Monday, February 18, 2013

Guest Post: Suzanne van Rooyen, author of Obscura Burning

Today, I'm happy to welcome Suzanne van Rooyen, author of the newly released Obscura Burning, to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. She's here to talk a little about her book. So without a further ado...

Playing with Fire

A boy walked through a desert littered with withering cactus. He had scarred arms and a face left marbled by what could only have been the result of a fire. He was sad and angry and kept staring into the sun. That was my first glimpse of Kyle Wolfe, main character and narrator of the book that would become Obscura Burning. The original premise of the story had nothing to do with fire. It was all about quantum physics and rifts in the theoretical multiverse. Kyle, however, refused to stick to the story line. He was a darker, far more complex character than I ever intended to write. The theme of fire became more prevalent and it took me a little while to realise why.

As a kid, I knew a boy who was frequently in trouble for starting fires. These fires were usually small and never resulted in injury, but the damage to property – particularly when he started setting fire to public rubbish bins – became more than a little problematic. I don't remember exactly what happened. All I knew at the time was that he was in trouble, that he had 'issues' and that his parents were getting him help. Perhaps it was that vague memory from my childhood, which contributed to Kyle's love affair with flames.

Once I knew this would be an integral part of my character, I did a lot of reading on the subject and found out all about juvenile fire starters. For many, setting fires ends at the curiosity stage and never develops into a serious problem. Sadly, starting fires is often representative of bigger psychological issues, such as physical or sexual abuse. If left ignored and untreated, fire starting can become a pathological behaviour, escalating well beyond mere vandalism.

Despite the wealth of information online about problem fire starters, this is still a largely misunderstood aspect of adolescence, too often brushed aside as a phase or ignored as mere 'acting out' when it could be representative of Borderline Psychotic or Impulsive Neurotic personality disorders. If anyone would like to know more about this troubling behaviour, I suggest heading over to the American Psychological Association: where you can learn more about the various types of fire starting and how to help those who might be heading down this dangerous path.

As for Kyle and what happens when he plays with fire, you'll just have to read Obscura Burning to find out!


Thanks for stopping by, Suzanne!

About the Book:
The world's going to end in fire…and it's all Kyle's fault.

Kyle Wolfe's world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle's two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle's friends aren't all that dead anymore.

Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it's Shira who's alive...and now they're friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he's not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He's pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents' marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world...
About the Author:
Suzanne grew up in the urban sprawl of Johannesburg, South Africa where she studied music and penned a few angsty poems. After a brief stint in Australia, Suzanne settled in Finland where she completed a Master's degree in music and started writing in earnest.

Suzanne now spends her days as a freelance writer, author and part-time dance teacher. Her short stories have been published by Niteblade Magazine, Cast of Wonders, and Earthbound Fiction amongst others. When not writing she attempts to play guitar, reads a lot of fantasy, and entertains her shiba inu, Lego.
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