Wednesday, September 11, 2013

"A Spark Unseen" by Sharon Cameron Blog Hop!!


The thrilling sequel to Sharon Cameron’s blockbuster gothic steampunk romance, THE DARK UNWINDING, will captivate readers anew with mystery and intrigue aplenty.

When Katharine Tulman wakes in the middle of the night and accidentally foils a kidnapping attempt on her uncle, she realizes Stranwyne Keep is no longer safe for Uncle Tully and his genius inventions. She flees to Paris, where she hopes to remain undetected and also find the mysterious and handsome Lane, who is suspected to be dead.

But the search for Lane is not easy, and Katharine soon finds herself embroiled in a labyrinth of political intrigue. And with unexpected enemies and allies at every turn, Katharine will have to figure out whom she can trust–if anyone–to protect her uncle from danger once and for all.

Filled with deadly twists, whispering romance, and heart-stopping suspense, this sequel to THE DARK UNWINDING whisks readers off on another thrilling adventure.

As part of the Hop, I got to ask Sharon a few questions about her books.

Me: Stranwyne Keep was inspired by Welbeck Abbey in  England. I'd never heard of it but I found it before reading TDU, but I found it fascinating! The scenes set in  Paris in A Spark Unseen are also beautifully described. I wondered if you had ever visited either Welbeck Abbey or been to  Paris? If you haven't been in person, can you explain your research? I was really impressed by the details.
Sharon: Sadly, I’ve never been to either! Welbeck Abbey is still a private home. But since I never intended Stranwyne Keep to be a faithful rendition of Welbeck, or to even be in the same location in England (it was the “situation” at the estate I found fascinating, rather than the exact floor plan) it wasn’t really problematic for me not to have been there. And then, as I moved deeper into my research on Paris in 1854, I realized that there was almost no location planned for A Spark Unseen that still existed! Much of it had been destroyed in either the Franco-Prussian war, WWI, WWII, or by the rioting French. And Napoleon III was undertaking a massive reconstruction of Paris in 1854, so most of what even still is in existence had not been at the time of my story. What I did discover was an 1854 travel guide for Paris (see my previous nerdy gush over at The Book Brats!) and that document was gold. Combining that with personal journals and observations (including Charles Dickens’s account of The Morgue), weirdly I believe I was able to write with more 1854 accuracy than if I’d set foot on the Parisian sidewalks.
Me: The titles are excellent: The Dark Unwinding and A Spark Unseen both capture the mood and tone of the books. I know authors sometimes go through several titles before finding the right one, or their agents, editors, or someone else at their publishers make the final decision. How did your books get their titles?
I’m glad you like them! The Dark Unwinding came hard. I have a file on my computer with literally hundreds of title options that my editor and I went through. My agent and the Scholastic team weighed in as well, and the process took several months. A Spark Unseen took, oh, about ten minutes for us all to agree on. I have no idea why!
Me: I was completely taken in by the characters! They're all so layered, especially Katharine. I loved her character arc and the journey she took through the two books. If your books were made into a movie (or a BBC miniseries, which is kind of how I pictured them :)...who would be your dream cast?
Oooo! A BBC mini-series! Okay, for Katharine I wish I could have had Carey Mulligan about five years ago, when she would have been the perfect age. She’s such a changeling, and could really have shown Katharine “blossoming,” I think. For Lane, I’ve always pictured someone a bit like Ben Barnes, but with the amazing screen presence of Richard Armitage. And for Ben Aldridge, I’ve just discovered there is a young English actor named…Ben Aldridge! A unique qualification, don’t you think?
Me: The books take place in the 1850s. What would you have liked most about living in that time period? And least?
I think I might have liked the slower pace of life, having more time to really think about the details of a thing, and just to be. Or maybe I would have found it boring! But what I wouldn’t like? That’s easy: dentistry, childbirth, corsets, and narrow mindedness.
Me: Writerly question: Are you a plotter or a pantser? There were some great twists, especially in A Spark Unseen, and the pace never lagged or felt rushed to me. I'd love to know a little about your writing process.

I’m both. I definitely plot and plan first, so I don’t waste huge chunks of writing time. But then I change that plot all over the place once I’m writing. So I start with a specific direction and a place I’m going, then proceed by instinct. What I come up with “by instinct” while I’m writing is always ten times better than what I’d planned. But it would have taken me a long time to get there if I hadn’t planned in the first place!
Thank you to Sharon for answering my questions! and

 I highly recommend A Spark Unseen (and The Dark Unwinding, if you haven't read it yet!).  I'll be posting my review soon, but to sum up: It's excellent!

Find Sharon Cameron:
Twitter  -@CameronSharonE


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