Driving home, Margaret Holloway is rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage of her car. Just as she begins to panic, a stranger pulls her free and disappears. Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something's wrong. Flashbacks to the crash are dredging up lost associations from her childhood. And somehow, Margaret knows that it's got something to do with the man who saved her life. As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth-from yourself?
Published by: William Morrow Paperbacks
Publication Date: October 6, 2015
Number of Pages: 432
ISBN: 0062391488 (13: 978-0062391483)
Lisa Ballantyne was born in Armadale, West Lothian, Scotland and studied English Literature at University of St Andrews. She lived and worked in China for many years and started writing seriously while she was there. Before being published, Lisa was short-listed for the Dundee International Book Prize. Her debut novel, The Guilty One was translated into over 25 languages, long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and short-listed for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. The Guilty One was also the Autumn 2012 Richard and Judy Book-club Winner. She lives in Glasgow.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest novel is an action/fantasy work entitled “Legend Land”, which is aimed to hit stores around the Christmas season. It’s actually a bit difficult to describe, for me anyway, because no matter what synopsis or description I give, it really just doesn’t do the novel justice. To me, it’s one of those works that you have to read to know what it’s about. However, I’ll give it my best shot.
As I’ve said, Legend Land is an action/fantasy novel; it’s not specifically for young adults, nor adults, but rather for anyone who has a love of reading. Now, in the novel, there is a world ruled by Death called “Legend Land”, where legends and mythical creatures go to die. Several entities want the power in Legend Land and the power of its inhabitants; this marks the beginning of a grand cosmic game for Legend Land that mostly happens in the background throughout the novel. The story is told in the first person narrative from three different points of view, which allows me to keep the story flowing quickly and gives the novel a more dynamic, easily shifting and twisting style. In Legend Land I put my own twisted spin on various fairy tale characters, legends and mythical creatures, as well as having a huge host of my own, completely unique characters. Which isn’t to say that you’ll recognize many of these myths and legends; I’ve done my best to change them heavily while still at the same time remaining true to their original form, but it will take a more attentive eye to catch these various “Easter egg” characters.
|Noah with Edgar Allan Poe|
Who are your favourite authors?
It’s a bit difficult to pick a favorite, as I read on such a regular basis and so many things. I absolutely love J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter series; I finished the entire series once I was nine years old. It’s always fuelled my creativity and sense of magic. I owe a huge amount of my love of fantasy to Christopher Paolini, author of the Inheritance series, and enjoy a good deal of classic authors such as Edgar A. Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Oscar Wilde (if for nothing else than “The Picture of Dorian Gray”), Mary Shelley etc. etc. There are many authors I really enjoy, and it hurts a bit that I can’t mention them all here, but those are some of who I would consider my “favorites”.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I guess my advice is something of the following. To writers of all ages, I just have to say: never give up. You’re going to be in that place where you’ve drank all your coffee, you’re curled into the fetal position, pages of your manuscript strewn about, just not knowing what to do. I’ll let you in on a secret: none of us do. No matter how many times you’ve written a novel or how long you do it, it’s my firm belief that every time you begin a new story (part of a series or not), you’re going in blind. You have to create something from nothing, and no amount of practice is going to change that fact. Just tell yourself though, “People do this all the time; I’m a pretty fantastic person myself. There are authors I don’t like, and if they can do it, so can I!” Besides, hey, if a 17 year old kid like me can do it, you definitely can.
What's the best thing about being a writer?
You mean besides not having to leave your house for work? Or being able to work in your pajamas? What’s the best thing about being a writer besides not having to be “social”? I suppose in addition to all of those things, I love being a writer because I can create something from nothing. From nothing I can make people, creatures no one has ever even heard of or an entire world; the possibilities when you write are nearly limitless. I think that’s the biggest appeal to me; the limitless creative possibilities possible. And working in your pajamas.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
There are plenty of places people can find out more about me, or my writing. There’s my official website, Ark-Storm.com, where you can find frequent updates on all that I do as well as some free short stories, to get a taste of my writing style. You can also find me on Twitter and Facebook, or check out my YouTube channel for updates on, and snippets from, Legend Land, as well as guest speakers and author interviews, writing tips and discussion, exploring the ever growing field of writing hybrids and techniques, and just nerding out about this whole “writing thing” in general.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
I think readers are going to enjoy my book for a few reasons. One, it’s not a light read; Legend Land is not a piece of “fluff literature”. When you read Legend Land, you are going to follow a shifting, ever changing storyline and complex characters. I really feel my characters are going to draw readers in, in great part due to the genuine feel that you will get when reading about their emotions. The emotions my characters feel are genuine, and I know that because I felt those emotions while I was writing. That isn’t to say I felt like going on a murderous rampage while a character was doing that exact same thing in the book, but was I angry when I was writing that piece? Yes. When my characters are happy, sad, filled with vehement rage, deep anxiety or never ending confusion, I felt those emotions. Even though my characters vary from cold to humorous and sarcastic, many characters not even being human, they all have human emotions that I feel the reader will easily relate to and enjoy my book even more because of it.
How do you research your books?
Since I still am in school, I do a lot of research for my schoolwork and projects in general; if I’m interested in something, I research it. That being said, I did a lot of research for Legend Land specifically. I mainly use this wonderful, vast thing we have called the internet, ranging from forums or obscure pages devoted to the progeny of one Greek god, to skimming through Wikipedia for what I’m searching for. With Legend Land in particular, I did a lot of reading; I read the fairy tales, the folk lore, legends and all the stories that I wanted to include in my book. For other stories, I will use medical or scientific websites, or I’ll take an online course on it to get a basic, comprehensive understanding. Unless I’m doing research on a particular writing style, book, series or author, I will commonly use the internet, triple and quadruple checking my sources just to be safe.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
I’ve always wanted to be an author; originally, in Kindergarten, when we were doing “writing time”, we didn’t have to do difficult things like math. I think my love of writing and wanting to be a writer grew from that. I’ve always really liked books, and all the stories I’ve read, all the joy I’ve received from books have fuelled me; eventually, I just wanted to contribute to the literary world that has been a companion of mine for my entire life. I wanted to be able to make people feel the whirlwind of emotions that I would feel when reading, or make something so amazing that people want to put on their shelves and read over and over again. After reading Christopher Paolini’s debut novel, “Eragon”, I began actively working at making writing a full-time career and lifelong profession. Admittedly, this was, at least in part, because I read he was a New York Times Bestselling Author at age 19, and I wanted to get published before him. However, the books I’ve read have always inspired me, and my family has always supported my dream; I think the overwhelming amount of support I’ve received from everyone, especially while my Kickstarter was going on, has really inspired me to take writing as seriously as I possibly can, because it is something I want to do for the rest of my life.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
J.K. Rowling, Orson Scott Card, Christopher Paolini, Derek Landy, Mary Shelley, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar A. Poe and Jenny Nimmo, and their works, were all, and continue to be, influential to me and my writing. Frank Beddor’s “Looking Glass Wars” series has heavily influenced me; his style and illustrations inspired me like nothing else at the time. There are many things besides books and authors that have influenced my life and writing style; I heavily draw off of many anime I’ve seen (for those of you who don’t know, “anime” is a style of Japanese cartoon), movies, TV shows and life around me.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I’m not writing, I tend to enjoy the heavily sought after, much elusive “sleep”; having my head hit a soft pillow at the end of the day is bliss, and it’s something I love doing. I also enjoy indulging in several different media forms: anime (commonly action, dark/suspense, sci-fi and fantasy), television shows (same), video games (of the RPG variety commonly), western cartoons and movies (I’m a sucker for a decent feel good film). I enjoy playing board and card games with my two younger brothers, and inventing my own. Since my family and I travel full time, I also really enjoy getting out of the house; hiking, visiting museums or interesting places. Music plays a big part in my writing; I can’t play any instruments to any level of appreciable skill, but I enjoy listening to music often. And, I will admit, engaging in “social interaction” with others has its merits as well, and is something I like to do. Of course, I think it goes without saying I just love to read; if it’s a good book, I will lay my hands on it and not let go until it has been thoroughly read.
There’s a famous quote in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Applying this to the writing world, I’d challenge every writer to build a community. Most people will probably say, “That’s impossible” or “I don’t have time for that.” But if you want to succeed as a writer, the first rule you need to learn is that you can’t do it all by yourself. You’re going to need help, and if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need all the help you can get. It’s not going to be easy, but none of the great things in life ever are, and you need to march forward one book at a time, or in the case of your community, one person at a time.
Instead of making your goal how many books am I going to sell (because this is a losing game), you should focus on how many people have I met this week…or this year. Focus your efforts on bloggers or booksellers or reviewers or Facebook posts or Tweets, and build your network one person at a time. This is a much more sustainable goal, because you have more control over what you do, and a lot less control over what others do.
If you want to succeed, help someone else. Not only will you end up with a karma boost, but it will come back around, because even when it looks like no one’s paying attention, somebody out there inevitably is, and it’ll make a difference. Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, but eventually it’ll pick you up and carry you forward.
What I’ve discovered with writing is the process is slow and cumbersome (maybe not first drafts), and you’re splashing around in a pool now that’ll have ripple effects two or three years later. And just because you can’t see the end result now doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. So keep going, even if it feels like you’re running in place.
I’ll be honest with you: My marketing results discourage me more often than I’d like to admit. Sure, most of the time it’s because I’m optimistic instead of being realistic, but if I focused on realism (knowing there’re only about 1,000,000 other books already out there), I wouldn’t have written my novel in the first place. So, yes, my optimism and determination have gotten me through some pretty dark days, but marketing ain’t easy. If you put yourself in front of as many people as you can, be prepared to get rejected a time or two.
When you want to quit, go back to writing. After all, it’s what you love doing anyway, and no great community was built in a day. That way, you can build your strength, and when you’re ready, go back to pushing, even if it’s just you against a brick wall, because you never know when a brick might give, or somebody pulls you through to the other side.
Robert aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he'd already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise Sam and Casey might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. To find out more about Sam or Casey, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net.
When he’s not writing, Robert can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. Falling Immortality and Graceful Immortality helped him discover his true love: hard-boiled mysteries. This is his third novel.
Catch Up with Mr. Downs:
Last Sunday, while I was praying that God would forgive me for missing church because I was working to meet a tight deadline, my husband was served with an envelope and told to deliver it to me. Upon opening the envelope, I slumped.
It contained several pages of handwritten poetry on lined notebook paper. The poet had given them to a friend and asked that she deliver them to me (a mystery writer) to offer my opinion in order to help her get published.
When my first book was published in 2004, I was surprised by the number of writers asking me to please read their books. I totally understood where they were coming from.
I once paid a hundred dollars to a writer’s conference to have a published author critique my work in progress. She ripped it apart without even a drop of compassion. Then, I found out this same author had shown my manuscript to another author and made fun of it.
I was so devastated that I didn’t write for a year. When I returned to writing, I swore that I would never forget what it was like when I was an unpublished writer looking for help from those who had managed to succeed in the world of authorship.
However, now that I have “broken thru” and am now a best-selling author, I can see why many published authors refuse to read other writers’ unpublished books.
Many writers think that it only takes an hour or two of the author’s time to read their book—so they think they are asking the author for “a favor” to read their book. Frankly, it takes more than a couple of hours and the writer is asking for more than a simple favor.
The author’s insight and advice is not going to be worth anything to the writer unless it is a detailed critique, which takes time. It takes me no less than three days to critique a book. Yet, time reading unpublished manuscripts takes time away from my own writing career.
Now, this post is not to tell writers refrain from asking published authors for advice or to even go so far as to ask them to read your book. I love offering advice to new writers. I simply want to educate writers about what is happening on my side so that you’ll understand why authors may make certain requests or even refuse to read unpublished manuscripts.
I’d also like to offer advice for published authors who find themselves bombarded by requests from new writers.
1) Never Forget: Published Authors Are Professionals. Their job is writing and their knowledge is based on their professional experience.
a) Writers, expect to pay for their time;
b) Authors, your time is valuable, so charge for it.
2) Make sure the work-in-progress is in digital format! No publisher I know will take a book in hard copy. So your book is going to have to be in digital format anyway. Get it in proper format before asking an author to read it.
Every time I see someone walking toward me with a three-ring binder in their arms, I cringe. I’ll ask, “Don’t you have it in digital format?”
The answer will be no. (Don’t laugh. I once took a survey in one of my writing classes. Half of the writers said they write in longhand!)
So then, I’ll ask, “Is this your only copy?”
“Oh, no,” the writer will swear.
Over a year ago, in the middle of yet another tight deadline, I spent a whole morning returning two original manuscripts to writers who had both sworn to me that I did not have the only copies of their books. For one, I had to drive an hour away from home to return her book. The other, I paid over fifteen dollars in postage to mail it back. I hadn’t charged that writer for a critique—so that fifteen dollars was out of my pocket!
3) Don’t be expecting a quick turn-around on your critique. I tell writers to expect their critique in four to six months. If your author is successful, then they have deadlines—editors, cover designers, proofreaders, tour coordinators, hungry teenagers, demanding dogs—depending on them. Authors—give the writer some timeline of when they can expect their critique and try to stick to it. It’s a professional courtesy.
4) Don’t expect the author to say your book is perfect. If the author is truly sincere about helping you, then he/she will point out your mistakes. Better the author than readers and reviewers!
Every professional author has their own books critiqued before it goes to editing. I have written sixteen books—all of which have made Amazon’s best-sellers in mysteries. Still, I have my books critiqued by a fellow author before it goes to the editor. One hundred percent of the time, I end up doing a rewrite based on her critique.
a) Writer: When the author points our flaws, or even if they rip your book apart, remember this—everything is subjective and this is your book—not that author’s. It will be your job to determine what advice the author is giving you will work best for you and your book.
Don’t take a bad personally and don’t seek revenge. I know of more than one author who had a disgruntled writer go onto Amazon or Goodreads and post one-star reviews for one or more of their books after a bad critique, which is why many authors won’t critique books. This is not a good idea. The writing community is a small town. Word will get around and the help you are seeking from those who have broken thru won’t happen.
b) Author: Treat the writer with respect and compassion. This writer is looking for your help. Be honored that he/she came to you. Also, as a professional courtesy—no matter how much you may not like the book—do not discuss it with anyone else.
Now, I feel better after getting that off my chest. Time to go to work on my next mystery novel. I think my next victim is going to be a poet.
Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Open Season for Murder is the tenth installment in the Mac Faraday Mystery series.
In addition to her series set on Deep Creek Lake, Lauren Carr has also written the Lovers in Crime Mysteries, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates, who were introduced in Shades of Murder, the third book in the Mac Faraday Mysteries. They also make an appearance in The Lady Who Cried Murder.
Three Days to Forever introduced Lauren Carr’s latest series detectives, Murphy Thornton and Jessica Faraday in the Thorny Rose Mysteries. Look for Kill and Run, the first installment in this series, to be released September 1, 2015.
The owner of Acorn Book Services, Lauren is also a publishing manager, consultant, editor, cover and layout designer, and marketing agent for independent authors. Visit Acorn Book Services’ website for more information.
Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She also passes on what she has learned in her years of writing and publishing by conducting workshops and teaching in community education classes.
She lives with her husband, son, and three dogs on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.