In May, Sarah at @commasandampersands provided a gorgeous reveal for the cover of my new book, The Undercurrent, on Instagram:
(Check out www.instagram.com/commasandampersands for more beautiful book posts)
The Undercurrent is a stand-alone (slightly) futuristic thriller set in Australia about 15 years from now. It’s being released by the wonderful team at Text Publishing in August this year. Here’s a bit more about the plot:
Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin that stings and surges like a live wire. She can use it—to spark a fire, maybe even end a life—but she doesn’t understand what it is. And she can barely control it, especially when she’s anxious.
Ryan Walsh was on track for a stellar football career when his knee blew out. Now he’s a soldier—part of an experimental privatised military unit that has identified Jules De Marchi as a threat. Is it because of the weird undercurrent she’s tried so hard to hide? Or because of her mother Angie’s history as an activist against bio-engineering and big business?
It’s no coincidence that Ryan and Jules are in the same place at the same time—he’s under orders to follow her, after all. But then an explosive attack on a city building by an unknown enemy throws them together in the most violent and unexpected way.
You can find out more (and pre-order if you’re really keen!) at: www.textpublishing.com.au/books/the-undercurrent
I’m really excited about this book, and looking forward to talking more about it when we get closer to release date.
I posted some images from my Pinterest board for this book back in February:
And here’s a closer look at that eye-popping cover. 🙂
I’m waiting to hear back from my editor following my first round of revisions for The Undercurrent, my new book due out in August with Text Publishing. You’d think I’d use this time to breathe out, give the creative side of my brain a chance to rest but, no, it turns out my brain isn’t good with taking a break. Either that or I’m so conditioned to being busy that I don’t know what to do with myself when I’m not.
So while I wait, I’ve been tinkering with an idea for the next project, daydreaming about characters, pulling together the first glimpses of a plot. It’s like solving a mystery, these early explorations, and it’s fun because there’s no pressure for it to be anything in particular. It’s just me and a bunch of ideas – some worth chasing down, some not.
This overlap seems to be part of my process. For the four books of the Rephaim series, I was always alternating between writing one book and editing the previous – the latter always having priority. It meant that when one book went to press, I already had a reasonable chunk of a rough draft of the next. It’s how I could write a book a year for four years while also working a day job. So I’m excited that have the next thing ready to work on when The Undercurrent is closer to going to press. (There’s also another story waiting in the wings, which is more of a longer-term project.)
The Undercurrent – a stand-alone speculative thriller set in a near-future Australia – has come together a little slower than the Rephaim books, partly because of the challenges life has thrown at me, and partly because it’s bigger (as in length) and more ambitious than anything else I’ve written.
Images from my Pinterest board for The Undercurrent:
Meanwhile, I’ve also been binge reading (mostly) Australian fiction:
The Messenger was a rare re-read for me, and I loved it even more second time around (many years after first reading it). I’m a little obsessed with Garry Disher at the moment, and devoured the latest instalments in his two series. New Guinea Moon and Our Chemical Hearts – while vastly different stories – were moving coming-of-age reads, both exploring grief and friendship. Fall Girl was a fun, intelligent romance from the wonderful Toni Jordan, and The Refuge an original middle grade fantasy by Brisbane writer AV Mather.
The three with the biggest emotional punch were:
- A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (the only non-Aussie in this batch): I was crying so hard at the end of this book I couldn’t even tell my husband why. This book brought back the devastation of losing close friends to cancer and I couldn’t talk about it for a good day without my throat closing over and my voice going squeaky. (There may or may not have been hormones involved.)
- The Protected by Claire Zorn: What a beautiful, poignant book of grief, resilience and hope. It’s one of the most powerful novels I’ve read, particularly in the way it deals with the insidiousness of bullying. Claire is such a gifted author. Honestly, Australia has some of the best writers in the word. I realise how biased that sounds, but it doesn’t make it any less true.
- Both of the above books by Nicole Hayes: Nicole does such a brilliant job at characterisation and gritty realism. Reading The Whole of My World was perfectly timed in the lead up to the launch of the AFL Women’s competition (I’ve watched every game so far – go Lions!), and Shelley’s story has stayed with me. A Shadow’s Breath is darker and more intense than her earlier books – dealing with a more complex form of grief – and yet still manages to end on a note of hope.
At the top of my to-read list:
Life continues to be a journey of laughter and tears; great moments of joy and heart-squeezing moments of grief. I miss my dad every day. I miss who my mum was before dementia. But I still have her, she still knows who we are, and she still laughs a lot. That’s no small thing.
I’m still working full-time, but I have a plan in place to make some changes later this year. I actually don’t mind writing at 5am in the morning before work, but it would be great to have other options… Changing jobs two weeks ago was a first step in that direction.
How’s everyone else’s year going so far? What are you reading?
It’s been a big month for the Rephaim series, with the fourth and final book, Burn, released in the US and Canada (following its release in Australia and the UK in 2015).
It’s been gratifying to see the continued love for the series, and its conclusion, over the past 12 months.
One thing that’s fascinated me has been the reaction to the revelation of what happened between Gaby and Rafa all those years ago. (No spoilers.)
For me, the event itself warranted a strong reaction from Gaby (trust and respect are critical in any level of relationship ). But as important, is the way she – and Rafa – react to it. They deal with it badly: a total lack of emotional maturity, despite the number of years they’ve lived and their long shared history. And their response has serious ramifications for the people they care about, many of whom make bad decisions because of pride and ego.
The Rephaim series, aside from the sword fights and sexual tension, has always been about the complexity of relationships (family, friends and lovers) and what it might take to heal the rifts between the Rephaim.
A big part of that is owning mistakes. For me, writing the series has been an exercise in taking each major character to a point where they have to make choices about whether they can do that or not.
Whats next for me?
Since Burn was released in Australia last year, a number of bloggers and reviewers have asked for/suggested a spin-off series. I love that readers care about these characters and this world so much.
While there is resolution to the big questions of the series by the end of Burn, I never intended to wrap up the story in a neat bow, mainly because life doesn’t work like that. And maybe I wanted to give myself an opening to return to that world at some point in the future. I’ll admit, there are characters who fascinate me and stories still to be told.
Right now, I have other characters and other stories I want to explore. One of those stories is a stand-alone novel that’s been contracted by my Australian publisher, Text Publishing, and will be published in 2017. It’s speculative fiction, is set in Australia, and is probably best described as a YA thriller. I’m writing the final chapters of the first draft at the moment and it’s a tad intense. 🙂 I’ll be able to share more in coming months (title, synopsis, release date etc.).
North American blog tour
A massive thank you to the generous bloggers who participated in last week’s North American blog tour for Burn. And a huge shout-out to Sylvia Chan at Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada for again coordinating it all.
Here are the four covers of the North American editions (with unique taglines for each book that you won’t find on other editions):
As always, the Talking With Tundra blog has recapped the blog tour beautifully, so this time around I’m going to totally cheat and replicate the summaries and links from that site:
Monday 13 June 2016
- “I don’t get to binge read books too often anymore, but this book demanded that I not leave it for too long.” – Lee at Rally the Readers
- “If you have the option of reading the entire series (Shadows, Haze, Shimmer, and Burn) this summer, do it.” – Jillian at centre of the universe: the dreaming
- “Everything was there – the crazy climaxes, the shocking secrets, the angsty arguments, and the steamy smexy scenes – and Burn was a finale I couldn’t pass up for anything.” – Michelle at Undeniably Book Nerdy
Tuesday 14 June 2016
- “Burn has cemented the Rephaim series as one of my go-to recommendations for anyone who is looking for an action packed story with multi-layered characters and relationships” – Lynne atWords of Mystery
- “Answers! We finally get answers in the conclusion to the Rephaim series. Woohoo!” – Laura atIf It Has Words
- “Paula Weston delivered – a kick-butt female protagonist, sizzling sexual tension, and action-packed battle scenes. Burn has everything that Shimmer offered and more.” – Leanne at Author Leanne Dyck
- “If you like a series filled with kick butt characters, swoony males, slow burn romance, and action I would definitely check this one out. The Rephaim Series is one of my favorites and the books just got better and better as I read them. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this series.” – Crystal atBookiemoji
Wednesday 15 June 2016
- “The entire Rephaim series comes highly recommended from me. I dare you not to become addicted from the very beginning of Shadows to the end of Burn.” – Lauren at Love is not a triangle
- “But two chapters in, I knew I was going to have a life-long relationship with Paula Weston’s Rephaim series.” – Joy at Joyousreads
- “The prologue in Burn is powerful and I feel like it really set the pace for the rest of the book. It was captivating and Paula Weston was daring you to stop reading. ” – Krystal at Krystal’s Stellar Book Blog
Thursday 16 June 2016
- “While all the other books tended to leave me on a cliff at the end, this one wrapped everything up fantastically. All of the questions I had were answered and I had plenty of Gaby and Rafa swoons.” – Jaime at Fiction Fare
- “My heart couldn’t stop racing, fueled with adrenaline and fear whenever the Gatekeepers were near. I raced through Burn, desperate to discover what would happen next, even as a part of me screamed to read slower, knowing it meant another page closer to the end. Paula Weston’s Rephaim series comes to an epic, action-packed finale with Burn! I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.” – Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
- “The story is just brilliant. I have said that with each and every installment and this last one doesn’t disappoint at all. It was filled with so many twists and turns and I just loved every minute of it! Paula Weston is a genius and I have to say this series is by far the best angel/demon series I have ever read and I can guarantee nothing will ever come close to it. Yes that is a bold statement but I mean it with every fiber of my being. The Rephaim series is pure perfection and is amazeballs!!” – Crystal at Winterhaven Books
Friday 17 June 2016
- “I can’t believe it’s over! I’m not ready to say goodbye to these characters. Not even Mya. I’m pretty damn satisfied with this conclusion…with the answers we got, with how the memory loss happened and how it was resolved, with who the Rephaim are and what their purpose is. That said, I don’t often read spin-offs but I would SO read one set in this world.” – Jen at The Starry-Eyed Revue
- “I’m completely new to this series. I wish I wasn’t so late to jumping onto The Rephaim fandom because I would have loved to gush about each book with readers as they released.… I loved, loved, loved, loved, LOVED, the character growth/development with Gaby, Jude, and Rafe. Especially Gaby!” – Patty at Bookish Wanderlove
Thank you all again.
Huge thanks to the bloggers who participated in the North American online tour for Shimmer this week – and of course to Sylvia Chan at Tundra Books (Penguin/Random House Canada) for bringing it all together.
This time around, each tour stop features a review of the third book in the Rephaim series. Here are links to each, in the order in which they were published.
The good news for US and Canadian readers is that the release of Burn (Rephaim #4), the final book in the series, is now only three months away. 🙂
Shimmer (The Rephaim #3) is out in the US and Canada this week, with Burn (The Rephaim #4) to follow in June.
My North American publisher, Tundra Books (part of Penguin/Random House Canada) has done something a little different with the covers, adding new taglines to each book.
Here’s the entire collection:
On Monday, the North American blog tour for Shimmer kicks off.
You can find the full list of bloggers here.
For those of you who have been patiently waiting for these final two books in the series, I hope you enjoy them!