Friday, October 18, 2013

Guest Post: Author Amber Forbes

What to Expect in When Stars Die's Sequel, Stars Will Rise
Before I begin talking about what readers should expect in Stars Will Rise, When Stars Die's sequel, I first want to talk a little bit about When Stars Die. 

When Amelia discovers witch blood in her family, she joins a convent to cleanse the taint from her blood. But when she learns that redemption isn’t possible, she unites with the dangerously attractive priest, Oliver Cromwell, to fight for a place in Paradise.
So Amelia has joined a convent called Cathedral Reims in the hopes of being able to save her brother, who she finds out is a witch, by becoming closer to Deus through becoming a nun. But she eventually learns there is no redemption for a witch, and things especially become messy when she learns that she is a witch. Even worse, there are shadowy beings stalking Amelia, beings only she can see. They are called Shadowmen, essentially dead witches, and they want her because she is a witch they can use in their plan to get revenge on those who torment witches--which is basically anyone who isn't a witch. Being a witch is worse than being a murderer in her world.
So now that that's out of the way, I will speak about Stars Will Rise without revealing any spoilers. In Stars Will Rise, a girl named Alice Sheraton is the new protagonist. Amelia will be in this book, but she will not play as large a part, and for good reason. You have to really pay attention to the clues I give in When Stars Die, and especially read the epilogue, to understand why Alice Sheraton is the protagonist. 

But the story starts with Alice trapped in a room after being discovered for witchcraft. She's beaten and bloody because she was tortured for simply being what she is. Governor Branch, the governor of her town, Belhame, later comes in to torture Alice further by mentioning her best friend hates her for what she did. Her best friend and her found themselves in a comprising position during a simple tea visit, and Alice ended up setting fire to Governor Branch's tie by mistake. Sara then began to hate Alice simply because she found out she was a witch, and people in Alice's world are brainwashed to hate them. 

So at the end of this chapter, Alice is contemplating killing herself because it's either that or be burned at the stake. Since being burned at the stake sounds too painful, she opts for taking her own life. Does she? You'll have to read Stars Will Rise to find out. 

Along with some potentially dark themes, there are also issues where Alice is missing memories, being stalked by a Shadowman named Annarelius, all while enduring an oppressive stay at Finight Hill, which is supposed to be a safe house for witches. And of course things are going to worsen from there, so I will leave you with an unedited excerpt of chapter one:
I am a child of The Seven Deadly Sins. Witches, many people believe, are worse than murderers.
            Rivulets of blood stream down my back, splashing red dots on the parquet floor that look like cherry spatter. On my knees, I watch this in a dirty mirror and even count the number of welts I wasn’t able to keep track of during my whipping sessions: fifteen. Perhaps there are more.
            One welt for each year of my life.
            I touch a welt on my shoulder and wince. Since movement is difficult, the rest sting as well. The flesh is puckered and cracked, sending forth beads of blood that join together and trickle down my side, caressing the ribs sticking through my pale, clammy skin. This will be the last welt I ever receive in my life. I take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again. Or I should take comfort in knowing I’ll never be beaten again.
            Tomorrow I’m going to be burned at the stake. 
About the Author:
Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn't like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward...again. But she doesn't care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.  

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