Monday, July 21, 2014

Guest Post with Sarah Daltry

Today, you all get to spend some time with Sarah Daltry.  Have fun and enjoy yourselves!

It might be because I have a background in theatre, but for me, a novel is an entire production. It’s about the story, but also the cover and the teasers and the trailer, and especially the title. I suppose it’s also my background in literature and poetry that makes me go for these artistic titles that don’t say much about the story, except symbolically, and thus lead people to pass by the books, because it doesn’t spell everything out in three words.

The series is called Flowering, so every piece of it is named for a flower. Except “Her Brother’s Best Friend.” It really started with that short erotic story, which is SHORT. It’s maybe eight pages, but people seemed to like it, so I thought… maybe there could be a novel here. There wasn’t. Not exactly. The novel I set out to write in Forget Me Not, which was a novel, then a novella, and then a novel again, was not what came out. From that novel, the series was born and, although I have some issues with my writing in that one, I feel like it, in a lot of ways, represents the series as well. My writing, like Lily, was immature. I have revised a bit, but it’s not my strongest work and I wonder if it hurts me when trying to market the series as a whole. However, I tend to feel like people who like the series understand its place in the series and I leave it at that. Lily isn’t perfect to readers, even though she’s been raised to be perfect, but that’s kind of the point of the book. She has no idea who or what she is – but she has to make all these choices and also is expected to know what she wants.

Forget Me Not is a flower, obviously, but it’s multifaceted as a title. Lily and Derek are at different schools and, at first, it’s a plea to him that he remember her. They were supposed to work as a couple. Of course, life isn’t that simple, is it? The other piece of the title I think is important is that it’s about remembering who you are. When Lily ends up with Jack, she’s in this whole whirlwind of a mess between the two guys (and it’s not cheating, for the record, as the conversation with Derek certainly could be read as a breakup or at least enough of a fight for her to see it that way). She ends up making a tough choice, which may not seem like much to people long past their college years, but the decision is that she’s going to pick herself. She’s going to figure herself out and I think the book is just as much about that – not forgetting who you are despite how everyone else sees you.

In Jack’s story, I chose Lily of the Valley, because first of all, you have Lily. She’s pretty important to the story! There is also the literal valley, at their secret spot toward the end of the book. Most importantly, though, the flower is a symbol of trust and second chances, which I think are key to the novel, and it’s also a symbol of kindness, something that Jack finds in Lily.

Star of Bethlehem brings to mind the holidays, and the story is set at New Year’s. It is also a symbol of hope and of reconciliation. In many ways, new conflicts arise during the novella, but at the end, Jack and Lily are still letting go of some of what has brought them pain and looking at a new start.

The orange blossom is recognized as a symbol of marriage and fidelity and, although the wedding doesn’t take place during Orange Blossom, the main question in the novel is whether a happily ever after will be possible for Jack and Lily, given the circumstances that surround them. And I think they both show their fidelity in the novel.

Ambrosia is reciprocal love and what better symbol for a wedding?

Finally, there’s Alana’s story – Blue Rose. A blue rose is rare and the flower symbolizes both mystery and love at first sight, two things that are somewhat relevant to Alana and Jack, but more significantly, the blue rose is the unattainable. For Jack and Alana, they are just too broken together to be able to be more than friends, and that is something that they both have to face. In addition, since they’re young and they both don’t really have much else in their lives, they don’t understand how love is not enough to heal them, but it’s because their love is something different. They are both looking for the impossible in the other – but in the end, they’re looking at the wrong person.

Anyway, the entire series is called Flowering, because it’s about growing. When we set out for college and into our adult lives, we are planting seeds, but it’s through experiences, through the people we come to know, and through love, that we not only grow as people, but that we grow into the people we hope and want to be as well.

About the author:

Sarah Daltry writes about the regular people who populate our lives. She's written works in various genres - romance, erotica, fantasy, horror. Genre isn't as important as telling a story about people and how their lives unfold. Sarah tends to focus on YA/NA characters but she's been known to shake it up. Most of her stories are about relationships - romantic, familial, friendly - because love and empathy are the foundation of life. It doesn't matter if the story is set in contemporary NY, historical Britain, or a fantasy world in the future - human beings are most interesting in the ways they interact with others. This is the principle behind all of Sarah's stories.

Sarah has spent most of her life in school, from her BA and MA in English and writing to teaching both at the high school and college level. She also loves studying art history and really anything because learning is fun.

When Sarah isn't writing, she tends to waste a lot of time checking Facebook for pictures of cats, shooting virtual zombies, and simply staring out the window.

About The Flowering:

Flowering is the story of Jack and Lily. They’re college kids with their own issues, who manage to find each other. What starts as physical attraction and sexual awakening becomes so much more. Jack is troubled, with a past that makes it hard for him to see the future. Lily comes from a perfect world where she’s expected to play the role she was given. When they’re together, though, Jack becomes someone even he cares for, and Lily becomes whole.

This series is about growing up, about “flowering” into the person you become. It’s also about love and how it starts with one chance encounter and turns into a lifetime. Jack and Lily don’t have it easy, but they have each other. They’re not billionaires or rock stars or undercover agents; they’re just college kids looking to be a little less alone in the world.

Now complete in one volume. Includes the short stories, "Her Brother's Best Friend" and "Morning Glory;" the novels, Forget Me Not, Lily of the Valley, Blue Rose, and Orange Blossom; and the novellas, Star of Bethlehem and Ambrosia.

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