Click on the note to enlarge. Unwoven will be released spring 2014.
Read a related archive newspaper clipping here.
November 17, 2013Leave a comment
A lot of teenagers are deeply suspicious of their teachers. Surely they’re aliens? Or zombies in disguise? Or perhaps they’re just plain evil? Well, when seventeen-year-old Eve catches a glimpse of her teachers’ true colours, she realises that, if anything, she hasn’t been suspicious enough.
The Sentinel begins as a bus crash leaves a coach load of school-goers teetering on the edge of a cliff (think the finale of The Italian Job). However, there are no laughs here because violent death seems all but inevitable. That is until Eve’s teachers go all Clark Kent and rescue her from the inside of the vehicle. Somewhat annoyingly though, the teachers seem prepared to let everyone else on the coach die in order to keep what’s happened a secret. Queue a super-turn from Eve herself to prevent exactly this from happening.
Martin certainly throws Eve in at the deep end, subjecting her protagonist (and readers) to a torrent of drama right from the off. Interestingly, this fierce pace could be considered to represent the speed at which Eve’s existence changes from a normal teenage girl’s to – well, poor old Eve isn’t exactly sure what but ‘normal’ certainly isn’t the word.
Of course, the signs have always been there and, as Eve slowly realises that much of her life has been a sham, she starts to twig that a good proportion of the people (and pets!) she thought she knew were never quite what they seemed. This slow unraveling of a teenager’s world is perhaps the novel’s major strength, and is what keeps you guessing for most of the word count – just who can Eve trust?
Follow Holly Martin on twitter here.
October 7, 2013Leave a comment
Above is a visual representation of my novel, Tethers. The larger a word is in the picture, the more times it appears throughout the book. The graphic was produced using Wordle, and you can click on the image to see it in full.
Wordle is a useful tool for identifying words you might have overused in your book, but it’s also brilliant for delving deeper into a finished text too. Just from glancing at the graphic, you get an immediate sense of how much each character appears throughout the story, with ‘Karl’ and ‘Esther’ clearly at the forefront of the adventure. Interestingly, ‘Dufor’ is relatively tiny despite Mr Dufor being the novel’s main antagonist. I was actually glad to see this, however, because, whilst I was writing the book, I wanted Dufor to be a kind of ghostly presence; a character rarely seen but whose actions are clearly and consistently felt by the central duo.
Other sizable words include ‘Notebook’, ‘Stratham’ and ‘Viniculum’. I imagine this is probably because they are all components of the inciting incident; the reason Karl and Esther are drawn into the conspiracy in the first place. One thing that did surprise me when I first looked at the image was the size of ‘Shona’. Shona’s name isn’t even mentioned until Chapter Nine, but the size of her visual representation signifies just how vital she is to the plot.
Anyway, if you happen to notice any other interesting nuggets, do let me know!
October 2, 20135 Comments
With reports of a new film from the world of Harry Potter delighting muggles everywhere, it’s easy to forget that fans will still be without a new entry into the wizarding franchise until 2015 at the earliest. As such, Potterheads might well consider picking up a copy of James C. Stuart’s unashamedly Potter-esque debut novel, Dragonstone.
Dragonstone begins with protagonist Charlie Stuart thwarting a group of snivelling school bullies in spectacular fashion, proving just how brave he is right from the off. And young Charlie will need this courage because, soon, he and his fellow Stuarts find themselves whisked away to the mysterious, Nottingham-based Dragonstone School.
Being from the city himself, Stuart portrays Nottingham superbly, sculpting a clear sense of the architecture, ambiance and energy of the surroundings. Accents are used throughout, but they are well-measured, crisp and never subtract from the novel’s splendid pacing.
However, the book really takes off once inside the walls of Dragonstone. The students learn how to wield a sword, the specifics of magickal history and, significantly, some of the life-lessons familiar to more orthodox school goers too. Other highlights include a kooky society fair complete with floating heads vying for student signatures, and the two fascinating Mages, Cosmolos and Astrophos.
The similarities to Potter are clear, but Stuart has built a world with it’s own distinct charm and richness - a promising debut indeed.
September 30, 2013Leave a comment