by Sarah Dalton
(White Hart #1)
Publication date: March 5th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Mae never asked to be craft-born. She never wanted that burden.
The realm needs magic again, and the the King of Aegunlund has been waiting for the first craft-born girl to marry his son, Prince Casimir.
In Mae’s town of Halts-Walden, the ambitious miller claims his daughter Ellen is craft-born. Mae knows this is a load of hogwash, but she’s glad Ellen will have the unfortunate pleasure of becoming queen instead of her. All she has to do is sit back and wait until Casimir and Ellen are married, then she will finally be free of the threat of her fate. But on that day an event so shocking and terrible occurs that Mae finds herself entering the neighbouring cursed forest on a quest she never thought she’d have to follow.
Join Mae as she rides her white stag through the Waerg Woods with a pampered prince at her heels. She’s out for revenge and nothing, no one, will get in her way.
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They call me White Hart because on the day I was born—the day Mother died—the white stag appeared at the window of our hut, just a calf back then, so Father says. He tried to shoo it away, but the stag kept coming back, staring through the window, watching me as a baby. When I could talk, I yelled, Anta! Anta! I pointed at the large, furry antlers from his head, standing tall and crooked like the branches in the Waerg Woods.
No one knows why Anta stayed with me, or why he let me tame him. I ride him, too, and he drags the cart of wood to market. They whisper behind us, That’s no place for a white stag. What did they do to the creature? They have no right to own an animal like that... and more than once Father has had to threaten those who come to our house late at night, desperate to poach Anta for his fur. I’d never let anyone hurt him. I’d kill anyone who tries.
A Day in my Writing Life:
Unfortunately I don’t spend my days with a laptop in coffee shop as so often depicted in the movies and if I try to I generally give up – the noise of screaming children, coffee machines and bad slow jazz isn’t usually conducive to productive writing!
But there is an element of freedom which means that a writer has to experiment in order to get the best out of their selves. For me that means working early in the morning. You need to find your routine and stick to it.
Most writers will tell you that they produce their best work about 20-30 minutes into their writing which is why many people advocate free-writing and brainstorming to get yourself into a flow. I don’t tend to do this because once my mind is focussed I’m ready to begin. I like to get up, eat, and then jump straight into it.
Writing is intensive. You write real emotions and that can be draining and I find that you can only fully concentrate for around two hours at a time, and this is where I really love being a writer because then I have a break and watch TV or do some housework (oh, who am I kidding - I watch TV!). Around 11am I make a cup of tea (one of many) and watch True Blood.
Sometimes you have days where you feel like you don’t do any writing at all because putting a novel together isn’t just about creating sentences. It’s also about plotting, editing, proofreading and marketing. They are sometimes the most boring but necessary of tasks – the equivalent of filing in an office job – but they have to be done. You have to check that manuscript for incorrect commas and speech-marks. You have to edit out scenes that don’t add to the plot. And then there are the days where you don’t feel like you’re doing anything at all. I call these my ‘frustrated thinker’ days where I get what’s commonly known as writer’s block. It isn’t writer’s block; it’s another necessary part of being a writer. You need time to think about your work and sometimes that can’t be rushed. When it happens to you try to chill out. Let it happen naturally. Focus on other things until you’ve worked everything out in your head and then move on. The worst thing a writer can do is get too frustrated when you aren’t writing. Have confidence that you will pick up that pen or place a finger on the keyboard again and embrace it.
Writing days can be different, they can be generic and they can feel non-existent. But whatever happens it isn’t like a job in an office. When you step out of your writing den, dungeon, office… whatever it is you call it – you don’t switch off. When you’re a writer you’re a writer 24/7. Everything you watch, hear or experience adds to that little bank in your mind called ‘ideas’.
Sarah grew up in the middle of nowhere in the countryside of Derbyshire and as a result has an over-active imagination. She has been an avid reader for most of her life, taking inspiration from the stories she read as a child, and the novels she devoured as an adult.
She is the author of the popular YA dystopia series 'Blemished' and the gothic novella 'My Daylight Monsters'. Her latest series is called White Hart – a YA fantasy about a girl who hides magical powers from everyone around her.
Sarah at: http://sarahdaltonbooks.com/
Follow Sarah on twitter @sarahdalton
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