Monday, February 27, 2012

Guest Post: Jessica Shirvington + Embrace

I'm extremely excited to share the blog today with young adult author Jessica Shirvington who's going to share with us her experience in creating a setting for Embrace, the first book in her new paranormal series. Take it away Jessica!


In my first draft of EMBRACE (there were eight!), I didn’t set the city. I was in two minds the entire time. I suppose I was drawing on all the places I have been around the world. Although I now live in Sydney, when I started to write EMBRACE, my family and I had just moved back from six years living in London. And prior to that, I’d spent quite a lot of time travelling to many cities around the world – so much so, that when I was writing scenes in EMBRACE, I found myself thinking of different cities around the world and never being able to truly decided which one most suited Violet’s world.

In my second and third and fourth drafts, I chose different cities (I’ll never tell) from around the world and set Violet’s story there. But each time, it felt forced.

I wanted her to live in a city, as opposed to some small town where all these major apocalyptic events just miraculously found her. To be believable she had to be in a metropolitan environment, but which one?

In the end, the answer was … any of them, and none of them. It wasn’t that the cities I chose didn’t work; it was that in my mind I’d amalgamated them into what I needed for her story to work for me. So I made the decision to give that option to all of my readers and simply called her city, the City.

It isn’t the ‘done thing’ usually, but I believe for this story, it works. I want readers to be able to put this story where they know. If they live in a city, it can be there, if they live in a rural area, then it isn’t a stretch for them to imagine a city nearby. It is an element of control that I wanted to give to the reader.

That said, I like a little control myself … and I discovered that by giving this open setting for Violet’s hometown, it also opened up the possibility to use other locations around the world that would really pop off the page.

In ENTICED (the sequel, out in September!), Violet and her friends find themselves travelling to Jordan – on a quest to the place of Moses’ death – Mount Nebo. In EMBLAZE (book 3, out March 2013) they travel to the island of Santorini in Greece, which is small and stunning, and holds terrors that none of them are prepared for.

Each book I take the characters somewhere new and as I write the series, I have discovered how very important this is to me. I want my characters to go to the world, to find the problems and be part of the solution, rather than the fight always, and too conveniently, finding them.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by Supernatural Snark Jessica! More information on Jessica and her books can be found here:

Embrace official website


It starts with a whisper: “It’s time for you to know who you are…”

Violet Eden dreads her seventeenth birthday. After all, it’s hard to get too excited about the day that marks the anniversary of your mother’s death. As if that wasn’t enough, disturbing dreams haunt her sleep and leave her with very real injuries. There’s a dark tattoo weaving its way up her arms that wasn’t there before.

Violet is determined to get some answers, but nothing could have prepared her for the truth. The guy she thought she could fall in love with has been keeping his identity a secret: he’s only half-human—oh, and same goes for her.

A centuries-old battle between fallen angels and the protectors of humanity has chosen its new warrior. It’s a fight Violet doesn’t want, but she lives her life by two rules: don’t run and don’t quit. When angels seek vengeance and humans are the warriors, you could do a lot worse than betting on Violet Eden…


  1. I'm not a big angel person, but this book sounds really interesting. And I love the cover. Plus, I'm always up for reading Australian authors.

  2. I am so excited to read this one I really can't wait! I love Angel Stories and this one sound amazing! Love the Trailer!

    But what I loved most is this guest post here with the tiny hinds about what is to come in the next books! I love when the setting changes and when characters are forced to travel the world. I love what Jessica said about the fact that often problems seem to find the protagonists in a way to convenient way !

    Can't wait for March!

  3. Great idea! To set it in a city that is generic is a great idea! Then you can make up whatever buildings and we as the readers can draw our own conclusions. I love that idea. Can't wait for the novel to come out! And I so love that you're putting them out so close together! Thanks for that, as a reader, I appreciate more than you could ever know!


  4. Awww, I just LOVE that you want to take us readers someplace new with every book -- for a girl who dreams of traveling, that's absolutely perfect! :) And I love that you created your own sort of city just by naming it like that because it gives us readers a chance to come up with it in our own minds. It definitely does work in you book!

    Love love LOVE this guest post, Jessica! <3 I've already read Embrace but oh my gosh, I'm still as excited for its American release as everyone else! x) And Jenny, I can't wait to read your review on it! :)

  5. Alison - Angel books are hit or miss with me, but they've been steadily growing on me the more I read them:)

    Danny - I like the idea of a setting in Greece, I haven't read too many books there, so I'm really excited for EMBLAZE:)

    Heather - I love that the books are coming out 6 months apart instead of a full year, I always forget what happens after a year or lose track of the series:( 6 months is a perfect amount of time.

    Mimi - I can't even imagine how hard it would be to create a setting, but I do like the idea of being able to project my own life and experiences onto the City so it can feel familiar to me even without having actual experienced it:)

  6. Angel books are a hit or miss with me, but I really like the premise of this one. I love the idea that you can experience a city without actually putting a name on it. They all seem to share similar characteristics regardless of their location.

  7. Like Alison, I haven't really gotten the whole Angels thing, but I agree, this one sounds interesting. And I think it's fun and even a bit daring to have left the 'city' open, and up to the readers. I think that is going to help connect the character to the reader, and I love that.

  8. I love it when books take me someplace new, but sometimes it's also nice to be able to relate a setting to your own city. It makes it easier to relate with everything.

    The Greece setting for Emblaze sounds lovely, though ;)

  9. I already have an idea about The City and I'm sure everyone else's will be different. I love reading to new places and sounds like the characters will be heading to some pretty exotic places later on.

  10. Rummanah - With me as well, but the more I read them, the more I'm liking them:)

    Missie - I like that she left the city open too, it's kind of fun to make of it what we will:)

    Lea - I agree on all counts, can't wait for the Greece setting:)

    Jenny - It would be interesting to take a poll and see what everyone pictured when they thought of the City:)

  11. I have read some great reviews on this book. This interview made me want to read it more. I love finding a good angel book, fingers crossed that this one is a good one!

  12. I hadn't thought of that, but yes, calling it just The City then everyone can picture where they wish. I often have difficulties when I can't picture where a book is taking place though so I hope that's not something that bothers me. If so I'm sure it'll be a minor issue.

    Very excited to read this one!

  13. Nice post :)

    And such a cool cover with those wings

  14. Oooh I love it!!! I like not having a 'specific' place to have to refer to anyway! If I've never been there, it doesn't do me any good right? Awesome!

    I just got an ARC of this one! I'm excited to start it! :D

  15. Man, the more I see about this one, the more I wish I had gotten an ARC. I know that sounds awful, but it is true. I love it when books are released closer together versus farther apart, so YAY for that.

    Also, LOVE the concept of naming the city City. Love it.

    Great post, gals! This book looks like something I'd really be captivated by and I'm kinda sorta having a fit to read it, Well, all three, really.

  16. Interesting post! I have never really thought about how important picking a setting might be but I guess it is pretty crucial to make it feel right. It's nice to hear from Jessica about that. :) I'll have to check out Embrace soon! It sounds amazing. :)

  17. Heidi - I love finding a good angel book too, I think it's a difficult mythology to pull off!

    Candace - I have issues when I can't figure out where I am in time, place doesn't bother me too much, but if I don't know how much time has elapsed in between events I get all disoriented:)

    Linda - Love this cover!

    Ashley - Very true:) And as someone who hasn't traveled much, it's highly likely that I'll have not been wherever it is!

    Asheley - I love the more rapid release dates, making me wait a whole year is just cruel! I can hardly deal with it:)

    Sam - I agree. I usually focus so much on the characters that I don't pay all that much attention to the setting, but if the setting felt off, I would probably pick up on it and have trouble, regardless of the characters:)

  18. I'm so stoked to read this one. I have the first and didn't know that the others weren't that far behind. I love that. Plus this does sound like a character that experiences growth. I love that. Plus the adventures coming sound so interesting.

  19. I really enjoy when an author creates an entire city to suit their needs. It's then familiar and new, depending on what city elements are incorporated. This one's on my list--can't wait to read it! Great post.

  20. Eight drafts! I am endlessly impressed with the persistence and endurance these authors have. Interesting post - I do quite like it when authors have a specific city in mind and they describe it well, but I can completely see where she is coming from by leaving the city open. I also like that there's not a lot of wait from book 1 to book 2! I wish that was a trend with more book series.

  21. Wait, wait, wait--in book two the characters are investigating the site of Moses' death!? DUDE, count me in! (I'm taking a biblical studies class right now, so I'm fascinated when YA turns biblical)
    Anyway, I can't wait to discover the City Violet lives in! Embrace is already on my TBR. :)

  22. I didn't even notice that Violet's city was never given a name. Lol, I'm not very observant.

    I'm really excited to learn where they're going in the next two books. There are barely any YA books set in the Middle East or Greece so I'm happy that we'll get to explore some new places.

  23. I am fully convinced the main reason I could never be a writer is the patience that goes into writing a book! 8 drafts is an amazing number and I am sure that means she told the story she meant too. AMAZING!

  24. Honestly this book was simply on my radar as a lovely cover...but after reading about the authors thought process on setting and getting those hints about the next books I may just pick it up!

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  25. Ooooo sounds so good. Great post!

    Side note: I love the name Violet

  26. This is a new-to-me book and I will definitely be adding this to my TBR list. I haven't read an angel book in awhile- it sounds promising! Thanks for sharing this, Jenny!

  27. Loved this! I read this book and fell in love! So excited to read the rest of the series!

  28. I really love this post, it's very interesiting! And I think it was a great idea to leave it open for readers to imagine.

    And gosh, this book sounds so good and I absolutely LOVE the trailer. Can't wait for a chance to read it!

  29. 8 drafts?! I love it how you just kind of made up your own place/setting for Embrace!