Title: Obscura Burning.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen.
Publication Date: December 7th, 2012.
Publisher: Etopia Press.
Format: Paperback & eBook, 300 pages.
The world's going to end in fire…and it's all Kyle's fault.
Kyle Wolfe's world is about to crash and burn. Just weeks away from graduation, a fire kills Kyle's two best friends and leaves him permanently scarred. A fire that Kyle accidentally set the night he cheated on his boyfriend Danny with their female friend, Shira. That same day, a strange new planet, Obscura, appears in the sky. And suddenly Kyle's friends aren't all that dead anymore.
Each time Kyle goes to sleep, he awakens to two different realities. In one, his boyfriend Danny is still alive, but Shira is dead. In the other, it's Shira who's alive...and now they're friends with benefits. Shifting between realities is slowly killing him, and he's not the only one dying. The world is dying with him. He's pretty sure Obscura has something to do with it, but with his parents' marriage imploding and realities shifting each time he closes his eyes, Kyle has problems enough without being the one in charge of saving the world...
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Suzanne is a freelance writer and author from South Africa. She currently lives in Finland and finds the cold, dark forests nothing if not inspiring. Suzanne is the author of the cyberpunk novel Dragon’s Teeth (Divertir), the YA science fiction novel Obscura Burning (Etopia) and has had several short stories published by Golden Visions Magazine, Space and Time and Niteblade. Niteblade nominated her short story Where dreams are grown for the Pushcart Prize. Her non-fiction articles on travel, music and other topics can be found scattered throughout the Internet. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When not writing you can find her teaching dance to ninth graders or playing in the snow with her shiba inu.
Suzanne is represented by Jordy Albert of the Booker Albert Agency.
Closing my eyes, I imagine New Mexico burning, can almost smell it, the pungent pine, fireball mesquite, and smouldering cacti. I should be worried about the damage the UV’s doing to my scars, but after tonight, none of that will matter. Just when you think it can’t possibly get any hotter or the mercury will explode, the temperature rises just a few more degrees. Today, Coyote’s Luck lies in a simmering mirage, hotter than any hell imaginable.
The crush of mesquite huddling between the tombstones offers little respite from the sun. Sticking to the dappled shade, I thread my way toward Danny’s grave. I’m not alone.
She looks like a ghost with the white sundress fanning around her legs, her long black hair teased by the warm breeze. For a moment, I think it’s one of the ch’iindi made flesh, until she turns at the sound of my step.
Gabriela, her face a teary-eyed frown. She folds her arms and returns her gaze to the grave. When did she get so thin? She was always so voluptuous, a shorter, less saggy version of her mother. Now she looks more like a sixteen-year-old kid, barely there in layers of cotton.
We stand in silence, both just staring at the grave. The rosaries dangle over the stone, tied in knots around the stems of already dead flowers. There’s a white and blue beaded one, the one that was attached to Danny’s bed, the one he’d kiss at night before going to sleep.
“I miss him so much,” Gabriela says eventually.
“So do I.”
“I blame you, you know.” She casts me a sidelong glance.
“Maybe you should.”
She nods and sniffs and fingers one of the blooms turned brown by the heat.
“Dead, all of it.” She tears the petals from the stalk. “Little Maria, now Daniel.” She turns her dark eyes on me, searching for something I wish I could give her.
“This is killing my parents. Daniel was their only son. They’ll never have more children. Once, I had a brother. Now I’m alone. Sister to dead siblings.”
That’s the most Gabriela’s ever said, to me at least. I’m stunned into uncomfortable silence. There’s nothing I can say that’ll make it right. But tonight, maybe there’ll be something I can do.
“I wish I could make it right.” My words sound so pathetic.
She harrumphs and digs her sandaled toe into the dirt. “Nothing can make Daniel dying right.”
“I’m sorry.” There is nothing else I can say without trying to explain the whole confusing story and Gabriela’s not the type to believe in rifts in reality. “Tell Daniel you’re sorry. He’s the one who died because of you.” She takes a deliberate step away from me, crosses herself, offering prayers in Spanish to the ether.
“I loved him, you know.” Maybe I am to blame, but she makes it sound like I don’t give a crap that he’s dead.
“Obviously not enough.”
1. Do you judge a book by its cover?
All the time. That’s not to say that all my judgements are accurate but a book cover is really important. If I’m standing in a store torn between two books of equal price with equally interesting blurbs, I’ll certainly take the one with the nicer cover - that’s just the way it is.
2. Is there a series you'll read over and over again and never get tired of?
Series? No. I’m not really into series. I find myself often reading the first book and never further. I may make exceptions for trilogies and I’ll have to see how it goes with The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater before changing my mind on book series.
3. What are two of your favorite fictional worlds that you'd like to see together?
Wow - that’s tough. Merging two worlds. Hm... I think Capt. Jack Harkness from Dr Who and Torchwood could just about take on anything and anyone so I’d like to see him take on some comic book heroes. I reckon Capt. Jack should make a guest appearance in The Avengers or X-Men - get Torchwood on the hunt for Magneto or Loki. That could be fun!
4. If you could meet a fictional character, who would it be and why?
It’s a tie between Capt. Jack Harkness and Morpheus, the Sandman and King of Dreams. Capt. Jack because he is awesome and has seen the future and would be infinitely interesting to talk to and Morpheus because he lives inside people’s dreams - I think he’d have a unique perspective on the human condition.
5. How do you feel about book to movies or book to TV shows?
Love them when they’re done well, which isn’t all that often. I’m a bit of purist tending to prefer the book to adaptation but I’m the first to admit that movies like Stardust and Coraline are fantastic and actually improve upon the original books. I think all the Nicholas Sparks movies have been an improvement on the books but the one that wins hands down is The Vampire Diaries. I could never get into the books despite trying more than once. The TV series however? Yeah I’m a total Damon Salvatore fangirl.
6. How many unread books do you have? On your TBR list?
Hundreds. I add more than I can ever hope to read but at least it gives me options. I love the sample function on Amazon - makes life easier being able to scroll through samples on my Kindle and get a taste for the book before purchasing it.
7. What's your favorite book this year?
I read this in November last year but it remains a favorite: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion. A totally unexpected and brilliant book about zombies. I hope the film adaptation will do it justice!
8. Ebooks or physical books? Which do you prefer?
Ebooks - more practical, lighter, easier to travel with and they save a hell of a lot of shelf space.
One lucky winner will win:
- 1 autographed paperback of Obscura Burning.
- 1 ebook of Dragon's Teeth (epub, mobi or pdf).
- 1 $10 Gift Card for Amazon.
- 3 surprise items from each of the main characters.
- International residents may enter.
- Contest ends January 31st, 2013.
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