Far Shore (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton-Review and Interview with the Author
FAR SHORE (After Series #3) by Traci L. Slatton
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date October 10, 2013
An old enemy wreaks new havoc at the end of the world…
After the mists’ lethal apocalypse, mankind’s only hope for survival lies broken and battered, the prisoner of a ruthless sociopath who will stop at nothing to hurt him. Emma sets out to rescue him. She faces an ultimatum and must relinquish everything she holds dear. As Arthur teeters on the brink of life and death, Emma’s healing ability fails. Her own despair tests her, and she must grow stronger than she ever dreamt possible as she confronts the truth of her own heart.
In a time of apocalyptic despair, love is put to the test…
A mystical odyssey, a haunting love…
REVIEW: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in Traci L. Slatton’s After series set in the post apocalyptic dystopian future following the Day when the lethal mists began to ravage the world’s population and lands. In the After, many of the survivors have developed psychic powers and special abilities that will play an important role in the survival of the world.
At the end of Cold Light our ‘hero’ Arthur had been taken prisoner by a mad man who knows what it is like to lose everything to the mists. Alexei blames Arthur for the mists and ultimately the death of millions of people on earth including the only woman that he has ever loved. There is only one sure way to make Arthur suffer and that is to take the one thing that Arthur loves-his Emma.
Emma is a woman who is torn between the man that she loves and the family that she has risked everything to save. And Emma is the only person who is able to save Arthur and bring him back from the brink of death. But Arthur is no longer the man with whom Emma fell in love and it will take a supernatural miracle to find the man buried deep in the mind of tortured soul.
Traci L. Slatton brings together most of the previous storyline characters-each of whom has suffered in one way or another. From Emma’s family in Canada to the family she left behind in France, a terrible price has been paid by all of those who have survived the attacks from the raiders, the rogues and the mists.
We are pulled into a story of survival against all odds. The death of so many weighs heavily on the few that have survived; but there are also bright spots amongst the gloom when a new life is brought into the world. Our survivors have had a difficult journey and one that has had its’ share of losses and pain. There is heartache for a woman who has lost the man that she loves, but also for the man who has lost himself in a fight for his sanity and his life. Relationships continue to form while others begin to crumble under the weight of betrayal and loss.
Far Shore (and The After series) is a story that makes you wonder about the what ifs and whys of a world at war. If the ultimate weapon of mass destruction is let loose onto a world of innocent people, what will happen when said weapon evolves and comes looking for the creator? Do we really trust the people in charge of our daily lives and if not, what will happen when the people at the top, can no longer control the monster within?
Traci L Slatton has written another wonderful and amazing storyline that looks at the aftermath of an experiment gone horribly wrong. It is a story about love and loss; betrayal and pain; and a second chances to make everything right. And it is also about two people, who have found love amongst the chaos and destruction, only to lose each other at the hands of a man tortured by his own loss. Sometimes there is only one choice and that choice is to survive, no matter what someone else has in mind.
Copy supplied by the author
Reviewed by Sandy
The Reading Cafe would like to welcome back Traci. We previously spoke with Traci in the summer of 2012 with the release of Cold Light-the second book in her After Series.
TRC: Hi Traci and welcome back to The Reading Café.
Traci: Thanks for having me back! I’m glad to be back.
TRC: For anyone who does not know Traci L. Slatton, would you please tell us something about yourself?
Traci: I am the author of 9 books and the mother of 4 girls, three and a step; I practice yoga daily; I live in Manhattan with my husband Sabin Howard, who is a classical figurative sculptor. I was a Navy brat. I like horses and chocolate and Renaissance art and travel.
TRC: It has been a little over a year since last we talked, what have you been up to?
Traci: Writing during the day and posing at night for Sabin, who is using me as the model for a bust. Posing for my husband isn’t strenuous, but it is challenging. I have to hold my head at a certain slight tilt, and maintain a small smile, and keep my shoulders relaxed down my back, for several hours after dinner every night, unless Sabin is teaching. Sabin is polite, but when he’s sculpting, he’s very demanding and clinical. There’s no funny business. And he doesn’t reimburse me in cash for posing, but he’s supposed to pay me in something else I can’t mention because this is a G rated blog. Unfortunately, by the time we’re finished sculpting for the night, I’m too tired to ask for payment. 🙂
Of course, I’m always raising my little one, who is 8.5 now. I’m also researching WW2 for two historical novels set during that time period.
TRC: FAR SHORE is the third instalment in your After series focusing on the ramifications of a weapon of mass destruction-literally-gone wrong. Would you please tell us something about the premise?
Traci: The premise is that most of humanity, and our physical structures, has been wiped out by a global ecological cataclysm. The survivors are struggling to stay alive as best they can. They’re beset by danger on every side, and inflicted with psychic gifts that presage madness. Within that context, a woman who is very strong develops a healing gift, and she falls in love with a man who is hiding a terrible secret.
TRC: The AFTER series was originally a trilogy, how many books have you planned for the series and what was the decision to write past three instalments?
Traci: I think it is a 4 book series. I meant for it to be a trilogy, but I got to the end of FAR SHORE, which is Book 3, and I had story left over to tell. Unexpected.
TRC: The premise of the series contains a major sociological, environmental and ethical disaster with a death toll rising into the billions. How do you think today’s society would fair or survive under the same circumstances? Or is the storyline a virtual interpretation of what you believe may happen after an apocalypse of this nature?
Traci: This storyline is an interpretation of what I believe may happen. Not the specifics of Emma and Arthur’s story, but the broad sweeps: people will band together and form tribes for safety and survival. Some of those tribes will be more civilized than others. Some people will rise as heroes, showing the finest and bravest that human beings can attain; others will show the worst of us.
TRC: When writing a storyline, do the characters direct the writing or do you direct the characters?
Traci: Good question! The answer is actually nuanced. I create characters whose qualities demand that they act in certain ways, but I as the author am always governing the fictional universe. That is, a character who is coherent will behave in ways that grow naturally and organically from his or her self. However, a brave person will sometimes be fearful; a crazy person will have moments of lucidity. There may be a greater reason why I as author set the character up to act out of character, as it were. But I have to strategize that situation very skillfully.
TRC: Are you a plotter or a pantster?
Traci: Both. I love the oceanic sweep of creative inspiration, and I usually surf that blissfully into a book for a few chapters. However, structure in a 65,000 word story is crucial. Without structure, the story falls into disarray. It becomes incoherent. So I work both from an outline and from the lightning bolt of creativity, back and forth, back and forth. The one informs the other, always.
TRC: Has their ever been one of your characters that you would have liked to re-written, perhaps change up the personality or characteristics-good or bad?
Traci: I sometimes wish I had made Luca Bastardo of IMMORTAL (BantamDell, 2008) a little more proactive. He tended to react rather than initiate. But he is a well liked character, so perhaps my readers are more forgiving than I am.
TRC: The mark of a good writer is to pull the reader into the storyline so that they experience the emotions along with the characters. What do you believe a writer must do to make this happen? Where do you believe writers fail in this endeavor?
Traci: Excellent, and hard, question. When a writer can wring emotion out of a reader, and that is one of the ultimate goals, it’s a function of a few things. One is creating relatable, three-dimensional characters for whom the readers care, in whom the readers are invested. Another is diction. Sloppy or over-flowery diction will alienate a reader. Also, it helps if the narrative is cohesive and if the events of the story are compelling.
TRC: How do you keep the plot unpredictable without sacrificing content and believability?
Traci: That’s the trick, isn’t it? Well, this goes back to my 3 Rules for Writing Novels: 1, What is story? Story is how your protagonist does NOT get what he or she wants. 2, What is story? All story is an argument for a specific value. 3, What are the stakes? So the plot all happens to keep the protagonist from getting what he or she wants. And at each event, I ask, what are the stakes? What does the protagonist stand to lose or gain? So keeping those questions in mind helps me stay fresh while also maintaining verisimilitude.
There’s also revision. My family and friends have heard me say it, so I’ll repeat it here: revision is writing. I don’t usually hit a bull’s eye the first time I write a scene or a chapter. Sometimes I can’t even get the arrow in the same town as the target board. But a revision or five later, I usually have something good to work with.
TRC: How do you handle the pressures and anxiety of deadlines?
Traci: Somehow I got really lucky in that I am highly self-motivated and disciplined, and I rarely procrastinate. (Maybe God was making up for my extra wide, double E size feet and unnaturally large, ET-like forehead.) My motto is, why wait until tomorrow when you can do it today? It makes the people around me a little crazy sometimes, but I can usually deal with deadlines, by racing ahead of them.
TRC: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about you?
Traci: Ooo. People think I’m strong, and they think strong means “unfeeling.” While it’s true I tend to have a lot of forward motion, and I will stand up for myself and for what I believe is right, that doesn’t mean I’m invulnerable. People, especially those close to me, see my strength but not my vulnerability. It’s led to a lot of painful situations in my life. I always want to say, to my two older daughters and to my mother and to my vengeful ex-husband, “I am a person. Don’t I have eyes? Don’t I have hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Am I not fed by the same food? If you prick me, do I not bleed? If you tickle me, do I not laugh?”
TRC: Who or what has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
Traci: I’ve been fortunate to have met a lot of compelling people who have taken an interest in me. It’s hard to pick one. I guess my grandmother Granny Bee was a big influence. She was a raucous, funny, lively, experimental person. She had only a 3rd grade education, she was part Cherokee, and she spent her early life traveling the South picking crops, but she was one of the most engaging people I’ve ever met. She had 5 husbands and we joke that only a few of them died under mysterious circumstances. She was going to nudist colonies in the 50’s–who was doing that? She built her own home, with her hands and nails and boards and a hammer. When she needed plumbing, she dated a plumber. When she needed the electrical system put in, she dated an electrician. It wasn’t easy for my mom as a little kid, but I always admired Granny Bee’s resourcefulness, courage, originality, and willingness to take risks.
TRC: Who is the first person you think about when you need someone to talk with and why?
Traci: Usually my husband Sabin. We fight a lot. It’s not easy to be two artists in the marriage, because that means there are actually 4 of us in the marriage: Sabin, his sculpting, me, and my writing. We’re both creative, opinionated, and pathologically persistent people. But Sabin does have a different perspective than I do, and when he’s not triggered by the situation, he has a lot of smart things to say. He can help pull me back when I personalize something; he’s good at reminding me, “That’s the other person’s stuff. Don’t take it on.” He is also often very sensible and practical. He also gives excellent hugs.
TRC: If you could be a contestant on a reality television program, which program would you chose and why?
Traci: Ugh. I hate reality TV. I have a whole rant about how reality TV is the end of western civilization and Enlightenment ideals.
TRC: On what are you currently working? Planned for 2014?
Traci: Having finished FAR SHORE, I am working on BROKEN, the story of a fallen angel in Paris from spring, 1939 to the Vel d’hiv in 1942. I have another WW2 novel planned for 2014. Then the 4th book in the After Series. Then a King Arthur retelling.
TRC: Would you like to add anything else?
Traci: Thank you for these intriguing questions! And check out my husband’s sculptures HERE
Dog or Cat: DOG
Roses or Tulips: LILACS
Iron Man or Thor: THOR
Winter or Summer: SUMMER
Last Movie you Saw: ELYSIUM (Isn’t Matt Damon hot???)
Pet Peeve: When my husband doesn’t rinse out the sink after shaving
Secret Celebrity Crush: Eric Bana (sigh)
TRC: Thank you Traci for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations on the release of FAR SHORE. Please come back and keep us up to date with Arthur, Emma and the gang.