Today’s Five Minutes With… is a super treat!. I’m part of “Team Watch Me Burn” and I’ve been so dying to share this with you. So what the heck is Watch Me Burn? Well… it’s the second installment of Sharon Bayliss’ The December People Series. Some of you may know Sharon from her numerous novels, or you may know Sharon as one of the #Nestpitch Team of Mentors… and if not, go follow her on Facebook & Twitter 😉
I was fortunate enough to read “Destruction” – the first in The December People Series, earlier this year and I was blown away. I read the entire novel in 24-hours. I was the first to give it a well deserved 5-star review…
So naturally I hounded Sharon for the second in the series. I truly mean HOUNDED! When it was at last ready, I planned on enjoying it over a quiet weekend read… except Watch Me Burn was even better than Destruction! And yes, you guessed it; I read it cover to cover in less than 24 hours. THIS IS SERIOUSLY among the best novels I have EVER read; and I read A. LOT.
Now, the problem with giving 5-star reviews is then you read something better than 5-stars, but there are only five stars! So all I could do was explain why I gave it ONLY 5-stars here:
So what makes Watch Me Burn so great?
As I say in my review, it has everything and it’s all so well balanced, there is no true way to express the brilliance of amazing writing, it simply is & you simply must read it to understand, however, I do my best to explain in the review. (hint, buy the book, actually both books, because I’m not nearly talented enough to do this series justice)
About Watch Me Burn:
David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son, but remains determined to be a good husband and father despite being a dark winter wizard.
His resolve is tested when a flyer for a missing girl–who happens to be a summer witch–begins to haunt him. David believes a spell needs to use him to save her, so he follows the magic’s command and looks into her disappearance. His teenage daughter Emmy resents him for caring so much about a random stranger. But when she uncovers some disturbing evidence close to home, she begins an investigation of her own.
David and Emmy quickly learn that the mystery is not only about a missing girl they barely know, but a deeply personal story that impacts everyone they care about. As their world crumbles, they fear the warning may be true—never mess with summer wizards, because the good guys always win.
If you’re new to The December People Series, start with Destruction—99 cents for a limited time!
Enter to win!! Get a paperback of your choice of Destruction OR Watch Me Burn. International entries welcome. Also join The December People Winter Celebration for more giveaways!!
Nik: Sharon, you know I’m a massive fan & of course, I will be harassing you shortly for no#3, but for now, I’ve love you to share some insight into the series and a few of your characters, but I’ll not be cruel, there’s only five questions – OK two of them have four parts, but that doesn’t count right? So Sharon, tell us about the series and a few of your characters.
Sharon’s answers are in italic.
1. What do you most like about:
(i) David Vandergraff – He’s capable of loving very deeply. His love for his family is his defining quality, and trumps everything else.
(ii) Emmy Vandergraff – What DON’T I like about her? I’d hate to have her as my daughter, but as a character, she’s pure gold. She’s incredibly brave and heroic. She’ll risk her own life to help others, and they don’t even have to be people she cares about personally.
(iii) Xavier Vandergraff – His character hasn’t quite “come to life” yet, so I don’t want to give away too much. But as his creator, I know all about what he has the potential to become. Despite everything he’s been through in life, he’s more of a lover than a fighter, and is actually a lot like his father. He’s talented, and kind, and devoted. I just hope that as the author, I can do him justice and get him to realize his potential.
(iv) Evangeline Vandergraff – Despite being a very serious person, she approaches life with a touch of whimsy and curiosity. She beats to her own drummer, but not because she’s rebelling from social norms, just because that’s who she is. She’s incredibly resilient and powerful.
2. What do you least like about:
(i) David Vandergraff – I can’t ever forgive that he cheated on his wife and lied about it for so many years. I really hate liars.
(ii) Emmy Vandergraff – When she’s younger, she’s kind of a bully, and I hate bullies. She grows out of this though. When she’s older, I get annoyed with her selfishness. She does whatever she wants without much regard to how it might impact others.
(iii) Xavier Vandergraff – I have nightmares about writing this character. I know it’s just how he copes, but he’s SO hard to reach. Sometimes I want to shake him.
(iv) Evangeline Vandergraff – She can be oblivious and selfish. She sometimes cares more about magic than people and isn’t bothered (enough) by causing pain to others.
3. If you could transform one of your character’s into a flesh-and-bone person to invite for dinner, which one would it be and why?
David. I’ve spent so much time with him, I feel like it would be meeting with an old friend. Of all the characters, I think we’d have the most enjoyable conversation. We have a lot in common (not everything…for example I would never cheat), but our values are similar. I really have no interest in suffering through a conversation with any of the teens, although hanging out with Nathan and Emmy might be fun. Amanda and I would probably hate each other, but if we both had a lot of wine first, we might have a good time. 😉
4. Your first line in describing Watch Me Burn is: “…David Vandergraff lost his home, his job, and contact with his oldest son…”was this situation inspired by something in real-life?
I was laid off from my job not too long before I wrote Destruction. I found a new job, but went from management to part-time front line staff, and made a lot less money. Some of that probably comes out in David’s loss of his company and transition to a “stay at home dad” in book 2, but I didn’t even think about that until you asked! Fortunately, I didn’t lose my home though.
5. This is a four-volume series, of which two have now been completed and you’re working on the third (right? right?). Did you know how the series would end when you started it?
You’ll be happy to know that I’m almost done with the third, and I actually have some of book 4 written. 😉 I’ve found writing the series to be a fascinating journey as an author. When I wrote Destruction, I was thinking of it as a stand alone. But once I was done with that story, the characters just wouldn’t quit. So, the 4 part series has been in mind since I finished the first draft of book 1 in 2011, and I knew each book would focus on one of the seasons. Aside from deciding on that basic structure, the characters have been writing the story for me as we go along. By the end of writing book 2, I did know how the rest of the series would go and how it would end, but the characters always surprise me. It’s possible that they may decide to end it differently than I planned.
OK. So that’s a little insight into Sharon and the Series
I adore the covers of both #1 & #2. I know we’ve spoken about this before, but for those people new to the series, tell us a little about the cover(s)
Thank you to artist Michelle Johnson and the whole team at Curiosity Quills Press for creating a cover I love!
If you haven’t guessed it by now, you’ll see a butterfly on the cover of every book in The December People Series. The butterfly is a symbol of transformation, hope, freedom, and generally creepy crawlies turning into beautiful things. And also…look how pretty! 😉Instead of the broken glass from Destruction, this butterfly is surrounded by fire, and it’s probably obvious why from the title. Watch Me Burn is the summer book in the series. All the books center* around my winter wizard family, but each book takes us deeper into a different season. Summer wizards are the “light” wizards, but light also means HEAT and FIRE.
(* I was so tempted to re-spell ‘CENTER’ to UK/Australian English ‘CENTRE’ but I have managed to resist – well sort of – ha!)
Pretty Awesome hey! So, what are you waiting for… hop…skip… & stampede your way to the Amazon pre-order page and don’t forget to review it once finished on Goodreads also.