This time next month, Kate Ormand’s YA novel DARK DAYS could be in your eager little hands. (Unless you have big hands of course–in which case it could be in your eager big hands. Either way though, your hands will be eager. Get your hands ready, and order here.)
Launching on June 3 from Skyhorse Press, this futuristic dystopian novel imagines a world in which an elite few chose who is allowed to live or die.
What sparked the idea for DARK DAYS?
With most of the stories I write, there’s a particular object or image that sparked the idea. With DARK DAYS, it didn’t quite work that way, or if it did I’m unaware of what it was I saw! I remember thinking first about a clock tower with red digital numbers counting down to something. Dull grey buildings and a metal wall surrounded it. And I thought about the cyborgs, and realized that was what the clock was counting down to. So I guess that’s where my journey with this particular book started, but what triggered it is still a mystery.
How did you decide to write for a young adult audience?
It’s pretty much all I read. I discovered it a couple years ago and fell completely in love with so many YA books. If it wasn’t for YA I’m not certain I’d have started writing at all. At least not when I did. Maybe I would have in the future. But YA sparked a real passion and I just went with it!
What was the first sentence of your first draft?
I woke to the sound of my alarm.
What is the first sentence of your current draft?
I wake to a shrieking sound.
What do you hope your readers come away with at the end of Dark Days?
I wrote the book I’d want to read. My favourite books are fast-paced and action-packed with a thrilling romance and a lot of excitement. I want DD to be an exciting ride for readers and for them to come away thinking what good fun it was and how much they enjoyed it. That’s all I hope for!
What was the most fun part to write? What was most difficult?
The most fun was probably the action scenes and the romantic scenes. They’re my favourites when reading and my favourites when writing. The most difficult was probably the last few lines of the final chapter. Ending is so hard!
You are an artist as well as a writer. What is the connection for you between creative writing and fine arts?
I found writing whilst studying my degree, but I’m not sure I’d say there was an obvious connection between painting and writing for me. Sitting painting at my desk in the studio was quiet, and I always had a book in my bag for breaks and traveling to and from class, so I started to really love reading while I was on that course. I’ve always been creative and enjoyed using it, so writing was just another path I decided to explore. And I’m so glad I did!
Can you share one of your visual works with us and tell us about it?
Sure! This was one of the pieces from my final year. It’s two boards (which I found and painted white) nailed together. I was fascinated by discovering beauty in unlikely places and started the third year of my course engaging with found objects that held scars of previous use and marks of history upon their surfaces. Then I manipulated these objects slightly and displayed them this way. I had quite a few of them, but this one was always my favourite piece.
What’s next for you as a writer? Can you tell us about something you’re working on now?
I have two children’s picture books scheduled for release with Sky Pony Press. THE UPSIDE-DOWN FISH, illustrated by Laura Matine, is out later this year. And PIERRE THE FRENCH BULLDOG RECYCLES, illustrated by Bethany Straker, is coming in 2015. I’m working hard on a couple other YA titles and really enjoying delving into new worlds!
Finally, can you give a brief except or a quotation from DARK DAYS to whet my appetite?
The silence is thick and heavy, but my heart pounds so loud in my ears that they must be able to hear it. I blink sweat from my eyes. I don’t want them to know how afraid I am.
About Kate Ormand
KATE ORMAND is a YA writer represented by Isabel Atherton at Creative Authors Ltd. She lives in the UK with her family, her partner, and a cocker spaniel called Freddie. She recently graduated from university with a first class BA (Hons) degree in Fine Art Painting. It was during this course that Kate discovered her love of reading YA books, prompting her to try a new creative angle and experiment with writing. Kate is also a member of an online group of published writers and illustrators called Author Allsorts. And she writes children’s picture books under the name Kate Louise. You can see more about Kate and her writing by visiting her website (www.kateormand.wordpress.com) or on Twitter (@kateormand).
About DARK DAYS
The future world has been divided into sectors–each the same as the other. Surrounded by thick steel fences, there is no way in and no way out. Yet a cyborg army penetrates each sector, picking off its citizens one by one, until no one is left. Behind the sectors’ thick walls, the citizens wait to die. Few will be chosen to survive what’s coming; the rest will be left behind to suffer. A new world has been created, and its rulers are incredibly selective on who will become a citizen. They want only those with important roles in society to help create a more perfect future.
Sixteen-year-old Sia lives in one of the sectors as part of a family that is far too ordinary to be picked to live. According to the digital clock that towers high above her sector, she has only fifteen days to live. Sia has seen the reports and knows a horrific death is in store for her, but she is determined to make the most of her final days. Sia refuses to mourn her short life, instead promising herself that she’ll stay strong, despite being suffocated by her depressed mother and her frightened best friend. Just when Sia feels more alone than ever, she meets Mace, a mysterious boy. There is something that draws Sia to him, despite his dangerousness, and together, they join a group of rebels and embark on an epic journey to destroy the new world and its machines, and to put an end to the slaughter of innocent people.