Can love survive death?
I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.
Friend and fellow author Karen King talks soul trekking in her new YA Sapphire Blue. Even better, as at press time, Karen had great news to share: She has racked up an award for cover design. Take a look:
- Sapphire Blue reads like a quest journey; a YA novel that takes the protagonist through Hell in search of her Will, like Dante searching for Beatrice in the Inferno. What inspired you to follow this path in YA?
I’ve always believed that we live on after we die, that our souls go back to the place we came from, join our friends and family and carry on with our journey. I was talking about this to someone one day and they said that they hoped they didn’t forget life on Earth, when they died that they still had their memories. That started me thinking about what it would be like. If you loved someone would your love still survive in the afterlife? Does everyone go to the same place? It was from this that the idea of Sapphire Blue was born.
- In our fast-paced, social media driven culture here in North America, how do you account for the exploding popularity of YA literature?
People still like to lose themselves in a good book, kids, teens and adults alike, and there’s some amazing YA stories published at the moment. YA deals with things that teens (and adults) worry about, living, loving, dying, fitting in, the world ending. It’s imaginative introducing new worlds, magic, strong characters and above all it usually encompasses Hope. And that’s the thing I think people want to hold onto most in these uncertain times. Hope that you’ll survive, win through, that things will get better.
- What and who did you read as a teen and young adult? Which one(s) stayed with you?
Agatha Christie and The Saint books by Lesley Charteris. I loved trying to solve the mysteries in the Agatha Christie books and the nonchalant way The Saint dealt with the situations he was in.
- Let’s backtrack for our readers: Give us your elevator pitch for Sapphire Blue.
Sapphire Blue is a YA with a difference in that it’s set in the afterlife. It’s a story of love, bravery, drama, mystery, horror but above all Hope.
5. Your cover is in the running for an award. Tell us about it.
Yes I’m chuffed to say that the cover for Sapphire Blue –and the cover of my children’s novel, Firstborn – is in the finals of the Golden Star cover Art Contest run by Highlighted Authors http://highlightedauthor.com/golden-star-cover-art-contest/paranormal-cover-category/
I’ve got my fingers crossed for them both but there are some great covers in the finals so I’m just happy they’ve got this far.
6. What’s next?
Accent Book has just signed me up for three contemporary novels so I’m working on the second one of those – the first one is finished. After that, I’ve been asked by a couple of readers to write a follow up to Sapphire Blue so maybe I will.
Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.
I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.
“I love you,” I say.
“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.
I do love you,
Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.
Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.
Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.
But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.
“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”
Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.
“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.
“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.
I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.
We’re going to die.
An explosion shatters in my head.
Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.
Solstice Publishing http://solsticepublishing.com/sapphire-blue/
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Wow, Karen. You are busy. Keep us appraised and best of luck. xo