'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY: Under Nameless Stars - Christian Schoon

The fantastic Christian Schoon is back on the blog for the release of his second book in the Zenn Scarlett series, Under Nameless Stars. This book sounds as fantastic as the first and we have an exciting extract from the book to share with you. As an awesome extra, Strange Chemistry is hosting a fantastic giveaway to win a copy of Under Nameless Stars!
Under Nameless Stars (Zenn Scarlett, #2)

Zenn Scarlett’s novice year of exoveterinarian training on Mars isn’t quite going to plan…
After barely surviving a plot to destroy her school and its menagerie of alien patients, could things at the Ciscan cloister get any worse? Yes. Yes they could: Zenn’s absent father Warra Scarlett has suddenly ceased all communication with her. Desperate to learn what’s become of him, Zenn stows away aboard the Helen of Troy, a starliner powered by one of the immense, dimension-jumping beasts known as Indra.
With her is Liam Tucker, a towner boy who is either very fond of her, very dangerous to her, or both. On the verge of learning the truth about her dad, Zenn’s quest suddenly catapults her and Liam thousands of light years beyond known space, and into the dark heart of a monstrous conspiracy. Braving a gauntlet of lethal environments and unearthly life forms, her courage and exovet skills will now be tested as never before.
With the fate of entire worlds hanging in the balance, Zenn is racing headlong into trouble… again.
Guest Post: The Writing Process of Under Nameless Stars
Christian Schoon

So, the writing process for Under Nameless Stars…. As it turns out, writing the follow up to Zenn Scarlett wasn’t all that different from writing the first book. That’s because originally both books were a single, longer book. And while I didn’t concern myself with word count when I was writing my first draft of the manuscript, I did know that debut authors like myself faced an uphill trudge if they expected to sell a first book of over 600 pages. So, when my agent at DeFiore & Co. suggested we split the novel into two books, I wasn’t shocked.

The initial task, as you'd guess, was to bring the first book’s story arc to a sensible conclusion roughly half-way through. This wasn’t that tough. The books drew themselves neatly into two parts: on Mars and off Mars. After this boundary line was drawn, I then had my hands full tying up loose ends, finishing some sub-plots, adding new ones, developing new characters/creatures here and there to do the plot-work that needed doing, going back and realizing some sections simply no longer belonged, filling in the voids with all new sections.

The most demanding bits of this procedure came, not surprisingly, when I had to make book two into its own self-contained beast while still linking up with and making sense in light of the first book’s plotting. The bones of the story were all in place, but the devil was in the connective tissue-details that had to be added.

Overall, though, the actual plot-tweaks of the second book came together more quickly than the first. This was due to the general structure of the story by that point in the narrative – much more linear/action-oriented, with Zenn’s trajectory established from the start. So while Under Nameless Stars took Zenn, Liam, Fane and the others into more and different alien environments, these had been sketched out in considerable detail during the original draft, so all I had to do was make sure the flow moved at the right pace. And, then, there was the backstory to be added to insert the necessary book one info for continuity.

All in all, the entire novel writing journey was an educational experience for a writer like me. I’d written TV scripts in the past, and those were comparatively succinct, self-contained writing exercises with fairly formulaic rules to be followed. Writing both of the Zenn books taught me huge respect for fiction authors in general, and also introduced me to the thrill of creating from-scratch-worlds and characters, as well as teaching me the patience required to bring these realms/beings to life. I’m grateful and still a little awe-struck by it all and hope the books’ readers might be able to share some small portion of that feeling too!
Under Nameless Stars Extract

Read an Extract:

To enter the giveaway, answer the following question and fill in the Rafflecopter below:

As they approach the Helen of Troy, Zenn notes that the starliner must have been built how long
a. 300 years ago
b. Over a century ago
c. Over half a century ago
d. Long ago and far away

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