Tag Archives: Rachel A. Marks

Character Development: Creating Unforgettable Characters with Rachel A. Marks

Posted by August 17th, 2015

Darkness-BrutalPlease welcome Book Country member Rachel Anne Marks back to the blog! Rachel’s been a wonderful force of positivity and wisdom here on Book Country for going on three and a half years. We were absolutely thrilled when Rachel announced that Skyscape had picked her up for a 2-book deal. Her young adult debut, DARKNESS BRUTAL, is on sale now. Rachel stopped by the blog this morning to share insights on the incredible character development that keeps her readers coming back for more.

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When we open a book, we begin a journey, and there are several things that help us decide if we’ll keep going. We ask ourselves if we want to hang out in the world of the book, if the questions raised seem interesting, but we also want to follow the lead subject on their journey. As a reader, this is one of my biggest questions when I start reading a novel: do I connect with the main character?

And as a writer, it’s even more important. In order to show a story through the eyes of another, we need to have a strong link to their motives, fears, and conflicts. We need to be almost literally in their shoes if we want the reader to feel that way too. Continue reading

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International Youth Day: Celebrating YA Books on Book Country

Posted by August 12th, 2015

It’s International Youth Day today, and it’s got us reading teen fiction on Book Country. We’d like to share some of our finds with you, and tell you why they kept us turning the pages. 

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The Artists CircleThe Artists Circle by Chelsea Langford

About the book: During the hypercreative Renaissance era, famed artists Michelangelo Buonarroti and Leonardo da Vinci were the first to tap into a creative magic and harness it in their artwork. For many reasons, the world was not ready for this magic to be revealed, but it has been taught in secret for centuries. This story follows a girl, Rosie, as she comes to Florence, Italy, to study art and, under the guidance of a peculiar mentor and her new classmates, discovers her true potential as an artist and the magic that’s in her grasp, lying dormant in her imagination.

Why we love it: We’ve fallen for The Artists Circle’s protagonist, Rosie. Just picture her arriving at Villa Cielo, the school that she hopes will turn her into a true artist: “She’d be known as the late girl—or the girl of the night. The one who was stuck on a plane in stupid Norway—sorry, Norway—while everyone else was finding their new best friends and soul mates or, who knows, artistic nemeses. On the bright side, maybe people would find her mysterious, at least for a while. She could work with that.”

The Neverland WarsThe Neverland Wars by Audrey Greathouse

About the book: Being a teentager is hard enough, but things get even harder for Gwendolyn Hoffman when her goofy kid sister, Rosemary, disappears in the night. She seems lost forever, until Rosemary comes back accompanied by her abductor, Peter Pan. Gwen is soon whirlwinded away from math classes, texting, and all expectations of modern teenagers. She learns that Neverland is facing grave turmoil. Certain adults are actively attempting to find—and destroy—the enchanted island and repurpose its magic to fix national debt and cell reception problems. Now, a teenager caught between worlds, Gwen will have to pick sides, choose between boys, and decipher her conflicting desires to find out what really matters to her.

Why we love it: This modern-day sequel of the Peter Pan story has captured our fancy. There is a brilliant twist: while Peter is still defending his beloved Neverland, he has changed, too. Peter has aged. All the time he has spent in reality, ferrying children back and forth, has added up. It has left him at the same awkward age as The Neverland Wars’ heroine, Gwen…

Continue reading

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