Author Heather SunseriNews and Other Notes
Covered in Darkness is LIVE! And after reading this book, every time your electricity goes out, you will wonder two things:
- Are terrorists involved? And
- Will the electricity ever come back on?
To celebrate the release of Covered in Darkness, I am giving away lots of prizes!
Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire and all twelve of my ebooks! (That’s including Covered in Darkness and Shot in Darkness, which doesn’t release until the end of August!)
Second Prize: A set of the first three In Darkness books, signed by me and a code to download Shot in Darkness to your favorite eReader.
Third Prize: Free codes to download all four books in the In Darkness series to your favorite eReader.
Fourth Prize: Free audio code to one of the In Darkness books at Audible.
So… who wants to win?
Okay. Okay. I hear you. You’re asking… “What’s the catch?”
Simple. Share with your friends that Covered in Darkness is out today and tell them how excited you are to read it! You can do that by doing one of the following:
I. Share this blog post, telling your friends how excited you are to read Covered in Darkness. Include the hashtag: #CoveredInDarkness
II. Share a link from your favorite retailer, telling your friends how excited you are to read Covered in Darkness. Include the hashtag: #CoveredInDarkness
Choose from the following links:
You may use one of the graphics in this post when you share, or simply share the link. But don’t forget to INCLUDE THE HASHTAG #CoveredInDarkness so that I can find your post and reshare it! I’ll be watching for your posts on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter by following that hashtag. I’ll also be following the hashtag: #InDarkness.
Place a link to your post in the comments below! You’ll get an entry for each social media account you share on. So share on all three if you’re feeling energetic! All winners will be chosen randomly and announced next week. Contest ends Saturday, August 5, 2017 at midnight EST.
Hi, everyone! Happy Saturday!
I returned last week from a crazy fast trip through France and England. Well, mostly, we went to Paris and London, but we did visit Versailles, and we took the Eurostar (aka the Chunnel) from Paris to London and back, so we saw a bit of the countryside before and after we traveled beneath the English Channel. (Yes, the Chunnel is as cool as it sounds. It took us a little over 2 hours to get from Paris to London. And it was so smooth!)
I plan to post the many pictures we took on our journeys in a portfolio on the website in the coming weeks in case you’re interested in those, and I hope to blog about a few of our experiences that I think you might find interesting. So, stay tuned…
But first, let’s talk about the latest news and goings on in the world of authordom.
First… Covered in Darkness is live on Barnes & Noble. The lovely people over at Barnes & Noble spoke with me about releasing Covered to Nook readers a couple of weeks early, and I jumped at the chance to maybe gain some exposure to Nook readers that I wouldn’t otherwise get. You don’t have to own a Nook to read Covered early. You can download the free Nook app on any smart device or computer.
For those of you who simply choose not to read on a Nook, that’s totally okay. Covered in Darkness is releasing in just over a week on all platforms! That’s not long at all!! I’m so excited!!
Second… Speaking of the Covered in Darkness launch… I’ve got some amazing surprises coming your way! How about a week (5 days) of giveaways? I’ve got some amazing prizes set aside for the Covered launch week. I’ve got a brand new Kindle Fire to give away, and I just might put my entire library of books on it before I send it to the winner. I’ve got some gift cards to hand out. And I’ve got signed paperbacks of any book you want. So, starting August 1, come back to the blog to look for details.
Third… You know how when you read a book, and even when it has a fabulous and satisfying ending, but you still want more? Well, you’re not going to have to wait long for the next book in the In Darkness series. Shot in Darkness (an action-packed novella) is complete and ready to release twenty-eight days after Covered in Darkness.
I think three things is enough for today. But how about a Q&A? If you have any questions — anything at all — about the books releasing, what’s coming next, what I had for breakfast… Ask away in the comments. I’ll check in throughout the day and later tonight to answer everything.
Hope you have an amazing Saturday!
I have a treat for readers today! I am so excited to have Lisa Manterfield on the blog today, answering some really fun questions. And now that I’ve read the answers to my interview questions, I’m convinced Lisa and I are destined to meet in real life and become best friends. We have so much in common. And though I haven’t read her latest book, The Smallest Thing, YET, I cannot wait to read this one. It reminds me a little of the Emerge series, but with a completely different take on the ebola-like subject matter. I just know you are going to love Lisa and her new book! Be sure to read the entire interview, because there is a giveaway at the end! And if you’d like to see all of the interviews along the blog tour CLICK HERE or on the graphic below.
Let’s get to the interview…
HEATHER: I read on your website that you’re originally from England, and that you love adventures and expeditions into the world. Tell me: What is your most favorite country in the world that you’ve visited? Favorite city? Favorite experience? (Yes, those can all be different.)
LISA: I was hoping you wouldn’t ask any difficult questions! I think my favorite country is Peru. It has everything I love: Mountains, coastline, history, incredible architecture, delicious food. It’s such a colorful, vibrant culture. Peru also gave me one of my most memorable experiences, which was the four-day hike along the Inka Trail, arriving at Machu Picchu at dawn, long before the tour buses arrived. Watching the sun rise over the ancient ruins was one of the most spiritual and moving experiences I’ve ever had. That place is truly magical.
As far as cities go, I think my favorite might be Rome. It’s insane. There are Vespas zipping around all over the place, stylishly dressed people drinking espresso in sidewalk cafes, and you can get a bowl of delicious pasta at more or less any time of night. What’s not to love about that? And you can gorge on your pasta against a backdrop of incredible ancient history and stunning architecture. The Forum, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Vatican, and St. Peter’s are all there. It’s wonderful.
HEATHER: I, too, loved Rome! I was there a long time ago (too long), but I still have vivid memories of the cars whipping around traffic circles at crazy speeds. How have your travels impacted your writing? Has a particular adventure impacted one of your stories in big ways?
LISA: I do believe that traveling and moving far away from the place you grew up changes your perspective. It introduces you to all different kinds of people from all walks of life, and I encourage everyone to take a risk and travel. Ironically, I keep writing stories set around the area where I grew up. But, I think I’m able to see things with an outsider’s eye, while still knowing all the details of a local.
I do have an idea brewing that is based on an opportunity I had to travel to South Africa a few years ago. The company I was working for at the time had supported an aid organization based there, and I was part of a delegation that got to visit the school we helped fund. We visited several AIDS orphanages and hospitals, and visited homes in the most impoverished parts of Soweto, definitely off the usual tourist route. It was a profound experience and I’ve wanted to find a way to write about it in a meaningful way. I think I have a fictional character emerging who might tell the story.
HEATHER: I completely agree with you about our need to travel in order to get different perspectives. Traveling and experiencing different cultures has opened my eyes in so many ways. What one country or place have you not visited, but hope to?
LISA: Egypt. I didn’t even have to think about this one. I’ve been fascinated with Ancient Egypt for as long as I can remember and have a long list of sites I want to visit. The political unrest over recent years has made me a little nervous, but at some point I need to just go.
HEATHER: In your newest book, The Smallest Thing, the main character is hoping to escape her dull English village for London. How much of your own childhood and life did you bring into this novel?
LISA: I grew up not far from Eyam, the real village where The Smallest Thing is set, so many of the details for the settings came from my experience. Em, the main character in the novel, feels trapped in her life. Her family has lived in the village for ten generations, her dad expects her to work in the family business, and all her neighbors know everything about her. It’s not until the quarantine is imposed that Em is truly, physically trapped.
I think feeling trapped is a universal experience. We get ourselves trapped in towns with no future, in jobs we don’t love, in relationships that don’t benefit us, and in situations brought about when we don’t make the best decisions. I can’t say I ever felt trapped in my hometown, but I always knew I wouldn’t stay. Even when I was just a toddler, my mum says she knew that, of the three of her children, I’d be the one to end up the farthest away. I think I have explorer genes somewhere in my mix.
HEATHER: I can completely relate to the trapped feeling. I still remember the day job. Tell us a little about your writing process? How long did it take to write The Smallest Thing? Did you have to do a lot of research? What was the most challenging aspect of writing this novel?
LISA: The book was inspired by the true story of the Plague Village of Eyam, a community that chose to quarantine itself to prevent the spread of the Plague back in the 1600s. I’ve always been fascinated with the story, and for years I’ve wanted to retell it, but that’s been done countless times. I finally decided to tell a contemporary version.
I started writing it in 2014, which is about the time that Ebola started finding its way into the news here. One particular photograph struck me. It was of a relief worker, fully covered in HAZMAT suit, bathing a young child. It captured such a tender moment and reminded me again that behind the news headlines are real people whose lives have been upended, and courageous workers putting their own lives at risk to help others. It really solidified my story. It also plopped valuable research material into my lap on an almost daily basis.
Perhaps the hardest part for me was taking the story to the dark places it needed to go. Perhaps because it’s based on a true story and founded in reality, I found it hard to be unkind to my characters. An early Beta reader was adamant that one of my favorite characters should not survive. I knew he was right and that it would add depth to the story, but I didn’t want to be the executioner. That said, I think those stories make the novel feel real. It’s not just a faceless body count, but real lives cut short. It would be a lot easier if I didn’t get so emotionally attached to my characters. I might need to write a romance novel next so I can give my characters’ stories a happy ending.
HEATHER: Ha!! I’m pretty sure you and I are destined to cross paths in real life, Lisa! We have so much in common. Everything from our love of travel to our stories about Ebola-like illnesses.
Learn more about Lisa and The Smallest Thing below. If you decide to pick up the book, be sure to let me know, and we can discuss our thoughts on it. I love discussing books!
Oh, and one last thing. Lisa is giving away a paperback copy of The Smallest Thing along with some swag. Be sure to enter to win!
About the book:
But when the unexplained deaths of her neighbors force the government to quarantine the village, Em learns what it truly means to be trapped. Now, she must choose. Will she pursue her desire for freedom, at all costs, or do what’s best for the people she loves: her dad, her best friend Deb, and, to her surprise, the mysterious man in the HAZMAT suit?
Inspired by the historical story of the plague village of Eyam, this contemporary tale of friendship, community, and impossible love weaves the horrors of recent news headlines with the intimate details of how it feels to become an adult—and fall in love—in the midst of tragedy.
About the author:
Happy Wednesday, Friends!
I wanted to tell you about a new book club that is taking place inside Sunserious Readers, the very fun Facebook Group intended for readers of my books. If you are on this blog because you have read and enjoyed one of my books, then I have no doubt that Sunserious Readers is also a place for you. We like to hang out, talk about books and other fun stuff, and I’ve been told that readers like to hear from me what’s coming next in my own book world.
But it’s definitely not all about me, because that feels extremely weird. So, since we are all lovers of books, I decided to start a book club inside the group (and no, you don’t have to participate in book club to be a part of the group!!!).
Last month, at the inaugural meeting of the Sunserious Readers Book Club, we read and discussed A Merciful Death by Kendra Elliot. This month, we’re reading and discussing Say You’re Sorry by Melinda Leigh. I met both of these lovely women last year at Writers Police Academy and realized immediately how much we had in common, so it seemed fitting to start the book club with their latest books. Mainly because I wanted to read both books, and it’s so fun to discuss books after you read them, so… I started the Sunserious Readers Book Club. (Thanks to Melissa for coming up with the brilliant name!!)
So… Who’s in? Like I said above: you do not have to participate in book club to be a part of Sunserious Readers. Feel free to drop by and check out the group. If it’s not for you, you can leave the group just as easily. (Also, I reserve the right to remove anyone from the group who does not follow the rules.)
More about the book club:
When: July 19, 2017, 8 pm (but you can drop by anytime in the 24-hour period after to post comments)
Hope to see you there!