Monday, August 15, 2016

Dark Sleepers

Dark Sleepers
Dark Flows the River Trilogy
Book 1
Kate Sermon

Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism Paranormal

Word count: 71,000
Page Count Print: 326

About the Book:

“You are astral travellers now. Able to project your spirit out of your body at will and enter the realms. You are not the only ones. Some people come here in their dreams without even knowing it. Some purposefully decide to travel here to find answers to questions they can’t find on earth... And some pass over... Die.”

Kezia's world implodes after her dad dies. She can't cope any more, and then she discovers the ability to leave her body. She drags her best friend, Ben, with her into other worlds to find her dad, but what she finds along the way, she could never be prepared for...

"Kate Sermon's writing is truly sublime. She creates characters to care for; whether it is dealing with friendship in our own world or grief in the astral planes, Kezia and Ben remain real people with hopes and flaws. Dark Sleepers is a startlingly imaginative debut." ~ Dan Metcalf, Children's Author


Kezia was struggling even more. The memories that threatened to overwhelm her had waned, dispersing like vapour from a boiling kettle. But they had been replaced by a fear that she guessed was not her own, even if it was hard to tell for sure.

She lay down on the dirty sand and closed her eyes. It was an instinctive action and at once she knew that it was a good one. She breathed, as her mum had taught her when she was stressed or worried. She could hear very clearly her mum’s soothing voice say “Darling, just breathe. That’s all you need to do.”

It helped. Her heart rate slowed and a sense of herself began to emerge from the jumble inside her. As she concentrated on her breathing, she began to hear a tiny whispering sound like mice behind skirting boards. It came from deep inside her head. And it definitely wasn’t her own thoughts. It must be the girl’s.

Then it occurred to her – maybe she could talk to this child. Maybe find out something that could help. Just like the day her dad died, she found that words weren’t needed. Her thoughts traced patterns of light through the blackness.

“Who are you?” She asked.

Almost immediately she got a reply. A quivering voice, barely audible, said: “I don’t know. I’m… I’m scared.” It sounded desperate.

“Please don’t worry. I’ve been to this place before, it’s not so bad. I can help you.” She hoped this was true. “What’s your name?”

“I don’t remember… wait, I think it may be Rose. Can you really help me?” The voice brightened. “But he was chasing me. I needed to get away. It all happened too fast.”

“I’m sorry Rose. I don’t understand.”

Confused for a moment… but then a light bulb pinged on. It drenched all the confusion in bright, white light. She suddenly realised she knew what was going on – what this place was and why the children were here.

About the Author:

Kate lives with her family and other animals in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea. She's done a bit of journalism; writes a bit of poetry; has published some short stories, teaches creative writing, and is currently ensconced in a MA Creative Writing. Alongside, she's writing the second book in the series. As a teenager Kate traipsed the moor imagining herself in some version of Wuthering Heights. Nothing much has changed.

Guest Post
Writing When You’re Lazy, have no Concentration and a Facebook Addiction…

Hi there, I’m Kate Sermon, author of the Dark Flows the River series the first of which, Dark Sleepers, is being released on the 14th August. I thought you might like to hear a little about my writing process…
Whenever I dare to tell people I’m a novelist I get one of two responses: Some people will tell me about the novel they too are writing but their bottom drawer ate it and it’s now hopelessly out of date OR much more common is the exclamation that how on earth did I find the discipline to write a novel?
At this point if I’m feeling particularly cruel or cheeky I tell them I’ve actually written two as the sequel to Dark Sleepers is out at Christmas. But then, I decide to be kind and tell them it really is no biggie. As I have a process, a strategy, if you will. It really is the lazy person’s guide to writing your novel. The only extraordinary talent it requires is a lack of perfectionism… a kind of ‘that’ll do!” attitude. I have that in abundance luckily.
So, ready to hear the secret of writing 70,000 words in less than 6 months? Here it is. I don’t get out of bed until I write 500 words everyday. It’s the only way I can get into the creative flow without getting distracted by last night’s washing up, or the cats’ needing feeding (they can wait a little while).
During the first draft process of Dark Sleepers, when I finally decided to just write it, and stop faffing around with bits of notes on old receipts everywhere, I never edited as I went. (That’ll do! attitude) That I think was hugely important. If I’d been worrying about every word and deleting ten for every twenty words I would have been crippled with self doubt but instead I just wrote. Whatever came into my head, whatever flowed on that morning.
I never had a plan either. Free fall writing I like to call it. Writing without a parachute but it takes far less bravery. I found that the fact I was writing every morning before getting up meant my brain was still very much in creative mode from sleeping. I’d often go to bed with absolutely no idea what I was going to write next, even when waking I didn’t have a clue, but as soon as I opened up the Word doc, and poised my fingers over the keys, it came, it just did, like I was tapping into something else.
The best bit was my 500 words always took me less than an hour, so I’d get up having finished my words and get on with my day. Job, kids and house, all became fun, with no nagging “I must do that!” hanging over my head. I knew that I’d completed something creative for myself that day, and that felt really good.
As the book grew in size the flow, well flowed, more and more, no blocks at all, the act of writing every day seemed to keep the creative cogs well oiled - and indeed if I did have the occasional day off (I’m not perfect remember) the next day back to it was always slower. I think it was because I was also getting to know my characters, so most of the time it felt like they're making decisions for themselves.
That’s how to write a novel in less than 6 months. Of course next comes the editing stage, which I call the accountancy of writing, not my favourite, takes twice as long, and can only happen for me with my Facebook feed open. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.
Would love to hear your thoughts on my process!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you for featuring me Laura. Have a great day!