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I want to introduce the fabulous author K.M. Allan and her debut novel Blackbirch – The Beginning. I had a little fun with Kate’s interview and asked her to answer four random questions. Hopefully, something a little different from the other interviews she’s done, to give her readers another dynamic to how she develops her stories. Let’s begin…

K.M. Allan – Author of Blackbirch the Beginning

What was your hardest scene to write?

There are a few action scenes toward the end of the book. To ensure it was clear; who was standing where, and what was happening, was a skill I had to quickly learn. I confused some of my early beta readers, even though it all made sense to me, but I think I got there in the end, and it was a nice surprise to learn that I like drafting action scenes.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I was a huge fan of The Babysitters Club series and really wish I had of kept them all. I am pretty sure at one point I had most, if not all, of the books.

What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

Definitely getting started. I can be inspired and organized, all ready to write, and procrastinate instead. Once I start writing it’s great, it’s just the act of getting started that’s difficult.

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

There’s a scene where Eve Thomas is being watched by something or someone she can’t see and it was interesting trying to capture the tension and creepiness on the page. I remembering being alone when I was drafting it and needing to go and be around people afterward, so hopefully, that means I pulled it off. 

If you want to stalk, I mean follow Kate, you can find her hanging out at Facebook and Instagram; talking about her kitten Dash, and letting us know how her series is coming along. Go check her out – she’s really friendly!!

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/k.m.allan.author

https://www.instagram.com/k.m.allan_writer

Welcome to Blackbirch. It’s a place no one forgets. Except for Josh Taylor. 

The fatal car crash took more than 17-year-old Josh’s parents. It stole his memories and returned him to his birthplace, Blackbirch, a tourist town steeped in a history of witchcraft. 

Amongst friends he’s forgotten and a life he doesn’t want, Josh is haunted by nightmares so believable he swears the girl in his dreams is real. Kallie is so captivating he ignores her blood-stained hands, but he can’t overlook the blue glow summoned to her skin. 

Kallie says it’s an ancient magic they share and a secret worth hiding, because as Josh discovers, they aren’t the only gifted ones. 

To restore his memories and find the true cause of the car accident, he must learn what’s real. And what secrets Blackbirch has buried in its woods.

Buy Links

The book can be bought at Amazon, Barnes and Nobel, Book Depository, and Kobo. All the buy links are here: https://kmallan.com/blackbirch/

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I’ve had the pleasure of working with Kate on this series, her characters are truly compelling and her story hauntingly beautiful. Tell me my wonderful community: Have you read Blackbirch the Beginning? Do you think it’s something that might interest you? And what magnificent projects are you working on at the moment? Don’t be shy, you know I love hearing from you.

Thanks for stopping by, until next time, Much Love.

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© Author Lorraine Ambers and http://www.lorraineambers.com, 2020.
The Eternal Scribbler Guest post

Guest Post – The Eternal Scribbler.

As writers we have to a pretty hefty job of carrying all those characters, worlds, ideas around in our heads desperate to come out and be added to the blank page.

Today I want to talk about the first few pages of your book.

The first pages of a book are what sell it. You can have a fancy cover, great blurb and a dazzling plot – but if you fail in the first few pages, you could have lost your chance to shine.book writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance YA

This is one of the reasons I usually write my first chapter last or at least after much more of the book is written. This allows me to move the scenes around and sometimes find a mid-scene that works better for the first chapter.

From publishers to readers, those few pages have to be gripping (not talking suspenseful, unless…you know…you’re writing a suspense novel!) but they need to draw the reader in and make them want to keep reading.

No point having the best action scene, romance or climatic ending ever if nobody is able to actually get to it.

So take those first few pages extremely seriously.

writer author Lorraine Ambers desk fantasy romance YA

Here are some thoughts on what you should have in your first chapter (preferably in the first few pages)

• Voice – Don’t wait until you are further into the book before you show your voice, get it right out onto the page at the start. If I’m reading a book I want to know the author has a strong command of writing, a voice that can clearly be heard through the words.

• Senses – Engage the reader immediately with sensory detail. If you get to chapter 3 before we even have a plethora of sensory information, then you’ve missed something. Be aware of getting caught just using sight and sound. Use all five of the main senses to fill out your world. Whether it’s the sharp smell of horse manure in the street, or the bitter taste of fruit on the turn. Let’s get some details!!

• Location, location, location – No we don’t need to know the longitude and latitude, but we need some detail about where this story is set. Character and dialogue can often place a story, but don’t forget to set the scene. Are we storming a castle? Trudging through a muddy field? Maybe even just listening to a grieving mother in the kitchen of her small apartment. Give the reader some direction as to where they are when they start reading.

• Characters – Now, some writers state they want to meet the protagonist or antagonist in the first chapter. Since my manuscript doesn’t actually start with meeting my protagonist but in dealing with the aftermath of her going missing, I ignore what “some writers” suggest. You don’t have to have your MC right in the thick of it, but make sure whoever you have on stage first has an important role in the plot, even if they just throw in a set of magic beans and vanish. Those magic beans better be pretty important! book pen artist writer author Lorraine Ambers fantasy romance novel YA

 

But these characters need to be interesting or likeable. While characters we hate are fun too, it’s recommended we don’t add them at the beginning as it can drive a reader from continuing – so keep your obnoxious, love-to-hate-them characters for later on.

Make sure there is some depth to these characters. That means they react, they emote, they live the scene. Let’s not just follow them around with a camcorder seeing what they might do. Give them a voice, give them a purpose, give them a mental state!

• Plot – your first few pages should touch on the plot. It should hint or whisper or build on something that is coming up. We don’t want to see characters going through daily routines and ending with nothing. If you haven’t even hinted on what the plot is about then you’ll be boring your reader.

Readers want to get a sense of something happening. Not sure what, so they will want to read more. Nobody…and I mean NOBODY wants to read about your character brushing their teeth, picking out clothes and then leaving for work. Unless all that banality ended with you exposing that this mild-mannered, mousy gentleman is actually an assassin off to execute a government official – you should probably skip it.

So think carefully on what you are putting in your first pages. Think about the books you love and re-read their first pages. See what those authors did to catch your attention.

Happy Writing!

For more great content, find Ari over on her blog: http://www.theeternalscribbler.wordpress.com/

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©Lorraine Ambers 2017