If songs could be blurbs…

You know when you sit and daydream about your new book and imagine a montage in the film version that you’re absolutely certain will be made one day, then you make a mental note of the music that would be playing over the scene and decide that you’ll insist the film’s producers approach the band in question and pay them any amount of money they ask for that song?

Oh, so that’s just me then? Well, the first time I heard this song the lyrics immediately resonated with me because they were so reminiscent of the scenes where Elijah is travelling the road with his friends in Runners. Enjoy!

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The ones that got away…

There’s some feverish activity going on chez Sant this week.  Number one on the list of jobs is final preparations for the release of Runners, my first traditionally published book.   Some of you may know that Runners is actually the first novel I ever wrote (or finished, at least) way back in 2007.  So it seems like I’ve been waiting for this moment forever, the moment where I finally get to see it in print and hold and stroke its pretty cover and… well, you get the picture…

The inside of the book has been set and needs a final proof read. I have my fabulous editor, Louise Coquio to thank for that.  The cover has been chosen after a very long period of procrastination and a lot of hard work from everyone involved.  I need to bestow huge thanks on our model, Erin, who braved soggy forests, rain, rampaging stags and swarms of bees to pose for us.  And I need to thank my lovely designer, Kath Hickton, who has spent hours bringing the photos to life.  I can’t show you the final choice yet, but I can show you some of the ones that almost made it.  I hope you like them…

ErinBlueEyesandFontDarkerblue

 

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S is for Sky

People seemed to like my Runners excerpt for R.  So, because there’s nothing quite like milking the cow dry, I thought I’d treat you to another one.  Sky is one of the teenage girls in Runners.  She’s softly spoken, a gentle soul who sees and hears things that others don’t.  She’s the quiet backbone of the group, the moral compass.  This excerpt tells you a little more about her:

Elijah woke in the early hours of the next morning.  He lay quietly, listening to the sounds of regular breathing and the occasional shuffle or cough of his companions as they continued to sleep.  He couldn’t tell what time it was and remembered bitterly that he no longer had his dad’s old watch.  A shaft of dazzling sunlight blazed across the ceiling from a gap in the boarding at the window, so he guessed it was after dawn.  He also mused, staring lazily at that bright streak, that if it was too hot, he may not be able to get away after all – at least – not right away.  Looking across at Rosa, who was curled in a sleeping bag with a hand tucked under her chin, her hair spread gloriously across the pillow, he didn’t feel entirely sorry about that.  The others were all in sleeping bags too, making him the only one with a mattress.  He wondered idly who usually took the mattress when he wasn’t there. 

He felt at his head; the swelling had subsided and it didn’t ache so much now.  Pushing himself up, he unlaced his boot and felt inside.  Satisfied, he began to re-tie it when the morning peace was shattered by a piercing squeal. Sky bolted up, golden hair flying behind her and eyes wild.  She stared at Elijah, panting heavily.  Rosa groaned and half opened her eyes, and Elijah saw a tattered cushion fly from Xavier’s direction at Sky’s head.  It missed and bounced across the floor.  He mumbled, ‘not again’ before flipping over and closing his eyes.  Oblivious, Sky continued to stare at Elijah with a terrified look, until he felt compelled to speak. 

‘Are you ok?’ 

At this, she seemed to snap out of her trance. She nodded weakly, and then lay down again to stare at the same dazzling bolt of sunlight that Elijah had been watching all morning.

‘Looks hot today.’

‘Mmmm.’

‘Still thinking of going?’ 

‘I should really.’

‘Why?’  She sat up and looked at him squarely.  He shrugged.  Then, without the least sense of absurdity or irony, Sky said: ‘I had a premonition.’

‘What?’

‘Just now.’

‘A premonition?  Are you joking?’ Elijah could tell by the earnest look on her face that she wasn’t.

‘It was about you.  You were floating face down in a river and we pulled you out.’

‘Cheers.  Don’t tell me any more, eh?  What makes you say it was a premonition?  Couldn’t it be a dream?  You were asleep… it could have been a dream…’  Elijah wasn’t sure he liked the way this conversation was going. He had been there five minutes and already this weird girl was having visions of his imminent demise. As if he didn’t have enough to worry about.

Sky shrugged. ‘I just know.  I have them all the time.’ 

‘Don’t listen to her,’ mumbled Xavier, half-asleep from across the room, ‘she’s mental.’

You can check out Runners on the Goodreads page or even add it to your shelf, y’know, if you wanted to…

R is for Runners… what else did you think it was going to be for?

Yay!  I’ve been desperate to get to R so that I could share an extract of Runners with you.  Runners is a YA dystopian novel set in a near-future Britain (about 100 years, is that near-future?).  Runners is the name given to kids who live on the streets, and the novel follows a gang of these kids as they battle to stay alive.  As if that’s not bad enough, they stumble upon a secret guarded by a powerful man, a secret that will threaten their lives and the very existence of their entire world. Here we go…

Xavier leaned against the wall of the alleyway and folded his arms.

‘We’re not taking him with us.’

‘But, Xavier –’

‘There’s enough of us as it is.’ He cast an appraising eye over the unconscious boy.  ‘I don’t trust him.’

‘How can you say that?  You don’t even know him.’  The speaker was a girl with long, blonde hair.

‘I don’t need to know him.  He’s a Runner.’

‘We’re Runners!’

‘That’s different.’

‘How?’

‘It just is.’

The boy on the floor groaned.

‘He does look in a bad way,’ said a second boy. ‘He might die if we leave him here.’

‘Not my problem,’ Xavier said.

‘Jimmy’s right,’ the girl cut in.  ‘What if you had said that about Rowan?  Think of all the ways he’s helped us out since we met up with him.  Maybe this kid could do the same, maybe he’d be good for us.’

Xavier nudged the boy with his foot, but he didn’t stir. ‘I doubt it.  He looks as though he’d just eat everything we have and then scarper.’

The girl looked down at the injured boy with a pained expression.  ‘Please, let’s just take him back to the cottage.  I couldn’t bear it if I found out something had happened to him and we could have helped.’

Xavier sighed.  ‘Alright then. But don’t blame me if he steals everything you own once he wakes up.’

‘I don’t own anything,’ the girl smiled.

‘You two can carry him if you’re so desperate to get him back.’ Xavier threw a last glance at the figure on the floor and then turned to leave.

 ***

When Elijah came to the second time he felt better, as if he had just woken from a good night’s sleep.  His eyes remained closed while he savoured the sensation.  Some instinct he couldn’t name told him he wasn’t in immediate danger.  When his eyes finally opened, he could see that he had been taken indoors.  Instead of concrete hardness beneath him, he was lying on something lumpy – but soft, at least.  As he pushed himself up to investigate, his head reacted to the change in position and exploded with pain.  He clapped his hands to it, holding himself until the pain subsided into a pounding throb.  Gingerly, he felt the spot where the blow had struck.  His hair was matted and sticky. Inspecting his fingers, he recognised what could only be his own congealed blood.  As he dropped his hands to wipe them on his trousers, he looked up and found two faces near his, watching him with a mixture of concern and curiosity.

‘D’you think he’s ok?’

‘Dunno, looks a bit rough still.’

‘You could check him.’

Elijah looked from one to the other.  In a weak, hoarse voice that he hadn’t expected from his own mouth, he interrupted: ‘I am actually here, you know!’

The boy addressed Elijah uncertainly.  ‘Sorry… um… how many fingers am I holding up?’

‘How many am I holding up?’  Elijah raised two fingers of his own in a dubious salute.   The boy’s frown changed into a broad grin.  It was such a disarming grin that, despite himself, Elijah couldn’t help a small smile in return.

The boy was about Elijah’s age, slim, taller than him, brown haired with a floppy fringe.  It was a frank, honest face; the corners of the boy’s mouth had a natural upturn which gave the impression that he was constantly suppressing a grin, and lively brown eyes added to the air of mischief.

Elijah’s gaze flicked briefly to the girl.  She was about his age too; blonde, blue eyes that spoke of summers past, with a melancholy to them that made Elijah wonder just how long she had been running.  Judging by the way she was dressed, in jeans that looked far too large tucked into battered lace up boots, her wrists covered in coloured beads and fabric bracelets in varying states of decomposition, he figured it was quite a long time.

‘What’s your name?’ she asked Elijah.

Did he lie?  He stared dumbly at her, not knowing what to say.  She smiled patiently.

‘You’re ok here.  Maybe you should just lie down again.  D’you want some water?’  Elijah nodded. ‘I’m Sky,’ she continued.  ‘And this,’ Sky gestured toward her companion as she crossed the small room for a plastic bottle of water, ‘is Jimmy.’

Jimmy grinned in acknowledgement and pushed a hand through his fringe.

Elijah took a chipped mug of water from her.  It wasn’t cold, but it was clean and fresh.  ‘How long have I been here for?’  Elijah sipped again, his eyes not moving from them.

‘Well,’ began Jimmy, ‘we found you yesterday afternoon…’

‘And it’s about four now,’ completed Sky, looking at a nurse’s fob watch pinned to her grubby jacket, ‘so about a day.’

Elijah was going to ask how they had found him, but Sky anticipated the question.

‘It’s a good job you’ve come round before Xavier got back.’ She glanced at Jimmy as she spoke. ‘We saw two guys at the precinct before you got there.  We were out looking for stuff in this boarded up store and we saw them hanging around in that alleyway.  They looked a bit dodgy, so we hid and waited for them to go.  Next thing we see you come along with another boy and get clobbered.’  She looked suddenly pained. ‘They went through your pockets… and they took your rucksack. I’m sorry we couldn’t…’

Elijah stopped listening. He remembered that he had been running. He remembered what he had been running from…

Runners is due for publication 8th June by Immanion Press.  You can check out the Goodreads page here.

E is for Elijah

That’s Elijah Thackeray. Hero (of sorts, some might say anti-hero) of my upcoming novel Runners. Awww, come on, you didn’t think I was going to go through all this A-Z challenge without squeezing in one or two posts about my own books, did you?

This is a little known fact (and one I’ll probably regret divulging) but the muse for the character of Elijah is actually his Hollywood namesake, Elijah Wood. I wrote Runners in 2007 and at the time was in the throes of a Lord of the Rings obsession. Before you run off screaming ‘fan fiction’, just wait! I say muse, not reproduction. I liked the way he looked, the name seemed perfect for my character and it was easy to visualise him when writing him. This makes me a thieving, tricksy little hobbit, right? But I’m fairly certain that the Hollywood Elijah is nowhere near as big a pain in the ass as my Elijah is! Elijah Thackeray is someone you find yourself wanting to slap at the start of Runners. Probably for a good way through the book too. Will he grow into the kind of person who saves the world? Maybe. right-time-elijah-wood

I told my friend and editor all this, and now she says she can’t read it without seeing a teen Elijah Wood in her head. I’m not entirely sure if this is a good thing. But I don’t mind if you’d want to indulge in a little Elijah love. He is rather awesome. Here, knock yourself out!

Runners release news

After a long chat with the peeps at my wonderful publisher, Immanion Press, I’ve taken the decision to postpone the release of Runners.  The official date is now 8th June 2013.  I apologise to the readers who have been waiting patiently for the book’s release and hope that they’ll stick with me just a little longer.  I’ll make it worth your while, I promise!  For a start, it will avoid the rather messy business of my head exploding.  Spring 2013 will belong to the Sky Song trilogy – the final book in the series, Not of Our Sky, coming out early May – and summer will be all about Elijah and his friends.  The Runners cover is being designed by the team at Immanion as we speak, (after the humiliating failed attempt to get local kids to model for it) and as soon as I get a peek I’ll share it with you. For now, all I can do is keep everything crossed that I don’t have a total meltdown between now and June!

About Runners

Elijah is nothing special. He’s just a skinny kid doing his best to stay one step ahead of starvation and the people who would have him locked away in a labour camp – just another Runner. But what he stumbles upon in a forest in Hampshire shows him that the harsh world he knows will become an even more sinister place, unless he can stop it. As past and present and parallel dimensions collide, freedom becomes the last thing on his mind as he is suddenly faced with a battle to save his world from extinction.  But before Elijah can find the courage to be the hero the world needs, he must banish his own demons and learn to trust his friends. And all the while, the sinister figure of Maxwell Braithwaite looms, his path inextricably bound to Elijah’s by a long dead physicist, and hell bent on stopping Elijah, whatever the cost.