Monday, August 31, 2015

Book Blitz : Superstition by Lucy Fenton

Release Date: 08/03/15

Summary from Goodreads:
What happens when your childhood nightmares of being bitten by strange creatures in a dark wood aren’t just dreams?

Sixteen-year-old Arden St. John’s life takes a strange turn when she finds an unusual animal injured near her new house on the south east coast of Australia. When she takes it to the local vet, a terrible truth is inadvertently exposed to her. 

She discovers a secret underworld, where witches are commonplace and trolls masquerade as queen bees, terrorising the other students with impunity. A world where vampires traffic in the lives of children, draining their bodies once they reach maturity. Where adults auction their own children to extend their lives.

Arden finds out she’s one of those kids, her life traded by the mother she never knew. Now she’s caught up in this ancient and corrupt economy operating just below the surface of modern society. She’s a hot commodity, and it’s only a matter of time before the vampire who bought her comes to claim his prize. 

But Arden’s not going down without a fight.

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The further into the bush she went, the more anxious Arden felt. If something happened to me, how long would it be before Dad noticed? I could be dead for days before someone found me, Arden thought, unhappily. The compulsion to turn around and seek out others grew stronger and her footsteps slowed.
And then through the trees, she saw something. Curiosity overcoming her disquiet, at first she thought it was a rocky outcrop and moved towards it, trying to see what was veiled by the leaves of the trees. The flash of sunlight whitened out her vision as she stepped out of the shade into the clearing. Blinded, she waited for her eyes to adjust. Squinting, the blurred shapes gradually resolved into the ruins of a stone building. The roof was gone and the walls stuck up like the blunt teeth of a fallen giant. Arden walked around what had once been a large structure that had been left to crumble back into the earth. It was built on a headland, the view of the ocean clear on the far side. A lone gum tree clung to the edge of the cliff, roots visible where the earth had crumbled away. Dead, its bare branches stood out starkly white against the dark clouds forming over the ocean. There was a storm coming in, but it was still a way out to sea. Catching sight of a marking on the stone, she moved towards it to examine it more closely. It was weathered almost flat, but tracing the rough gritty surface with her finger, she made out the distinctive shape of a convict arrow.
Amazed, she walked in through a doorway, trying to work out what type of building it had been. There had been a large central room with many tiny rooms opening from it. They were small, storerooms perhaps? Exploring deeper into the ruins, there was a room that had been more protected at the rear and the purpose became apparent. The stubbed remains of bars were still embedded in the stone in one section and in the corner of the room were cross hatched markings on the walls, counting off the days. She was standing in a convict goal. 

L. C. Fenton lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband and two children. In addition to her cake- making business, she works as a freelance copywriter and pens occasional articles for various online magazines.
Not being one of those people who had a burning desire to be anything in particular, L. C. worked her way alphabetically backwards through the available degrees at Sydney University. Surprisingly, given the amount of fun she had at school, L.C. finally managed to graduate with a completely unemployable degree in Philosophy. A Law degree soon followed, however, simply to make it possible for some organization to hire her.
After ten soul-destroying years wandering aimlessly in the corporate wilderness, L. C. threw it all in and reassessed. Deciding to bring the "one day I will write a book" idea to the present, she started and hasn't stopped. As a huge fan of the romance genre, she writes the kinds of books that she enjoys to read.
In her spare time, L. C. Fenton...actually she has no spare time. She sleeps or reads copious amounts of romance novels instead of sleeping.

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Author Interview
Lucy Fenton – “Superstition”

When and why did you begin writing?
I started writing when my youngest child would only have been a few months old. I was going through a bit of a book slump, where I couldn’t find anything that was in that Goldilocks zone of interesting but not too difficult for my chronically sleep deprived brain to process. I then stumbled upon the Twilight series. The author at the time of writing the first book was in a similar position as me, so the excuse I was using that I couldn’t possibly write a book now, was blown away. I think I started my first attempt the same week that started Breaking Dawn. I had to wait until I’d finished reading because there was no way I could put it down and do anything else.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Probably when I sold my second book. It was validation that someone who didn’t know me thought my writing had promise.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It usually takes a year to write and then 6 months to a year editing and polishing to getting it ready for publication.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I try to write every day while the kids are at school, but life often gets in the way. The great thing about being a writer is being able to be flexible. Some weeks I’ll hit my target easily but there are also weeks where I don’t even get close. 

Do you have a specific writing style?

I think I do, even though I try to change it. To be real, it has to draw on something inside you. I think there is part of me in every book that escapes all attempts at containment. The characters aren’t me, per se, but I can imagine myself as them, if that makes sense. Often a novel will get away from me and go places I had no intention of taking it though. I think once you start in with a set of premises and defined characters, then you have to go with what feels right for the character, rather than what you want.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I like noise – I can’t write when it’s too quiet. I listen to music while I’m planning but then I can’t listen to music when I’m actually writing or I start typing the lyrics. I spend a lot of time writing in loud cafés. I can tune out people talking and sometimes when I’m stuck, something about a person walking past will catch my eye and give me an idea. I’m also writing a novel with another author and I was sitting in my local café, staring at the wall, totally stuck – I had no ideas at
all. I started talking to the woman at the next table and we somehow got onto the topic of pets. She was telling me how she absolutely hated cats and it gave me the idea of an eccentric villain covered in kittens. I think it’s one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever written.

What inspired you to write “Superstition”?
I re-read “The Romance of the Forest” by Ann Radcliffe, which was the start of the popular late 18th century trend of gothic novels, and wondered how the traditional gothic novel would translate to a modern setting and to take it even further, I decided on not only a modern, but a beach setting.

This is the first young adult book you’ve written. Why change genres?
I wanted to write a book that my kids would eventually be able to read. My other books are novels for adults and no matter how old they are, I’d never be comfortable with the thought of them reading it! I also really enjoy reading young adult
books too, so it’s not a huge departure. I particularly love dystopian novels, and I was going to make “Superstition” one too, but it wasn’t working out, so was scrapped in an early draft.

How did you come up with the title?
I often find myself noticing situations where superstitions could change my actions, such as a black cat sitting on a footpath, a broken mirror or walking under a ladder. I don’t change my behaviour, but I still notice them. Well apart from the ladder one, which I think is just common sense.
It started to get me thinking about the things that we dismiss as old wives tales and how modern life would change if they were real. The book did end up differently to how I initially imagined it would, focussing more on the elements of a gothic novel, but I’m thinking of making it into a series and so that idea may become more dominant.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

Some - I changed school for my final two years and know the feeling of isolation that comes from going to a new school and not knowing anyone. Everyone else knew each other really well and I felt like an interloper for several months until I made friends. Especially as a teenager, when everything is excruciating anyway, it was fairly brutal.

What books have influenced your life most?
“Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul” by Douglas Adams. I first read it on a plane as a teenager and had people staring at me because I was laughing so loudly. I’ve re-read it so many times. He is the master of the absurd.
“Great Apes” by Will Self. It’s not a comfortable book, but it blew my mind.
“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen. It’s perfect – witty, great characters and has a storyline transcends time and nationality.
“The Hunger Games Trilogy” by Suzanne Collins. They are so imaginatively and well written, they are like a master class on how to write a really good story and make it seem effortless. You can see why they have such wide appeal. My son has just started reading the first one. 

What are your current projects?
I’m finishing off the sequel to my first book then I’m going to see how I go writing a sequel to “Superstition”. I have three other manuscripts in various stages, so I’m never out of things to work on.

What was the hardest part of writing a book?
Editing! Reading your own writing over and over again is the worst sort of torture. Reading someone else’s work is much easier.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write what you like, not what you think is going to sell, and keep going. Even if no one else likes it, it just means you have to rewrite. But if you like your characters, it makes spending the time polishing for months on end less tedious.
Also, learn how to take criticism. It’s really hard when someone tells you honestly what’s wrong with your writing, but it’s the fastest way to improve. If all your readers just give positive feedback, it’s harder to find the areas where you’ve not hit the mark. A lot of people don’t want to give you bad news, so you need some people who will really let fly. And you can’t get mad at them!

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