Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest Post + Giveaway: Catherine Stine, author of Ruby's Fire!

Another great author is on the blog today! Catherine Stine, author of Fireseed One and now Ruby's Fire, is on tour! I've read Fireseed One and can honestly say it's amazing. I can't wait to dive into Ruby's Fire as well. Check out the synopsis!

If everything about you changes, what remains?

Seventeen year-old Ruby, long-pledged to the much older Stiles from the Fireseed desert cult, escapes with only a change of clothes, a pouch of Oblivion Powder and her mute little brother, Thorn. Arriving at The Greening, a boarding school for orphaned teens, she can finally stop running. Or can she? The Greening is not what it seems. Students are rampaging out of control and as she cares for the secret Fireseed crop, she experiences frightening physical changes. She’s ashamed of her attraction to burly, hard-talking Blane, the resident bodyguard, and wonders why she can’t be happy with the gentler Armonk. She’s long considered her great beauty a liability, a thing she’s misused in order to survive. And how is she to stop her dependence on Oblivion to find a real beauty within, using her talent as a maker of salves, when she has nightmares of Stiles without it?

When George Axiom, wealthy mogul of Vegas-by-the-Sea offers a huge cash prize for the winner of a student contest, Ruby is hopeful she might collect the prize to rescue her family and friends from what she now knows is a dangerous cult. But when Stiles comes to reclaim her, and Thorn sickens after creating the most astonishing contest project of all, the world Ruby knows is changed forever. This romantic fantasy set in 2099 on earth has a crafty heroine in Ruby, and a swoonworthy cast, which will surely appeal to the YA and new adult audience.
Sounds fantastic, am I right? Plus, well, I can't deny that the cover is pretty awesome. You don't see covers without models on them very much anymore. I ramble though! Here's a guest post for the lady of the hour, Catherine Stine.


Character Crafting, in Ruby’s Fire and Beyond
Guest post by Catherine Stine

Many people are curious as to how authors create characters. They ask, “Are they like you?” or “Partly people you know?” or “Who you’d like to be?”
Well, yes and no is the answer to all of the above. 

I work from my heart and gut when I form each character. I often think of a situation first, and wonder how a certain type would negotiate it. For instance, in watching news about the extremist Mormon cults, I thought a lot about how the girls grew into young women and what it would be like to know no other lifestyle to compare theirs to. Would one ever still sense something was “off”?

Thus Ruby was born—a teen who grew up in an extreme, futuristic desert cult that worshipped Fireseed, a mythical plant they’d never actually seen, but one they’d heard had been developed in the north to feed them. I went further in my thinking, wondering what would happen on the night that Ruby, upon reaching seventeen, was to be “initiated” by Stiles, the much older man who’d put a claim on her as a child. I wanted Ruby to have a skill that might get her out of there. Thus, I gave her a talent for making elixirs out of Dragon Lizard venom, one of the only other living things around. This elixir might save her or might just get her into dire trouble. I like my characters in peril, at least for a good, long while.

I wanted her to be tangled up in a thorny love triangle—it makes for spicy, anguished storytelling, and tension is good! So, I created Blane, ruggedly handsome but a bully when Ruby meets him. She lands at The Greening in Skull’s Wrath, a very strange boarding school, where the teens are rampaging out of control. Why? They’ve already seen death and having trekked miles on their own, why should they pay attention to a waifish headmistress named Nevada Pilgrim, who’s only a few years older than they are? You see, trouble again. I’m like that. 

I wanted Ruby’s other potential love interest to contrast sharply against Blane. Armonk is gentle, thoughtful, strong but kind—sexy too. He’s dark and handsome with shiny black hair that he braids like the Native American that he is, in part.

He’s traveled to The Greening to find Dr. Varik who made his prosthetic leg, after his own burned up as a child. Trouble, trouble, trouble! Armonk washes Ruby’s face when she slips into a coma, he takes Ruby’s brother, Thorn, under his wing. While Blane helps Ruby fend off danger with brute strength in a scene I can’t describe or there will be a spoiler. 

Will Ruby choose Armonk, or hardscrabble Blane whose soulful, troubled stares Ruby cannot fathom? You’ll have to read Ruby’s Fire to find out which hottie she ends up falling for!

Character formation is a blast! My advice to you? Create the people whose stories you can’t wait to know more about, and weave them together so their parts fit like jigsaw puzzle pieces. 

Thanks, Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile, it was fun talking about character creation,
Catherine Stine


Catherine Stine writes YA, New Adult and middle grade fiction. Her YA futuristic thriller, Fireseed One, illustrated by the author won finalist spots in both YA and Science Fiction in the 2013 USA Book News International Book Awards. It was also granted a 2013 Bronze Wishing Shelf Book Award and a 2013 Indie Reader Approved notable stamp. Her YA Refugees, earned a New York Public Library Best Book. Middle grade novels include A Girl’s Best Friend.

Fireseed One sequel, Ruby’s Fire is earning advance praise from reviewers and authors:

“Ruby's Fire, returns to the sun-scorched earth of Fireseed One. In this long-awaited sequel, Stine delivers a thrilling adventure led by a new and exciting cast of characters. Ruby, Armonk, Thorn and Blane are memorable, and the romance is really well handled. Favorite quote: " It feels wrong to lean on Armonk right now with Blane staring at me, a hungry, lonely look in his eye. It’s as if he’s never been hugged, never been fed, never been loved..." ” -YAs the Word

More and more, Catherine enjoys writing speculative tales where her imagination has wild and free reign. She has taught creative writing workshops at the Philadelphia Writing Conference, Missouri University Summer Abroad, The New School and in her own ongoing NYC writing workshop. She loves her readers, and enjoys blogging.


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