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The Darkness in the Light

D. Hart St. Martin Author Interview

D. Hart St. Martin Author Interview

Fractured is a captivating story of heroism, greed, and fulfilling one’s destiny. What was the initial idea behind this story and how did that transform as you were writing the novel?

Dune is perhaps my favorite book ever. I read it back in the day. After reading Dune Messiah, I was sure I knew what would happen next. When Children of Dune was published, I read it and threw it across the room, saying, “If Frank Herbert won’t write the book I want to read, I’ll write it.” I had no idea what I was doing, and I certainly had no concept whatsoever of where this first step of the journey would take me. But I knew I needed a “gimmick.” That’s when the idea of a world where sexism had never existed entered the story, but what began as a gimmick became an opportunity to define character with the facets of light and dark that exist in all of us rather than by the character’s genitalia and served as a significant guide to my world-building. Who are these beings that in their society there is no division of labor by gender? What differences between earth humans and the people of Garla (physical and mental) would bring such a thing about?

Lisen is a complex teenage girl that is brought to life by your writing style. What were the morals you were trying to caputre while creating your characters?

None of my characters is either all good or all bad. I revel in the gift of digging down deep and finding the darkness in the light and vice versa. For me, each character deserves the opportunity to show the reader all they’ve got and allow the reader to judge for herself. As for morals, I believe that one must know how to think before one can make any moral decision. Even then, the moral decision may not be the best decision at the moment. Sometimes, we have to sacrifice the “good” thing for the “right” thing (a major decision in book 2 illustrates that). Luckily, Lisen comes into the story with some pretty strong ethics that have been taught to her by the Holts, her guardians on earth. This allows me as the writer to challenge those ethics and see how she does.

What I loved most about the novel is that it plays with the idea of who is truly in charge of shaping our path in life. Did you put any of yourself or your experiences into this book?

I have always had a strong connection to the dead, but certainly not to the extent that Lisen does with her gift as a necropath. I think one of the most interesting aspects of the story is the character of Flandari, a woman too tightly wound to give her son any love at all and who is ultimately stolen away from Lisen before Lisen gets a chance to know her. My mother was a distant woman, and I realized after creating the character of Flandari that she was very like my own mother. Unlike me, however, Lisen finds a way to love. She makes a friend in Jozan, and there is clearly something going on with her Captain Cutie. She’s open to the possibilities, and this is thanks to her time with the Holts.

Fractured is book 1 in the Lisen of Solsta series. Where does book to take the characters and what do you invision for the series in the future?

There are 3 more books already available: Tainted, book 2, in which Lisen must come to terms with what to do about her brother (and which contains the true beginning of the match between her and Korin); Blooded, book 3, which finds Lisen struggling with this new mantle on her shoulders of Empir; and Protector of Thristas, book 4, which begins fifteen years after the end of Blooded because I wanted to know who these people became when they grew up. I am currently working on what was originally book 5 and the final book. However, it’s turning into a longer project than originally planned, and although it will still put an end to the story, it’s likely to be two books rather than one.

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Fractured (Lisen of Solsta Book 1) by [St. Martin, D. Hart]“Seventeen-year-old Lisen Holt only begins to realize that her life is fractured after a sorcerer abducts her from a California beach and brings her home to Garla. She awakens at Solsta Haven, a refuge for the spiritual members of Garlan society known as hermits. The sorcerer, Hermit Eloise, has returned Lisen?s body to its true form?a human-like marsupial with no visible breasts and a fuzzy pouch just above where her bellybutton once was. She then restores Lisen?s memory of her first ten years in Garla, leaving her earthly existence behind but not forgotten. Although she is Lisen of Solsta now, questions haunt her, questions Eloise refuses to answer. Who are the parents who left her at Solsta? Why did Eloise send her to Earth? And what is so important about her that Eloise has manipulated so much of her life? The answers will propel Lisen into a quest for a throne, and all that will stand between her and her birthright is her matricidal twin of a brother.”

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Echo

285113704 StarsEcho by Marguerite Valentine is a coming-of-age tale that dabbles with mental instability and the crazy world of teenagers. It starts off slow as we learn about the main character, Echo, and her turbulent relationship with her mother. Echo is an adult when she starts telling her story, and goes back in time to when she was nine years old. She grew up in a single parent household and it’s obvious that there are strained feelings with her mother. The story is told in the first person as Echo tells us of her summers in Wales and meeting a boy, Ifan, who seems much like an apparition. The story weaves and turns as Echo grows up and learns more about who she is and how the idea of sex can have such power. Without giving too much away so as not to spoil the read let’s just say that Echo goes on a very long journey of self-discovery that both begins and ends at the farm in Wales.

The tale is broken into six parts and takes place mainly at the farm in Wales and then in London, England. The split between nature and the bustling city serves as a good divide for Echo’s life: the farm holds her youth, her innocence and her naiveté. The city holds her adult life, her disillusions with society and her pain.

The story jumps about and the grammatical issues can sometimes detract from the actual tale. As we learn more about Echo it becomes easier to attribute the choppy parts and the strange emotions the main character seems to go through to the fact that Echo is a teenager dealing with the complexity of growing up.

The central themes of self-discovery and dealing with abandonment are very prevalent in this story. Echo knows only her mother, whom she dislikes, and subsequently gets rejected or hurt by every male presence in her life. These are very real and heavy themes, but the way Valentine has Echo react to their heaviness is very realistic. Echo has been at a disadvantage from the beginning. While she has food to eat and roof over her head she is never treated quite like a child should be allowed to be. This becomes very important later in the story as we watch Echo make some questionable choices. It’s impossible for Echo to react in a ‘normal’ way because she was never taught how.

Aside from some continuity errors, Echo was definitely a more realistic coming-of-age story that suits our current world. There are no rose-colored glasses as Valentine gives us the very raw experience of Echo and her journey to adulthood.

Pages: 278 | ASIN: B0196YHSNC

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