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Saturday, 22 June 2013

Review #134: Torn- Christine Hughes

Title: Torn
Author: Christine Hughes
Pages: 276
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Review: I joined a reason group for the summer where they have this big challenge called Sweet Sicteen Summer Splash where we have to read sixteen books in sixteen weeks. Torn was the book for week two.
Now as I have Sadi before, angels aren't really my thing but I did enjoy this book. I think that is because Torn wasn't just about angels there was a good storyline too. I found there to bit quite a bit of mystery and a lot of secrets in this book, but that's what kept it interesting. I liked the sexual tension that the author created between the characters and I enjoyed watching the love triangle grow and then later on shatter. I would exactly call the ending a cliffhanger, but it definitely left me wanting to pick up book two.
I liked Sam but I found it to be strange that she didn't ask more questions earlier on, before she had figured everything out. And it was kind of weird that she just lived with these two guys, I realize they are like family but still. Or like hey we need o pack out and leave, take you out of school to move to a chain in the woods so we can train you fr some unknown reason. My red lights would be flashing! And if I was having voices in my head talking to me I would tell someone and want to know why, not just be okay with it. The there are the boys Ethan and Lucas! But I don't want to ruin anything so you will have to find out for yourselves. 
This was an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to angel lovers and YA readers. I look forward to reading book two.

About this author

I’ve always wanted to write. Ever since I was little, I would craft stories and poems but the idea to actually do it “for real” never really crossed my mind until last year. After sitting on three paragraphs of what would eventually become my first novel, I decided to expand upon what I had. At the time I had no real idea of where the story would go, I just knew I had the time to do something with it.

I hadn’t researched market trends, I had no idea about query letters or the evil synopsis, and I was green on the idea of agents and editors and all that is publishing, really. I just wanted to write something I enjoyed. I didn’t plot, outline, or character build, I just wrote. And then an author friend mentioned that I should take my writing to a conference.

So with the confidence that my novel would surely be welcomed by all who read it, I signed up for as many seminars and critiques as I could. I knew someone would love it. In those two days, I found out I had a lot to learn.

Funny, but as a former English teacher, you’d think I’d have figured out the importance of editing and revision and revising again. You’d think I’d have known that the first draft is just that, a draft. And when the critiques started coming in, I thought I was done for. Not that the premise wasn’t good (I was told it was), not that the characters weren’t believable (I was told they were), but I used too much passive voice, I tense shifted and there were some holes in the plotline.

A few agents really liked it, but the market trend couldn’t support it. Some were not fond of the way I told the story. I queried and queried my way to 57 flat out rejections and a number of partial and full requests that didn’t pan out. But along the way I got some great criticism and pointers and I made the story better. Then, on a whim, I trolled the SavvyAuthors website and signed up for a three line pitch to editor Lauri Wellington and I did a happy dance when she requested my full manuscript.

A month later, she responded that she loved the story and the concept but it moved too slowly but I could resubmit if I revised. I informed her I sent her a revision that was based on the opinions of agents, authors and peers but I had the original (cleaned up, of course) and I was sending it in to see if it was more of what she was looking for. And guess what? It was! One caveat, I had to revise the manuscript into past tense. Easy peasy, right? Wrong.

Revising into past tense from present is line editing your entire novel. And it kinda stinks. By the end, I thought my eyes were gonna start bleeding and pop out onto my keyboard. But you know what? That little “exercise” tightened up what was loose, filled in any plot holes that might’ve still been there and forced me to realize I could be a better writer.

The road to publication can be long. It can be a hop, skip and a jump from your first query. Nothing in publication is set in stone. The market is always changing. And the biggest thing I learned is that it’s all subjective. Agents A-Y may pass but all you need is Agent or Editor Z to believe in you as much as you believe in yourself. And I believe in my first novel. And I am happy that Black Opal Books does too. I hope you do, as well.

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