I’m happy to be a part of the blog tour for Sparked, and to bring you a guest post from the authors. See below for information about the book and authors, and their guest post for my blog!
About the Book:
Author: Helena Echlin & Malena Watrous
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Geek & Sundry
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Fifteen-year-old Laurel Goodwin wakes up to find her older sister Ivy missing from their Airstream trailer in the Oregon redwoods. A recurring nightmare convinces her that Ivy was abducted, but no one takes her dream seriously, including her mom. Laurel, a loner, has to learn to ask for help, and Jasper Blake, a mysterious new kid who shares her love of old books, quickly becomes her ally. Together they find their quiet town holds a deep secret and is the epicenter of a dark prophecy.
Laurel soon learns that her worst enemies, mean girls Peyton Andersen and Mei Rosen, are developing powers that she needs to find and save Ivy. With time running out, Laurel realizes that power doesn’t always take the form that you expect. And once she learns to look beyond her snap judgments, she develops an unexpected gift of her own.
About Helena and Malena:
Hello! We are both novelists, but if you’ve ever tried to write anything, you know that writing can be a lonely, angst-filled business. So one night over a cocktail or two, we came up with a solution: write our next book together. Malena already had an idea: a girl’s sister is kidnapped and she has to rely on mean girls with superpowers to get her sister back. We couldn’t resist seeing where that story would take us – a wild ride that includes a loner girl who wants to be a writer and a gorgeous boy who can shoot fire from his eyes but also loves to talk about books. And an ancient Zoroastrian prophecy. And pie shakes. (OK, so maybe we got a little carried away.)
We’ve both published solo novels (check them out here and here) and had no idea how co-writing would work out, but we pounded out the first draft in a white-hot frenzy of inspiration we called “the Vortex.” One of us would write a scene and send it to the other with a note: “My apartment is a pigsty and I haven’t eaten all day. #inthevortex.” We wrote the book we wanted to read as teenagers: a supernatural thriller with healthy doses of horror and humor. Oh, and of course there’s romance. You have to wait a long time for the only kiss in the book, but isn’t that the case with all the best kisses in books?
3 winners will receive a finished copy of SPARKED, US Only.
And here’s the guest post!
What were some of your influences/inspirations for writing this story?
Helena: Here’s how the book began. We went out for drinks one rainy night—Friday the thirteenth, as it happens—and I told Malena I was tired of writing adult fiction. She told me about her idea for a YA novel:
A girl, Laurel, wakes up to find that her beloved older sister Ivy is missing from their shared bedroom. The next night, Laurel has a dream that she can move things with her eyes—only in the dream, she is Ivy, and she’s chained up in an underground cell. Laurel is convinced that Ivy has been kidnapped.
I was hooked. And I started riffing. What if nobody believes Laurel? Now she’s completely on her own and only she can save Ivy. I grabbed a pen and took furious notes as we dreamed up our plot.
Malena: My original idea had two inspirations. First, when I was a kid, I had a recurring dream that I could move things with my eyes. The feeling was so real that I always woke up feeling disappointed I didn’t have a power after all. I had almost forgotten about the dream when I had it again as an adult. It got me thinking about a teen character who wants to have a power but doesn’t. How would she feel if everyone around her was getting a power—including the mean girls who torment her at school? Laurel is a girl who feels that she’s always second best and I think many of us secretly feel this way.
The other inspiration was the 2002 kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart. Elizabeth was abducted from her own bedroom when she was 14, a bedroom she shared with her significantly younger sister. I was fascinated at the time. How could someone be abducted from her own bedroom, without her little sister waking up or calling for help? I would’ve imagined the younger child was more likely to be kidnapped. I wondered how her little sister felt—the one who was left behind.
Helena: Reading and books influenced us too. We turned to writing YA because we wanted to recapture the experience of reading when we were young—when we’d read under the covers with a flashlight because we were so desperate to find out what happened next. But we wanted to write a page-turner that also has dark humor and complicated, flawed characters. That’s why finishing this book took approximately 10,000 lattes and more rewrites than we care to admit. But although writing a book with someone else wasn’t half the work, it was definitely twice the fun!
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