On Risingshadow.net, Seregil of Rhiminee has recently reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s new novel The Ghost in You, describing it as “one of the best YA ghost stories I’ve ever read”. He goes on to say that, despite there being a rise in popularity of YA ghost stories from other authors, The Ghost in You feels like a breath of fresh air “because it’s more compelling and more realistic than many of them and the author writes good and fluent prose”.
Seregil says that one of the best things about the book is that it’s got “a lot of heart and soul”, and is “an unputdownable novel that immediately sinks its hooks into you and pulls you into the protagonist’s life”, admitting that he read it in one sitting because he really couldn’t put it down! The story “flows fluently and smoothly from start to finish, because Katrina Mountfort writes engagingly about Rowena and her ghostly existence”. He also commented on Katrina’s attention to detail, with a realistic vision of the afterlife, and that the “characterisation is good and believable” with the main character, Rowena, having an “original and powerful voice”. “Rowena’s first-person point of view is both fresh and engrossing”, says Seregil, and she is “an interesting and easily likeable protagonist”. The way that Katrina has written about the relationship between Rowena and Oliver, who is alive, is “sweet, realistic and touching” says Seregil, adding that he was amazed at “how easily she wrote about both of them and how they felt about each other, because nothing felt forced”. He says that there’s “something irresistible about the author’s writing style that will capture readers’ hearts”. She writes well about “sadness, anger, love, romance, confusion and acceptance in this novel”, and the story includes a nice amount of humour and popular culture references that enhance the atmosphere.
Seregil summarises his review by saying that The Ghost in You is a relatively fast read but insightful, Katrina “doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readers, but offers them a captivating and gripping story with depth”. He suggests that this book should be on every fantasy reader’s reading list because it’s gripping and well told, and says “No matter what you normally read, this novel will charm and entice you with its story”, concluding that it is “Excellent YA fantasy fiction!”
You can read Seregil’s review of The Ghost in You on Risingshadow.net here
Despite much prejudice over the years, it is undeniable that female authors have been a strong and significant force in Science Fiction and Fantasy since the earliest days. One only has to think of Margaret Cavendish, Mary Shelley, Jane Webb Loudon, Ursula K. Le Guin, Anne McCaffrey, C.J. Cherryh, Julian May, Marion Bradley, Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, J.K. Rowling. Even so, it is generally harder for female authors to be published, and many readers still say they are less likely to pick up a book if the author is obviously female.
Elsewhen Press, which was established in 2011, applies no constraints of age, race, gender or sexual orientation, on the authors whose work we consider or publish – our only criterion is quality. We now have a roll-call of female, male and non-binary authors, from various continents, writing in many different sub-genres of speculative fiction. To mark International Women’s Day 2018, we would like to highlight some of the female authors that have enabled Elsewhen Press to live up to its mission of delivering outstanding new talents in speculative fiction. They are all great writers and awesome people; we are honoured to have them as our authors and friends.
Zoë was born in London, but spent her later childhood living in Lancashire, where she started writing novels at the age of twelve due to extreme boredom. After completing the obligatory epic fantasy trilogy in her teens, she spent four years at the University of St Andrews, where she learnt to fence both foil and sabre and cemented her passion for space opera. She now lives in London with her husband, their daughter and a collection of swords. Zoë writes when she’s not fencing, looking after her daughters, or working as a print controller for an advertising company.
The Underside series (Sailor to a Siren; The Wages of Sin)
The Underside series, space opera with a significant nod to gangland thrillers, introduced us to Zoë Sumra’s universe and established her as a name to watch in epic space opera. The depth of her characters, the breadth of her world-building, the ambition and longevity of her story-arcs spanning multiple generations of families, all made this a first series in what is going to be a fascinating and enthralling universe.
Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Tanya enjoys using the tranquil prairies as a setting to her not-so-peaceful speculative fiction.
She is married with two children which means among her accomplishments are the necessary magical abilities to find a lost tooth in a park of sand and whisper away monsters from under the bed.
As director of a non-profit Francophone community center, Tanya offers programming and services in French for all ages to ensure the lasting imprint and growth of the Francophone community in which she was raised. What she enjoys the most about her job is teaching social media safety for teens and offering one-on-one technology classes for seniors.
Tanya was fifteen when she wrote her first column. She has a diploma in Journalism/Short Story Writing. Today, she actively submits to various newspapers, writes and publishes the local Francophone newsletter for her community, and maintains a blog at Life’s Like That.
Sacred Land Stories (Legends on the Prairies; Ghosts on the Prairies; Cursed on the Prairies)
The Sacred Land Stories trilogy follows a trans-generational timeline that starts in Legends on the Prairies, continues in Ghosts on the Prairies and culminates in Cursed on the Prairies. Alternate history suspense incorporating the paranormal and magical realism, and infused with romance, these are stories that concern the Sacred Lands of the Ghost tribes in the prairies of Saskatchewan, stretching from 1882 to 1936. But they also touch on the interwoven loves, hopes, dreams and tragedies of lives lived on those prairies by both the tribes and the settlers.
Sanem Ozdural was born in Ankara, Turkey in the 70s, and spent her childhood from age seven onwards in England. Happy days at a quintessentially British boarding school in Surrey helped forge her character and tastes, not to mention lasting friendships. Making her way to the U.S. she studied economics at Princeton University. After graduating from Boston University School of Law, she moved to New Orleans where she practiced as a prosecutor and civil litigator, and spent seven wonderful years living in the French Quarter.
In 2004 she migrated from New Orleans via Washington, D.C., reaching New York City in 2006, where she lived and practiced law until 2013. After teaching business law at Koç University in Istanbul for a few semesters, she is now back in New Orleans once again working as a lawyer. Sanem was an avid bridge player until the tenth round of revisions to her debut novel. She is now thoroughly enjoying an indefinite bridge sabbatical, and imagining all sorts of stories that feature absolutely no bridge or chess.
LiGa series (LiGa™; the Dark shall do what Light cannot)
The LiGa series is a thought-provoking series of books in an essentially contemporary setting, with elements of both science fiction and fantasy. The LiGa of the series title is a contraction of Life Game, a game in which contestants are gambling with their lives to win what is essentially indefinite life expectancy. In the first book we meet the players of a LiGa™ Bridge tournament who are competing against each other to join the ranks of the ‘Immortal’ members of LiGa. In the second book, we find out more about the secretive organisation behind the game as we travel with some of them to a fantastic place beyond the Light Veil.
Rebecca started writing when she was supposed to be studying for her exams at Otago University but somehow passed anyway, eventually graduating with a decorative piece of paper. She moved to the UK to pursue a career in publishing and after a couple of mishaps ended up in Edinburgh and sold Instrument of Peace to Elsewhen Press, which is not quite the career she had in mind. The career she did have in mind was along more editorial lines which is why she is now a volunteer at Inspired Quill and a freelance copy-editor for everyone else. She also has a blog which she infrequently remembers to update, where those mysterious things known as short stories can be found.
Even after three years in the UK, she is baffled by the fact that the British use miles, pints and 1p coins but things like pineapple lumps, black forest chocolate and L&P have not caught on. Rebecca would like to make it very clear that she is a Kiwi and absolutely NOT an Australian (or South African) and she will do almost anything for chocolate.
Symphony of the Cursed trilogy (Instrument of Peace; Instrument of War; Instrument of Chaos)
The Symphony of the Cursed trilogy, is a YA fantasy that begins with Instrument of Peace, which Rebecca describes as a magic school setting combined with the reality of the mundane world and horror of the Dresden Files, without any characters named Harry. Her trilogy sees the main protagonist, Mitch, move from high school to university while he strives to break The Twisted Curse that threatens those around him.
The location for the story may be surprising to some readers, especially those in the Northern hemisphere. The Academy, where Mitch is being educated in magic, is in a semi-mythical land populated by magical beings and legendary creatures, not to mention awe-inspiring natural features such as volcanoes, that has in recent years been discovered to be the location for Middle Earth. We know it, of course, as New Zealand.
Katrina was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect was her debut novel and the first book in the Blueprint trilogy. Forbidden Alliance and Freedom’s Prisoners completed the trilogy. Her latest novel is The Ghost in You.
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population now lives within comfortable Citidomes. MindValues advocate acceptance and non-attachment. The BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance, and looks are everything.
A dark undercurrent runs through the trilogy: the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty. Despite seeming to be set in a distant and dystopian future, it is clear that many of the disturbing aspects of Katrina’s future world can be seen here and now; this should be a warning to us all. The books appeal to both an adult and young adult audience.
J.A. Christy’s writing career began in infant school at the age of seven when she won best poetry prize with her poem ‘Winter’. Since then she has been writing short stories and has had several published in magazines and anthologies.
She holds a PhD in which she explores the stories we use in everyday life to construct our identities. Working in high hazard safety, she is a Chartered Psychologist and Scientist and writes to apply her knowledge to cross the boundaries between science and art, in particular in the crime, speculative and science-fiction genres.
She lives in Oldham with her partner and their dog. J.A. Christy also writes under the name Jacqueline Ward.
SmartYellow™ explores themes of social inequity and scientific responsibility. J.A. Christy’s first speculative fiction novel leads her heroine Katrina to understand how probability, hope and empathy play a huge part in the flow of life and are absent in the stagnation of mere survival. As readers we also start to question how we would know if the power of the State to support and care for the weak had become corrupted into the oppression of all those who do not fit society’s norms.
SmartYellow™ offers a worryingly plausible and chilling glimpse into an alternate Britain. For the sake of order and for the benefit of more fortunate members of society, those seen as socially undesirable are marked with SmartYellow™, making it easier for them to be controlled and maintained in a state of fruitless inactivity. Writer, J.A. Christy, turns an understanding and honest eye not only onto the weak, who have failed to cope with life, but also onto those who ruthlessly exploit them for their own ends. At times tense and threatening, at times tender and insightful, SmartYellow™ is a rewarding and thought-provoking read.
One as a sensible, hard-working type, employed in financial systems, graphic design and web site development. Another as a writer, scribbling away, committing her stories to disc and eventually publishing several to reasonable acclaim. Throughout all of them, the mother of two and wife of one.
Skilled at exploring the psychology and interior lives of her characters, Alison delivers stories that range from chilling tales of horror through insightful contemporary drama to thought-provoking science fiction. Her empathy with her protagonists, her rich descriptive prose and her use of gentle humour serve to ensure that, whatever the setting, her stories are always a rewarding read.
Abiding Evil, Alison’s second published novel, was a bestselling psychological horror story. A sleeping menace is roused deep in the darkness of a forest. For decades it grows, biding its time, reaching out to tug at the ordinary lives of those living beyond the shadow of the trees. Their children begin to disappear.
Unaware and unsuspecting of the danger, a group of families, friends for many years, journey to a newly re-opened hotel. It stands alone in a clearing a mile or more within the forest boundary. For some this will be their last reunion.
The long-awaited sequel will be published this year by Elsewhen Press.
Alison is also a talented artist who has designed many of the covers for our books. She is one of the co-founders of Elsewhen Press.
The Ghost in You is a first-hand account, from beyond the grave, by an innocent girl who dies before her time and tries to make sense of what is happening to her, while helping her friends and discovering her purpose.
DARTFORD, KENT – 26 January 2018 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the publication of The Ghost in You, the latest novel by Katrina Mountfort. A ghost story with a difference, told in the first person by the ghost herself. It addresses what awaits us when we die, the age-old concern of life after death, felt most keenly when a person is taken too soon. Along the way it also considers what it means to be soulmates.
No-one knows what happens when we die. There are theories; there are hopes; there are dreams. But eventually we all find out … Rowena had never thought about it. She was only 19 and hadn’t even experienced her first kiss. Dying was the last thing she expected; or rather, what followed was the last thing she expected. With no blinding light… no choirs of angels… it actually took her a while to realise that she was in fact dead, although seeing her own body at the foot of the stairs was a big clue.
Seregil of Rhiminee has reviewed Katrina Mountfort’s third novel in The Blueprint Trilogy. Eager to read it, as he enjoyed Future Perfect and Forbidden Alliance the first two novels in the trilogy, Seregil says that Freedom’s Prisoners is a “stunning conclusion” to the trilogy that was both “immensely satisfying and intriguing” and “one of the best and most entertaining young adult science fiction novels I’ve ever read”. He says that the trilogy as a whole is a “rewarding reading experience” because Katrina has created a “terrifying vision of dystopian future and doesn’t underestimate the intelligence of her readership”, adding that The Blueprint Trilogy stands out from the many new young adult science fiction novels and series, as a “prime example of what can be achieved when an author pays attention to writing an emotionally challenging story, creates realistic characters and has courage to write thought-provoking prose”, outshining others “in terms of depth, prose and storytelling”. Seregil recommends all three novels in the trilogy to adults and young adults alike, describing it as “an evocatively written novel that will charm its readers with a good story and interesting characters who have to deal with real problems”.
Seregil compliments Katrina’s ability to write believable characters, and says she “excels at writing about what her characters feel and what kind of choices they make”. The story is “thrilling and thought-provoking” as it explores “guilt, endurance, love, loss, fear and hope in a spellbinding way”. He says that Freedom’s Prisoners contains “many exciting and thrilling scenes which will impress readers and fans of the series”. But Katrina’s vision of this dystopian future is “evocative and terrifying, because humankind and society has changed a lot and people have almost forgotten what it means to be human”. this dystopian future is evocative and terrifying, because humankind and society has changed a lot and people have almost forgotten what it means to be human
Seregil says that one of the most impressive things about the whole trilogy is that Katrina has written “a story that reveals a lot about human nature and what humans are capable of doing to each other. There’s quite a lot of underlying wisdom in this story and also plenty of sharp commentary about our way of life and what may happen to mankind.” The story has a strong emotional impact on readers, and Seregil loves it because it is “captivating to read about the characters and their complex lives”.
Seregil recommends The Blueprint Trilogy to readers who have enjoyed Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games or Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy, or indeed anyone who loves “emotionally challenging and thought-provoking stories”, and concludes by saying “There’s a strongly beating human heart at the core of each of these novels that will make you fall in love with the story and the characters. They’re something special for readers who love dystopian stories.”
But don’t just rely on this précis of Seregil’s review, you should read the full review on RisingShadow here.
Having favourably reviewed each of the first two books in the trilogy when they were published, Future Perfect (“A terrific novel”) and Forbidden Alliance (“Recommended for all lovers of books about future worlds”) it was no surprise that Terry should be the first to review the trilogy finale which she says was “fun to read”. She says it is a “terrific trilogy” that tells a lot about human nature and the “possible (and worrying) development” of some of humanity’s less likeable traits. Terry writes that she really appreciated Katrina’s “clever assessment of what technology would be like nearly 200 years from now” as too many other books set in the future have less convincing world building, adding that the “characterisation is great”. Concluding that Freedom’s Prisoners is “Very clever and well thought out” she recommends it to those who like “these sort of books, and to those who think they don’t, too!”
You can read Terry’s full review of Freedom’s Prisoners on her blog here. Her review of Future Perfect is here and her review of Forbidden Alliance is here
The Blueprint trilogy takes us to a future in which men and women are almost identical, and personal relationships are forbidden. In Book 3 of the trilogy, Freedom’s Prisoners, tensions have escalated since the breakout. Michael and his army of rebels may have won the first battle in their fight against the Citidome authorities, but can they win a war? The Citidomes are fighting back and no-one is safe any more as RotorFighters rain down fire on defenceless villages destroying them and their inhabitants.
Freedom’s Prisoners explores betrayal, guilt, hope and endurance in an explosive conclusion to the Blueprint trilogy which is perfectly portrayed in the awesome cover by Alex Storer.
Freedom’s Prisoners is out today in eBook formats on all popular platforms, and will also be available in paperback in November (with a launch at Novacon in Nottingham).
Praise for the first two books of the Blueprint Trilogy:
“one of the best modern YA sci-fi novels ever written”
[Seregil of Rhiminee, Risingshadow]
“I enjoyed reading this modern utopia. It reminds me in some ways of 1984 and Brave New World”
[Ian Blackwell, British Fantasy Society]
“I treasured Future Perfect’s closeness to reality, the nearest to realistic that you can get for a futuristic dystopian world”
“I LOVED this book! Read it over a period of 24 hours, hated having to put it down.”
“will be of special interest to readers who are familiar with the YA science fiction novels written by Suzanne Collins and Veronica Roth. If you’ve enjoyed reading The Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies, you’ll most likely enjoy this novel very much”
Third book announced in dystopian YA trilogy comparable to The Hunger Games and Divergent
DARTFORD, KENT – 23 June 2016 – Elsewhen Press, an independent UK publisher specialising in Speculative Fiction, is delighted to announce the forthcoming publication of the explosive conclusion to Katrina Mountfort’s widely acclaimed Blueprint Trilogy and reveal the cover. The dystopian YA trilogy, which was launched in 2014 with Future Perfect, and continued in 2015 with Forbidden Alliance, takes us to a future Britain (now called State Eleven) in which men and women are almost identical and personal relationships are forbidden. Following a bio-terrorist attack, the population live within comfortable Citidomes, believing that life outside is no longer possible. But along with the utopian security and safety that appears to come from such controlled isolation and segregation, freedom of choice and individuality have been sacrificed in favour of conformity and unreserved acceptance of the authorities. MindValues advocate non-attachment, while the BodyPerfect cult encourages a tall thin androgynous appearance and looks are everything. In a society where every thought and action is controlled, informers are everywhere. Anyone who dares question the status quo is labelled a subversive thinker and quietly disappeared. But, in fact, there are communities living outside the Citidomes and some of them are actively trying to set free those still inside, most of whom don’t even realise they are effectively imprisoned. As the efforts of the rebels become more daring, the Citidome authorities are forced to go beyond their usual pernicious techniques to use more destructive and shocking tactics – and what started as a campaign to maintain control becomes a vendetta targeted at the rebel leaders.
A dark undercurrent runs through these books: the enforcement of conformity through fear, the fostering of distorted and damaging attitudes towards forbidden love, manipulation of appearance and even the definition of beauty. But life outside the Citidomes is not without problems and the books explore the burden of leadership, family loyalties and whether it is possible to justify the sacrifice of human lives for the greater good. Freedom’s Prisoners examines betrayal, guilt, hope and endurance as the rebels undertake their most ambitious mission yet – to see if there is anyone in the world beyond the shores of State Eleven who cares enough to help.
As with Forbidden Alliance, the cover artwork for Freedom’s Prisoners was produced by talented Sheffield-based artist Alex Storer. When she saw Alex’s cover design for the first time Katrina said “I love it… I had no clear idea of exactly what the RotorFighters looked like, but your vision seems perfect.”
In reviews the trilogy has been favourably compared to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogies, while others have been reminded of Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World and Nolan and Johnson’s Logan’s Run. Future Perfect was described as “one of the best modern YA sci-fi novels ever written” by RisingShadow. Katrina Mountfort’s Freedom’s Prisoners, the final book of the Blueprint Trilogy will be published in digital formats on the 9th September and launched in paperback at Novacon in November in Nottingham.
Notes for Editors
About Katrina Mountfort
Katrina Mountfort was born in Leeds. After a degree in Biochemistry and a PhD in Food Science, she started work as a scientist. Since then, she’s had a varied career. Her philosophy of life is that we only regret the things we don’t try, and she’s been a homeopath, performed forensic science research and currently works as a freelance medical writer. She now lives in Saffron Walden with her husband and two dogs. When she hit forty, she decided it was time to fulfil her childhood dream of writing a novel. Future Perfect was her debut novel and the first book in the Blueprint Trilogy. Freedom’s Prisoners is the third and concluding book of the trilogy.
About Alex Storer
Alex Storer is a graphic designer, artist/illustrator and musician from Sheffield, UK. The advent of pixel art and the vibrant graphics of the Commodore Amiga in the early 1990s was a turning point for Alex, giving him his first taste of digital artwork, leading to a career in graphic design. However, a lifelong interest in science fiction came full circle in 2010 when Alex began producing his own brand of science fiction artwork. Taking influence from classic science fiction and the space art greats of the 1970s and 80s, his work pays homage to yesterday’s visions of tomorrow yet remains contemporary and distinctive in style. In 2012, Alex was invited to join the Initiative for Interstellar Studies as an honorary musician and artist.
In 2015 Elsewhen Press commissioned Alex to produce the cover art for Forbidden Alliance, the second book in Katrina’s Blueprint Trilogy. Now in 2016 he has produced the cover art for Freedom’s Prisoners.
Terry Tyler read and reviewed the debut novel by Katrina Mountfort earlier this year. She awarded Future Perfect, the first book in the Blueprint Trilogy, 5 GOLD STARS and started her review by saying “I LOVED this book! Read it over a period of 24 hours, hated having to put it down.” She added that she was looking forward to reading the second book in the trilogy, Forbidden Alliance, which she recently read and reviewed, recommending it to “all lovers of books about future worlds”.
Terry has just listed her top 24 books of the year (check out her list here) and has placed Future Perfect at number 4. Thanks Terry, well done Katrina.
Dylan describes this book as “very much a coming-of-age tale” from the perspective of 16 year old Joy. Having read and enjoyed Future Perfect, the first book in the trilogy (which he described as a “great dystopian satire”) he says that Forbidden Alliance is a “really interesting step change” which allows Katrina to add “more depth to what was already an excellent story”, adding that it is “an excellent middle book to the trilogy”. He says that Katrina’s writing of the love triangle at the heart of Joy’s story “captures all the earnestness and heartache of young love to the full” and will appeal to a YA audience. He concludes by recommending it to every fan of YA dystopian novels.
You can read Dylan’s full review on Suffolk Scribblingshere.