Good morning! It’s so beautiful outside with everything covered in snow. Things look clean and pure. This morning, I’d like to welcome a new guest to Living the Dream. Karen is here to talk about her new book, Sapphire Blue.
Welcome, Karen. What can you tell us about Sapphire Blue?
I first started writing Sapphire Blue seven years ago. I wrote a brief synopsis and sample pages and sent them to a publisher I worked with who I knew were planning on expanding their children’s fiction list. The editor loved the idea right away and told me they wanted it when they brought out their YA list. A couple of years passed during which I wrote several other books and added to Sapphire Blue now and again. Then the publisher told me they’d had to shelve their fiction list so I put it away. A friend who’d seen the original chapters persuaded me to keep writing it up. I got about half way through and shelved it again. Then another writer friend read it and persuaded me to finish it. So finally I did.
Sapphire Blue is set in the afterlife and is based on the concept of true love being eternal. Sapphire and her boyfriend Will are killed in the first chapter but love each other so much they search for each other. They find that the afterworld is split into seven zones, each named after the colour of the rainbow. They both believe the other one to have been taken by the Soul Catchers to Red, a zone where all your nightmares come true. They love each other so much that they go to Red to find each other. I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but it’s a mix of romance and horror – the first time I’ve ever written horror, actually. It’s not my usual sort of story but it’s the one that I’ve carried in my head for seven years so I hope the readers enjoy it.
Can love survive death?
“No one has ever walked out of Red. Once the Soul Catchers get you they don’t let you go.” Denny’s words scare me but I have no choice. If Will is in Red that’s where I have to go.
I’ve never really thought what it was like when you died. I’m only 16, too young to worry about that. At least I thought I was. I’ve heard about Heaven and Hell, of course, but it doesn’t look like I’m in either of them. All I know is that Will is here too and I need to find him. I can’t face spending eternity without him.
Excerpt from Sapphire Blue:
Our first drive together. Later, I’ll take photos of wherever it is we’re going, save a leaflet, a ticket, or receipt. Today deserves a whole page in our scrapbook.
Will’s a good driver. His eyes constantly dart to the mirrors to check what’s behind him, around him, in front of him, and he keeps his speed steady. I feel safe with him.
I look out of the passenger window, trying to guess where we’re going. As soon as we join the dual carriageway I know. Mawlish Cove. Where we went for our very first proper date. It’s our special place, the one we go to when we want to celebrate something, but usually we have to cycle there. I think of all the places we can go now that Will can drive, to the coast a few miles away, a sightseeing tour of the local villages, maybe even drive to Wales to see my cousin, Gemma. I’ll be seventeen in a few months and maybe I can pass my test too, then we can go away for weekend, share the driving. I glance at Will and smile. I’m so proud of him.
“I love you,” I say.
“Love you too,” he replies. Then he starts singing.
I do love you,
Forever you!” I join in the chorus, bubbles of happiness fizzing through me.
Will wrote the song for me last Christmas, calling it Sapphire ‘Blue’ after the color of my eyes—he said. He knew his folks were buying him the guitar he’d been begging for all year, so had secretly written the song to surprise me. It was the first thing he played. I remember how he picked up the guitar, slowly strumming the strings, then he’d walked over to me, sat down beside me and gazing into my eyes he’d started singing. It was only a short song, one verse, nothing special, I guess, but it summed us up. Me and Will, together forever. A warm surge of love spreads through me. I reach out and touch his hand. He turns to me and our eyes meet.
Just for a couple of seconds. An eye blink. Hardly any time at all.
But long enough for us to not notice the container fall off the back of the lorry in front. When we do notice, it’s in the middle of the road, blocking our path. A shard of ice slithers down my spine.
“Stop! Will, stop! We’re going to crash!”
Even as I shriek the words I know that there isn’t enough time to stop. I’m frozen to my seat, my eyes fixed in terror on the huge metal box just meters away.
“Hold tight!” Will jerks the steering wheel to the left in an attempt to avoid it, but he loses control of the car, and we’re skidding off the road. OMG, now we’re heading for a huge tree. It’s looming in front of us, solid and immovable. Its long, leafy branches swaying in the wind like scaly, green arms reaching out to grab us.
“Shit!” Will’s almost standing on the brakes in an effort to stop the car. My body shoots forward, then is pulled back by the seatbelt. My head slams against the back of the seat. The tires screech as the car starts to slow down but not quick enough for us to avoid the tree. I shut my eyes, not wanting to see the inevitable, horrific moment of impact. I can hear Will shouting, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I love you!” I want to tell him that I love him too, but I can’t speak, can’t move, my body’s turned into a block of granite.
I’m dimly aware that someone is screaming as if their soul is being ripped from their body. It is a few seconds before I realize that the screams are mine.
We’re going to die.
An explosion shatters in my head.
Karen King has had over one hundred children’s books published. She’s written for many children’s magazines too including Sindy, Barbie, Winnie the Pooh and Thomas the Tank Engine. She writes for all ages and in all genres; story books, picture books, plays, joke books and non-fiction. Sapphire Blue is her second YA novel. She also writes romance novels under the name of Kay Harborne.
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn&__adt=7&__att=iframe#!/KarenKingAuthor
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/Karen-King/e/B0034P6W7I/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
Thankjs for joining me today, Karen.