Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Dark Sleepers by Kate Sermon Excerpt, Interview & Giveaway

Dark Sleepers
Dark Flows the River Trilogy
Book 1
Kate Sermon

Genre: Young Adult Magical Realism Paranormal

Word count: 71,000
Page Count Print: 326

About the Book:

“You are astral travellers now. Able to project your spirit out of your body at will and enter the realms. You are not the only ones. Some people come here in their dreams without even knowing it. Some purposefully decide to travel here to find answers to questions they can’t find on earth... And some pass over... Die.”

Kezia's world implodes after her dad dies. She can't cope any more, and then she discovers the ability to leave her body. She drags her best friend, Ben, with her into other worlds to find her dad, but what she finds along the way, she could never be prepared for...

"Kate Sermon's writing is truly sublime. She creates characters to care for; whether it is dealing with friendship in our own world or grief in the astral planes, Kezia and Ben remain real people with hopes and flaws. Dark Sleepers is a startlingly imaginative debut."  ~ Dan Metcalf, Children's Author


Kezia was struggling even more. The memories that threatened to overwhelm her had waned, dispersing like vapour from a boiling kettle. But they had been replaced by a fear that she guessed was not her own, even if it was hard to tell for sure.

She lay down on the dirty sand and closed her eyes. It was an instinctive action and at once she knew that it was a good one. She breathed, as her mum had taught her when she was stressed or worried. She could hear very clearly her mum’s soothing voice say “Darling, just breathe. That’s all you need to do.”

It helped. Her heart rate slowed and a sense of herself began to emerge from the jumble inside her. As she concentrated on her breathing, she began to hear a tiny whispering sound like mice behind skirting boards. It came from deep inside her head. And it definitely wasn’t her own thoughts. It must be the girl’s.

Then it occurred to her – maybe she could talk to this child. Maybe find out something that could help. Just like the day her dad died, she found that words weren’t needed. Her thoughts traced patterns of light through the blackness.

“Who are you?” She asked.

Almost immediately she got a reply. A quivering voice, barely audible, said: “I don’t know. I’m… I’m scared.” It sounded desperate.

“Please don’t worry. I’ve been to this place before, it’s not so bad. I can help you.” She hoped this was true. “What’s your name?”

“I don’t remember… wait, I think it may be Rose. Can you really help me?” The voice brightened. “But he was chasing me. I needed to get away. It all happened too fast.”

“I’m sorry Rose. I don’t understand.”

Confused for a moment… but then a light bulb pinged on. It drenched all the confusion in bright, white light. She suddenly realised she knew what was going on – what this place was and why the children were here.

About the Author:

Kate lives with her family and other animals in Devon halfway between Dartmoor and the sea.
She's done a bit of journalism; writes a bit of poetry; has published some short stories, teaches creative writing, and is currently ensconced in a MA Creative Writing. Alongside, she's writing the second book in the series.
As a teenager Kate traipsed the moor imagining herself in some version of Wuthering Heights. Nothing much has changed.


Where are you from?
I’m from where my book is set. Dartmoor, Devon in the UK.
Tell us your latest news?
I’m just about to move house to a small 1000 year old cottage in my hometown. I’m super excited about its age. It has beams and an inglenook fireplace. Very similar to Kezia’s Cottage on Dartmoor.
When and why did you begin writing?
I’ve always written. But it was when I began my undergrad degree in my thirties that i had the courage to pull the beginnings of Dark Sleepers out of my notes and start to construct a story.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I know a lot of people won’t call themselves a writer until they're earning lots of money. But to me, being a writer is a description of who you are… and I definitely started using that description for myself when I was writing every day and had a project.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I’d moved my family to Canada from the UK in an attempt to start a new life. It was while I working behind the counter of our art gallery that we had bought rashly, that I was so overcome with home sickness that Dartmoor and Kezia popped into my head. There was plenty of time to write down ideas and thoughts as we had very few customers! We moved back to the UK in a year and I started writing Dark Sleepers properly.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I’m pretty descriptive. I like to paint images and I love using words in unusual ways.
How did you come up with the title?
There were many that we went through but we came up with Dark Sleepers because it inhabited the idea of astral travellers (sleepers) and the essence of dark, which to me means the unknown. Exploration of the unknown is so important for our growth as human beings.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
yes, I want to convey the important of positivity and how thoughts are creative. What we think we create all the time, so why not think the most positive thoughts possible.
How much of the book is realistic?
A vast proportion. I like the magical realism genre because it allows for a realistic setting that we can all relate to but there is room for the imagination to take over when we get involved in the magic element. I do love the physical world but it’s even more fascinating when juxtaposed with the magical.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Not really. Although Lots of my best friends, ones I’ve known since I was a teenager, have said that Kezia is me in character. I think they’re being too nice because i’m nowhere as kind as her. My own dad died when I was a teen too, also suddenly so my experience of that kind of grief was very useful. I also played around with astral projection when I was younger and I’ve always been interested in the concept of the astral realms.
What books have most influenced your life most?
I loved the Harry Potter books hugely. The plots were an inspiration not to mention JK Rowling’s own personal story.
I’m also a fan of Joanne Harris, the Chocolat series with its magical elements is sublime.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Definitely JK Rowling.
What book are you reading now?
I’m currently reading Women Who Run with Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I’m fascinated by myths and wildness, and in creating a strong female protagonist in Kezia I’m hoping to add my idea of wild feminism to the world.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been so busy writing and editing this year I’ve been somewhat off the page as far as new authors are concerned.
What are your current projects?
I’m currently editing the sequel to Dark Sleepers which will be released later this year. I’ve also always got a few starts of novels, poems, and short stories brewing.
What would you like my readers to know?

My own personal idea about stories is that they are here to enhance our lives. Bring the magic in and expand our commonality. 

Tour Giveaway

5 Kindle copies Dark Sleepers

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