Monday, 23 July 2012

Blog tour + Giveaway: Soul Fire - Kate Harrison

I am beyond excited to welcome Kate Harrison to the blog today as part of her tour for 'Soul Fire', the second book in the Soul Beach trilogy.  I'm a huge fan of both Kate's young-adult and adult novels and am really pleased to be helping to spread the word about this fantastic series.

The Power of Three: writing a trilogy

For the last four years, my life has been dominated by an online paradise, a social media mystery and a murder that won’t be solved until 2013.

Welcome to the world of the trilogy!

Soul Beach first began to form in my mind back in 2008, when I noticed how Facebook pages could turn into tribute pages after the sudden death of a user. I wondered what would happen if there was a site where teenagers whose lives had been cut short could carry on living their lives – and recruit the living to try to find justice.

Fast forward to today and I’ve had two of the novels published in the UK , translated versions are coming out all around the world, and I am working on the third and final book. I still adore my brave and funny heroine, Alice, who is determined to avenge her sister’s murder – but the writing process has been a rollercoaster ride and I’ve learned a lot that I’d love to share. So here are my Power of Three tips for trilogy writing (I just wish I’d had these when I was embarking on my journey to Soul Beach).

Lesson One – how do you know it’s a trilogy?

At first, I only had the story – I didn’t even know I’d write it as a YA book, though I did realise it wouldn’t quite fit alongside the romantic comedies I’ve been writing since 2003.

But the more I thought about the idea, the more it evolved into something big. There was so much to explore: addiction to social media, fear, obsession, the afterlife, reality TV… I could go on.

I soon realised that the idea was bigger than anything I’d had before – something I couldn’t possibly fit into 75,000 words. But maybe I could manage it in 3 x 75,000…

Lesson Two: this is a marathon, not a sprint – so be prepared for the long haul…

 I do plan my novels before I begin – not down to the finest detail, as JK Rowling famously does, but I know who does what to whom and roughly how the book ends. For me, there’s a balance between having a framework to build on – which is good – and working out every single action – which tends to kill the fun for me.

 With Soul Beach , I knew how the first book would open – with Alice receiving an email from her murdered sister on the day of her funeral. I also had a clear idea of the scene at the end of the final book… though I’m not telling, for obvious reasons.

 Before I started, I wrote a movie-style treatment covering what would happen in the three books, and I thought about how the world would develop, with Alice ‘unlocking’ layers of knowledge about this environment as she went along. But now I really wish I’d spent more time working out the rules of the Beach in detail – it would have saved me a lot of rewrites along the way.

Which brings me to …

Lesson Three: writing a middle book is the hardest thing you’ll ever do

I won’t lie – there were times when I was writing Soul Fire when I was terrified I’d never get it right. Even though my YA books are shorter than my adult novels, Soul Fire took longer and caused me more anxiety than any of the others. It was more like hellfire than Soul Fire at times…

 The basic problem was emotional involvement – I knew I couldn’t reveal the full story behind Meggie’s murder until Book 3 – and what I’d planned to keep the tension and drama up wasn’t enough. Bear in mind, I’ve written eight novels before this – and yet this was the toughest job ever.

I honestly couldn’t have done it without my wonderful editor, Amber CaravĂ©o. She and her fab colleague Jenny Glencross were amazing cheerleaders but also tough about making sure I got it right. Amber helped me focus on what mattered – the emotional heart of the book.

I’m nervous about revealing this, yet the first responses from readers have been very positive so I do really hope all our hard work paid off. So to help you avoid my mistakes, here’s my quick guide to planning a trilogy.

Book 1 – establish your characters and central story from the very first page. Do horrible things to them that test them to their limits. Have one story you can resolve – and others that keep the reader wanting more.

Book 2 – throw even worse things at your characters – things they think will defeat them but actually help them grow. Work out an amazingly satisfying story for this book that will make the reader gasp – while building up your central story and the question that can only be answered by…

Book 3 – this is where all your story elements and planning come together – but don’t forget you still need major new twists to stop it feeling like a rehash. Here, you get nastier than ever to your main characters… push them to breaking point. Maybe they do break… along with the reader as the tension becomes unbearable…

Easy, right? Except, as I wait for the editor’s feedback on the very first draft of Book 3, all I can do is keep everything crossed that I’ve nailed it myself! 

Don't forget to also check out Kate's website and follow her on Twitter @katewritesbooks

To celebrate the release of 'Soul Fire' the very lovely people at Indigo have given me two copies of the book to giveaway. This giveaway is only open to entrants within the UK and you must be a follower of my blog.  Good luck!

Giveaway rules.

  • There will be two winners.
  • Open to entrants with UK addresses only. International entrants may enter, provided they have a UK address to send the books to.
  • Please fill out the form completely - including email address
  • You must be a follower of my blog
  • Deadline for entries will be on 2nd August 2012
  • Winner(s) will be drawn by
  • Winner(s) will be contacted via e-mail, and will be given 48 hours to response. Otherwise, a new winner will be drawn.
  • Any details will be deleted after use and will not be passed on to any third party.



  1. I would like to thank you for a fantastic book giveaway, that i would love to have the oportunity of reading and reviewing! This author's work sounds both intreguing and origional, of a genre that i love.
    Thank you so much x

    GFC Follower - lfountain1
    Email: lfountain1(at)hotmail(dot)co(dot)uk

  2. Thank you for a lovely giveaway! These books have been on my wishlist for a long time!
    GFC follower
    impy80 at hotmail dot com

  3. Thanks so much for this giveaway! I've heard great things about these books.


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