Ooooh, a sweet and smart YA Paranormal Dystopian Romance, and one that I really enjoyed! Meet the author, Sarah Brownlee, below…
When did you start writing? What was the first thing that you ever wrote?
I started writing from a very young age – as soon as I could pick up a pen and form a word! The first thing I wrote was a short story about a dragon. No one liked him in the local town because he was so big and ugly, and he went to go live in a cave; he was befriended by a human girl who’d got lost on a hiking trip. No idea how it ended, I’m afraid!
Is writing your full-time job? If not, would you like it to be, and why? If so, what are the most rewarding and challenging parts of full-time independent writing?
I am a part-time author, but would love to write full-time. Writing is in my blood and I can’t imagine anything else I would rather be doing (except, of course, looking after my dogs – I would still like to keep them!)
How many books and/or series have you written to date? Which one of your books is your favorite, and why?
Currently, two of my completed novels are published. ‘How the Wolf Lost Her Heart’ and its sequel ‘How the Tiger Faced His Challenge’, both Young Adult books. I have two other children’s novels that are completed, which will be released next year. Of the four, one of the children’s books is my favourite. I honestly feel it is my best work to date and I am excited for its launch. ‘How the Tiger Faced His Challenge’ is also a favourite of mine. It was extremely challenging to write and, being someone who thrives on challenge, I pushed myself to the very limit. Crossing that finishing line was an amazing feeling and that is why this particular book is the one I am most proud of.
What are your future projects?
I’m very excited about my upcoming projects. Currently, I am working on the prequel to ‘How the Wolf Lost Her Heart’ which is also a children’s novel and centres around the experiment in 2012 that gave Skye’s and Raphael’s ancestors the ability to transform into their spirit animals. I also have several other novels in progress; three are children’s books, one is another YA and there is also an adult book. So 2016 will certainly be a busy one!
Your book is classified as a Young Adult Paranormal Romance. Could you explain how or why it falls in to those categories? Why did you choose to set your story in the dystopian future?
‘How the Wolf Lost Her Heart’ centres much more on the romantic aspect, as opposed to the dystopian one. The ‘Paranormal’ side relates to their abilities to turn into their spirit animals. Even though this was the direct result of a scientific experiment two hundred years previously, I felt it was a way to let readers know that there would be shape-shifting in this book. As to why I chose a dystopian setting, I wanted to write a story that related directly to the prequel, but was set in a different time. (I actually started writing the prequel around seven years ago.) It is easy for me to envision that type of future in London and I highlight the reasons why in both ‘How the Wolf Lost Her Heart’ and its sequel.
Why did you decide to write your heroine Skye in ‘How the Wolf Lost Her Heart’ as so defensive at first? What do you think the hero Raphael saw in her?
Great question. It doesn’t go into too much detail in the book, but Skye’s been very hurt in the past romance-wise. So for her to feel attracted to someone, let alone have feelings for them, is scary for her. She’s the type of person who becomes aggressive when afraid, hence her hackles shot right up when she realized she was unable to resist Raphael’s charms. She’s quite a defensive person in general (much of this has to do with the stigma of being a Morpher) and the threat of Raphael easing his way in alarmed her. Combined with her past hurts, plus career-focussed mentality, she felt her best option was to strengthen her defence barriers.
As for what Raphael saw in her, I think there were a number of things he liked about Skye. I wouldn’t say he was particularly attracted to her in the beginning, but the fact she was a Morpher intrigued him and made him want to get to know her better. As time went on, he found himself enamoured by her for several reasons. Raphael is used to women falling at his feet – it was the first time he had encountered someone who displayed no romantic interest in him and this enticed him. But more importantly than this, he felt at ease with her and felt she was someone he could be himself with. I can only put this down to a connection that existed between them, which had nothing to do with being Morphers – but simply something that just “is” between two people. And when they transformed together for the first time … well, it was all over from there. ☺
Both characters are Morphers – why did you choose a white wolf and a tiger as their spirit animals?
Mostly because wolves and tigers are my favourite animals! Wolves are relatively misunderstood, but loyal to a fault and very protective of one another – I think this captures Skye’s personality very well. As for tigers – majestic, powerful, beautiful, strong. This is how I envisage Raphael.
The love scenes were emotional and sensual, but definitely not descriptive or graphic. In fact, the romance in the book is very sweet, almost innocent, though it’s clear that Skye and Raphael are strongly attracted to each other on a physical level. Why did you keep the sexual aspect of the book so ‘clean’? Was it just the YA aspect?
Another great question. I would definitely say the YA aspect had something to do with it; similarly, the prequel to this novel is also going to be read by children and I wanted to keep it relatively ‘clean’ because of that. Another reason was due to my own personal preference. I knew that if I was going to write a romance novel, I would want it to be somewhat innocent. A guy and girl who like each other, but are too shy to tell each other – that’s the type of romance I personally enjoy, the sort of ‘high school crush’ where there’s plenty of bantering and hinting, but very little action. As a result, Skye and Raphael may come across a little younger than they are, but on the other hand, I do believe that the insecurities that prevent them from getting together exist in all ages, and I wanted to highlight this.
Why did you choose to write the book as a cliff-hanger? What can readers expect from the next book?
The next book is very different from the first. There is not as much romance in ‘How the Tiger Faced His Challenge’ and the light-hearted tone that is prevalent in the first novel has vanished. This is a story about war, blood and destruction; the series has taken a darker, heavier turn and there is much more history about how London ended up in such ruins; the Morphers must now fight for their lives and the lives of everyone they care about. More action, more suspense; far more of a dystopian feel. This one is listed as a YA Fantasy Dystopian. I hope readers shall enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed writing it.
If a reader wanted to find out more about you, where could they do that? Have you got a website, blog, social media presence?
The best place to find me is on my Facebook author page. I am also always happy to talk to readers and other authors on Goodreads. I also have a blog where readers can check out my array of articles on various topics: skyespitfire.wordpress.com
Thanks very much for this interview. I have thoroughly enjoyed answering these questions and it has been a pleasure to be featured.