Stricken: Guest Post

Stricken
By C.K. Kelly Martin
Publisher: CBD
Release Date: January 27, 2018
Genre: Middle Grade/Young Adult Dystopian Adventure/SciFi

About the Book

Naomi doesn’t expect anything unusual from her annual family trip to visit her grandparents in Ireland. What she expects is to celebrate her thirteenth birthday, hang out with her friends Ciara and Shehan, and deal with her gran’s Alzheimer’s. What she finds is a country hit by an unexpected virus that rapidly infects the majority of the Irish population over the age of twenty-one.

Amnestic-Delirium Syndrome (ADS) starts off with memory loss, but the virus soon turns its victims aggravated, blank, or violent. Naomi and her friends must survive on their own, without lucid adults, cut off from the rest of the world, until a cure is found.

But there are whispers that ADS is not terrestrial, and soon Naomi and her friends learn the frightening truth: we are not alone.

Guest Post

If I Knew Then What I Know Now About Writing.

If I knew then what know I now about writing, whoa boy, I would have had a much better understanding of just how long it takes to achieve a passable level of proficiency in writing a novel. And longer still to really be any good. Kicking around my apartment somewhere there’s an old floppy disk with a 51,000 word version of my first young adult book on it. I haven’t looked at that particular copy of the manuscript in over ten years (because who has a disc drive anymore?), but the last time I peeked at it I remember wincing.

Objectively it wasn’t the worst thing ever—it didn’t reek of egg salad left baking in the sun—but it was limp and skeletal. The most painful thing about the book was that it lacked voice, something that a character-driven novel (which it was) sorely needs. I wrote two sequels to that novel. I even eventually landed an agent for it, who gave me extensive notes on the book and who then sent the revised copy out to several editors. By then it was a competent enough entity, but still lacked presence and depth. I didn’t know my main character the way I thought I did so her characterization felt flimsy and weak, generic. I’d let her down.

At the time I didn’t truly know what I wanted to accomplish with the book and as a result there were too many elements that didn’t work together. I’d thrown everything in like a stew with fridge leftovers. This is the revised version, I’m talking about remember. So it was an improvement on the novel I’d started out with but not by much, not by enough. Okay, I’m being harsh because once you see the problems with your work you can’t unsee them (they kick dirt in your face and stab at your eyes!), but in effect, that whole trilogy was like a bicycle with training wheels for me.

Unsurprisingly, that first book didn’t sell, but the mistakes I made in it helped me grow as a writer. Over time, as I read more, wrote more, and received more feedback, I grew as a writer. The fourth book I wrote was called I Know It’s Over and it became my first published novel when Random House released it in 2008. Ten years later, after having worked with two editors and authored numerous other books, I believe in some ways I’m a better writer than when my first book came out. I don’t know that I could write a better version of I Know It’s Over today but I believe I’m more capable of writing different sorts of  books (in various genres and for various age groups). Probably in another ten years times I’ll look back on 2018 in wonderment at all I’ve learned since then. I hope so. I hope the learning and growing never ends.

About the Author

Long before I was an author I was a fan of books about Winnie the Pooh, Babar, Madeline, Anne Shirley and anything by Judy Blume. Throughout high school my favourite class was English. No surprise, then, that most of my time spent at York University in Toronto was as an English major—not the traditional way to graduate with a B.A. (Hons) in film studies but a fine way to get a general arts education.

After getting my film studies degree I headed for Dublin, Ireland and spent the majority of the nineties there in forgettable jobs meeting unforgettable people and enjoying the buzz. I always believed I’d get around to writing in earnest eventually, and I began writing my first novel in a flat in Dublin and finished it in a Toronto suburb. By then I’d discovered that fiction about young people felt the freshest and most exciting to me. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once.

Currently residing near Toronto with my Dub husband, I’m an aunt to twenty-one nieces and nephews, and a great-aunt to two great-nephews. I became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continue to visit Dublin as often as I can while working on novels about young people.

My first young adult book, I Know It’s Over, came out with Random House in September 2008, and was followed by One Lonely Degree, The Lighter Side of Life and Death, My Beating Teenage Heart and sci-fi thriller Yesterday. I released Yesterday’s sequel, Tomorrow, in 2013 and put out my first adult novel, Come See About Me, as an ebook in June 2012. My most recent contemporary YA books, The Sweetest Thing You Can Sing and Delicate, were published by Cormorant Books’ Dancing Cat Books imprint in 2014 and 2015.

Author Links

Website • Twitter • Facebook • Goodreads

 

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