choose just five! That’s so harsh! I’m a fan of series so they’ll be chosen as a bunch of books rather than just one. I don’t care if that’s cheating or not… (Don’t worry Julia, I would do exactly the same! – Jodie)
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling (all books) – these books got me back into reading as a teenager, during a time where I was very stressed with school and health issues. They took me out of the real world and showed me a hidden one that was full of fun and adventure. They’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas (all three books, not the novella, haha!) – not many books can make me burst into tears but these books managed to several times. There are things I don’t love about this series, but they were trumped by the things I did love.
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor – this book was outside of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad I gave it a go. Not only was it addictive reading, it was beautifully written.
Matched (the trilogy) by Ally Condie – this is a dystopian trilogy that really stuck with me over the years, one that I think back on and want to re-read again.
The Dark Wood by Sydney Mann – this is a book I found from a fellow indie author, and I absolutely loved it! I’m a sucker for a love triangle!
As a side note, I really wanted to pick the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, but I hated the third book with a passion, haha! So I had to sideline it.
How do you discover the books you read? At the moment, I mostly pick up ideas for my next reads from Instagram, especially since becoming an indie author! Other than that, I’ll trawl the YA shelves in the library to see what jumps out at me.
What books are on your reading list this year? Crescent City by Sarah J. Maas is top of the list! I want to read Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I have a HUGE amount of books on my TBR list by indie authors, so I need to get reading!
The Mirror Souls
Like the rest of the Gaian race, Alana’s life is ruled by the Avalon, the superior race who once created Earth and returned to reclaim it after humanity brought it to the brink of destruction. Because of the Avalon, every Gaian faces the risk of being moved from Region to Region, over and over, with no warning. Alana has no place to call home.
Fearing that she may be resigned to this life of control forever, the opportunity to explore the world outside of her Region is literally dropped into Alana’s pocket in the form of a small silver device. Taking a leap of faith and teleporting to the unknown, Alana must discover who is pulling the strings in her life and why. But in her quest for answers and freedom, she’s thrown headfirst into a hidden battle for humanity alongside a boy whose life was destined to be entwined with hers from the start.
With the secret of who she really is starting to unravel and abilities she didn’t know she had rising to the surface, she becomes a commodity to whatever faction can keep her in one place.
But others around her are carrying secrets, too, and Alana must decide who to trust before she can change the fate of all the races.
What inspired you to write The Mirror Souls? The plot for The Mirror Souls came from a dream I had about two soul mates who didn’t know about each other, and one was given a teleportation device so that they could travel across the world to find them. And of course the dream had a ‘bad guy’ which was the alien race who had reclaimed earth who were trying to stop them getting together. But that was about it, I had to fill the rest of the detail in! I sent a text message to a friend saying I’d had this dream that would make a great story for a book or movie, and she told me to get writing!
Is there going to be a follow up to The Mirror Souls? My plan for The Mirror Souls is for it to be a trilogy. Book two is in progress and will likely be published around October/November 2020.
A self confessed introvert, she is able to create worlds and lives in such a way, it will leave you with a massive book hangover when you reach the conclusion. Annabelle was my first foray into her growing list of novels, I have all the rest on my shelf waiting to be read, and what’s more, I know I’m going to love every minute of them. Which one will be your first read?
Elexis Bell is a quiet nerd with too many hobbies, including everything from gaming to shower-singing and even archery, weather permitting. She specializes in sarcasm and writing stories that make people feel. She’s made a home for herself with her husband, their dog, and a small army of cats.
She writes dark, gritty stories, sprinkling gut-wrenching emotions over high fantasy romance, thrillers, post-apocalyptic romance, and science fiction.
What motivated you to become an indie author? Stories are just… what I do. They always have been. When I can’t sleep, I tell myself stories. When I’m bored, I come up with stories and worlds and characters. It gives my anxious, obsessive compulsive disorder-riddled mind something more productive to do than just overthinking my life, and it’s fun at the same time. Deciding to go indie was quite a decision. Creative control and controlling my timeline played heavily in the decision, as did the breakdown of how royalties and advances work in traditional publishing and the amount of marketing that still falls on author.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? Reading is the obvious answer, and I do plenty of that. I play video games and D & D. I play with my army of cats and drink way too much soda. But I also dabble in a variety of hobbies including: hiking, archery, and graphic design.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? I’m a pantser. I don’t plan anything, at all. I just write and see where the story and the characters take me. And that’s my favorite part. I love learning about the characters as they go through the story, love seeing how they turn out. Writing my books is every bit as much of a rollercoaster for me as it is for people to read them. All the emotions the characters go through, all the ways they grow and change for better or worse, all the loss and success… It’s all fresh and real in the moment that I write it because I haven’t spent a year analyzing and planning and figuring out where all the pieces are supposed to fit. That’s something I figure out as I go, as the character becomes clearer in my mind. And I absolutely love it.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process? I don’t really have one. I just write. The only real staple is that it’s easier for me to write late at night. I usually start writing somewhere between 11pm and 2am, and I don’t stop until about 5 or 6 am. I can edit during the day, but I write better in the middle of the night. Other than that… It doesn’t really matter where I am or what I’m snacking on. It doesn’t matter if I’m in pajamas or still wearing my normal clothes. And as I said before, I don’t plan. I just write.
How do you get inspired to write? It really just depends on the story. Some ideas come from random items, others from conversations. But once an idea takes hold, it consumes me, and all I want to do is write it.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers? First, don’t get hung up on any specific writing technique. If someone tells you to write a 150 page outline before you ever start writing the book (I’ve actually seen that advice given) but the idea of an outline makes you feel boxed in… don’t do it. If the idea of jumping in blind terrifies you, plan your book out first. Do what works for you. No two writers are exactly the same, and assuming that one technique would work for everyone is just silly. Second, study psychology. It helps a lot with realistic character development.
What are your five favorite books, and why? 1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer- It has conflict and emotion and the apocalypse and survival and aliens and romance and races I’d never heard of… All of which are fantastic things to find in a book.
2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen- It’s a classic for a reason. The romance in this book is just amazing. I hate insta-love, and Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are the freaking King and Queen of slow burn romance.
3. 77 Shadow Street by Dean Koontz- So much suspense, so much of the supernatural. And it was absolutely terrifying, in a good way. Which is saying something, because I don’t typically seek out scary stuff. All it needed was romance.
4. The Destined Queen series by Deborah Hale- Super swoon-worthy outlaw, magic-wielding girl, ancient prophecies, war, and again, masterful slow-burn romance. It checks all the boxes.
5. This one was harder to choose. I was torn between the Partials series by Dan Wells (fantastic, imaginative, compelling post-apocalyptic romance) or Highland Fire by Elizabeth Thornton (old Scottish romance, the slowest of burns, and genuinely interesting tidbits of history). But I’ve reread Highland Fire a number of times, so I’d probably have to give the number 5 spot to that one.
How do you discover the books you read? That really just depends. Sometimes I just peruse the bookstore, sometimes I buy books recommended by or written by friends.
What books are on your reading list this year? Sooooooo many. I have an entire bookshelf dedicated to my TBR, with several milk crates full of unread books, too.
World for the Broken
Fading into unconsciousness, Christian watches psychotic thugs drag his sister-in-law and nephew away to suffer in the city they just escaped. Left for dead near his brother’s corpse, he has but one hope for survival, rely on the pretty stranger who stumbled across him. Not exactly smart after the apocalypse.
Encumbered by the lingering effects of her own violent past, Chloe struggles against her need for independence. Trusting a stranger found lying in the snow is risky, to say the least. Yet, she patches him up.
As they strive to rebuild their hearts, the harsh world they’ve been thrust into promises to tear them apart. Because Christian’s rescue attempt can’t wait. Every second in Chloe’s idyllic hometown means another second of pain for Christian’s family, leaving Chloe with a choice. Risk her life to help Christian save his family? Or condemn them all to a slow death?
What inspired you to write World for the Broken? Oddly enough, given that an actual sex scene is one of the only triggers not in the book, the inspiration came from the trailer for an erotic film set in medieval times. It was a high end, story driven one, and the trailer consisted of a girl wearing heavy furs and old timey clothes tromping through the snow on a mountain side until she passed out. Then, some guy, also wearing furs and medieval clothes, found her and carried her to safety. And for some reason, the idea of someone finding someone near-dead in the snow just stuck with me. I’d been in a post-apocalyptic headspace for a while, so I shifted it to that rather than a fantasy setting. Of course, I didn’t want the baggage of “Is he going to kill me or worse?” hanging over the love interest, what with the potential hostage situation, so I flipped the genders. I don’t particularly enjoy writing women who fall in love with men after thinking they might kill or rape them. So, Chloe found Christian bleeding in the snow. Then, I just needed a reason for him to be there. I built the world around them, unintentionally throwing nearly every potential trigger into the book. I never even ended up watching the erotic film that inspired the story.
Is there going to be a follow up to World for the Broken? The short answer is no. This book is meant as a standalone. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing another book in the same world, but it wouldn’t be a continuation of the same storyline. If I write another in that world, it will also be a standalone.
Our author Q&A for April is with up and coming author, Alison Aldridge. I first came across Alison on Instagram and instantly knew we would get along. She is one of the kindest and caring people you would ever hope to meet, and she really does have a heart of gold.
We have since met up for a tour of the Ingram Spark factory in Milton Keynes, with other members of World Indie Warriors, and have become great supporters of each others work. In fact, I read an early copy of Ocean Heart, which will be Alison’s first published full length novel, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I can’t wait for it to come out so I can read it again, and see just how far it has come.
Ally was born in London but grew up in Suffolk which is where most of her YA Fantasy novels are based. She is happily married to her high school sweetheart, and together they are raising two cats, their son and daughter.
When Ally is not writing (or at her day job), she loves spending time with her family at the local beach, in the forest or watching way too much Netflix.
Ally loves a cup of tea and has been known to order one on a night out.
Getting to Know You
What motivated you to become an indie author? I’ve been inspired by authors like yourself who have shown me it is possible. Being part of World Indie Warriors has taught me so much and I’ve connected with service providers I’ll need through recommendations. It’s still scary but I’m no longer alone.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time? I work at a local college as an NVQ Assessor, which takes up half my week. The rest of the time I’m busy making memories with my kids. Aria is an ambitious 1-year-old and Noah is an energetic 6-year-old. Keeping up with them is exhausting. I’m also guilty of watching way too much Netflix. And, sometimes, I even have time for my hubby.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you? I love coming up with story ideas. I wish I had more time to write them all. I often write a brief outline. I used to jump story to story, but now I’m more disciplined. I usually have my main project and a side project I dip into.
I love solving plot problems. When I have that “ah ha” moment, it gives me great satisfaction.
The Writing Process
What is your writing process? I’m a goal setter. I plan my annual goals, then break them down into manageable chunks. I then check in several times during the year to make sure I’m making progress. Sometimes I need to adjust goals where my needs have changed.
I’m lucky if I get an hour or two in the evenings to work on my projects, so I need to be very disciplined. I focus on one specific outcome at a time. Currently, my focus is editing Ocean Heart using feedback from my Developmental Editor.
I use a note app and Google Docs on my mobile, so I can write on the go or with the kids. I enjoy using notebooks to plot/plan, but when I get down to writing and editing I prefer to be on the PC or Laptop.
How do you get inspired to write? I think there is inspiration everywhere, all around us, all the time. I even get inspired by my own dreams, so sleep is inspirational too.
I enjoy building boards on Pintrest and Unsplash to develop ideas further. I enjoy bouncing ideas with my husband. He has a brilliant imagination but struggles to get it down on paper.
What’s your advice for aspiring writers? Changing your mindset is key. I used to refer to myself as an “aspiring writer” but I wasn’t because I was writing. If you want to write just do it. Be a “writer”.
Don’t close doors before you’ve opened them. For a long time, I thought the only way to publish was with an agent. But, it’s not true. If you really want to publish, explore every opportunity. Be brave and put yourself out there, whether its pitching on Twitter, entering a contest or learning how to publish yourself.
My last nugget is to find fellow writers. We all have good and bad days, and these are the people who get it. They will motivate you, problem solve, share ideas and their experiences. Being part of a supportive community of writers really boosts growth and progress.
What are your five favorite books, and why? This is the hardest question to answer but I narrowed it down to five:
Rachel Vincent’s contemporary fantasy shifter series. I loved the world building and politics that made this secret society believable in the real world. I also enjoyed the romance and sexual tension between her and the enforcers.
A recent favourite was The Deepest Blue by Sarah Beth Durst. It had a strong female character and I loved the different spirits and world she created. I liked the different roles assigned for having powers and the consequences of their choice. There’s more in this series, so I’m hoping to read them too one day.
An old favourite is Poison Study by Maria.V.Snyder. In this series magic is outlawed. The MC is on death row. She gets the opportunity to train as the poison study (to taste food to check for poison) instead of certain death. It is a dangerous job but she takes the role. I daren’t say more but I really enjoyed the magic system in this world. I also enjoyed the spin off Glass series.
Night Flame by Catherine Hart, is a historical romance. Sarah has been plagued by steamy dreams with a stranger. Night Hawk is a Native American. When he sees her, he is compelled to kidnap her and make her his bride, and renames her Flame. The two struggle with language and customs but eventually fall in love.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a dystopian tale of religion being used to repress Americans, especially women. It’s scary because the story shows us this could happen and how controlling fear can be.
I know this makes six but, as of last night, Sorceress of Truth by you, J.D. Groom. This is the Contemporary Fantasy I’ve been waiting for (and now need more). I love the romance and the gentle world building and magic. It was just the right amount of everything. Look out for my review, coming soon.
How do you discover the books you read? Quite often it is through recommendations. Someone posts a pic on social media and if it sounds good I add it to my ‘to buy’ list. My sister recommended The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, and I was gripped.
I’ve bought books at book festivals. I usually attend YALC and Felixstowe Book Festival. My plans are on hold at the moment (Covid-19) but I’m thinking about attending online festivals instead.
I also connect with authors via social media and learn about their books whilst supporting their journey. Reading these feels personal. I feel invested after witnessing the book come together over time.
Amazon and Good Reads recommend books based on my reading history. I’m also on Net Galley and received ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copies). For kids books I use Toppsta.
What books are on your reading list this year? This list grows faster than I can read. It’s way too long, but here are the ones near the top of the pile (not in order) because I have them ready and waiting!
The Sentinels (series) by Cassidy Reyne Number Eight Crispy Chickeny by Sara Neofield Sea Witch (series) by Sarah Henning King’s Cage & War Storm by Victoria Aveyard The Mermaid’s Sister by Carrie Anne Noble Traitor of the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris A Court of Thorns and Roses (series) by Sarah J Maas Mirror Souls by Julia Scott Forgotten Scars by Natalie Reddy Join or Die by J. Adrian Ruth Storm of Ash by Michelle Kenny Shadow City by Anna Mockiat The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz
This list doesn’t include children’s books, which I use my kids as an excuse to buy. I love picture books and the humour of early readers and first chapter books.
There are tons more I want to buy… OMG, just thinking about it causes me anxiety.
One kiss is all it took to wake Mariah’s weather manipulation powers.
Mariah is crushing on her best friend, rivalling with the swim team star and her guardian, Gwyn, is meddling in her life using magic. Mariah is about to awaken her dormant powers. With no idea she is a mermaid, she risks losing control and could even kill!
When your deadly powers are connected to your emotions, it gives a new meaning to “It’s complicated.”
What inspired you to write Ocean Heart? My current project has been inspired by my personal experiences; my hometown, an image, other stories, and music.
I married my best friend, but getting together wasn’t easy. The complications of a best friend romance is one of the challenges my MC faces.
I was very inspired by Rachel Vincent’s werecat series. I loved how she integrated fantasy into real life. I wanted to do something similar, but in the UK, with teens and create my own secret world.
Ellie Goulding’s song, Starry Eyed, was playing on the radio and it inspired my main character, Mariah; A teen, first love and a no control over her lightening powers.
I’m a huge fan of The Little Mermaid. As a child, I got teased for my red hair. Luckily, my best friend Jo loved my hair. We were about age 7 when we went to the cinema for my birthday to watch the movie and she said, “Ariel is beautiful, like you”. Those words meant so much to me and comforted me when others were mean. I think a lot of teens experience changes that cause them to question where they belong. I wanted Mariah to be a misfit that learns to accept her uniqueness. It made sense for her to be a mermaid with red hair.
Early in the process I found an image online that inspired a scene in my book. It was a pair of tangled legs underwater. The girl is wearing a red silk dress and the boy is wearing denim jeans. When I saw the image, it inspired a key scene in the novel.
Is there going to be a follow up to Ocean Heart? Yes. The next book is Sky Heart and follows Kiely.
Kiely is the nemesis in book 1, but I always believe there are two sides to every story. Kiely is rebuilding herself after hitting rock bottom.
I’ve almost finished the first draft. I know what must happen but I struggle with endings. As Ocean Heart is my primary project, Sky Heart is on hold. Hopefully when I get back to Sky Heart, I’ll get those last chapters finished.
My plan is for the series to follow different shifter/spiriter types. There will be an optimum order but can be read as a stand-alone. There may be spin off novellas too. I have endless ideas, it’s always time I’m short of.
Ocean Heart will be available soon, but stay up date with Alison and her progress via social media and her blog.