New review for Through the Gloaming.

Posted in New Authors section with tags , , , on April 30, 2014 by Kate Jack

gloaming cover

Had a really long, dreary day at work, but soon bucked up when I saw this review on Goodreads, for book II in The Silver Flute Trilogy.

The second book in Katrina Jack’s ‘Silver Flute Trilogy’ finds Jeremiah Tully thrust back in a world he doesn’t want to return to, one where he has no voice and the truth of his past is catching up with him.

When he enters the Gloaming, a space between his world and his mother’s, the secrets start unraveling fast. Among them, what happened to his father and the truth behind his muteness.

The author did a fantastic job creating multi-layered worlds and characters that bend and stretch as they travel through them. Character-types that we’ve encountered in other types of fantasy have been given makeovers, reimagined and renamed, with faint echoes of their predecessors.

Jeremiah’s muteness is handled so well, it blends in with the rest of the story, making you forget anything is wrong with him until he encounters a new character. The mention of finger motions are a quick reminder without fixating on his disability.

There is a book prior to this one, which I read quite some time ago and did not have all the details fresh in my mind. It didn’t matter as this works as a standalone and can be enjoyed without having read the previous one.

So thanks to Emily McKeon for this sterling review of my book, and the four stars she awarded it. 😀

gloaming cover

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21121460-through-the-gloaming?utm_campaign=new_friend_updates_email&utm_content=title&utm_medium=email&utm_source=friend_updates

Land of Midnight Days – YA Urban fantasy

Posted in General with tags , , , , , on March 27, 2013 by Kate Jack

 http://askdavid.com/reviews/book/urban-fantasy/4787

midnightdayscover

Available now!

Posted in General with tags , , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by Kate Jack

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Without hard work, talent is not enough – Henri Matisse

From:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Midnight-Silver-Flute-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B008Z10Y3E/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1345235895&sr=1-2

http://www.amazon.com/Midnight-Silver-Flute-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B008Z10Y3E/

Does a writer’s mind ever turn off?

Posted in General with tags , , , , on March 23, 2017 by Kate Jack

Well, in a word, no!

It seems to me that the musical score: Flight of the bumble bee  perfectly describes a writer’s thoughts. Frantic, scurrying about, always on the move, are also equally suitable metaphors to describe an author’s thought processes. 

From the moment I wake up, to the time I go to sleep, I keep thinking about the books I’ve already written, or my current work in progress. If not that, then I’m looking for fresh marketing strategies, ways to create new story lines and characters – on and on and on. Everything else, such as getting dressed, going to work, eating, drinking and sleeping are all done on autopilot.

Talking about seeking out inspiration for new story lines, anything’s fair game: overheard conversations, unusual names, places seen from the train or bus, news stories, and even people’s faces. The outside world is an endless resource for such things. A writer’s brain is hot wired to pick up anything that can be used as a writing tool and will home in on an opportunity to gather material like an Exocet missile 🙂

So far I’m not actually hearing voices, but the day may come when I will literally explode, as my brain overloads and then deflates like a balloon 😀

 

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Writing is a legal high…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 20, 2017 by Kate Jack

…and a lot better for you than actual drugs 🙂 The sensations of achievement and satisfaction a writer experiences, when a new story or novel is created,  can be wonderful – even euphoric! 

I think this is due to a feeling of power, engendered by the act of creating worlds and characters only the author can control. In general we have very little leeway over our outer lives, but by evolving places, situations, people, and so on, our inner lives come totally within our jurisdiction and  no one else’s. 

Having said that I have, from time to time, lost control slightly when my story line has deviated from the route I intended it to take. Characters have altered their own personalities and made their own decisions. Of course this is probably my subconscious prompting me down another, often better route. This can be annoying though, particularly when you think everything’s going swimmingly and you’re brought up short by these mental intrusions; but ignore such promptings at your peril. They will nag away at you, until you give in and at least try out the alternative suggested by your internal editor.

However, altering plots and characterisation halfway through, means you have to check and recheck the continuity of your work and make sure any alterations made gel with the rest of the manuscript. I’ve often made the mistake of altering a situation a character’s in, only to find that it doesn’t match up with what went on earlier in the story. So make absolutely sure that everything is linked properly and the story doesn’t become derailed by even a tiny change, because you can be certain the reader will spot it 🙂

Kate Jack Author Page

Land of Midnight Days review

 

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Magical books

Posted in Book review, Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 17, 2017 by Kate Jack

No, I’m not talking about spell books, or grimoires, but fiction books in general. They allow access to adventures, mysteries and places the reader has never seen or experienced; the possibilities are endless. Of course speculative fiction, such as I write, allows the use of magic to enhance a sense of wonder and enthralment not perhaps available in other genres. The bonus of urban fantasy is that it also allows a combination of the real and fantastical.

 The Silver Flute Trilogy

An example of a mixture of the magical, mixed with realism, is one of the most unusual fantasy books I’ve ever read. Set in the 19th century this story is beautifully constructed, using a wonderful mixture of the author’s own characters and real, historical figures such as mad King George III and Lord Wellington.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

The story follows two English Magicians and their partnership as master and pupil, until a falling out sends them careening down divergent paths. The tale contains weird and wonderful creatures, from a world outside our own. There are elements of adventure, conflict, wickedness, tragedy, and reconciliation. To say that Susanna Clarke has produced a tale of wonder and enchantment, that completely draws the reader in, is an understatement. So it’s possible to combine genres successfully and satisfy readers who would not normally read historical fiction or fantasy.

The above illustrates that it’s perfectly possible to combine more than one genre and produce a book that will take readers’ breath away and send them spinning through a story that will immerse and engage with stunning effect.

Face booking

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When is a writer like a sculptor?

Posted in General with tags , , , on March 16, 2017 by Kate Jack

The answer is that every time a writer puts pen to paper, or fingers to a keyboard, they are sculpting worlds and characters. Each time a story is moulded together, its creator is sharing their vision, displaying it to the world like a fine piece of art. 

And writers are artists, but instead of marble or paint their tools are words, used to create images in a reader’s head, sparking the imagination into life and filling the brain with strange, faraway places.

From the very first word written, until the end is reached, a writer endeavours to entice, to create emotions of love, hate, fear, and above all, draw the reader in. To imbue their words with life is an author’s aim and offers a special diversion to those who seek new horizons. 

tweeting

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Writer’s block…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , on March 15, 2017 by Kate Jack

… is an author’s worst nightmare. It’s when you’re bereft of inspiration and, no matter how hard you try, your imagination seems to have shut down. In fact the harder you try, the worse the situation can become. The emptiness echoes around your brain, spreading darkness and desolation, along with the odd tumbleweed. This in turn raises all kinds of doubts: Has your talent deserted you? Will you ever write again? The thought of not being able to create raises all kinds of fears and engenders a bleakness that fills your life with greyness.

I remember a post I put on my author’s page on  Facebook about writer’s block and someone commented on it. It was made, I suspect, by a rather brash young man. He stated there was no excuse for not writing – what a ridiculous, black and white thing to say! Authors do have a life outside writing and all the problems associated with day to day living: work, family, illness, breakups from the love of their lives, all of which can interrupt the creative flow. This naturally leaves people fed up and unable to free themselves from what seems like an unbreakable pattern. Kate Jack Author Page

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Writer’s block can be overcome. Personally I go on a reading spree, garnering inspiration from my favourite authors. I even mentally edit books as I read, and feel really smug when I reconstruct clumsy sentences and dialogue written by famous authors. This reassures me that even best selling writers can make small mistakes, so there’s hope for me. And if there’s hope for me, then there’s definitely hope for all you self doubters out there.

Inspiration will return, so never give up, never lose hope, but charge into the fray and write, write, write! 😀

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What’s in a name?

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , , on March 14, 2017 by Kate Jack

There are various ways of choosing names for your characters. For example calling them after someone you know, or perhaps a TV personality, film star, or even “collecting” names from gravestones, or consulting the Yellow pages and even the telephone directory 🙂

I once worked as a data processor for a famous catalogue, recording the details of people who’d entered a competition the company was holding at the time. Wow! What a treasure trove that turned out to be! Not only were there unusual names aplenty, there was also a plethora of location names to inspire story lines. This proved a great resource, but not wishing to infringe anyone’s privacy, I always altered names slightly to produce my own version and never used anyone’s actual location details. Instead I’d combine place names to come up with completely fictional scenarios.

The first book of The Silver Flute TrilogyLand of Midnight Days, was set in a city. I deliberately didn’t give it a name, but garnered the details of its streets and buildings from locations in Liverpool city centre, my own home town. One of them was St Luke’s church, as pictured above. This building was bombed during the Second World War. It’s always fascinated me because the damage caused was to the interior only, leaving the outer walls more or less intact.

Once I’d created a backdrop, I then moved onto creating the occupants of my fictional city. I decided to call my main protagonist Jeremiah Tully  and gifted him with the ability to play the flute. The reason for this was because I love the 70’s rock band, Jethro Tull. Once I’d decided on the direction the stories were going to take, I thought long and hard about the other characters’ names and decided on a “biblical” theme, in order to enhance the epic feel of the stories. For example: Zebediah and Ezra are two of the names I chose. However, I didn’t want the narrative to be bogged down by too many elaborate names and most of the other protagonists and antagonists have ordinary names such as Joseph, Helen, and so on. I also made up the names: Thrace, Sylvan, Questial and Elawyn. Since I write YA urban fantasy, I had a fair amount of freedom to embellish my characters with wide ranging monikers. 

Of course it does depend, to a certain degree, what names can be used, depending on the genre you write in. That said, there are millions of “real-life” beautiful and unusual names to pick from, in order to make your characters memorable to the reader. Along with great, three-dimensional personalities, a writer can make a huge impression, enabling people to engage with your work.

The Silver Flute Trilogy

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Which is more fun to write…

Posted in Writing with tags , , , , on March 13, 2017 by Kate Jack

…Heroes or Villains? 

Personally I love writing the latter. As writers it’s our job to produce characters that intrigue the reader, and to raise questions about them that lead the reader on, until they gain the answers. Yes, I do evolve characters that have no redeeming features at all, such as Ezra, one of the main protagonists in Land of Midnight Days, but I also like to create characters that, on the surface, could be bad, should be bad and maybe are. In other words, I like to insert a little bit of uncertainty in the readers’ minds. 

With Ezra there’s no doubt about his evilness, but his real persona is hidden quite deep. Why is he the way he is? Why does he follow a certain pattern? Why is he afraid of  a woman who appears to be no physical threat to him? The answers to these questions are gradually revealed, as the story progresses.

In the second book of The Silver Flute Trilogy Through The Gloaming, we come across another character, called Thrace. He is an enigma, within a mystery, wrapped up in a puzzle. He is a brother in the Dark Monks. However, despite his apparent calling, there is something sinister about him. His past is steeped in bloodshed, war, chaos and mayhem. So how did he become part of an order that seeks only to do good? Is he hiding from someone? 

Dawn Horizon, the third book in The Silver Flute Trilogy heralds the appearance of  Elawyn. Initially it’s unclear as to whether she’ll turn out to be good or bad. She’s bitter, resentful and petulant, with some reason. However, she does change over the course of the story, evolving as she becomes more familiar with her fellow travellers. But does she change for the better, or does she betray her companions and send them to their doom? She is beautiful, but does her beauty disguise a degenerate spirit, or is it an outward display of who she really is?

I had a great deal of fun creating these people, moulding them into what I wanted them to be. That said, some of them seemed to take over their own creation, sometimes turning into something altogether different from what I’d originally intended 🙂

So how did I decide on names, physical appearance, and character traits? Well, I created “character sheets” for each of them. These are basically lists, outlining all of the above so that I ended up with a vivid mental picture in my mind, each time I wrote about them. Character sheets are also handy to consult, if you’ve not written about a character for a long time. It helps with continuity, keeping the character consistent and three dimensional. 

So, my friends, go forth and create. People your worlds with unforgettable characters that will entrance, appal, cause your readers to love, hate and long to read more. But above all have fun doing it. 🙂

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The Silver Flute Trilogy

 

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