Wishing all my readers a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy 2015! Please forgive my absence of blogs this year - it has been a challenging time due to personal issues and major house renovations - more to come in the new year! ❄
Up for grabs this month is an amazing opportunity to win a fabulous, romantic Valentine's Day bundle of prizes, which include: a copy of 'Eternal', a signed storycard, a luxurious box of Valentine's Day chocolates and indulgent caramel lip butter for super soft, kissable lips!
To be in with a chance of winning, just 'like' my Facebook page and enter your details below. Please feel free to leave a comment, maybe on your ideal Valentine's date! Good luck!
The masterpiece below is, alas, not my own but that of my very talented young son, Andrew. It is inspired by Edgar Allen Poe. Enjoy!
To be in with a chance of winning one of five copies of Eternal, enter your details as indicated below. Good luck!
The inception of Eternal arose from a combination of two primary factors: the depths of my subconscious mind and a fateful game of Rory’s Story Cubes with my son (see my biography for more details). Once I started writing, the story unfolded naturally as though it already existed and was just waiting to be transcribed. Of course, once it was written, there was the usual editing process, which not only involved corrections, but additional scenes and paragraphs.
The characters of Vala, Elvar and Amalia formed almost instantaneously, with Jelly and Max closely following. The characters took on a life of their own and the story just flowed; I did not actually have a fixed story outline from the outset – I just wrote a scene and the next followed, though I did have the key points of the story in my head throughout.
Vala, my female protagonist, is ostensibly a younger version of myself, and Elvar, my male protagonist (and Vala’s love interest), possesses all the qualities of my ideal man. When I am writing, I am living vicariously through Vala, feeling her emotions and thoughts. I believe this really helps create an authenticity and realism that would not otherwise be there. Again, Vala’s relationship with her parents, is similar to my own. However, her friends and the other characters are not directly based on real people – I just drew upon certain attributes and personality traits and the characters simply materialised; it was as though they already existed in some alter dimension, just waiting to be actualised as part of my story. The antagonist of Eternal is an amalgamation of fear, nightmares, terror, and ancient evil, personified into a powerful adversary.
As mentioned earlier, the character of Vala is based very much on myself – we share many attributes and insecurities, though I have not yet got the hang of soul-mirroring or miraculous healing prowess. Elvar is ostensibly my ideal man – I am unashamedly in love with him.
I am currently working on book two in the Eternal trilogy, 'Re-awakened'.
That glowing orb of hope has dimmed
To where should I look?
My hopes have unpinned.
Waves of despair crash around my ears
Slowly drowning me,
Submerging my tears.
My lips cry out,
Yet no-one hears;
Alone in my thoughts
A profusion of fears.
A voice calls out
I listen for his name.
Will he hear me?
Will he know my shame?
My only respite: sweet oblivion
To the somnant realms
Where the veil of obsidian
Lifts from my eyes
Revealing sweet wonder
Where perchance I may dream
With no echoes of thunder.
Then roused from my sleep,
Yet my soul remains
Wandering the deep
It does not wish to make the return
The journey too brief
And with so much to learn
I yearn to dwell there a little longer,
To rest for a while
Till my heart can grow stronger.
I have compiled a short list of reasons that inspire me to write YA Fiction. This article provides a little glimpse into the inner workings of my mind, my motivations, passions and why I’m still a big kid at heart.
I have been writing in the YA genre since my teen years and will no doubt continue to do so well into my twilight ones!
1. My Reading Habits
I tend to read YA fiction books, particularly Fantasy/Paranormal fiction as I find it to be a more exciting genre in terms of interesting, innovative well-paced storylines, relatable characters, and the exploration of ‘real-life’ themes within, and contrasted against, unusual or fantastical backgrounds or situations.
2. My ‘True’ Age
In my head I am still, and will no doubt always remain eighteen. Therefore, writing about characters in their late teens feels appropriate to me as I can relate to how I felt and the challenges I faced in these years.
The character of Vala is very much a younger version of myself, and the instant intense attraction she feels for Elvar, the intrinsic trust she feels upon meeting him for the first time, is definitely something I have experienced.
3. Our Formative Years
We think of our earlier childhood years as our most formative period. However, the transition from teen to adult is also a highly determinative period as we are discovering who we truly are, examining our attitudes and beliefs and finding our place in the world.
This, to me, provides much more scope for character development as my characters are not only finding out who they are and dealing with everyday insecurities and obstacles, but having to manage these while contending with life or death scenarios, decisions and other life-changing crises.
4. The YA Market
The YA market is one of the fastest growing and successful areas of fiction – who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?!! I believe the reason for this is because it has such a far-reaching, wide appeal, not just in the teen demographic, but to adults of all ages.
5. The YA Fantasy Genre
Although ‘Eternal’ is my first professional endeavour as an author, I have written many other stories, all of which have been in the YA Fantasy genre. It is simply a domain I feel most comfortable in, something I can draw upon naturally and express creatively in my writing.
6. The Wonderful World of Fantasy and the Paranormal!
I love all things Fantasy and Paranormal! I have grown up with Fantasy fiction, from the extraordinary, inspiring and chimerical world of Maurice Sendak (especially the forest that grew in Max’s room in ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ and the ice baby in ‘Outside Over There’) to numerous anthologies of ghost stories, Ray Bradbury, Harry Potter, and the supernatural, phantasmal but amazingly lucid and graphic worlds created by Libba Bray in her ‘Gemma Doyle’ trilogy and in Alyson Noel’s ‘Immortals’ series.
7. Paranormal Activity
I have personally experienced unexplained phenomena from a full-scale apparition of a Victorian street child, to scratches manifesting on my arm without cause, ethereal singing, and premonitions, days, sometimes weeks ahead of the actual event.
I also have trusted, reliable friends that have encountered strange occurrences such as mysterious lights, objects materialising and moving through solid walls, strange skin markings, and even what appeared to have been a possession. All of these provide great fodder for the imagination, even more so because they are real, personal experiences that I can draw upon and use in my stories.
8. Character Development
I find the relationships between the protagonist(s) and the important people in their lives more interesting at this time than at any other. Because we are at a transitionary stage of our lives in our late teens, our relationships are usually in a constant state of flux as certain relationships grow and flourish, whilst others die away. New relationships often form at this time as we become more defined about ourselves and what we want from life.
For many, this is also the point at which we form our first serious romantic partnership – something that is exciting to look back upon. Additionally we can explore new possibilities; in my case, the ‘what might have beens’!
9. A World of Possibilities
Because the characters are so young with a world of possibilities at their feet, there is a lot of opportunity for further character growth and future storylines. In the world of fantasy, anything is possible and there are no limits!
10. A World Without Limits …
Fantasy fiction offers the perfect platform for the imagination to really take flight. There are no restrictions or boundaries on what is possible, no laws of physics to abide to, and a landscape of endless possibilities to sculpt, create and manifest.
Often when I need to escape from the real world, I daydream my way into my fantasy realm. It is my hope that my books will enable others to do the same and launch from a springboard into the pool of imagination!
It has lifted now ; the grey mass that had enshrouded me earlier -
it has left.
I have banished it from every corner of my mind
Yet I feel it creeping back,
Sneaking its way in like an unwanted visitor.
"Go away !" I yell,
And even louder I yell again:
"Go away . Leave me alone, let me rest."
It doesn’t hear me,
Nor would it care to listen if it could.
At times it has ultimate control;
I am powerless against such a savage beast .
I cry out ,
But no one hears .
The sound of desolation echoes through the walls.
Still , no one hears.
I am within it now;
it contains me.
It’s voracious appetite for more has a self-consuming passion .
It is unceasing,
Yet, it can be broken
For I have broken it before,
It is indestructible,
Yet, I have destroyed it .
"How long will I wait?" Amy asked the same reflection that she had consulted three weeks earlier.
She had untangled herself from his web of confusion only to find herself bound to another. Another, other than he, had found her. He had seen Amy's image and falsely believed that he perhaps desired her; that he could enrapture her heart and soul, and control her. What he had really wanted was to live through her, not merely to possess her, but, to become Amy.
"I thought you were like me," Amy screamed through her aching body. "You understood me and cared for me, but my mind was too strong for you. You presented me with an ethereal mirage that I perceived to be real. You are real, yet you hide yourself. You long to be with others of your kind."
"I am sorry Amy. You are beautiful but I cannot be with you. I cannot hold you any longer because you deserve to be free; it would hurt me to hold you in my grasp when I cannot give you myself. You are a girl Amy and I do not belong."
"You have already hurt me. My wounds have opened. My tears burn into them. I began to love you. How can you give me so much and then take it away. I needed you."
He said no more because there was nothing more to be said. He had spoken all he could without revealing his true identity, yet he had told her nothing.
Amy felt overwhelmed. Like a sponge she absorbed all around her. So much had happened. She had tried to support all the others from a greater trauma, but it had reversed now. They propped her up from her fall, but she buckled and staggered from the weight that bore upon her.
She returned to college. Amy felt waves of anticipation as she waited for his approach. He came to her and interlocked his glance with hers. A change had occurred from within but Amy still feared the descent of that which had captured her, holding her prisoner within him.
"It is I, Amy,” he spoke softly to her, cushioning her from any hidden abrasions she may have otherwise detected.
Denise is a YA Fantasy Fiction author but also writes scripts, poetry (published in various anthologies such as 'A Passage in Time' and 'Speaking of Love' by Forward Poetry), song lyrics, and maintains a blog here at eternaluk.com.