Thursday, June 25, 2015

Guest Post + Giveaway: Scar of the Downers by Scott Keen

Hello bookish people! I have quite the book to share with you today, written by an author who already has my attention with the guest post that's he's saved for today. Are you a Fantasy reader? Do you love sweeping stories with vivid characters? I do believe you'll be just as excited about Scar of the Downers as I am.

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Branded on the slaves in the Northern Reaches beyond Ungstah, the scar marks each one as a Downer. It is who they are. There is no escaping this world. Still, strange things are stirring.

Two foreigners ride through the Northern Reaches on a secret mission. An unknown cloaked figure wanders the streets of the dark city of Ungstah. What they want no one can be sure, but it all centers around a Downer named Crik.

Crik, too scared to seek freedom, spends his days working in his master’s store, avoiding the spirit-eating Ash Kings, and scavenging food for himself and his best friend, Jak. Until he steals from the wrong person. When Jak is sold to satisfy the debt, Crik burns down his master’s house and is sentenced to death.

To survive, Crik and his friends must leave behind their life of slavery to do what no other Downer has ever done before – escape from the city of Ungstah.

Now that I have your attention, please enjoy the guest post below! I love when authors share their favorite books, and I had fun nodding in agreement while reading this one :). Make sure to go all the way to the bottom of this post too, for a giveaway, and don't forget to add Scar of the Downers to your reading list!

I was in a scriptwriting program in graduate school (screenplays and play scripts), but I also had this hidden desire during that time to write a novel. I just didn’t feel that I knew where to start, for it seemed too daunting. Then I read The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangarin, Jr., and it inspired me. I loved the novelty of this book. It was different and imaginative, and even though the characters were animals, they were as nuanced, complex, and flawed as humans.

My list of favorite books would not be complete without including the work of J.R.R Tolkien (The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings). To me, he’s the forerunner of epic fantasy, and I love all of his books and tales, even the lesser known ones (Smith of Wootton Major & Farmer Giles of Ham). The way that he developed Middle Earth and the characters within that world is amazing and awe-inspiring. If I ever need to escape from this world, I know I can visit the Shire or Rivendell and be immediately taken away on an adventure.

I think it’s that element of “going away on an adventure” that made me really like A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. In all of Dickens’ novels, you encounter interesting characters and elaborate storylines, but Two Cities is one of his most adventurous. I lean toward stories that show characters doing the right thing in difficult times, and in this one, the main character, Sydney Carton sacrifices for the one that he loves with no gain for himself. Stories like this one make me want to be good and noble and make me strive to be a better man.

And I’ve never found a better story of self-sacrifice, duty, and love than Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Here is a broad, epic story of a country in turmoil, but also a highly personal, extremely detailed story of the redemption of one man.

Rounding out this list of my favorite books was difficult. There are so many that I love that it was difficult to choose. But as I was narrowing the choices down, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte kept coming back to me. I’m not sure what I was expecting when I read this, but it certainly wasn’t the dark, disturbing novel that Bronte wrote. Here were characters that had so many horrible things happen to them and who did horrible things to one another, and yet I still liked them. The story was electric at times with elements of fantasy and magic. It made an impression on me that was difficult to shake.

Overall, it is difficult to pick only five books (which I didn’t if you count all of Tolkien’s works) that had an influence on me. Each story I read impacts me in ways I’m aware of and in others way I’m not.

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Scott grew up in Black River, NY, the youngest of three children. While in law school, he realized he didn’t want to be a lawyer. So he did the practical thing – he became a writer. Now, many years later with an MFA in script and screenwriting, he is married with four daughters, two of whom he homeschools.
Find Scott: Website | Goodreads | Twitter



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