Series: The Ceruleans #1
Published by Heaven Afire on February 7, 2015
Genres: YA Paranormal, Young Adult
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IN SEARCH OF THE MEANING OF DEATH, SHE’LL FIND THE MEANING OF LIFE.
Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense.
Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need.
As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power.
What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death.
To believe the impossible.
We’re all about the feels on this blog, and one of the best sources for them is family—the way characters’ families and their relationships with them affects who they are, what they do, what they say, and more. So when we got the opportunity to have author Megan Tayte on our blog for a guest post, we definitely wanted to ask her about her experience writing about family relationships, and specifically those between siblings, which are a strong theme in the first book of her Ceruleans series.
“Writing of Blood”
Guest Post by Megan Tayte
My five-book young adult series The Ceruleans is romance with a paranormal edge. But it’s more than a story of girl-meets-boy and girl-discovers-otherworldliness. The beating heart of the story for all the main characters is family. In Book 1, Death Wish, it’s the sibling bond that’s most prominent, in two separate families:
Sienna and Scarlett Blake
The book opens with seventeen-year-old Scarlett coming to an isolated cove in Devon, England, where her sister has recently drowned. That Sienna has taken her own life is incomprehensible to Scarlett, and all she can think to do is retrace her footsteps, in an effort to understand why:
I did not know why Sienna had run away. I did not know why she’d hidden and lied and stayed in touch with me but in a veiled, confusing way – never letting me in. I did not know why she had gone into the sea that night. I did not know why she had sunk into the deep. But I did know this: she had loved me. And I couldn’t come to terms with the fact that she had done this to me, to us.
Over the course of the book Scarlett is forced to confront more than the loss of Sienna, however. She has to discover who she is now that she is no longer a sister – now that she doesn’t stand in the shadow cast by her dominating, bolshie, larger-than-life sibling.
Luke and Cara Cavendish
This brother and sister pair serve as foils for Sienna and Scarlett. In many ways their relationship differs significantly: rather than abandon younger sister Cara, Luke has given up his dreams for the future to be her guardian following their parents’ death. He stands as Sienna’s opposite: fiercely loyal, protective and sacrificing. ¬And struggling in the role of responsible big brother:
“We all have family… difficulties… from time to time,” he added. “Take my sister, for example, who’s executed an impressive disappearing act this evening. Earlier, when I headed out to my six-to-midnight shift, she was in her pyjamas on the sofa with flu, all, ‘Later, brov, I’ll just lie here and feebly watch telly.’ Then, when I managed to wrangle leaving the pub early so I could check on her, what did I find? Pillows and a football and a wig in her bed, that’s what. Damn football rolled off the bed when I touched it. Scared the life out of me. I thought her head had fallen off!”
Still, Scarlett sees similarities in Luke and Cara’s bond: their squabbling and bantering conceals a connection she remembers well – and aches for:
“Beneath all the layers of emotion, a wrenching, consuming one: grief. Because I too had once had a sister I loved enough to bicker with. But as always, she had got the last word and executed the perfect dramatic exit: head up, shoulders back, chest out, take no prisoners.”
A love to bleed for
“Write with blood,” advised philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, “and you will experience that blood is spirit.” That’s what I do. I write stuff that matters to me, that’s real to me – that’s frequently exhausting and painful to write. I don’t write about my own siblings in The Ceruleans, but I write from a place of loving my sister and brother very much, of valuing my bond with them hugely, and of knowing the pain of loss.
In writing The Ceruleans, I challenged myself to consider:
- How important is to be differentiated from your sibling, to stand apart?
- How does love for a sibling manifest – words spoken and unspoken, choices made, actions taken?
- How does a shared history with a sibling ground you, and what happens when that history changes course?
- How does it feel to have the sibling bond severed – through betrayal, through a wilful act, through death?
- What happens to your identity when you cease being a sister (or brother)?
- How far would your love for your sibling drive you to know them, understand them, protect them?
With all of these questions in mind, I wrote with blood – and I wrote of blood. Because a love story doesn’t only have to be about romantic love: it can also include that quieter, grounding love for family. That’s the one that’s easy to forget, to take for granted; that’s the one you can’t choose, and it can be stifling and confusing and scream-out-loud maddening. But still, it always means something, deep down. It’s a love to bleed for.
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