Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Guest Post by Helena Sorensen, author of Shiloh

Today, I'm happy to welcome Helena Sorensen, author of the new YA book Shiloh, to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. She's here today to talk about writing a book. So without a further ado..

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Writing a book is really horrid. During the writing process, when people ask you what you “do,” you’re forced to tell them that you are working on a novel. They attempt a supportive nod, but they’re squinting at you, concentrating hard, clearly trying to find a point of contact now that they’ve discovered how strange and delusional you are. Even friends and family are skeptical. Your “novel” is something akin to an imaginary friend. Those closest to you will mention it/him/her from time to time, out of compassion and a desire to understand this nebulous activity that consumes so much of your time and mental energy.

And then one day, suddenly, your book is available on Amazon. And it’s a real, tangible thing, and you’re no longer getting furtive glances at family reunions. And it’s wonderful, for about half an hour, until it’s horrid again. At this point, you and your book cannot be avoided. They are part of public record, part of your family’s collective history. Your friends are no longer associated with you alone. Your book has entered the circle. You might as well have joined a pyramid scheme. Your book becomes the elephant in the room. Everyone tiptoes around its existence and its presence, and ultimately people just start avoiding you.

If any of you has ever wondered why writers are a little off, well, there you are. Writers weren’t born awkward and neurotic and brooding. No, their books made them that way. And when you hear people speaking in glowing terms about “communities of writers,” you’ll know I’ve told you the truth. Those writers needed communities because their families and friends have moved across the country and failed to share their forwarding addresses. Sitting alone in front of the fire on Christmas morning, cradling your book and humming carols to yourself isn’t particularly glamorous. It’s horrid. Writing a book is horrid.

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About the Book:
In a world of perpetual darkness, a boy is born who wields remarkable power over fire. Amos is no more than seven when he kills a Shadow Wolf and becomes a legend in Shiloh. He would be destined for great things were it not for the stories his father tells about a world beyond the Shadow and a time before the Shadow. Only madmen hold to such tales, and in Shiloh, they have always come to bad ends.

Amos is fearless. He walks with easy confidence, certain that the Shadow cannot touch him. Even his family is in awe of him. His father marvels at his skill with the bow, his mother thanks the gods that he has all the courage she lacks, and his sister, Phebe, worships him for saving her from an attack of the Shadow Cats.

On a trip to the village of Emmerich, Amos rescues the Magistrate’s son, Simeon, from the village bullies. Simeon, fair-skinned and pale-eyed like other Dreamers in Shiloh’s history, becomes Amos’s constant companion and dearest friend. Simeon becomes a part of Amos’s family, listening to fireside stories told in a way he’s never heard them before and learning to wield a bow and arrow.

The year the boys turn twelve, they are itching to prove themselves. An impetuous plan to steal a beautiful lantern goes miserably awry, and the lantern’s owner prophesies that Amos will be devoured by the Shadow. For the first time, a seed of fear is planted in Amos’s mind, and when his father is killed by a Shadow Wolf on the last day of the Great Hunt, the fear takes hold. If so great and brave a man as his father could fall to the Shadow, what hope has he?

1 comment:

  1. Lauren, thank you so much! It was an honor doing the interview with you.--J.S. Frankel

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