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...
-Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/obscura-burning-suzanne-van-rooyen/1113910054?ean=2940015802986
Suzanne van Rooyen:
Suzanne is a freelance writer and author from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Suzanne is the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon’s Teeth (Divertir), the YA science fiction novel Obscura Burning (Etopia) and has had several short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine, Space and Time and Niteblade. Niteblade nominated her short story Where dreams are grown for the Pushcart Prize. Her non-fiction articles on travel, music and other topics can be found scattered throughout the Internet. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance to ninth graders or playing in the snow with her shiba inu.
Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Setting a Story Somewhere You’ve Never Been
Of the 13 countries I’ve visited on 3 continents, I have never been to the US. Why my story insisted on being set in New Mexico remains a mystery, but that’s what my characters were telling me so that’s where I set the story despite having never set foot on American soil.
Setting is vital to any story. Setting becomes a character unto itself and should be made as real as possible. This is not easy when you’ve never been to said location. In the interest of verisimilitude, I did extensive research. This involved reading everything I could about New Mexico, specifically the Four Corners where my fictional town is located. I also watched documentaries about the State and its oddities. I even trawled through Youtube to find posts by New Mexican teenagers so I could listen to their accents and slang. (Apparently, thanks to an honest reviewer, I still got it wrong).
Thanks to the online writing community Scribophile, I was able to compile some anecdotes about life in NM as well - what a sunset looked like, which way storms blew in, what storms smelled like, what small town residents did to celebrate the 4th of July, what people typically ate, what the vegetation looked like etc. There was tons of research that went into this book and I still managed to get things wrong. Yup, I mangled the Spanish expletives and used Britishisms where I shouldn’t have.
From this experience, I’ve learned some extremely valuable lessons. 1) Better to write about a place you’ve actually been. 2) Know your stuff inside out - there is no such thing as too much research. 3) Own your mistakes even if you (embarrassingly) refer to the wrong city as the capital.
There’s nothing wrong with setting your story somewhere you’ve never been but brace yourself for backlash from readers when they find your mistakes, which they will because authors cannot get every nuance of a culture they’ve never experienced right without seeing, hearing, tasting and feeling the place for themselves. That said, I don’t think I did too badly writing this book as I did from my spot in the forests of central Finland.
-1 autographed paperback of Obscura Burning
-1 ebook of Dragon's Teeth (epub, mobi or pdf)
-1 $10 GC for Amazon
-3 surprise items from each of the main characters
Open internationally and ending January 31st.
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