Guest post: Sarah Potter – Desiccation

This week I’d like to introduce Sarah Potter, who is stopping by on a blog tour for her recently-released novel Desiccation.  When I was growing up, reading girl’s boarding school stories, such as Enid Blyton’s Malory Towers and St. Clare’s was very popular, though they were far beyond the experience of those of us who read them.  So I was immediately absorbed by the world Sarah has created, but also surprised, entertained and maybe a little scared…for this is like no boarding school story I’ve ever read before.    Now over to Sarah…

Proof Copy of Desiccation

Many thanks, Andrea, for inviting me to guest on your wonderful blog, my second stop on my virtual Book Tour.

I always think of Harvesting Hecate as a treasure trove filled with seasonal delights and the magic of Mother Nature. In my novel, Desiccation, a violent breach in the planet’s equilibrium occurs as a result of a small group of young people messing with magic.

Desiccation ebook_image

Here’s a precis of the book blurb…

Autumn Term 1967, mayhem breaks out at an elite British boarding school on the south coast of England. Samantha, the new head girl, intends to reign supreme and exploit every loophole in the system to her advantage. This includes running an illicit nocturnal business in the gymnasium and conducting midnight séances in the library, although she hasn’t bargained on London mod, Joe, entering the equation.

Scholarship girl Janet senses a disruption to the natural order, impossible to explain away with science. When teachers and students start to exhibit multiple personality changes and develop a hive mentality, Janet becomes the despised outsider. But can she trust, as her protector, a hippie pixie who claims he’s an expert in repairing dimensions? And will she muster the courage to help him reverse a catastrophe that could destroy humankind?

To put the novel into its historical context, 1967 was the year…

  • The US, UK, and the Soviet Union signed the Outer Space Treaty to ban nuclear weapons from outer space.
  • At the Academy Awards “A Man for All Seasons” won the Oscar for best picture.
  • Huge demonstrations against the Vietnam War took place in New York City, San Francisco, and Washington DC.
  • The hippie counterculture entered public awareness and we had the Summer of Love.
  • The Beatles released the album “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”.
  • The Six Day War between Israel and its Arab neighbours ends with Israeli victory and the annexation of East Jerusalem.
  • Guerrilla leader Che Guevara was executed for attempting to start a revolution in Bolivia.

So why did I choose that year? And why set the story in a boarding school, when so much of significance was going on in the outside world?

St Trinians Girl

They say, write what you know. As a teenager in the latter part of the 60s, I attended an elite British Boarding School on the south coast of England. It was an institution that existed in splendid isolation from the nearby town: a world within a world that attempted to distance itself from social change. Perhaps a quote from Desiccation best demonstrates this, from the viewpoint of the nightmare nouveau riche head girl, Samantha.

“Joe, her latest project, was a common upstart, worth putting in his place before others like him got ideas above their station and started a revolution. Only last month, her father had grumbled to her about the working classes having suddenly found a voice of their own due to the Labour Government, the Beatles, and a gamekeeper banging Lady Chatterley. To illustrate this destabilisation of society, he had bemoaned the fact that it was no longer possible to spend a weekend in a five-star hotel and be certain the clientele would speak any better than the porters did.”

Sarah Author Pic (300px)I expect you’re wondering if I was a naughty girl like Samantha or well behaved and studious like my central protagonist, Janet. Well, the answer to that lies somewhere in the middle, minus the snobbery. My first boyfriend was working class and a drummer in a pop group, although nothing like Joe, who would have half terrified me to death. But I did meet some bad boys in the early 70s: ex-Borstal lads, skinheads who wore braces and big boots, and, like Joe and his mates, only knew one adjective beginning with eff.

Desiccation is a quirky novel that slides between genres: science fiction, urban fantasy, teenage relationship drama, and thriller, plus containing small touches of eroticism and humour (not occurring simultaneously, might I add). I didn’t write it specifically for young adult readers, but suspect that it’s a crossover novel suited to anyone aged fourteen to one-hundred.

In these days of strict book categorisation, such a genre and readership age mix is a nightmare to market but, hey, I love challenges.


Desiccation ebook_image

If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Desiccation, you might like to visit my blog page to find out more.


81 thoughts on “Guest post: Sarah Potter – Desiccation

    • I was an Enid Blyton fan, too, between the ages of 5 & 6 after learning to read when I was about 3 from Angela Banner’s Ant & Bee books. My mother never pushed me to read early, but just shared books with me and made them fun.
      Then I discovered “Amazing Stories Magazine” when I was about 8, from whence sprung my fascination for science fiction and fantasy, and all things quirky and creepy.
      Am so glad you’re intending to read my novel, Jean 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Sarah, that’s interesting that you moved on from Enid so young. I was hooked for years! AND, I loved reading her books to young Harry who adored her as well.
        Yes, very much looking forward to reading your novel. Do I need to read it in daylight hours as I’m not a ‘creepy’ lover!

        Liked by 2 people

      • I couldn’t get my children interested in Enid Blyton. They were into Roald Dahl and C.S. Lewis.
        Jean, maybe leave reading the creepy after-dark scenes to daylight hours. But you’re quite safe with the first chapter, I think, although it does contain some elements of foreshadowing. I don’t find my book scary, but others have said it is!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Sarah, that’s interesting about your children and Enid. I think my mother thought I’d still be reading her when I was 40!
        Thanks for the warning! Even the word ‘foreshadowing’ sounds creepy once it’s dark outside!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Hi Andrea and Sarah! Wonderful to see two of my favourite bloggers sharing the magic here 🙂 Fascinating to read the ‘real’ history behind the fictional setting of your book Sarah. I can certainly relate to all those skinheads who congregated my local town growing up in rural Suffolk in the 70s and although I didn’t attend boarding school, I did love reading Enid Blyton, and of course thoroughly enjoyed St Trinian’s 🙂 Desiccation is a great read, and I wish you every success!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Girls boarding schools aren’t something I can relate to (if I could it would be a touch creepy) yet I like the sound of the book, it sounds fun and perhaps a little bit Midwich Cuckoos which is never a bad thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a fun interview! Sarah sounds as fascinating as her book. Good for her, bending genres. I think we authors need to do that more often. Publishing companies used to try and push us to commit to a genre. But we authors are doing are own thing, and it’s better for writers AND readers.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I think that traditional publishing likes to be sure of a return on their investment, which includes a preference for taking on younger authors who potentially have a long career ahead of them. My husband often cites the case of Agatha Christie getting her first publishing deal at the age of 70. I always say to him, “That was then, not now!” Ultimately, though, my publisher and literary agent rejections have always been related to perceived problems with marketing my work, rather than the writing itself.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, roughwighting:-) I’m incapable of writing anything straight genre, just as I have great difficulty conforming to many other things in life. Normal can be very boring. That being said, I love reading psychological crime novels, so am tempted to have a go with one at some point, but doubtless that would end up as a genre bender. It’s in my mind to write a mash-up novel, which is an official book category that I’ve just discovered on Amazon — probably I’d go for a dystopian version of a Victorian classic.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank you for sharing, Andrea! I look forward to reading the book that is already sitting in my Kindle for a while – I am in the middle of The Bone Wall by Diana Wallace Peach. I love the books written for the 14-100 age range 🙂 Thank you Sarah! I am sure I will love your book.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds like a truly interesting read! I love a mix of genres, and it’s wonderful to see more writers pushing the boundaries of traditional publishing. As roughwighting said, that’s better for both authors and readers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you found it interesting, Marylin. Probably today’s teenagers would find it very strange if they were to time travel back to a time when there were no mobile phones or computers in their lives! How would they survive without all their electronic gadgetry, especially in an isolated situation? Maybe this is why I’m selling more copies of my novel to adults than the younger generation!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I added this on my TBR list and got an update when there was a giveaway on Goodreads. So this popped up on my radar again. Just thought I’d mention there’s a Goodreads giveaway right now.


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