Susan and I were classmates in a course offered by Brian Henry, a writer, editor, and teacher. For more information click here. I was hard at work on revisions for X5 and Susan was in the process of writing Incarnation. Wish I could say I told her to submit to Evernight Teen, but she discovered how to do so all on her own and we were so excited when it was accepted! And it was so neat to finally read the book that I'd only seen in bits and pieces come together as a whole story!
Today I'm featuring her book, but I also did an interview with Susan.
Why did you decide to write a book?
I have always had stories inside me, just bursting to come out. I actually started my first novel when I was 12 years old! When characters and plots come alive inside my head, they arrive with an overwhelming insistence on being shared.
How did you come up with the ideas for Incarnation?
Incarnation came from my enjoyment of and fascination for YA Fantasy. When I look around me, I see magical elements everywhere.
What was your biggest challenge with this book?
Just finding the time to sit down and write. I found that once I joined a writers’ group, my priorities changed and I began to put writing ahead of some of the other activities that had been getting in the way.
What do you like to read?
I love mysteries…. especially ones that get psychological and deep. I also enjoy Fantasy, and finding a place inside a magical world is addictive. Like most avid readers, I feel completely lost if I don’t have a really good “read” on the go. I couldn’t possibly go a whole day without getting into a book. Historical fiction is another genre that can consume me.
Who are your favorite authors? Have any of them influenced your own writing?
I have lots of favourite authors. Minette Walters, Martha Grimes, Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funk, George R.R. Martin, J.R.R. Tolkien, P.D. James, just to name a few of the more prolific ones. For me, finding an author who writes a series is huge, because I become really fascinated with the characters I enjoy and love to follow their adventures. Other authors whose works I couldn’t put down are Carlos Ruis Zafon, Diane Setterfield, Timothy Findley and Sarah Waters. I could actually go on and on and I am sure they have all had their influence on my own writing. That is one lesson I have learned… write what you love to read!
Coffee or Tea?
Tea…. for sure, and I love the exotic ones. Having said that, I never say no to a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Cats or dogs?
Dogs…. I grew up always having a dog in the house and continue to do so to this day. You will probably always see a dog in my books.
Flats or heels?
LOL…. I can’t balance in heels.
Cruise or resort?
I have never been on a cruise but would LOVE to change that.
Half empty or half full?
Absolutely half full. Every day is a gift and there is wonder in the universe. You just have to be able to see it (and then write about it) !
Katherine Blair has no idea she possesses supernatural abilities. Not until Richard St. James, an intriguing and mysterious classmate with powerful skills of his own, initiates her into his world. Wanting to explore her newfound shape-shifting powers, she spends time getting to know Richard, only to find herself increasingly drawn to him as time goes by.
Haunted by dreams of ancient times, she is caught in a desperate struggle against past injustice. The link to this unknown past experience sends her own life plummeting into the dark realms of revenge and murder, as she attempts to reconcile her feelings for the young man she’s come to rely on to protect her and keep their shared secret.
Will Katherine and Richard be able to break the spell that has held her captive through the years, before it consumes her? Can their budding young love survive tragedy, or will they be torn apart?
14+ for brief violence
I have to say that I'm completely biased here, not only because I saw the work in progress, but because Susan is a friend, so bear that in mind!
Incarnation has all those elements that make for a great YA book: isolation, romance, rejection, friendship, mean girls, bad boys, tragedy. Mix that up with a supernatural story-line and this book is a real winner. Readers will be able to identify with Katherine as she struggles to find her place in a strange school and while strange things happen to her. She is a strong heroine who tries to hide her vulnerability. Richard is a typical alpha male. He wants to be in charge, he's overprotective, and just a bit dangerous. But Katherine gives him a run for his money.
One of the things I like best about Susan's writing is her beautiful descriptions. She paints a picture with words and it draws you deep into the setting, perfectly capturing the visual details and the mood. And, as usual, I wish the book had been longer! I got so into the story that I was sad when it ended because I could have spent a lot more time in that world. However, Susan tells me that she's planning a sequel and I can't wait to read it!