The Wattpad Endeavour (part 3)

Hello gentle reader,

Eighteen months after joining Wattpad, my stories have now reached an unbelievable total of 255K reads, with THE BRIGHT AND THE LOST alone close to 200k reads. While I’m still hoping to get my books traditionally published one day soon, I’m also eager to show my gratitude to my Wattpad readers. As a result, and after discussing it with my agent, I’ve decided to start posting online my YA Victorian Fantasy LILY IN THE SHADOWS.

The first few chapters are now available on Wattpad here, and to my surprise, it has already been chosen by the Wattpad team to feature on their “Blast to the Future Past” list as part of the June 2018 Wattpad Picks! I’m absolutely thrilled readers seem to be enjoying this story, and I’m now posting a new chapter every day.

If you’ve been following my writing journey for a while, you may remember LILY IN THE SHADOWS has a long history. I wrote the first draft in 2013, and after querying it, it’s the manuscript that landed me my first agent. Many drafts and quite a few years later, the heart of this story about a deaf flower girl in a London gripped by a magical crisis remains the same, but thanks to many rounds of revisions based on CPs’ and agents’ feedback, the plot and writing have changed a lot. Despite never finding its way to a publisher’s desk, this story remains the one that taught me a lot about writing and revising.

I hope you’ll enjoy it!

LILY IN THE SHADOWS on Wattpad

EM Castellan - LILY IN THE SHADOWS promo

Cover by Stefanie Suzaya

Blurb

A YA Historical Fantasy set in Victorian London that mixes magic, romance and mystery.

It’s 1862, and London high society’s favourite pastime is magic spells. But between trying to make a living as a flower girl, dodging local gang leaders and coping with the fact that she’s deaf, sixteen-year old Lily Scott has no time for such lofty things. The last thing she needs is a strange epidemic killing all the flowers in the city. Out of a job and threatened with starvation on the streets of Whitechapel, Lily decides she can’t leave it up to some stuffy British Museum scientists in top hats to help.

Determined to solve the mystery of the dead flowers, Lily quickly finds herself in over her head as children disappear, librarians get killed by spontaneously combusting books and newspapers blame the phenomena on ‘dark magic’. Soon panic sweeps across the city, and Lily’s investigation becomes deadly when bombs go off everywhere she turns. From East London where the fog takes on a life of its own, to the gardens of Buckingham Palace which have been turned into a haunted forest, Lily needs to follow the clues and learn magic to sort this mess out before society collapses and she loses a lot more than her job.

 

Meet My Character – Lily In The Shadows

Hello gentle reader,

I’ve been tagged by the wonderful Katie Bucklein to participate in the Meet My Character blog hop. The idea is to answer 7 questions about my manuscript’s main character, then tag other writers. I’ve decided to take part with the main character of LILY IN THE SHADOWS, the manuscript which helped me sign with my agent.

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1) What is the name of your character? Is she a fictional person or a historic person?

Her name is Lily Scott and she’s a fictional person. I write YA Historical Fantasy, and it’s my way of bringing to life “regular people” who would never have made it in our History books.

2) When and where is the story set?

LILY IN THE SHADOWS is set in 1862 London. London is a city I know very well and love very much, and doing research for this manuscript was a lot of fun. The Victorian era is also an incredibly inspiring time period. I just added a bit of magic to it…

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3) What should we know about your character?

Lily is a flower girl – the kind who sold flowers on the streets of Victorian London for a living. She’s sixteen, strong-headed, sassy and independent. She lives in Whitechapel and because she’s been an orphan for a long time, she’s used to taking care of herself – and others.

Augustus Edwin Mulready - A street flower seller
4) What is the main conflict? What messes up her life?

One day, all the flowers in London die.

That was my premise, the idea that popped into my head two years ago and didn’t let go. What if my MC was a flower girl, and suddenly all the flowers died? Faced with the sudden disappearance of her livelihood, what would she do? In Lily’s case, she doesn’t leave it up to some British Museum scientists in top hats to solve the mystery of the dead flowers: she investigates herself, and gets into trouble…

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

As I said in my previous answer, Lily wants to find out what happened to the flowers, in order to get her livelihhod back. Selling flowers is pretty much the only thing she knows, so she’s determined to get to the bottom of it all before she finds herself starving on the streets.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

Well, the working title is and has always been LILY IN THE SHADOWS. I participated in a couple of contests while querying this MS, which means the query and first 500 words can still be found online here. You can also read two interviews I gave about my manuscript here and here.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

One day soon, I hope!

And now I tag the fab Sarah Glenn Marsh  and Jessica Rubinkowski who are both working hard on their new Work In Progress, which I can’t wait to read!

I’ve been interviewed! via Karen McCoy

Hello gentle reader,

a quick post today to let you know I’ve been interviewed by Karen McCoy about my manuscript LILY IN THE SHADOWS.

Here is an excerpt:

I love the premise of LILY IN THE SHADOWS. Where did you get the idea from and what do you want readers to take away when they’re finished?

Although I love Steampunk literature, it has glamorized the Victorian era, with heroines in beautiful dresses, innovative gentlemen, steam-powered inventions and afternoon teas. I wrote LILY because I wanted to write the story of an obscure 19th Century flower girl, with no special power or talent, who tries to save the city of London from chaos and magical destruction. Lily lives in Whitechapel, she is partly deaf and she has no hope of ever marrying a king and becoming a princess in a fairy tale. But to me, it doesn’t mean her story shouldn’t be told. Every girl matters and her actions can change the world, even in the shadows.

You can read the full interview here.

I’ve been interviewed! via The Great Noveling Adventure

Hello gentle reader,

a quick post today to let you know I’ve been interviewed by the Great Noveling Adventure ladies about my manuscript LILY IN THE SHADOWS. You can read the interview here.

Have a good week!

Thursday’s Children/Like A Virgin Blog Hop

Hello gentle reader,

this week I’m taking part in a Thursday’s Children and Like A Virgin Writing Contest Mash-Up. Thursday’s Children is “a weekly blog hop where writers share their inspirations”. The Like A Virgin Contest is a contest for unagented writers in the YA/NA categories. Both are organised by the awesome Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez.

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This week’s theme is writing “firsts,” and we have to answer a series of questions.

  1. How do you remember your first kiss? I don’t remember it, actually.
  2. What was your first favourite love song? Probably a Celine Dion song. How embarrassing.
  3. What’s the first thing you do when you begin writing for the day? I check Twitter to find out if other people are writing or doing a writing sprint. I listen to music. Then I open my Word document and write.
  4. Who’s the first writer who truly inspired you to become a writer? I’ve been writing for so long, I’m not sure who inspired me first. I do know who inspired me to seek publication, though. It’s Susan Dennard.
  5. Did the final revision of your first book have the same first chapter it started with? I’m not going to talk about my first book here (I wrote it 16 years ago and I couldn’t tell you much about it). But the manuscript I’m currently querying, Lily In The Shadows, has had its opening from the first draft. This first scene was actually the idea that started the whole story.
  6. For your first book, which came first: major characters, plot or setting? Characters. Always. I tell stories about people. Then I have stuff happen to them in a certain place. But it’s always about the characters.
  7. What’s the first word you want to roll off the tip of someone’s tongue when they think of your writing? This is hard. Intriguing, maybe?

This is a blog hop! Feel free to join in and to answer those questions as well! Or leave me a comment below and let me know how about your experience in writing your first book!

What’s Up Wednesday & Ready. Set. Write! Check-In 1

Hello gentle reader,

as promised this is my first What’s Up Wednesday post as well as my goal-setting post for the Ready. Set. Write! challenge. If you wish to find out what this writing challenge is about and join in the fun, click on the button below:

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What’s Up Wednesday was created by Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk.  It’s a way to share what we are up to each week.

What's Up Wednesday Button

What I´m reading

The Quietness

This week I read The Quietness by Alison Rattle (YA Historical fiction). It’s the story of two girls in 19th Century London, who have nothing in common but whose paths are about to cross. The voice is brilliant, I loved it!

What I’m Writing

My goal for Ready. Set. Write! is to edit and query my YA Historical Fantasy Lily In The Shadows.

This week I’m editing, following my beta readers’ advice.

What else I´ve been up to

I won a giveaway! Editor Cassandra Marshall organised a contest to win a full MS critique and incredibly, I won! I’m looking forward to her feedback on Lily…

What inspires me right now

Knowing that I’m very close to finishing my WIP. So. Close.

What are you up to this week? Feel free to leave me a comment below!

And if you’d like to join in this blog hop, click here!

I’ve been interviewed! Future Shelves with Serena Lawless

Hello gentle reader,

the ever awesome Serena Lawless has interviewed me on her blog as part of her Future Shelves feature. I couldn’t be more proud to find myself among so many talented writers. In this interview, I talk about LILY IN THE SHADOWS and what inspired me to write this story. You can read the interview here.