Books and Writing
On August 30, at Ye Olde Warwick Bookshop (2 - 4 p.m.) in Warwick, NY, authors Sharon Linnéa and B.K. Sherer will read from and sign copies of their new novel, Plagues of Eden, as well as raffle off a basket of Paris, West Point and wine-themed prizes. Plagues of Eden is part of their new trilogy that picks up where they left off in the thrilling adventures of their Eden Series.
So as summer careens to an end, tell me what’s happening with you.
It’s been a busy time of year for me. I have a son who is going back to college at Suny Plattsburgh and a daughter who is a senior at Warwick Valley High School. With 2 dogs and 3 cats and a new book coming out, it’s a little bit crazy.
How long have you been writing the Eden series?
Chasing Eden, which was the first to come out, was published in 2006. Then there was Beyond Eden and the Treasure of Eden. So about 8 years.
Is Plagues of Eden the 4th book in the series?
Yes, and it’s the first book of a new trilogy. So it’s a good point for a new reader to jump in.
I see. Kind of like Star Wars?
Hopefully better than the first one in that second trilogy. (Sorry, Phantom Menace!)
What in part defines this new trilogy?
Although not much time elapses between the two trilogies, we now find our protagonist, Chaplain Jamie Richards, stateside at West Point. She is married—but not exactly settled. What also marks the break is the fact that we get inside the head of her husband, the mysterious Sword 23—as well as a large mélange of bad guys and good guys, of course.
What are some of the highlights of the book?
There is a madman who is about to unleash the 10 deadly plagues of ancient Egypt. Jamie is called in to help and has to fly around the world to stop the infamous people who are doing it. The book also gets into winemaking, which we had a great deal of fun researching—not only Napa, France and Italy, but in China as well! Check out the trailer and you'll get a sense of the adventure you are in for.
How does wine come into play?
One of the characters is dangerously delusional. However, he is able to create a fantastic grape, and wine, to win the heart of the woman he loves.
That sounds interesting. So how has publishing changed since your first book?
Since 2006, publishing has changed in historic ways. In 2006, 100% of our sales were of traditional, “paper” books. Now, close to 80% of sales are e-books, and they are available in audio, which is fun. , Fortunately, when people read the first book, more than 50% go on to buy the 2nd and 3rd.
Tell me a little about B.K. Sherer and your collaboration with her.
She’s a Presbyterian minister and an active duty Army chaplain. She’s also very good at what she does. She’s currently stationed at West Point, and even though she often works 7 day weeks, it’s been a treat to have her not only here in the U.S. instead of deployed, but in the same time zone! And a drivable distance! But I know not to get too attached to the current situation. But because she also has a “day job,” we need to work around her schedule.
When we are working, we first hammer out the outline. Then she takes characters and I take characters, and we work through a first draft. Obviously, she takes the military characters. I eventually do a final edit to make sure the voice(s) are consistent and that the narrative flows.
So you like collaborating?
There is nothing better than a good collaborator. It becomes effortless. But it’s also very challenging when you are writing a lot of facts and trying to get inside someone’s head. Writing with a co-author is very much like a marriage, in which you both have to be willing to give more than 50%. It’s more like each has to give 90%.
What’s your background? Have you always been a writer?
I have a background in publishing. I worked for 3 major book publishers, as well as 5 national magazines. It taught me to really value a good editor, and I’m sure grateful for ours!
You also teach a writing workshop with author Matthew Field. What is the gist of the workshop?
Do you have any writing advice?
First, take your craft seriously. Work on continuing to improve.
Second, put your butt in the chair. There’s no way around it.
Third, allow yourself a horrible first draft, but finish the whole draft before you edit. I can’t tell you how many people have a first chapter they’ve re-written 53 times, and nothing else!
For more info about the authors and the book, go to http://www.edenthrillers.com/
The Authors' Circle Presents: Meet Hillary Jordan author of Mudbound on Sunday, May 4th at 3 p.m. at the Tuxedo Park Library. Hillary Jordan's first novel Mudbound, was published in 2008 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, HarperCollins Canada and Random House UK. It won the 2006 Bellwether Prize, founded by Barbara Kingsolver and awarded biennially to an unpublished debut novel that addresses issues of social justice, and a 2009 Alex Award from the American Library Association. Mudbound was also the 2008 NAIBA Fiction Book of the Year and was longlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. It was one of 30 titles chosen for the 2013 World Book Night book giveaway. Paste Magazine named it one of the Top Ten Debut Novels of the Decade. It has been translated into French, Italian, Serbian, Swedish and Norwegian.