Series: True Calling #2
Published by Siobhan Davis on 4-30-2015
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
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Back on Earth, Ariana is caught in a dangerous crossfire between clandestine rebel organization Clementia and the power-hungry government. Refusing to divulge the location of the secret information entrusted to her by her late father, she desperately tries to bargain for her Mom, Lily, and Cal’s rescue. She’s fighting a losing battle, and the clock is ticking.
Presented with evidence of her fiancé Cal’s apparent betrayal, she loyally defends him despite her concerns. With her emotions in turmoil, matters become even more complicated as she grows closer to her ex-boyfriend Zane.
When the stakes are raised, a succession of shocking revelations rocks her world, setting her on a path that will not only change her destiny but the fate of humanity.
Confronted by a memory so abhorrent comes a truth she would do anything to forget.
But some things just can’t be undone.
Interview with Siobhan Davis, author of Beyond Reach
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
Beyond Reach is book two in my YA sci-fi romance Series (True Calling). The series has a unique fantasy/paranormal twist and it contains a perfect blend of action, adventure, romance, suspense, betrayal, loss and survival. Set amidst a controlling regime and an unravelling new world order, the plot moves between two different worlds (utopia vs dystopia) and is relayed from two distinct perspectives.
In True Calling we are introduced to Cadet Ariana Skyee just as her life is turned upside-down. The government on Planet Novo have just announced an e-pageant—‘The Calling’—which compels every 17-year-old into impending marriage and parenthood. Forced to participate in the elaborate, reality TV-style assessment process which will identify her future spouse, Ariana is distraught at being compelled to marry and have children at such a young age. Confounded by the influx of dreams of the mysterious Zane, Ariana wonders whether the government-sanctioned memory erase has seriously messed with her mind. She falls for fellow Cadet Cal Remus as the pageant gets underway, coinciding with a series of tragic events which rock her world.
Beyond Reach picks up the story a few weeks later. Ariana is back on Earth without some of her loved ones and she is playing a game of cat-and-mouse with the secret information entrusted to her by her father. Her heart and mind are in inner turmoil as she tries to deal with the complexity of her feelings for both Zane and Cal. Add a rebel organization with questionable motives and authority figures with seemingly personal agendas into the mix and life is far from plain sailing for Ari. A succession of shocking revelations threaten to destroy her world and as her memories return she is confronted by a truth she would do anything to forget.
What makes your book unique?
There is a very unique love triangle in my series which will cause every reader who says they are jaded with love-triangles to re-think their views! In fact, a recent blogger said this:
“In other series, it feels as though love triangles are just thrown in for the heck of it but Davis doesn’t do that, and it’s really quite refreshing.” Danielle Ruby. RamblingB00ks.wordpress.com
Where did you get the idea for the series?
It all started with a dream. Just not my own! I got hooked on Twilight in 2009 and was fascinated to hear how Stephenie Meyer felt compelled to write the series on the basis of the now-infamous dream. Dreams have always captivated me and I started thinking a lot about their meaning and whether our dreams have the power to change our lives (not just metaphorically speaking).
I wondered a lot about her ‘meadow dream’; probably more than was normal. Who sent her that dream? And why? And did someone (or something) plant that seed knowing full well that it would lead her on a path to a significant life-altering experience? And what are dreams anyway? A malfunction of our brain? An unconscious message from our inner selves? A medium for receiving messages from others? My thoughts jumbled around like this for weeks, and my idea started to grow from this silent analysis and developed from there. And then ‘True Calling’ was borne.
Is there any message you want readers to get from reading the book?
First and foremost, I hope that the reader will thoroughly enjoy the story on a sheer entertainment basis. However, the Series also invites the reader to explore the rationale behind ‘dreams’ – to ponder the power of dreams and the messages they are trying to send us. The underlying theme of this series is about one’s True Calling in life and I hope it raises thought-provoking analysis into the nature of our true vocation, and whether our desired path is the one that fate has in mind for us.
How long did it take to write the book?
It took approximately six months to fully write and edit Beyond Reach. However, I was writing it around work and family commitments. If I’d had the luxury of sole focus on my writing I could have completed it in half that time.
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
It’s extremely difficult for me to pick a favorite character as I have grown so attached to all my characters. Both Ariana, and Cal, have a special place in my heart, but Isla Munroe is the most fun character to write. She is snarky and feisty and a handful of trouble, but ultimately loyal to the core. She has an interesting backstory which we will learn more about in Beyond Reach.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I have to write around my job and in between ferrying my sons to various football matches, cleaning, shopping etc. I try to write two hours every night and squeeze in three or four hours on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m a very-disciplined person in general, so my issue is actually forcing myself to stop writing most of the time!
I naturally adopt a hybrid writing structure – part-plotter/part-pantser. I always plot out each book, chapter by chapter, and prepare updated character bio’s, updated world descriptions and carry out necessary research before I begin writing the story. However, I also rely on the fact that the story evolves as I write and takes me off on different tangents that I could never have predicted. I follow this path, let the story flow, and see where it takes me. This type of structure has served me well and it’s how I approach all my books now.
I keep a notepad in my bag at all times so I can jot down ideas as they occur to me, often this can happen quite randomly – while I am in the supermarket queue, waiting at the doctors, standing freezing at the side of the football field and most frequently in the middle of the night when I’m asleep and have a light-bulb moment!
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
To be honest there isn’t really that much I would change. There are some scenes I feel I could have expanded on a little, and a couple of others that could have been slightly shorter, but overall I’m very happy with the end result. The feedback I have received from readers has been absolutely fantastic, so that affirms my belief in the final published version.
How did you come up with the cover?
I had a very clear idea of what I wanted for the cover. In order to ensure consistency across my series, I was insistent that the space theme had to be captured as well as my main character, Ariana. I gave quite a detailed spec to my book designer and together we came up with the perfect look. I’ve continued to use the blue-space background in other books in this series and I love how they all blend so well together.
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I loved reading from a very early age and English was one of my favorite subjects in school. My day job involves a huge amount of writing though it’s mainly corporate communications, policy documents and management reports/proposals. I’d felt the desire to write fiction for years (I was always dreaming up stories in my head and dissecting books/movies) and once I started fiction-writing five/six years ago I couldn’t, and haven’t, stopped. I’m a member of a writing group and I try to write something every day or every other day. It’s not really something that I choose to do at this stage –it’s something I feel compelled to do and it’s as vital to me as breathing! I have lots of things written, but my first published work was True Calling.
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
The first story I can remember writing was when I was about 8 or 9 years old and it was called ‘The Circus Came to Town’. We’d been asked to write it in school, as part of our homework and I got totally carried away and wrote an essay length story, which I think is pretty impressive for such a young age. Now if only I’d kept it…
What is your favorite genre, and why?
YA is my favourite genre, closely followed by crime/thrillers. I love the action-adventure and futuristic worlds of the YA dystopian/sci-fi though it only works for me if there is a romance theme as well. I am a total sucker for romance and it’s often this thread that has me racing through a book to find out what’s next.
Are there any books you are absolutely inspired by?
I love Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’, not purely because it’s so well written, but mainly because it shows the dark side of love and obsession and it is a fascinating study into human relationships and society’s view of what is deemed acceptable. I read a lot of crime novels and I adore Tess Gerritsen’s books without exception. On the YA side, I’m blown away by some of the talented authors writing in this genre – those that spring to mind are Suzanne Collins, Jennifer L. Armentrout, John Green, Laini Taylor and Moira Young’s Dustlands series is incredible.
What are you working on next?
I have started writing my next series, which is also YA sci-fi/fantasy romance. It’s called The Saven Series and it will be released in 2016. It’s also set in a future world, but the premise is the complete opposite to my True Calling series. Keep an eye on my website and my Goodreads page for more details – coming soon!
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
I’m still learning my craft so I don’t feel I’m qualified yet to pass on advice to other writers, but I have reads tons of advice from established authors and the two things that resonate with me are:
1. Write every day – it’s important to flex the muscle.
2. Never stop believing in yourself – there are enough people out there who will doubt you, so don’t doubt yourself.
How do you juggle writing with family time?
With great difficulty! As I mentioned earlier, I have to juggle my writing schedule around work and personal priorities, and it is very challenging at times. But I’m lucky that I have a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind spending nights in the Singles lounge (aka the sitting room!) and my parents provide tons of practical support on a daily basis, so I manage to fit it all in.
“Protecting yourself isn’t selfish, Ari; it’s survival one-oh-one. What about Deacon? And do you think your mom would want you to do this?”
“She told me to think about what my father would do! He wouldn’t stop until he had rescued his family. He wouldn’t sit idly by.”
“No, he wouldn’t. But he also wouldn’t rush into a foolhardy plan without any thought for his own safety. He would strategize the best way out of the situation. That’s what your father would do.”
And then it hits me: Zane is right. If my father were here, he would totally think things through and come up with a viable plan. That’s what Mom meant; she was actually warning me not to do anything foolish, and I just reacted the completely opposite way. I’m such an idiot! I smash the palm of my hand into my forehead.
“I’m going to get you out of there. Where exactly are you?”
“I’m in Stafford Ranger Station. But it’s like Fort Knox in here. There isn’t anything you can do to stop this.
“The hell there isn’t. Just hang tight, and if anything changes in the meantime, let me know.
“Okay.” I concede easily, a heavy weariness overtaking me, a combination of exhaustion, and helplessness. And Zane—usually a role model for staying calm under pressure—has said ‘hell’ three times in the space of five minutes.
I spend the rest of the day flitting between bouts of uncomfortable sleep, anxiously pacing my cell, and attempting to deflect Jax’s relentless efforts to engage me in mindless, incessant chatter. A dull pounding takes up residence in my skull, and I increase my efforts to block him out. Though, I have to admit that he’s kind of oddly endearing, in a really annoying way.
As day turns to night, I fear that I’ll die of boredom before they decide to do anything with me. Lying down on my side, I wrap my arms around my frozen body.
A sharp tingling jolts me from slumber. Immediately alert, my sixth sense is prickling in anticipation. My ears perk up at the sound of approaching footsteps. I rise stiffly, twisting my head from side to side. A different Ranger appears in front of my cell, keys in hand. “You’re coming with me.”
As he takes the key from his pocket, a low-level rumbling sound echoes overhead. Instinctively raising my eyes, I stare at the stark ceiling. An ear-piercing noise assaults my eardrums, and I hear a loud crash, followed by the unmistakeable sound of glass shattering and splintering into a million tiny pieces.
The excerpt story starts on May 1st and culminates on May 21st. Make sure to follow each blog to continue the story.