Just weeks after a sorcerer killed her mother, fifteen year old Melantha is asked to help catch the killer. She wants nothing to do with it, but then she learns one of her classmates is the son of the sorcerer. Worried for her classmate, Mel agrees. With her spell-turner powers not yet developed the mission will be dangerous, but it will be downright deadly if the sorcerer figures out who she is and decides she will follow in her mother's footsteps.
Why Young Adult?
Probably because books that are available to today's young adult readers weren't around when I was a teen. I read every Sweet Valley High, the Girls of Canby Hall, and the occasional fantasy novel, but as I recall there was only high fantasy available, and I found it too stuffy. The books that I write are stories I would like to read but don't exist.
The fact that you're an avid reader of urban fantasy brought you benefits or disadvantages when you wrote “Catching a Sorcerer”?
Both. When I wrote Catching a Sorcerer, there wasn't much out there for urban fantasy for teens and what was available was more paranormal romance. I've never been much of a paranormal romance fan—I read it, but I prefer urban fantasy. So when I started writing Catching A Sorcerer, I knew it was going to be different. Knowing the market and what readers want is an advantage, however, when it came time to finding an agent or editor, I got nothing but rejections—and their reason? They didn't think there was a market for a story about 'witches' in a post-Harry Potter book industry, that is, they didn't think it would sell. But I felt there was an audience for Catching A Sorcerer—less romance, more action and yet still a familiar fantasy trope in a familiar setting. All things that define urban fantasy. And I know this audience from the feedback I've received through reading and reviewing urban fantasy.
Why do you think Urban Fantasy (paranormal) is such a loved genre?
Because it's familiar. Because it shows us a world like ours, but different. Because it shows us people like us but with extraordinary problems. Because it makes our mundane lives look so much easier. Because we often wish to escape life and be rescued by the modern equivalent of a knight. Because it opens doors to so many possibilities.
How hard is it to write Urban Fantasy and which are the biggest challenges?
I would say urban fantasy is no harder to write than anything else. Probably the biggest challenge is coming up with a new spin on something familiar.
Which is easier: to write a book or to criticize one? What responsibilities bring these activities?
I don't think the two are easily comparable. In one sense they are similar in that I have to captivate an audience, but in writing a review I am summarizing someone else's work, comparing it to their other works and giving an opinion on its effectiveness, whereas in writing a book, I'm finding a story and telling it in the best manner possible. Writing a book can take months to years. Writing a book review can take days to weeks. If I had to choose one as being easier than the other, I'd say a review because it requires less time and energy, but it can still be really hard, like when I need to review a book I love. It would be so easy to fan-girl squee all over about the book, but that wouldn't be effective for my readers. Strangely, when I don't like a book I find it easy to talk about the parts that didn't work for me and what would need to be done to improve it, and the parts I did like are much easier to capture, but again, I have to think of my readers and what they might like about the book. Sometimes all of this is much harder than writing a story where I only have to listen to the characters and be true to them.
Please, recommend your book in two sentences.
Catching A Sorcerer is for anyone who likes to read stories with characters who have witch-like powers and stories with teens trying to cope with both normal-teenage life and these new-fangled powers. It's also a story that looks at family relationships, including the secrets parents keep from children, secrets that can turn out to be dangerous once they are finally revealed.
Thank you, Sara Walker
About the author:
A former bookkeeper, Sara always preferred books over numbers, and finally put aside her calculator to write stories and work part-time in a library. She is the founder of UrbanFantasyLand.net, a website established in 2008 that specializes in promoting urban fantasy and speculative fiction. Her articles and fiction have been published in anthologies and online.
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