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…
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.
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?
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.”
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.
If you’re interested in purchasing a copy of Desiccation, you might like to visit my blog page http://sarahpotterwrites.com/publication-updates/ to find out more.