by Ellen Allen
Release Date: September 7th 2014
by Ellen Allen
Release Date: September 7th 2014
When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…
Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.
Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.
WARNING: THIS BOOK IS UNSUITABLE FOR YOUNGER TEENAGE READERS. IT DEPICTS ADULT SITUATIONS, MURDER SCENES, CONVERSATIONS ABOUT SEX AND PROFANITY.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The idea for this book came to me in a nightmare... It was so vivid that I imagined I was 17 again, at school, in the same group of 4 friends that I used to hang around with. We were involved in a murder and cover-up. I started writing partly as a way to get it out of my head and then the characters turned into real people... and Emily and Jack were born.
As some of the early reviewers have stated, it is quite extreme in chapter one, and necessarily so. This is the incident that sets up the whole book; something awful happens that sets off a train of events for the characters. This book is a mystery in two ways in that we're: 1) trying to find out who killed Emily's classmate; and 2) trying to work out who Jack is. I hope you enjoy it!
As I was writing the book, I had these songs in my mind at key scenes in the plot; they make a great album:
1) Thomston, Burning out
Emily is forced to watch as four of her classmates bully a small boy in the local playground. She meets Jack and, together, they are able to save him. Everyone is traumatized but Jack helps her to feel better: “I’m coming up, I’m too young to worry ‘bout burning out”.
2) Girls in Hawaii, Where do your tears come from?
This is a very moody and atmospheric song for when Emily finds out that her classmate – one of the playground bullies – is dead.
3) Snakehips (ft. Sinead Harnett), Days with you
After tourists claim Jack is their long lost nephew, someone called Matthew, Jack disappears and Emily convinces herself that she really is “better off without you”. It has a great vibe and it’s very upbeat, even though it’s sad.
4) Ed Sheeran, Thinking out loud
This is the music playing for Emily and Jack’s first kiss; “Take me into your loving arms. Place your head on my beating heart.” Aaaah.
5) Ella Eyre, Deeper
Jack doesn’t give away his emotions easily and this song perfectly encapsulates what Emily thinks Jack is feeling – that he doesn’t want to commit – and how he should “dig a little deeper”.
6) Lenny Kravitz, The Chamber
The police are trying to convince Emily that Jack is actually Matthew and that he’s a killer. She’s angry, hurt, upset and feels betrayed: “You killed the love that was once so strong. With no regret to what you did wrong”.
7) Jessie Ware, Wildest moments
This song is playing over the speakers of the supermarket café when Emily finally finds everything out – about who Jack really is and who killed the girls. It manages to perfectly encapsulate the complexity of Jack and Emily’s relationship and the situation she has to deal with at the end of the book; “we could be the greatest, we could be the worst of all”.
8) Clean Bandit (featuring Jess Glynne), Rather Be
This song conveys the end of the book brilliantly and leaves us on a really upbeat tone. It’s a tip top tune!
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I’ve just finished writing my first book, so I’ve been busy trying to work out how all the pieces fit together – the planning, the plot, the rules, the imagination, the characters, the grammar, the structure, the endgame… there’s too much stuff to remember and a lot of the information that I’ve discovered online about how to write isn’t that good or even well written (the irony in reading advice on writing that isn’t well written…)
So I decided I needed to find somewhere to store the good stuff. Then it occurred to me that other people might find it useful too. So here it is. My online reference tool of all the useful (i.e. good) advice for writers-to-be. I only post here when I have something really useful to say about the craft (Twitter is for daily musings, Goodreads to review and Amazon to buy my work); it’s all about the quality here, folks, not the quantity… Enjoy!