Earlier today I reviewed Sarah Dalton's first book in the Blemished series, a dystopian story that takes place in Britain. Previously, I had asked Sarah to complete an interview for me, and she said yes, so I have this to share with you too!
Tell us a little about yourself and the book(s) you've written...
I’m British :) I like cats and talking about the weather. I don’t like loud people or arrogance. I’m currently quite addicted to the Olympics.
The Blemished is my first full length novel but I’ve been lucky enough to have several short stories published in lovely places like Apex Magazine and PANK. I love writing in different genres but I tend to stick to speculative fiction. Sometimes I find that a chunk of poetic prose will creep up and surprise me.
I live in a city and love it but I was brought up in the remote countryside. I still get fond memories when I smell cow poo.
Why do you write? What got you going?
I just like making up stories. I’ve always loved to escape into a book and I think I understand what you want to experience as a reader.
Do you have a favourite line or two from one of your book(s)? What is it?
Probably the first line: “Once, my mum told me a story about a princess and it began with her stuck in a castle. My story begins with my head stuck in the toilet. “
It tends to divide people. It’s actually a lot more humorous than the book but it certainly grabs your attention. It also tells you everything you need to know about Mina – she isn’t a princess, she isn’t fairy-tale beautiful – she’s a normal girl just like you and me.
How do you choose the names for your characters?
I trawl through Facebook for ideas! Mina was easy – as a teenager I read Dracula a few times and I loved Mina Harker. But when I got older I realised that Mina Harker was restricted by being a ‘woman’. She’s vulnerable, physically weak and her only contribution is an ability to memorise train times. I wanted to steal the name and write a real heroine, I suppose to make amends to my teenage self.
How much control did you have have over the cover design of your book? Do you like it? If you didn't design it yourself, how do you think it would have turned out if you did?
I’m self-publishing so I had as much control as I liked. I absolutely love the cover and think that Najla Qamber, the designer, did an incredible job. She listened to my ideas took them away and created something even better than I could have imagined. If I’d designed it myself it would probably look like something a child scrawled in Paint!
What will your next book be about?
The next book is the sequel to The Blemished and I know quite a lot because I’ve already written a first draft. There will be lots more action and you’ll find out whether The Clans are the safe haven that Mina and her friends were looking for…
If you weren't writing what do you think you'd be doing?
I’d probably still be in a very boring 9-5 office job. I briefly flirted with setting up my own craft business, sewing little brooches and hair accessories. Unfortunately I realised I’d only be able to pay myself about 50p an hour so that idea was quickly scrapped!
What is the first line of the first book in your bookcase?
“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen” which makes me sound far more intellectual than I actually am. Not that I don’t love 1984.
If you could live in any time period (other than the current one) which one would you choose?
The future. I want to see how tiny phones become, how clever computers become, if genetics really do take over the world and if we manage to land on other planets. I want to see what happens to the climate and whether we run out of space. I want to live forever, basically… hey, maybe they’ll invent that soon…
What advice would you give your teen readers about life?
Question everything. You look fine. Listen, watch, read and experiment safely. (I probably wouldn’t make a very responsible parent!)
Thank you, Sarah! Learn more about The Blemished and Sarah Dalton below:
A beautiful world comes at a price...
In a world filled with stunning clones Mina Hart is Blemished. Her genes are worthless and that takes away her rights: her right to an Education, her right to a normal life and her right to have a child.
Mina keeps a dangerous secret which she never thought she could share until she meets Angela on her first day at St Jude's School. But their friendship is soon complicated by Angela’s adoptive brother Daniel. Mina finds herself drawn to his mysterious powers and impulsive nature. Then there is the gorgeous clone Sebastian who Mina is forbidden from even speaking to…
The Blemished is a frightening take on a fractured future where the Genetic Enhancement Ministry have taken control of Britain. It will take you on a ride filled with adventure, romance and rebellion.
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