Hello everyone! For this week’s ‘Meet the Characters’ blog I’m interviewing Sapphire from my YA ‘Rise of the Soul Catchers’ which was published by Littwitz Press on 25 April. Here’s the cover.

 

 

Blurb

Can love survive anything – even death?

Sapphire and Will vow to love each other forever. But when a car crash ends that dream all too soon, they find themselves separated in an afterlife with zones named after the colours of the rainbow. Determined to find each other, they start an adventurous journey alongside a cast of characters they don’t know whether to trust. They finally meet again in the terror-fuelled Red Zone where the dreaded Soul Catchers are planning on taking over the entire afterworld and are plunged into a dangerous battle. Is their love strong enough to survive against the odds?

 (Previously published as Sapphire Blue)

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Rise of the Soul Catchers is told in dual viewpoint, so that we follow both Sapphire and Will on their separate journeys. My interview is with Sapphire.

You and Will have known each other for a long time haven’t you? Can you tell us when you first met?

We meet at playschool and were friends all through our school years. Will was in the year above me. We started dating when I was fourteen. We really love each other and were going to get married, have kids…

Your plans were shattered the fateful day of the car crash, weren’t they? How did you feel when you came around and saw your Grandpa walking towards you?

I thought I was dreaming. It took me ages to realise I was dead. Then I totally freaked out.

Did you believe in an afterlife before you died? If so, was it anything like you expected?

I’d never thought about it – I mean I was only sixteen. But if I had thought about it I would have expected either nothing at all, or some sort of Heaven and Hell – not rainbow zones. It  was pretty awesome meeting my passed-over relatives though, once I got over the shock.

What was the strangest thing about this afterworld, for you?

How everything worked by mind-power – mindcrafting they call it. To put it simply, if you think about something you can make it appear – or disappear. So whatever you want you can conjure up with your thoughts, But it isn’t as simple as that, it’s really difficult to control your mind, to block out all the other thoughts and fears and concentrate on what you want to do.

You must have been worried when you heard that Will was missing, and might have been taken by the Soul Catchers.

I was petrified. I just wanted to stay safe in this strange new world with Grandpa and my passed-over relatives, but I couldn’t. I had to help Will.

You travelled with Denny, a guy you meet there, didn’t you? Did you both get on okay?

Yes, after a few blips. He annoyed me at first but when I got to know him better I realised how brave and focused he was.

Thanks for talking to us Sapphire. As you can see from these questions Sapphire was met in the afterlife by her Grandpa but Will wasn’t so lucky. Here’s an extract from Will’s viewpoint, just after he passed over into the afterlife. 

Everywhere Will turns all he can see is mist. It’s inside his head too, wrapping around his mind, stopping him from thinking straight.

He tries to shake the mist away, to find a fragment of memory that will tell him who he is, where he is. But there’s nothing. His mind is a complete blank. He can’t even remember his name.

He squints as a shape starts to form in the mist. It’s a man.

The man strides purposefully as if he’s heading somewhere in particular and needs to get there fast.

“You okay, mate?”

Will shakes his head. “I can’t remember anything. Where am I?”

The man pauses and looks around. “No one meeting you?”

Will frowns, trying to remember. Why would someone be meeting him? “I don’t think so,” he stammers. “Should they be?”

“Sometimes they do.” The man’s tone is casual. He shrugs. “You’d better come with me then.”

Will doesn’t know what else to do, so he follows the man. He has to quicken his pace to keep up with this stranger’s long, effortless strides and constantly looks around, trying to get some idea where they are. After a while the mist starts to fade and Will sees that they’re crossing what looks like barren wasteland. Rugged cliffs jut up along each side, gnarled trees and bushes dot the landscape here and there, and a buzzard caws as it flies overhead. It’s eerie. There’s no one around except him and the man yet Will feels like he’s being watched. Stalked almost.

“Where are we going?” he demands, fear making his voice sound shrill. “Who are you and where the hell am I?”

The man turns around. “You really don’t remember, do you?”

Something about the way he says the words sends an icicle of fear down Will’s spine. “Remember what?”

The man holds out his hand, it’s long, thin and bony. “Take my hand.”

Will stares at the outstretched hand not wanting to touch it.

“Take it if you want to remember. Or leave it if you don’t. It’s all the same to me.”

Will hesitates, a terrible feeling of foreboding seizing him. What is it he has to remember? He’s sure it’s something he’s not going to like. But he has to find out. He needs to know who he is, where he is, what he’s doing here. He takes a deep breath, reaches out and grasps the man’s hand.

Immediately, a bright light explodes across his forehead. He gasps and tries to pull his hand away but the man grips it tight, his nails digging into Will’s flesh. The light fades and pictures flash across his mind like a horror slide show. He’s getting in a car, a girl’s singing, a huge tree zooms in so close that he instinctively step back then there’s a big bang. Now the girl’s lying motionless, blood oozing out of a gap in her forehead, her neck bent at an awkward angle, her eyes open, staring. Will draws in his breath, his hand pressing across his forehead as his memory floods back and his heart shatters into jagged smithereens that puncture him inside. The girl is Sapphire, his girlfriend. He’d just passed his driving test and was taking them for a drive when he crashed.

He killed her. He killed Sapphire.

If you enjoyed reading this extract and would like to know what happens next you can buy the book, both as an ebook or paperback here:

Amazon UK

Amazon USA

You might also enjoy my other YA, Perfect Summer

In a society obessed with perfection, being different is a crime.

You can read more about it here


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