I'd like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Lisa Sanchez for inviting me to be a part of Sizzling Summer Author Extravaganza. When she asked, I was honored and, to be honest, a bit shocked. After all, my work has not been published yet. But, I really appreciate the opportunity to tell you a little about my historical, young adult novel, Death’s Island.
Meriden’s troubles began one hundred years before her time, when her great grandfather made a deal with Death and then tried to shirk his commitment. As revenge for her great grandfather’s treachery, Death placed a curse upon her family’s bloodline.
Despite their efforts, the group finds trouble around every corner including a mutinous crew, treacherous storms, and sailors bewitched by greed. Once Meriden arrives at Death’s Island, Death singles her out as the repayment he seeks. Unable to turn back, she pushes her way through cursed forests filled with hideous monsters, fighting for her life at every turn.
Death’s Island became a really big part of my life over the years. My father died when I was nine and I resented the fact that I felt so helpless. There was nothing I could do to save him. So, even at a young age I saw Death as this ugly, heartless creature that I could not retaliate against. Here is an excerpt where my character does what he does best as he terrifies one of the crew and takes a soul.
“His knees shook as a tall figure hunched over him. Staring down at him through a black hood was a skull like face with brown leather skin stretched over it. A skeleton like body peeked through a massive cloak. Only his pure black eyes seemed to be alive and focused.”
~Death’s IslandWhat was intriguing about bringing this character to life is that he is a very powerful creature, but he has some limitations. After all, you can just have Death snap his fingers and he has a soul. I mean, were would the fun be in that, right? I really enjoy having Meriden give him a run for his money because I feel that through her I can face one of my greatest enemies. However, Death isn’t the only villain in the story. There are, in fact, several villainess characters Meriden has to watch out while trying to stay out of Death’s grasp.
One of the other main villains Meriden faces is a greedy pirate named Blake Baker. Blake was really fun to write because he’s the type of villain that I love to hate. His focus throughout the book is finding the legendary treasure Meriden’s great grandfather hid on the island. He doesn’t care about the dangers. He doesn’t care how many men he has to sacrifice to get it. He wants it and he uses very cruel methods to get it. Basically, he takes pleasure using torture and killing. Also, he has this dark humor that accents his personality. So, he’s definitely a character to watch for as you read the book.
And, of course, Meriden is also facing the challenges of being an 18th century teenage girl. It is hard enough to prove herself to a crew of superstitious men without the distraction of several young men trying to win her heart.
I really enjoy the five young bachelors that are entangled in Meriden’s life. The first of the group is Rupert Railing, who is a wealthy young man from the high society of 18 century England. He’s definitely self-absorbed and kind of a clown, but he still has really deep feelings for Meriden. Then there is George Hobson, the surgeon’s apprentice, living in Meriden’s little village. He’s been in love ever since he first laid eyes on Meriden. Matthew Kettlesworth has been Meriden’s best friend since they were small children and were always getting into trouble together. He definitely cares for Meriden and really tries to protect her or at least be there for her whenever he can. Gregory Wilson, a stranger from the Colonies, finds himself in Meriden’s village and stows away on her ship when she sets sail. He was badly hurt in previous relationship, but he can’t resist his feelings for Meriden even though he tries hard to deny them. Finally Zack Wilson, Greg’s brother, is the bad boy in the story. His attraction is more about the conquest, like a predator playing with its prey.
Writing these characters has really been amazing and they provide depth and scope to the plot. I loved creating their interactions, not just with Meriden but between each other as well. I especially enjoyed writing the interactions between Rupert and Greg because they are so opposite in personality which allowed me to integrate a lot of excitement and humor. Sometimes the competition between the courters becomes quite dangerous.
Death’s Island has been a real pleasure to write and I hope someday soon it will become a story everyone really enjoys reading. There’s a lot of excitement, drama, and comedy in its pages. There’s even a wide range of different age groups among the characters. So, I hope, when it’s published, everyone find something they really love about it.
My novel is represented by Agent Bree Ogden of Martin Literary Management (http://www.martinliterarymanagement.com).
Also, I would like to announce for the first time that I’ve been working on the sequel, Death’s Fury, which continues Death’s quest to claim Meriden’s soul:
“Meriden is trying to re-adjust to a normal life after the horrors she faced on Death's Island. Her only reminder is the brand burnt deep into her shoulder-blade and the curse it carries. Off the island, she is supposed to be safe from Death's wrath. But, he has bent the Immortals' Laws to his will and has taken command of an army to hunt her down. Now, Meriden finds herself cornered in Albemarle's Town, facing the undead.”So, be on the lookout for the latest news on Death’s Island and Death’s Fury on my website at www.ketch1714.wordpress.com.
Thank you again, Lisa, for letting me be a part of this wonderful event! And be sure stop by her blog tomorrow for Carol Oates’s guest post!
Lo! Death has reared himself a throne
In a strange city lying alone
Far down within the dim West,
Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best
Have gone to their eternal rest.
~The City in the Sea, Poe