Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Sarina, Sweetheart by Megan Carney Tour + guess post and giveaway!

Sarina, Sweetheart by Megan Carney
Publication date: March 5th 2015
Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction

Her name is Sarina Wocek. Her breath is poison. She was not born out of love.
Twenty-three years ago, government officials traced the budding epidemic of hemorrhagic fever HF186-2A in south Florida to the Wocek family and their adorable six-week-old daughter, Sarina. Her father, Gregory, admitted his role in genetically engineering a biological weapon with pride. She was taken to a lab hidden in a rural area of New Hampshire. She hasn’t left since.
Her government keepers could cure her, but they won’t. Genetically engineering a child to be a weapon of mass destruction, that’s unethical. Refining a weapon of mass destruction that someone else created? That’s just being clever.
After twenty-three years of captivity, she escapes. She crosses an ocean to put her father and the lab behind her, but it’s not enough. When she sees the first bleeding sore, she knows she didn’t leave the virus behind either.
The only way she’ll be free is by destroying every trace of the lab. She only has one advantage; she doesn’t care if she makes it out alive.


Megan Carney is an author, geek and amateur photographer living in the Twin Cities. She has ten years of experience in the field of computer security. Her previous short story publications include: ‘Flighty Youth’ in the Raritan, ‘Modern Mayhem’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Swing By Close’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Directions’ in the Bell Tower. ‘Swing By Close’ and ‘Directions’ both won first prize in the fiction sections of that issue. The Christian Science Monitor dubbed her self-published photography book, ‘Signs of My Cities’ as having “youthful zest.”

Her non-literary creations include: a robot to clean the bathroom tub, Zim and Gir costumes, No-Dig tomato stakes, StickFriend the bear bag hanger, and a burning coal costume so she could be Katniss for a night.

how to make your characters believable? - Write what (emotions) you know

I think believable characters grab you emotionally. At least, that’s what I need as a reader. You can research locations and careers and all sorts of things, but it’s hard to fake an emotion you’ve never felt.

Luckily, I overreact to all sorts of things, so I get a lot of practice. Just kidding. Mostly. In all seriousness, I think anyone who’s lived a normal life with normal difficulties can use those emotions to give their characters depth. My tactic is to take situations from my real life and exaggerate them.

For instance, the day I finished grad school was one of my top five worst days. I had followed my playbook to the last page. Now I was going to have to make some real decisions about my life, like find a job and build a career and all of that. Not just once, but over and over. I drew on that emotion for the scene after Sarina escapes from the lab, when she finally starts to relax. The initial pursuit is over, she’s escaped her captors for the moment, but it’s not all unicorns and rainbows. She realizes that the real work of her life has begun. She will have to make decisions for herself. She doesn’t get to rest, not ever again, because she will always have to be vigilant.

One experience that I use in almost all my novels is the scariest experience in my life. Ironically, it wasn’t the most dangerous thing I’ve ever done. It just felt like it. I was on this hike in Taiwan that snaked through several long, unlit tunnels. I had forgotten my flashlight at the hotel room. I managed to get to the trail’s end by glomming onto a friendly group of locals with flashlights… but at the end of the hike these locals decided they were going to climb into an even scarier looking network of tunnels labeled with big yellow signs and large black exclamation points. Also some pictures of stick figures with limbs bent the wrong way.

I can’t read a word in Chinese, but it was clear to me those signs meant I wasn’t going in. So I was left to make the trip back through these long tunnels, without any flashlights at all. There was one tunnel in particular that curved so much you couldn’t see any light at the other end. But I knew I had to get back to the hotel, it was only going to get darker. So I grabbed the railing, and told myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was more scared than I’d ever been in my life. The center of the tunnel was pitch black. I held my hand up to my face, and I couldn’t tell it was there. It was very disorienting. For a moment, I had this irrational fear that I would somehow get turned around and end up getting lost. But I kept going, because it was my only choice.

That experience has been useful in at least two of my novels. Sarina has a moment like that when she’s fighting the guard in the final scenes of the novel. She’s totally unprepared for the fight she’s in, but she knows she has to hold on, because if she doesn’t other people will die. She grabs whatever weapon she has at hand and hits back. Navy Trent, the main character in my other novels (not yet published), has a scene that’s even closer to what it felt like in the tunnel. She’s hiding out in a basement in a house where the electricity has been turned off. She has to spend days down there, all alone, in the dark. But like Sarina, she keeps going because she has to.

That’s the best way I know to make characters pop. Choose a moment in your life that was emotional for you, then exaggerate it by upping the stakes. Your characters will write themselves.

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