Jen about Writing and Music
I used to be torn between writing songs and writing stories whenever I wanted to express myself. But while writing my first book, it suddenly dawned on me – I could have both at the same time. I could write a soundtrack for my own book!
In my paranormal romance Shadow of Time, Hannah and Josh (the main characters) each sing a song for the other. I had piano lessons for nine years, but the very first song I ever wrote was written on guitar. I taught myself how to play the guitar, because I thought it was way cooler – and more practical – to be able to play that instrument while sitting around the campfire with some friends.
The two songs on my "book soundtrack" are also both played on guitar, because the story of Shadow of Time has a definite "campfire" feel to it 🙂 One of those songs (Hannah’s song) is based on a poem I wrote a few years ago, and the other (Josh’s Song) is based on the widely-known Navajo prayer In Beauty May I Walk. Those two songs being in the book added an extra dimension to the love story I am telling about Hannah and Josh. While writing the book, I listened to many more songs (not my own) that somehow reminded me of the people in the book, the situations they find themselves in, or the places where the book is set. I suspect that deep down, I would really like to shoot a movie of it someday.
Shadow of Time is mostly set on the Navajo reservation and has a blend of folklore, paranormal romance, spirituality, history and music I myself have never encountered before in the genre. I truly feel I am bringing something new onto the scene. In my home country, this is especially true since I am the first-ever traditionally-published Dutch author in the paranormal romance genre. But even across the border, I believe Shadow of Time is original for being a paranormal romance book with a refreshing new angle.
In my next book, The Boy from the Woods, the main character (Julia) is Austrian and she plays the piano, so the songs in that book are mostly instrumental pieces played on the piano. There is one song with lyrics played on guitar, though – and it is sung in German!
Format: eBook ARC
Pages: ca. 400
Debut: December 14, 2012
All Hannah needs is a nice and quiet vacation after her first year of teaching French at a high school. She joins her brother Ben for the summer in their mom’s log cabin in Arizona. There, she meets Josh again, Ben’s childhood friend from the Navajo reservation. The little boy from the rez has grown up fast, and Hannah can’t help but feeling more for him than just friendship.
But fate apparently has something else in store for her. And it’s not peace and quiet. Night after night, Hannah is plagued by strange nightmares about the past of Navajo Nation and terrifying shadows chasing her. They seem to come closer – and why is Josh always present in her dreams?
Sometimes, the past has a way of catching up with you.
Rogue Chronicles Entry No. 35
This was an amazing journey! I'm a huge fan of all mystical stuff and lore, but I think it's even more amazing if you can find it still in present days, like the Native American believes and traditions. I've always been a fan of 'Indian stuff', but I just fell in love with it all over again. I have to admit it doesn't sound all that far-fetched to me as most other paranormal stories.
For lovers of Native American stories, traditions and magic, I can only recommend this. It was so packed with it all! From the ordinary to the supernatural, it gives off this particular feeling that I can't really describe. And speaking about describing, the sceneries! OMG! I have to tell you I'm not much for imagining this kind of things, it's usually something I don't bother much with. But I could pictures those crystal clear, and it was so beautiful. Same goes for the songs and the magic that was practically everywhere.I had to rush through this, but still it managed to capture me. That earns four thumps-up for style from me! And I know I will definitively read that again with more time at hand, and it'll probably be even more amazing when I can actually savor the imagines conjured up in my mind.
As for Hannah, Josh and Ben, I thought they made a more than awesome leading triplet, and for all the haters of love triangles: none here, so pick this up. You'll love it! I liked it, too. At first, I thought Nick might be complicating things, but he was just a friend all trough it, and it was refreshing. This story is about friendship much more than many other's I've read.
The way the characters were displayed was very good as well. Ususally you get the feeling you don't agree with the PoV that discribes things to you, for example about others acting strange or something. Not here. I could've taken facts only and come to the same conclusion as with the emotional commantaries that were handed. Nothing was over the top, either. Just.. prefect. Maybe it had to do with the third person narrator as well, which earns even more points from me because I think it's something rare in YA lit nowadays -- or maybe I'm just reading the wrong books?
Anyways, I ain't gonna spoil the story, but I thought it had all the right twists and turns in it, a good pace, was very deep, loaded with far more details than I expected, and not predictable. Okay, I'm not really the brightest on that front, but I'd still say so. Plus, it was well balanced between the emotional extremes of friendship/romance and pain/angst. It felt very natural to me, I loved that.
All in all, Jen Minkman made it to my favorite authors with this. I'm going to look forward to more from her! =) And, Jen, if you ever, ever think about translating this to German, I'd love to and be so honored!
Area Scan: Style: 5/5 -- Plot: 5/5 -- Characters: 5/5 -- Suspense: 3/5 -- Romance: 5/5 -- Drama: 4/5 -- Humor: 5/5 -- Fantasy: 5/5
Discovered: 5+ Hoods
This review was also posted to Amazon.
Sights: Teaser Tuesday #31
Thank You for the approval of an ARC goes to:
author Jen Minkman