Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sarah Daltry's Flowering Series Concludes


Introducing Sarah Daltry's Flowering series, a contemporary New Adult series about finding yourself through love. Please find the synopses and trailers for each of the six titles below. Reading order is suggested in the order the books were written, but no book has a cliffhanger and each can be read independent of the others. The titles are Forget Me Not (Lily’s story), Lily of the Valley (Jack’s story), Blue Rose (Alana’s story), Star of Bethlehem (holiday novella), Orange Blossom (one year later), and Ambrosia (the conclusion). 


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An In-Depth Interview With Sarah

Tell us your latest news. 
I don’t have news right now, since I’m trying to keep to myself. I’m still writing, but there is just too much happening to really say more than that I’m writing and I’m here.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I don’t consider myself a writer. I write because I have to. I write because I can’t not write. To be a writer, I feel like I would need to be confident in my work and think that it mattered if I did write. But it matters to me and I write because the characters are real to me and it burns inside of me to put their thoughts down. It’s cathartic and I write because it’s what keeps me alive from day to day.

What inspired you to write your book?
My books are all inspired by characters. No story comes to me without the voice first. The character speaks to me and asks me to write his or her story and I do.

Do you have a specific writing style?
Realistic, I suppose. Even in fantasy or genres based in suspended reality, I break stories down to the emotions and thoughts that make us human and make us struggle to get out of bed and keep breathing, because those thoughts and feelings are why we exist.

How did you come up with the title?
The Flowering series is called that because it’s about growing, about blossoming into yourself as you get older. Each title is a flower and it’s symbolic to the themes of that particular book. Bitter Fruits comes from “Cain” by Lord Byron, because the story deals with the Biblical tale of Cain and Abel. Backward Compatible is a gaming term and the book is about gamers. Quiver of a Kiss is from a poem about Helen of Troy by Sara Teasdale and The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is the name of Eliot’s poem that I used as inspiration for the novella. The erotica titles are what they are.

Is there a message in your novels that you want readers to grasp?
From Flowering, the basic message is that we don’t fall in love because we need someone else to change us. We fall in love because we need someone to help us find us.

What books have most influenced your life most?
The Sun Also Rises and The Catcher in the Rye.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Hemingway or Courtney Summers.

What book are you reading now?
I’m in the middle of several things. I went back to reread A Movable Feast, because Hemingway feels therapeutic.

Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I really like Laini Taylor, although she’s not really new.

What are your current projects?
I am finishing Ambrosia and then I need to finish the Eden’s Fall trilogy. I am working on several other things, but I haven’t decided what the next step is with them. A couple I really enjoy writing, but I don’t know how comfortable I am publishing and I’ve had a hard enough time with Flowering. I don’t know if I can continue to display my soul in that way. I may try to write something that I feel distant from.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I’m a painfully shy person and I hate displaying my feelings. It’s really hard to break yourself apart repeatedly, to put your own pain and fear and insecurities onto paper, and then to have to give that to someone who has no concept of the road you’ve walked for judgment. I don’t know if I like people reading my work. I like it when I know that I have been able to speak to someone who has felt that seem desperation, because it’s what inspired me to publish these books in the first place, but I also don’t think I’m emotionally in a place where I can just brush off ignorant remarks about what I’ve seen.

Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Hemingway and Courtney Summers for the same reason. When I read their work, I feel like someone out there understands that fear and anxiety of living and yet is able to give a slight hint as to why it’s impossible to give up.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Facing my own demons.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
Thank you for reading.

How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. I won’t write certain things if I’m not invested in them. So there are times when I’m singularly focused on one title and other times when I am struggling to write 1000 words in a few WIPs.

What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
I’ve been trying to put writing toward the bottom of my list of priorities lately, so I work and then I focus on getting better and, if time allows, I write when I have something to say and I want to write.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I don’t think I have any. I’m really not an interesting person.

What paranormal creature would you be and why?
Vampire. I would like to live forever, because I want to experience history.

What would you do if you didn’t have to work?
Write more.

What did you want to be when you were 10 years old?
A writer.

What makes you laugh?
My husband and my cats.

If aliens landed in front of you and, in exchange for anything you desire, offered you any position on their planet, what would you want?
Accountant. I like math.

If you could be any character in fiction, who would you be?
I don’t think I would want to be any characters in fiction, because I read books about people who struggle and I know enough of that in my own life.

If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Aubrey Plaza. Or Claire Danes from My So-Called Life.

If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Mind control. I would want to make people see and learn to walk in someone else’s shoes.

If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be?
Fuck This. I’m Out.

If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time?
Travel. Write.

If you could have dinner with anyone from history, who would it be, and why?
Hemingway and I would ask him how to keep going. It wouldn’t be the best advice, I realize, as he shot himself with an elephant gun, but I want to know how he made it as long as he did.

If you could compare yourself with any animal, which would it be and why?
A turtle, because I keep myself in my shell as much as I can, I can be slow at getting where I need to go (existentially, not necessarily physically although I’m no sprinter, either), and because they often go unnoticed due to their being less exciting than other animals.

If you won $20 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money?
Travel. Put it in savings and write. Help someone and save animals.

If you were a Star Wars character, which one would you be?
I like R2-D2.

What kind of people do you dislike?
People who can’t see the world outside of their own field of vision.

What makes you angry?
Cruelty. I can’t understand deliberately hurting anyone or anything. Why? There is so much darkness in the world. Why contribute to it? Why not at least try to make someone’s burden lighter? When I die, I don’t want to look back on the pain I caused; I want to believe I made someone’s life better somehow.

The Books in the Series

Forget Me Not (Lily's Story)

This is a coming of age story, but it isn’t always sweet and innocent. If dirty talk, bedroom toys, and threesomes offend you… this is not your book. “No one tells you when you start school just how homesick you will be, or how hard it will be to start life over with no direction and no friends or family. No one says that becoming your own person is terrifying.” I never wanted anything but Derek, my brother’s best friend. When I chose a college, it didn’t seem to matter that he would be an hour away. We could survive it. After all, we were in love. But almost immediately, things change between us. I blame myself. Maybe I’m just not sure how to be a girlfriend and independent. Life seems to be getting away from me – and then there’s Jack, the guy down the hall. He’s rude and vulgar and my parents would be shocked by him, yet every single time I see him, I feel like I’m being pulled toward him. It’s physical, sure, but there’s something in Jack’s eyes – and I want to know him. I know I don’t always make the right choices, and I’m the only person at fault when everything falls apart. How do I tell Derek, the guy who was supposed to be everything, that I don’t feel like fighting for him anymore? And do I run to Jack, when I know his past is way too much for me to handle when I’ve just turned 19? Finally, where do I end up in all of this? Can I be more than just someone else’s idea of what I should be? 


Lily of the Valley (Jack's Story)

Jack’s story isn’t pretty. He’s suicidal, depressed, and he uses meaningless sex and alcohol to survive. However, the story is about finding light in the darkness, but sometimes the road there isn’t always easy to walk. “No one tells you about pain. They tell you that it hurts, that sometimes it’s consuming. What they don’t tell you is that it’s not the pain that can kill you. It’s the uncomfortable numbness that follows, the weakness in your body when you realize your lungs may stop taking in air and you just can’t exert enough energy to care. It’s the way taste and color and smell fade from the world and all you’re left with is a sepia print of misery. That’s when the shift starts – the movement from passive to active. I fall asleep, hoping that the morning will bring back the pain. At least the pain is a thing.” I’m a plague, a cancer. My mom is dead – and my father is in prison for it. I survived high school because college was my way out. I needed to escape, to get away from my family and the people who tortured me, but it hasn’t grown any easier. I don’t pretend that I’m a good person. I drink far more than I should, and I use my best friend, Alana, because together, we thrive on destroying each other – as well as the parts of us we hate. I don’t believe in love, but sex is fun and it also makes me feel something. The morning I see Lily, the beautiful princess who smells inexplicably like strawberries every time I see her, I realize I’m in trouble. I should hate her. I want to hate her, because the alternative terrifies me. However, as she continues to crash into my life (often literally), I can’t avoid feeling something that is the one thing I swore I would never feel. I can’t fall in love, because people like me don’t live in a world where love saves anyone. She just won’t go away, though, and I don’t know if I can keep running. The voices and the darkness hover over me and they threaten to bring me back to the safety of my hate, but the stupid scent of strawberries lingers on the horizon, as something like hope. 


Blue Rose (Alana's Story) 

Warning: This book deals with topics of abuse and may trigger reactions in people who have experienced those things in their own lives. It remains a story about healing, but it’s not always an easy journey. “Four. My life has been shaped by four people. Four men, to be more specific. My father, my stepfather, my best friend, and my boyfriend. The first two shaped it in horrible ways, but what I am, who I am, is all because of four men.” Over the last twenty years, I’ve learned how to keep secrets. It doesn’t really matter, since everyone already seems to think they know everything about me. So I hide. I avoid confrontation, I treat Xanax like a magic pill that will make it all go away, and I become everything they think I am. A slut. A whore. Nothing but trash. I can only name two guys who have ever made me feel like I was more than that. Jack is my best friend and I’ve loved him since I met him. Now, though, he’s in love… with someone else, and I guess I need to get over him. Somehow. And then there’s Dave. The guy I never gave a chance. The guy I used almost as much as people used me, because I wanted to pretend I was someone worth loving. Two years have passed since we last spoke, but I don’t know how to stop thinking about him. My new therapist is making me face my past, and she tells me that life inevitably changes without our permission. I believe it, but I know what I am. I hear what she’s saying to me, and I want to try again with Dave, to help Jack find joy, to love myself, and to move on. I just wonder if anyone can do that, really. 


 Star of Bethlehem

This is a holiday novella-length story that follows Forget Me Not and Lily of the Valley. “With you, Jack, it was the first time I ever felt real. It was the first time anyone looked at me and saw substance. It was the first time I wanted to make someone see me.” Jack: New Year’s Eve. I’ve somehow managed to get here, and now I’m wearing a hideous and unreasonably itchy sweater, because I want to impress Lily’s family. I want to do anything for this girl who has made me believe in second chances. Lily: The house is beautiful and shining with light, but it feels empty. At least until Jack gets here. I know how desperately he wants this – a family, love, a home. If I can be the person who can give it to him, it’s all I need, but I hope I can keep him from seeing how hollow it all really is.


Orange Blossom

“I’ve never understood a year. A year was always a measurement of something bad for me. A year in my father’s prison sentence, a year since my mom’s death, a year left of school before I could get far, far away from here. Now, as I look down the end of my college career, with only a little more than a semester to go, a year seems like something magical. It has been a year since Lily chose me, since she sat with me on the old swing set and made a decision that I was worthy of her. And every minute of the entire year has been better than the last.” You already know their stories: Lily, the perfect princess, always living someone else’s life. And Jack, the broken boy, who had stopped believing in hope. Somehow, though, they found each other and what was one night blossomed into a love story. Now, a year later, Jack and Lily are dreaming of the future. Despite all of his promises to himself that he would never be indebted to anyone, Jack makes a new promise – this time to Lily – that he will be there for her forever. But when life unravels for them, he starts to pull away, and Lily worries he’s out of reach for good. When Jack does the unthinkable, Lily is left destroyed. Is it possible to have a happily ever after? Does love ever really save anyone? 



Four years. One night that was supposed to be an escape turned into four years. And now, four years is about to turn into forever. Lily was never anything special. A perfect girl from a perfect world living an empty life. She was lost, thinking she knew who she was and what she wanted. She thought she knew love, but then there was a boy. Jack has been through Hell. Watching his mother die - at his father’s hands - will never leave him. He had given up on living a life, figuring he would drink himself to death, if he didn’t give in to all the voices telling him to kill himself first. And then there was a girl who smelled like strawberries. Two years have passed since Orange Blossom. Jack and Lily are only months away from their wedding and their journey is about to come to an end. Join them in the final title in the Flowering series, a story of growing up, of finding yourself, and of “blooming.” 



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