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[Author Interview] Kate Sander | Force: Book Two of the Zoya Chronicles

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Kate Sander

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Kate: My name is Kate Sander. I’m 27 years old and work as a Primary Care Paramedic in my home city of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada. It’s a small city in northern Saskatchewan. I’m married and we have two dogs, a 5 year-old Labradoodle named Sammi (she’s the queen of the house) and a 2 year-old Goldendoodle name Pippin (yes, they are named after hobbits). I also have my Firefighting training and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. The combination makes for a very different and interesting take on plot and story-telling.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Kate: Not very long! I started writing in 2015 while I was working in the oil patch in Alberta as a medic. I’m not sure if anyone knows what that job entails, but it’s usually about 2 hours of paperwork and 10 hours a day of doing nothing by yourself. So I started writing. Never looked back.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Kate: Force: Book Two of the Zoya Chronicles was just released! It follows Senka through her newest adventure in our world and The Other Place. It’s a thrill, it’s fast-paced and in my opinion it’s better than the first.

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ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Kate: My job can be very stressful at times and I find that there’s a lot of situations that I can’t control. When I write, I’m in control of the entire world (unless my character refuses to behave). I find that it’s therapeutic and can really help me out.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Kate: Finding time! Between work and life I find it hard to just sit down and write. I also find myself getting obsessive when writing a novel. That’s all I think about, all day, every day, until it’s done. So I try to take breaks between novels to try to keep everything fresh and to stop from burning out. Unfortunately for my readers it means long gaps between novels. However I think the break helps me deliver a better product.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Kate: No idea. I’ve always had a really over-active imagination, so I guess it comes from that. Now, instead of standing in the shower and “winning” the argument I had with someone 5 months ago, I’m thinking of plot and character development.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Kate: I use a solid mix of pre-plotting and writing by the seat of my pants. I pre-plot main ideas loosely. My chapter and book outlines are very fluid and I’ll change them a hundred times before I finish the book. I find that this allows me to follow the creative process. It also allows for plot changes when my character makes a really stupid decision.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Kate: Yes! I try to write my characters as being flawed and human. So sometimes they make really stupid, life-altering decisions. And once they are on paper, in my mind they’ve occurred so I can’t change it. It leads to really interesting plot points, but sometimes really annoying character flaws that I have to work through.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Kate: My books tend to focus on female characters. I LOVE it when they kick ass against all odds. I work really hard to make the fighting believable, and as I have a black belt in karate I understand a little on how to use a smaller frame against a bigger body. This makes my women ultimate badasses and I absolutely love when they let loose and kick ass.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Kate: Currently on a bit of a break. Next will be the next two Zoya Chronicles. I have plans for 2 more books, and I don’t write in order. So hopefully book 3 finishes before book 4 but no guarantees.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Kate: My website is www.zoyabooks.com. You can get signed paperbacks and merchandise on that site, and also get in contact with me about anything you need. My facebook is www.facebook.com/katesander. My twitter handle is @K_Sander10. My author email is katesander.author@gmail.com. I try to answer everyone.

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Kate: Thanks for the interview! I really appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your site.


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Force: Book Two of the Zoya Chronicles – Entered 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Kate Sander

Force is the second installment of Kate Sander’s science fiction series, The Zoya Chronicles. Senka is on another mission for the Zoya Task Force, but she’s still haunted by her tragic past. Nearby, fifteen-year-olds Isaac and Kelly have been kidnapped, doomed to be sold like livestock into unspeakable horror. In The Other Place, a new mad king has usurped the throne, but the dissent of his people is breeding revolution. Tory is on a quest to find her estranged father, but what she discovers will change everything she thought she knew. Meanwhile, all of these people are intertwined in ways they don’t yet realize, and Dr. Charlie Penner’s scientific breakthrough has catastrophic implications for all of them.

Although entertaining, Force does not function well as a standalone novel. It regularly refers to events from the first book in the series, Pulse, which could lead to confusion for new readers. Although, this book may lead to confusion regardless of whether the first book has been read or not. The inclusion of alternate dimensions or timelines can be difficult to follow, and the frequent dropping of storylines to focus on others for large portions of the book is frustrating. There’s a lot going on in this book – perhaps too much.

Despite its moments of confusion, Force is incredibly captivating. Its characters and plot are intriguing and complex, with plenty of fascinating twists and turns along the way. Force is a page-turner from the very beginning, full of action and suspense, with a cliffhanger ending guaranteed to leave readers wanting more. Kate Sander has masterfully crafted a creative, exciting, mesmerizing world in The Zoya Chronicles; Force not only contributes to this fantastic series, but raises the bar higher than ever for its pending sequels.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Welcome to the Apocalypse – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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D.L. Richardson

In D. L. Richardson’s Welcome to the Apocalypse: Pandora, Kelly Lawrence is a grieving widow longing to reconnect with her deceased husband. She takes his place in a beta test for a virtual reality game he helped to design, one in which players are placed in simulation pods and virtually transported to an apocalyptic scenario of their choice. Kelly, along with her overprotective brother, Jack, and their friend, Reis, select the vampire apocalypse. Once the game is over, instead of being released from the pods as they should be, they are transported to another apocalypse to start again. Together, Kelly, Jack, and Reis must try to find a way to escape the brutal game, all while doing everything they can to stay alive.

While Welcome to the Apocalypse: Pandora certainly has an excellent premise, its execution leaves much to be desired. The main character, Kelly, is far too brooding and melancholy, with confusing motives and no real desire to be there in the first place; her miserable demeanor diluted the excitement and terror of the games. Many of the potential action scenes were passed over completely, in favor of her internal conflict on the sidelines or just closing her eyes (literally!) to it altogether. The general plot development was also quite lackluster, rushing through scenes without including more details about the game and its various scenarios.

What makes Welcome to the Apocalypse: Pandora so exhilarating, though, is its ingenuity. It resembles a blend of The Hunger Games and Jumanji, while still maintaining a level of believability not achieved in those works. With the growing popularity of virtual reality gaming and survival-oriented games, the plot depicted in this book is not implausible, and that’s what makes it so interesting. D. L. Richardson has a fantastic idea here; hopefully, the next book in the series will improve its plot development so that this series can reach its full potential.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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[Author Interview] Timothy Bateson | Evaline Transcendent

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

Timothy Bateson

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

Timothy Bateson: I was born in England back in the mid-seventies, and moved to Alaska in 2005, after meeting my wife Sandi online. She’s been a huge inspiration over the time I’ve known her, and is the reason I pushed so hard to get my US citizenship earlier this year.

My wife and I are a writing team that seems to work together well. She’s developing two novel series, one of which I’m also contributing stories to, as well as helping me keep on track with my own projects.

Outside our personal projects, I’m also involved in several online communities, including Brain to Books, which has hosted an online book and author expo for the last three years. I also love handling birds of prey, and have been an amateur falconer since I was about 12. I’ve lost count of the number of raptors I’ve flown and handled, but I’ll never forget the experience of handling and flying eagles.

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

Timothy Bateson: I’ve been writing for about 15 years, but I had a hard time getting projects finished until I met my wife, Sandi. Once I read her first draft for a novel she was working on, and we started collaborating on story and character ideas. That was probably about 10 years ago, and I really became series about my own writing about four years ago, and beat Sandi into print after having a story accepted for an anthology.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

Timothy Bateson: Last year I re-released the story that started my appearances in print, Under A Hunter’s Moon. Since its original release it became the first of a series of short stories that look at some backstories for the Shadows Over Seattle novels that Sandi and I are working on.

More recently, I’ve re-released my first science fiction story, Evaline Transcendent. However, this is an expanded version of the story that first went into the anthology it was featured in. I revisited this one, because I realized there was more to the story than the original word count limit had allowed for. So, I went back, added in plot threads I’d originally had to delete, and brought in some new material that I really rounded the story out.

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ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

Timothy Bateson: It’s the after-work mad word dashes at 3am to try and hit my personal word count targets, the pressure to fix all the plot lines, spelling errors, grammar problems, and formatting issues to get the projects finished.

But I think more than anything it’s the fact that I’m an indie writer, and if I don’t start believing I’m doing this for the money, I’m answerable to no-one but myself. There are no editors breathing down my neck to meet deadlines, no one telling me I can’t write the stories I really want to tell. It’s just me and whoever is kind enough to pick up my stories, and join me for on the journey – even if it’s for a short time.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

Timothy Bateson: I’d have to say it’s the marketing aspect of being a writer. Even with the big publishing companies, many writers are now being expected to take part in marketing their own books. It’s a trend that’s even more noticeable in the indie writing market, because many of us are our own publishers.

I’m very lucky to have a lot of very good friends who are also writers, and some of them are very marketing savvy. But I still have problems planning a release date far enough out to have time to build buzz for the book before it hits the shelves.

However, every book is a new experience, and I learn from the mistakes I make.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

Timothy Bateson: I think this is one of those questions that doesn’t have an easy answer. For me, it’s a combination of factors.

I read a lot, and this is something I recommend to everyone, not just new writers. Not only does it broaden your experience, but it allows you to look at how other people build their stories. I can pick up a book, and learn at least the basics of a subject, usually at least enough to get an idea and not look like a complete idiot when I incorporate it into a story. I’ve probably got more web pages bookmarked for possible story use than I’ll ever actually use, but it’s comforting to know that I have the resources marked for things I’m not overly familiar with.

I also draw a lot on personal experiences, because I try to broaden my horizons as much as possible. It’s hard to connect to aspects of a story that you haven’t personally experienced, and I think that’s the same for both writers and readers alike. Google Maps can show you the layout of a city, give you street level views, and help you navigate, but there’s no substitute for personally walking the streets during rush hour and soaking in the sights, sounds and smells

ATAI: What is your writing process?

Timothy Bateson: A lot depends on the project. Under A Hunter’s Moon came about because the lead character in Of Wolves and Men (Richard Parsons, a shapeshifter) kept trying to interject his backstory into inappropriate spots. So, the idea of writing that part of his life as a short story was born.

Usually though, I’ll get a rough idea of an event that happens to someone, and then brainstorm around that. Sometimes that event will be the catalyst for the story, and other times it will end up being in there somewhere, with other events leading up to it. A lot depends on the idea, and the characters I need to tell the story. I’ll then write a draft overview of the story, and then an outline which might anything from a full scene-by-scene breakdown to a one-line idea about each scene.

When I’m creating characters, I like to explore their personalities in my head, and try to get a good feel for their physicality and emotional landscape, and personalities before setting pen to paper. I like to build up a profile which includes as much descriptive information as possible, and then I’ll even sometimes build a 3d model of the character, so I have an actual model for visual reference. These models are also a great way for me to visualize snapshots of action scenes.

ATAI: Do your characters (or message) ever seem to have a life of their own or an agenda of their own?

Timothy Bateson: Very definitely. I’ve already mentioned before, how Richard Parsons kept trying to derail the plot for Of Wolves and Men by interjecting his background story. Well, he derailed the plot a little later, when he quit the one job that put him in a position to resolve a major aspect of the story. But, in the process of doing so, I learned something important about his personality and realized that this was the only decision he could make in the circumstances. I had to rewrite about sixty percent of my outline to accommodate this shift in his available resources, but I think it’s going to make “Of Wolves and Men” a much more interesting story a result.

ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?

Timothy Bateson: Evaline Transcendent is told from the perspective of a colony ship’s artificial intelligence. But, she’s been operating without human intervention for almost twenty years. I love those little moments when she shows hints of a personality that might be more than her programmers anticipated.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

Timothy Bateson: I’ve got two more short stories in the Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels series that I’m working on.


The Lupine’s Call is a follow-up story to Under A Hunter’s Moon, and immediately precedes the opening scene of Of Wolves and Men. It’s pretty much finished in terms of writing and editing, and just needs a good cover before I release it.


Wolves in the Desert is going to need a lot of work, because there are aspects that don’t seem to work for me even after three drafts.


I’m also still working on Of Wolves and Men, which will be the first novel in the Shadows Over Seattle series, as well as helping my wife write and edit the follow-up novel A Rose by any Other Name.


Hopefully I won’t be distracted from these stories by ideas for new ones.

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

Timothy Bateson:
Website: http://timothybatesonauthor.weebly.com
Blog: http://timothybatesonauthor.wordpress.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Timothy-Bateson/e/B00N7OXNJG
Twitter: https://twitter.com/timothybatesona
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/timothy.bateson.3
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/timothybatesona/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/timothybatesonauthor/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCy8fkQmWjRZImTt5NeYdFHw
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8509895.Timothy_Bateson

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

Timothy Bateson: I’d like to thank Rob and Janelle for reaching out to authors, and offering the opportunity to do these interviews. It means a lot to me that you’re willing to get new faces out to your readers.

And to everyone reading, don’t be shy about reaching out to me on social media, or by email, because I love chatting about almost anything.


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[Author Interview] JP Cawood | Love From Mars and Sam & The Secrets…

Featured Authors Talk About It

Author Interview

JP Cawood

ATAI: Tell us a little about you.

JP CAWOOD: I live in Los Angeles, and I love to travel. My top favorite destinations are Thailand, Switzerland, and the Dominican Republic. I wrote my first two books in London where I spent six months with my husband while he worked on a movie out there. That was one of the best years of my life so far!

ATAI: How long have you been writing?

JP CAWOOD: Even when I was a child, I used to write stories for fun. But I’ve been professionally writing for over a decade. I started with screenwriting for films and have worked in television development, which includes writing a lot of pitch materials, treatments, and episode outlines. I moved over to writing books only two years ago. It’s fun to try new mediums and challenge myself. While the approach is different between TV and books, a good story is a good story.

ATAI: What was your most recent release?

JP CAWOOD: I released my first two books simultaneously. Love from Mars is a science fiction romance about the first six people to colonize Mars. The protagonist is a young reporter and when she goes to the Martian Six press conference, she has an undeniable connection with one of the men who has a one-way ticket to leave the planet. Sam & The Secrets of the Universe is a science fiction fantasy for younger readers. 14 year-old Sam dies on Earth and wakes up on a strange planet where he’s given the opportunity to learn the secrets of the Universe. If he passes his tests, he’ll go to the next planet where more secrets await. If he fails, he’ll be reset and lose his identity. He goes on an epic cosmic adventure through a black hole! The books both have science fiction elements, but are very different.

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ATAI: What do you love most about writing?

JP CAWOOD: I love dreaming up new worlds, and living vicariously through my characters! It’s like lucid dreaming only you’re awake.

ATAI: What do you find most challenging?

JP CAWOOD: The editing process is the worst! The creative fun part is over and you have to comb through the text to make sure it’s as perfect as possible. It’s tedious and boring.

ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?

JP CAWOOD: Everyday life is an inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere. The plot for Love from Mars came to me in a dream, but the seeds were planted initially by reading about the real proposals to send men to Mars. Sam & The Secrets of the Universe was inspired by many years of studying ancient philosophies. Those were the seeds, but the plot came to me in a flash after reading an article about black holes. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of ideas while I mediate. On average I mediate twice daily, and I can’t even begin to explain how impactful the practice is.

ATAI: What is your writing process?

JP CAWOOD: I am constantly writing down seeds of ideas. Whether it’s a scene that comes to me or a character or a set-up, I write them in notebooks and on my phone. When I have a decent idea of a story I want to tell, I start by outlining. The first outline is very general, and then I start to flesh out each scene. I don’t start writing the actual text until I have a complete outline. Usually for the second and third drafts, I’ll go back and refine the outline so I have a clear idea of what needs to be changed and where I’m headed.

ATAI: What are you working on next?

JP CAWOOD: I am almost finished with a children’s book called The Wrong Rock. It’s a really cute story about inclusion and equality told through the adventure of a tiny mushroom with a big dream. The story idea came from my husband. He’s making a short animated film by the same name and plot. I created the children’s book to serve as a perk for his crowdfunding campaign so he can raise money to finish the film. He’s launching on IndieGoGo on July 29th. Through that website, you’ll be able to get an advance copy of the children’s book, but there’s lots of other cool perks as well. For example, you can even voice one of the characters!

ATAI: Where can people find you online?

JP CAWOOD: My website is www.jpcawood.com and there you can watch the book trailers for both Love from Mars and Sam & The Secrets of the Universe. You can also order the books on my website (and on Amazon) sign up for my newsletter to be eligible for freebies and contests, contact me, and read my blog. You can also connect with me on
Facebook: www.facebook.com/jpcawoodbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jpcawoodbooks
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16202670.J_P_Cawood
Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/jpcawood

ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.

JP CAWOOD: Thanks for having me! I love chatting about my books and good stories in general. If anyone out there has any additional questions for me, ask me a question on Goodreads!


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The Baby Chronicles – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Beatrice Bruno

Beatrice Bruno’s The Baby Chronicles follows the spiritual journey of four “pre-born” babies: Beverly, Emmaline, Joyce, and Margarette Ann. Before they are born, they are allowed a glimpse of what their human lives will be like. Some of them don’t like what they see: lives full of difficulty, sorrow, and darkness. They would rather stay in Heaven with God, but to do so will mean abandoning the destinies God has selected for them. Each pre-born girl must come to terms with her own destiny and faith in order to discover the ultimate gift: God’s purpose for them.

In the beginning, The Baby Chronicles seems to spend too much time reiterating biblical stories many already know, like God’s creation of Earth and man. Then, it skips ahead to what seems like centuries later with little warning or expression of time passed. This odd style of pacing continues for much of the book, which can be a bit confusing. Also, some of the details surrounding the spiritual world the pre-born babies live in before their human births are vague and unclear; expansion on these interesting topics would benefit this book incredibly.

However, The Baby Chronicles certainly has a fascinating premise. The concept of pre-born spirits seeing their entire human lives, then forgetting it so that they can learn grand lessons about faith along their journeys is a wonderfully intriguing one. Beatrice Bruno expertly blends religious truths and masterful fiction in The Baby Chronicles, making for one captivating read. No matter your religion, The Baby Chronicles provokes deep thought and introspection about who we are before and after our lives, and what our higher purposes are in this life and the next.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Behind the Gem – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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Ken Hart

Behind the Gem by Ken Hart is a science fiction novel that pushes the unassuming Raymond into an alien society. The Draasen choose Raymond as the “birther” for Amber, an alien that he ultimately comes to love and rule with. Together they navigate their strange new relationship, conflicts and challenges that come along the way.

Hart has created a novel that bursts with creativity. While there seem to be some overarching similarities to Planet of the Apes and Avatar, it does stand up. The story is a well-balanced combination of alien politics, love and Raymond’s exploration of and ultimate assimilation into the new alien culture. The dialogue, even when telepathic, is realistic and the ending, while predictable, gives the story a happy conclusion allowing Amber and Raymond to live out their lives together. Readers will also appreciate the chance to imagine Hart’s creations without being over burdened with descriptive passages.

However, there are faults with Behind the Gem. The first is the title, which could be linked to the stones used by the Draasen aliens but is not tied into the story nor revealed to hold any significance. The pacing of the novel can be glacial at points, and the repetitive bathing and feeding scenes do little to aid this. Hart’s creativity is without question, but the execution sometimes fails and in turn, does not do his creations justice. There are long sequences that can be easily glossed over without missing the plot or important details. The prologue and the epilogue also feel misplaced and unnecessary. 

Overall, Behind the Gem is a science fiction story with heart. Hart has created an alien race that challenges typical gender roles, explores the complexities of relationships and lets its readers imagine a world where long snouted aliens rule.

 

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Eyes Behold Tomorrow – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

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Ken Hart

In Ken Hart’s The Eyes Behold Tomorrow, Edward Robert Teach is a womanizer and avid partier, with not a care in the world. Then, a mysterious space ship lands, bringing with it an even stranger race of wide-eyed female aliens called Feletians. Robert takes a great interest in one of them in particular, a princess and recruiter named Kamini. She recruits Robert as the Captain of the Feletian Navy vessel, Devastator, but their opposite tactical approaches cause them to butt heads. Despite their differences, Kamini and Robert must band together to save Feletia – and Earth – from a dangerous alien threat that is looming on the horizon.

In many ways, The Eyes Behold Tomorrow seems to cater to a more adolescent audience. Juvenile humor, awkward dialogue, and rushed pacing takes away from what could have been a mature, complex science fiction novel. Also, the character of Robert isn’t necessarily the most likeable protagonist. He’s the sort of arrogant, macho playboy that teenage boys might find entertaining, but most adult readers likely would not. Robert is not exactly the sort of hero that the average reader can get behind; instead, he tends to be rather annoying for most of the book, and The Eyes Behold Tomorrow suffers as a result.

However, it is abundantly clear that The Eyes Behold Tomorrow holds a great deal of promise, particularly in its creative and unique plot. Ken Hart’s alien world is intriguing; it is complex enough to capture the reader’s attention, without being so convoluted as to be confusing or unlikeable. There is certainly potential for future sequels, though perhaps with some improved character development as Robert’s story continues. The Eyes Behold Tomorrow may not be for everyone, but it is a good start to what could be a truly fascinating science fiction series.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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The Severaine – Entered in 2017 ATAI Book Award Contest

4 Stars

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K.J. Simmill

The Severaine by K.J. Simmill is a fantasy story that recounts the adventures of a band of heroes, led by a grief-stricken Daniel, as they set off into a world being tormented by the Severaine, a darkness that is set to destroy humanity. Told with action, emotion and packed with recognizable fantasy tropes, The Severaine sets itself up to be a fantasy novel to rival the very best in the genre.

While this is the second book in The Forgotten Legacy Series, the story acts well as a standalone novel, and readers will quickly pick up on the plot. Simmill has worked hard in creating a world and characters that readers will relate to, and with classical themes around revenge, loss and good vs. evil, readers will be quickly drawn into the quest and action sequences. The Severaine also seems to play homage to more traditional quest literature, such as the Odyssey with some glaring references to the Greek Epic as well as other mythologies.

However, while Simmill is creative and her world well fleshed out, it lacks focus, and the inclusion of magic, Greek Gods, portals, medicinal herbs, monsters and new characters hinders the reader’s ability to focus on all these elements; and in turn, forget their relevance to the story. This is a real pity as Simmill has something to offer this genre. Another issue with this novel is the dialogue. Many times, it feels unrealistic and is quickly swallowed up by descriptions and the need to describe every facial cue or action that precedes it. There is no doubt that The Severaine is an ambitious project but with better focus and fewer characters and creations, readers could be more invested in the central quest. The length of the book, at 624 pages, also speaks to the sheer “quest” that the reader must undertake to get through this novel.

Overall, The Severaine is a fantasy novel jam-packed with creative ideas. Fantasy readers will enjoy what Simmill must offer, but may not have time to appreciate and digest one fantastical element before being met with something equally shiny and exciting.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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Retaliation: Earth Reclamation Force – Entered in 2017 Book Award Contest

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Martin Wallace

Retaliation is the first installment of Martin Wallace’s Earth Reclamation Force series, in which Earth has been decimated by extraterrestrial beings. Human survivors were forced to flee their dead planet and seek refuge in outer space. Once there, they join in a militarized union called the Earth Reclamation Force; their primary objective is to seek vengeance against the creatures that destroyed Earth. Lieutenant Commander Scott Cave leads a renowned fighter battalion within the ERF and makes it his personal mission to retaliate against the destructive aliens at any cost.

Retaliation is a bit of a difficult read, largely because of its lack of coherent sentences. Navigating the run-on sentences, odd formatting, occasional plot holes, and winding, distracted narration is a chore; it takes a fair bit of determination to read it through to the end. This is incredibly unfortunate, as Retaliation’s concept is intriguing and has great potential. It just needs an extensive edit to reach that promising potential.

Despite its notable drawbacks, there is a most interesting story in Retaliation. In some respects, it seems to be inspired by some of science fiction’s greatest, like Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, or even Star Wars. In other areas, though, Retaliation is entirely unique. Martin Wallace’s writing is full of imagination, fantasy, and ominous foreshadowing of reality. The promise is there; Retaliation has the potential to join the ranks of science fiction’s greatest, too. It needs a bit of work to achieve that, to be sure, but it’s certainly within reach for this dramatic space adventure.

Originally critiqued by a member of the Authors Talk About It team.

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