Monday, December 16, 2013

Killing Your Darlings with S. M. Johnston

Today I'm handing over the blog to one of our, Sharon Johnston, in celebration of her latest release, SLEEPER.

A new heart should mean new life, not a living nightmare.

Mishca Richardson’s life is at an all-time high after her heart transplant. With new boyfriend, Ryder, the two of them have the perfect summer romance. Even the nightmares that have been plaguing her sleep since her operation can’t dull the high she’s on.

Things start to unravel as Mishca develops superhuman abilities. She does her best to hide them so as not to end up a science experiment in a lab. But she can’t ignore the instant attraction she experiences when she meets her university professor, Colin Reed.

Torn between the blossoming love and the obsession, Mishca must decide if she wants Ryder or Colin. But the organization responsible for her changes and her connection to Colin, is moving to secure Mishca for himself so that she can be the weapon he always intended her to be. If Mishca can’t resist her programming she’ll have a lot more to worry about than romance.

And over to Sharon...

I rip out the hearts of my darlings…and occasionally kill them

I am a mean-arse writer. My characters get torn apart. While I give my main character, Mishca, a really rough time in SLEEPER, the worst of it is for her love interest Ryder.

Readers seem to be falling in love with Ryder and I rip his heart out and then stomp all over it. My beta editor warned me that readers would not be happy with me for it. And so far she's been right, but it's a low point that is essential for the story - as you can see from the snippets of a review below.

"I was pretty pissed and really not happy at all"…and then "It was near the end that the plot turns hectic and you are blown away with what is really going on with this girl" ~ Eclipse Review (Read the full review here).

If everything was sunshine and roses the whole time it would be a very boring book, though I went beyond mean to down right cruel. But it's an important process to go through as this story is not just Mishca's. Book 2 of the Toy Soldier Series, DESERTER, is a dual POV between Ryder and Mishca (which should make some readers VERY happy). SLEEPER is the opening scene that lays the platform for what is to come, and it's a whole lot of pain for them all: Mishca, Ryder, Nerissa and Finlay.

Their stories intertwine over the four books, and I stomp all over my little darlings the whole way. But that's what a good writer does. They draw you in to the characters and make you feel so deeply that you may have the urge to throw your kindle across the room at the pain the author has caused to the characters.

But a good writer also keeps up a sliver of hope that there will be a happy ending at the story conclusion, though occasionally the author denies the readers of that as well. I know how the Toy Soldiers series ends, and I won't say if there will be squees of joy or cries of angst from readers, but the journey will be filled with ups and downs, heart-ache and sorrow, loss and a death or two.
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