I'm not going to say too much about Soul Storm as it's the final part of the Soul Beach trilogy, other than it is a murder-mystery with a paranormal element. here are my reviews of the first two parts: Soul Beach and Soul Fire.
Here's the blurb for Cruel Summer: A year after the suicide of one of their friends, the rest of the group decide to spend the summer together in a holiday villa in the Mediterranean. They're hoping to get over the terrible events of the previous year, but then a new guest arrives - claiming to have evidence that the suicide was actually murder. When she is found dead, it becomes clear that the killer must be one of them - but who is it? And will they strike again? A compelling psychological thriller - with a dash of romance.
Ever wondered what authors talk about when they get together? We asked #murderonthebeach authors Kate Harrison and James Dawson to interview each other via Facebook – here are the results!
Kate Harrison: Morning, James! We're supposed to be interviewing each other, so I get to ask all the questions I've always wanted the answers to... like, what's your writing routine? I want the real version, not the 'I work out, write 5,000 words before breakfast' stuff most writers claim they do.
James Dawson: Hi Kate. Given that I'm still in my pyjamas at 9.40 this is clearly not the case! Usually I do try to be writing before 10, but I actually do go to the gym most days at some point in the morning. Then I write until about 6 and have the evenings off unless I'm on a really strict deadline. How about you?
K: Impressive! Well, I am in my gym kit, which is my way of trying to make sure I actually go. Writing full-time from home five years now means I have to shift my writer's booty or it expands very quickly! My routine is get up, do loads of social media, answer emails around writing, and then try to do some ACTUAL writing. I try to write against the clock, otherwise I get really distracted.
So what was Cruel Summer like to write? Loads of writers suffer quite badly with Second Book Syndrome, where they get scared about doing it again. Was that a problem after Hollow Pike did so well?
J: You are looking amazing at the moment! Are you still 5:2ing?
K: *Blushes*. Yes, I've been on this 5:2 diet now for a year. In fact, this Friday is my 'Fastiversary' - exactly 12 months since I first tried this. Since then I've lost loads of weight, written two books about the diet (including a cookbook, yummy) and met 10,000 new dieters on Facebook. But I've been dying to get back to fiction, so it's exciting that Soul Storm is out.
You're not avoiding my question about 2nd book syndrome, are you?
J: Cruel Summer was a funny one. Initially I had envisaged a Hollow Pike sequel as the next book and had more or less written it before I got a book deal (rookie mistake), so in a weird way Cruel Summer is actually my third book! That said it was a leap into the unknown because while the characters in Hollow Pike were based on faces from my past, the Cruel Summer gang were original creations. I did worry that fans of Hollow Pike wouldn't welcome the characters in the same way that they did the Hollow Pike gang, but early reviews have been great, thank God!
How do you feel at the end of the Soul Beach Saga? That must be YEARS of your life?!
K: Yep. Years. About five since I first thought, 'ooh, I wonder what a social network for the dead would be like, where teens could carry on with the lives they're missing out on.' It was more emotional than I expecting, finishing it off. I don't often cry or get spooked or scared when I am writing, but this time I did all three. I was very conscious that I had to finish it in an exciting way for all the readers - including my mum - who'd invested so much time in the trilogy. The first reports are that I managed it, phew...
Cruel Summer feels quite different to me from Hollow Pike. I love both but I think so far *haven't finished so no spoilers* Cruel Summer has the edge. Why the change?
J: I think I have a clearer idea of my brand as an author now; a better understanding of what is it I do well. I think they both have my fingerprints all over them - hopefully snappy dialogue, cliff-hanger chapter endings, creepy imagery - but I agree that Cruel Summer has a clearer voice and perhaps a little more originality.
I can't wait to read Soul Storm. I really think Soul Beach is one of the most original concepts in YA. Will there be further teen offerings from you?
K: Thank you. I definitely plan to write more YA and have about three ideas buzzing round my head right now. They are all quite different - scary but also emotional I think. For me, it's never been about writing for a genre or an age group, it's about writing the stories and ideas that fascinate me, but the brilliant thing about writing for teenage readers is they are so open to mixing it up. I've written novels for them and for women, TV scripts, and now even this diet book. But I think I always come back to the same themes: being tested to your limit, being scared but also excited by what the future holds, and ALWAYS the importance of friendships.
Right now, though, I am working on some short stories and also ideas for my next adult novel as well. How about you?
J: I agree - YA works so well because it's such an open playing field. You can do pretty much anything unconstrained by adult literary rules or adult genre rules.
I have just finished SAY HER NAME which is a proper, actually scary horror YA so I'm frantically trying to finish what will be my second non-fiction book. The deadline is looming.
K: Can't wait!
But talking of deadlines. I reckon that's our cue to finish this and get writing/going to the gym. But I thought it'd be good to share what we're reading right now. I am most of the way through an adult novel, Dearest Rose, by Rowan Coleman, and then it's Fractured by Teri Terry, the follow-up to her brilliant Slated. Too many books, too little time...
J: No! But then I’ll have to do actual work! But you're right of course. I'm presently reading something VERY exciting - a YA offering from an adult author before moving on to Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo!
K: Must get that one next. Fun chatting to you, Mr D. Hope you have a very excellent summer with Cruel Summer - #murderonthebeach is going to run and run!
Thanks so much Kate and James for your interview and Indigo for arranging it.
Look out for reviews of both these books soon on Teenage Fiction for All Ages.
The blog tour continues tomorrow at Winged Reviews.