Hattie Locke has a gift: when she sings, the dead dig themselves from their graves to listen. As a death-siren, her life has always been this way.
Then the dead begin to show up in numbers far beyond expected. With each song she sings, they grow pushy and demanding, rushing the stage to reach her. Trapped in a place where her dreams of music become her nightmares, Hattie is left with nowhere to turn.
But then she meets a boy, who promises freedom from her curse.
Now Hattie wonders: is ridding herself of her voice worth losing the music she’s lived to create?
Heather, tell us a bit about yourself and your novella, “Requiem”.
In some ways, Hattie reminds me of myself. I came from a musical family, and I delved right into all of it. By the time I was a sophomore in high school, I’d mastered seven different instruments, and it was pretty much thought a guarantee that I’d pursue Julliard, or Berkeley, or some other prestigious music school. Imagine everyone’s surprise when I decided to major in English lit!
Thankfully, I had a more-or-less understanding family who allowed me the space to pursue my words (they knew I wasn’t leaving music completely, and they were right; I still play now and then) – however, I faced extreme opposition from others. It was these experiences that I drew on in creating Hattie’s unusual situation. What if my family hadn’t let me do my own thing? What if they reacted like these vehement strangers and teachers and friends who all thought they knew best for me?
Combine that with my morbid streak (zombies! death! magic!), and “Requiem” was born.
A team of mercenaries race to an abandoned mining village to rescue two children held hostage by rogue ex-soldiers. But the kidnappers are a ruse, the real threat more terrifying than any of them could imagine.
Aided by a couple of unsuspecting eco-warriors, mercenary team leader Amber Redgrave must fight to survive against foes that don’t sleep and don’t feel pain.
Now as the body count rises, so do the stakes, and when the dead won’t stay dead, there’s going to be hell to pay.
Shaun, what are some ways in which you promote your work? Do you find that these add to or detract from your writing time?
As a writer, promotion is one of the hardest things to do as you’re competing against thousands of other authors for a reader’s attention. To promote my work, I participate in things such as this blog tour. I post on message boards. I maintain a presence on Myspace, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Goodreads and other sites. I help by sending out review copies. I do interviews in magazines and online. But it all takes time and obviously detracts from the writing side of things. I don’t think it matters whether you’re published by a major publisher or a small press one, most authors need to help promote their work. Now readers are a major part of this, and I would ask that if anyone has read a book and enjoyed it, they show their appreciation and help by posting a short review on any of the book sites such as Amazon or Goodreads etc, as it goes a long way towards helping an author along what is a long and lonely road. It only takes a couple of minutes, but I’m sure the author concerned would be most grateful.
For more info on my work, please check out www.shaunjeffrey.com
This week’s feature includes a mini-interview with a contributing author, Jaym Gates.
What was it like to write for Aether Age, Jaym?
I have to admit, when I first heard about the Aether Age project, I kind of wrote it off. Like so many other things, I’d heard about it on Twitter, when a couple of guys asked me if I would be involved. At the time, I was in California for a week, on vacation, and heading for some major deadlines.
I said I’d try. I wrote four different starts. My computer crashed, I was trying to put out a wildfire in the writing community I was administrating, I was running too tight on the deadlines as it was. On top of that, it’s been established that I don’t play well in other people’s worlds. I’m an unrepentant devotee of massive, detailed worlds, and had several failed collaborative attempts behind me.
A week before the deadline, I took my retired dinosaur of a computer and hammered out a first draft, a second draft, polished, sent it in 2 days before deadline…before the deadline was extended. The editors asked me if I’d be interested in writing another story. Ok, well, if you insist.
The world of Aether Age is difficult to write in, the first time through. Anything dealing with ancient Egypt or Greece is going to be problematic. The sheer level of detail is boggling, and the confusion. Was this ruler male, female, 1st Dynasty or 20th? Add a complex alternate history, and there are thousands of possibilities. It’s like trying to find the one special blueberry in a 5 pound box.
But, it does get a writer thinking. How would technologies change religion? How would airships change economy? How much horror would you get from mixing an unstable, unknown eternity of space with an endless pantheon of gods?
My stories explored the horror. What happens when criminals and monsters are abandoned on a rock, thousands of miles from anything they know, reliant on an atmosphere that goes away every now and then? What are those shadows in the dark? Where did the legends of Hades come from? What new gods would form in the endless depths of space, and how would they be worshiped?
Join me in the Aether, in the Age of Helios, this fall. It will be the adventure of a lifetime.
Check the master site, http://vacationreads.com for links to more blogs and participating authors’ info.