Welcome Readers! I glad you could join us, so let’s give a great big welcome to Fiona J.R. Tithenell who’s here today to tell us about The Prospero Chronicles and to give us some insight into what she edited out of the newest release – Stitches! Enjoy and don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!
ABOUT THE BOOKS
The Prospero Chronicles Book 1
by Fiona J.R. Titchenell & Matt Carter
Genre: YA Horror, SciFi
Under normal circumstances, Ben and Mina would never have had reason to speak to each other. He’s an easy-going people person with a healthy skepticism about the paranormal; she’s a dangerously obsessive monster-hunter with a crippling fear of betrayal. But the small Northern California town of Prospero, with its rich history of cryptid sightings, miracles, and mysterious disappearances, has no normal circumstances to offer.
When Ben’s missing childhood friend, Haley Perkins, stumbles out of Prospero’s surrounding woods and right into her own funeral, Ben and Mina are forced to work together to uncover what happened to her. Different as they are, their unlikely friendship may be the only thing that can save the town, and possibly the world, from its insidious invaders.
“A snapping, crackling, popping homage to classic horror.” —Kirkus Reviews.
“Whip-smart dialogue... genuinely terrifying Splinters, the descriptions of which will have fans of monster films utterly enthralled... A promising series opener, this will satisfy those readers who like their scary stories to be as clever as they are chilling." —KQG, the Bulletin of The Center for Children's Books.
“The stakes are high. The action is intense." —Washington Independent Review of Books.
The Prospero Chronicles Book 2
When autumn descends on Prospero, California, Ben hopes the normality of the new school year may offer a reprieve from the town’s paranormal horrors. Mina knows all too well that there are no reprieves and no normality to be had in Prospero, but even she can’t prepare for what the coming year holds.
On top of the vivid hallucinations that have plagued Mina since the attack on the Warehouse, and the brewing Splinter civil war that threatens all of humanity, inside the walls of Prospero High, Ben, Mina, and their expanding Network face a vicious campaign to destroy their friendship, and a mysterious assassin picking off human rebels – an assassin with powers like no Splinter they’ve fought before.
Ben and Mina’s one hope rests with a mysterious old man hiding in the woods outside of town; a living legend who may be able to teach them how to fight this dangerous new breed of Splinter. That is, assuming he doesn’t kill the pair of them himself.
“Titchenell and Carter hold nothing back in this solid sequel that thrills and expands on its predecessor. Aided by swift writing, relatable characters and unexpected scares, Shards is a chill-inducing delight.” —David Powers King, co-author of Woven.
“Maintaining the same level of popcorn-munching fun, Titchenell and Carter are taking The Prospero Chronicles in a promising direction.” —Joe Dell'Erb, Washington Independent Review of Books.
The Prospero Chronicles Book 3
Growing up is hard, and growing up in Prospero is even harder, but I think we manage. I mean, yeah, my friends and I spend more of our time fighting a race of shapeshifting aliens than we do hanging out, but we have our fun. We go to parties, help each other with our classes, maybe even fall in love…
I’ve no illusions that we live ordinary lives, but they’re our lives, and I’m going to make sure we make the most of them whether the Splinters want us to or not.
The truce is temporary. We will not humor the Splinters forever. It's only until the Slivers can be stopped, until the army of Shards being planted among our classmates can be disassembled, until we get our hands on the thing I'd almost given up believing in.
The humanity test.
For the chance to know, once and for all, who can be trusted, some dealings with monsters must be excusable. Inevitable. Just like this feeling between Ben and me.
And that has to be temporary too.
The Prospero Chronicles Book 4
by Fiona J.R. Titchenell
This is Prospero’s darkest hour. The few remaining humans trapped within the quarantine zone are all but defenseless against the multiplying forces of the Sliver Queen, Locusta. With Ben missing, Aldo among the enemy ranks, and more steel plates than bones left in her body, Mina’s passing the hours drowning in morphine and throwing heavy objects at her guards.
Stripped of her weapons, her gadgets, and the Network itself, she has just one card left, hidden somewhere under her oft-sutured skin. It might be powerful enough to complete her life’s work once and for all… or to reach the one person who could make her life into more than a means to an end. But playing it will cost everything she has, or everything she believes in.
The final chronicle of Prospero waits in these pages.
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Welcome Fiona! I am glad you could join us today to tell readers about The Prospero Chronicles. Are you ready to share what you edited out of the final chronicle?
What did you edit out of this book?
Stitches probably had the biggest transformation from inception to final draft of any project I’ve ever worked on. I mean, it was originally going to be two books with two authors, so yeah, the cutting room floor got pretty crowded.
Maybe I should start at the beginning. My husband-slash-coauthor and I originally plotted out The Prospero Chronicles as a five part series. We signed it with a small publisher who only offered a contract for the first three books, with an option for more at their discretion. Determined but inexperienced authors that we were at the time, we decided we’d face that hurdle when we came to it and proceeded to write the first three books exactly as we’d planned them, with a massive cliffhanger at the end of the third.
Well, it turned out not to matter whether the publisher would have wanted books four and five after all, because we split with them shortly before the planned release of book three. The veritable soap opera that led up to the schism could fill more than a few blog posts, full of fishy accounting, name-calling, blame-shifting, unanswered emails, and broken promises, but long story short, the series went dormant for a long time while the rights to the characters were in limbo.
We moved on to other projects. Landed other contracts. Various exciting things happened.
Eventually, our superhero of an agent won back the rights and gave us the go-ahead to republish and finish the series independently. We created our own editions of Splinters and Shards and published the already-written Slivers, but then we had to talk about the finishing part.
We tried. We refined our outlines. We tried again. Matt’s heart just wasn’t in it. He’d grown apart from the characters, become attached to new ones in other worlds, and the publishing battle had left a sour taste in his mouth.
I, on the other hand, couldn’t let it go. Not the way we’d left it.
We agreed to condense the two planned books into one goliath of a book that would still have been quicker to finish, and Matt tried once more. He tried because he knew what it meant to me, but as any writer knows, if you can’t get excited about your own story, you’ll never excite anyone else with it. All the good intentions in the world couldn’t reignite that spark.
So we agreed that I would do it alone. That meant another replotting, to trim the ending down further and gear it more toward my solo strengths.
Things that got pruned in the course of all that include but are not limited to:
Almost an entire book’s worth of Mina and her father globetrotting in search of the Splinters’ weakness.
A whole lot of a freshly traumatized Ben trying to figure out how to run a resistance in an occupied town without her.
Half a book with the perspective divided three ways instead of two, following a third character’s efforts to stay undercover among the villains.
A quest to kill a hive of weaponized parasites.
A mercenary who could turn people to stone.
Two deaths scenes for characters who ended up surviving.
An ending for a character who ended up dying instead.
Ultimately, I think the result was a much tighter, punchier finale than we would have had otherwise, but there were some threads that didn’t end up going quite where they were expected to. I actually got as far as approving the cover art for Stitches, found myself staring at this beautifully creepy image of what was supposed to be the big bad of the whole series, and realized that her part of the story had been almost completely sidelined.
That meant another round of heavy reworking, to give her more time on the scene instead of just behind it, and a closer relationship with the heroes. The trouble was, we’d already set her up to be so dangerous that it was seriously difficult to put her in a room with anyone and justify how they would walk away alive. Matt was still consulting and editing for the series, so I went to him and said, “I need a power loader scene.”
Because when in doubt, invoke the glory of Sigourney Weaver.
What we came up with didn’t look much like a power loader scene, but it was exactly what was needed to give the final confrontation the proper significance, and it became one of the stranger action scenes in a series full of gooey shapeshifter battles, so I’m really excited to share it.
Wow! That is fascinating! What do you think, readers?
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F.J.R. TITCHENELL is an author of young adult, sci-fi, and horror fiction, including Confessions of the Very First Zombie Slayer (That I Know of). She graduated from Cal State University Los Angeles with a B. A. in English in 2009 at the age of twenty. She currently lives in San Gabriel, California, with her husband, coauthor, and amazing partner in all things, Matt Carter, and their pet king snake, Mica.
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