As you know I’m an advocate for stamping out stigma surrounding mental illness in general, and support those who suffer, like myself, with mental health issues and work in the creative world. This applies to Amber and she’ll be back 18th December with her Mental Muse interview.
But first, it’s been a year today since Amber Skye Forbes published her novel, When Stars Die. Amber’s here today to celebrate a great 1st year and to tell us a little bit about why she wrote this book.
Note the mental health/dark aspects of the book that I’ve highlighted in her guest post, below.
Why I Began When Stars Die
I actually began The Stars Are Infinite, the sequel to When Stars Die, first. I started TSAI because I was suffering from mild depression and an anxiety disorder due to the amount of stress I was undergoing in the eighth grade. I still suffer from an anxiety disorder today, as well as bipolar disorder. While I wrote When Stars Die because it needed to be the first book before TSAI, that book wouldn’t exist without its sequel.
TSAI started out dark and violent. The main character, whose name used to be Isis and is now Alice, suffered with paranoia, so she was paranoid about everything: seeing shadows, hallucinating entire worlds that weren’t there, suffering from severe self-harm, wanting to die. Some of her issues came as a direct result from issues I was suffering with at the time. She wanted to kill herself during one scene in the book. TSAI was a wreck, a mess, and overly dramatic. However, had I not started it, I never would have written WSD.
Like TSAI, I wanted WSD to reflect the dark feelings I had during that time. Amelia, whose original name was Dervla, suffered with similar things Isis did. I remember there was one scene I wrote where Amelia broke her mirror and slashed her entire body with the shards. I remember her screaming for help. I remember her being hospitalized for a little bit to recover from this. Then I realized that was overdramatic as well, so I wrote the WSD that you have read or will soon hopefully read.
I still wanted the book to be dark, but not overly so. I use a lot of my mental instability in what I write. My characters are always suffering from some form of mental illness or some severe dark demons of their own. Amelia needed to be dark, but not overdramatic. She needed to suffer with personal demons. She needed to face things that made her want to give up on life—and she does in the book. There is a scene where she is stumbling drunk out of an alley because she couldn’t take the pain. There is a scene where she is sitting on the steps of Cathedral Reims thinking about all the ways she could kill herself. There is one scene of attempted rape. There is another scene of completed rape. There is self-harm. There is drug abuse. They aren’t detailed, but they all have a purpose. They weren’t added in for the sake of making the book dark. They have a purpose to get across a message, as I am, in a way, a literary writer. Everything I write I want to have some sort of deep meaning to it. In fact, it was these very things that made me worry the book was too dark, but many readers who have loved it think the darkness is just right.
However, Amelia is strong. She pushes through these demons to find her purpose, to find a way to both protect and eventually heal her world. This is a message to survivors of what she went through. I understand her more than ever now—and I hope to be a survivor like her as well.
About the Author
Amber Skye Forbes is a dancing writer who prefers pointe shoes over street shoes, leotards over skirts, and ballet buns over hairstyles. She loves striped tights and bows and will edit your face with a Sharpie if she doesn’t like your attitude. She lives in Augusta, Georgia where she writes dark fiction that will one day put her in a psychiatric ward…again. But she doesn’t care because her cat is a super hero who will break her out.
About the Book:
Some Blurbs About The Book
“If you are a fan of Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series, Amy Plum’s Revenants series, Carrie Ryan’s The Forest of Hands and Teeth series or even Cheri Lasota’s Artemis Rising add this to your TBR pile NOW! You won’t be disappointed.”--Young Adult Book Madness
“I have rarely loved a male character so much in a novel as I have in When Stars Die! [Oliver Cromwell’s] incredible! Not only because he is attractive, tender, funny and extremely captivating, but also because he made me feel a lot of things. And not necessarily in a good way…”--My Bookshelf is Yours
“‘When Stars Die’ is rich with religious allegory, using the abuse, bigotry and secrecy of the church to illustrate the challenging choices that face a young woman in a world dominated by dogma.”–Examiner
“Yet, even when stars die, they leave a lasting impact through their light, their diamond brilliance as they scatter their material to form new stars. When people die, they leave the same impact with the footprints they leave on people’s hearts. Even the ones who feel insignificant go out, leaving behind dust that can nourish the world anew.”
Amelia Gareth’s brother is a witch and the only way to save her family from the taint in his blood is to become a professed nun at Cathedral Reims in the snowy city of Malva. However, in order to become professed, she must endure trials that all nuns must face.
Surviving these trials is not easy, especially for Amelia, who is being stalked by shadowy beings only she can see. They’re searching for people they can physically touch, because only those they can touch can see them. Amelia soon learns why she is being stalked when she accidentally harms her best friend with fire during the third trial. Fire is a witch’s signature. The shadows are after witches.
Now Amelia must decide what to do: should she continue on her path to profession knowing there is no redemption, or should she give up on her dream and turn away from Cathedral Reims in order to stop the shadows who plan to destroy everything she loves?
GENRE: Victorian/Literary/Urban Paranormal
Book Two Description.
Alice Sheraton is slated to be executed for being a witch; however, her father spares her. He sends her to Finight Hill, a safe house for witches. Here a Shadowman begins to pursue her, and from this Shadowman she learns she has been bound since birth with a terrible fate: either be a martyr to free witches from their misery, or choose to live knowing her existence will bring on more chaos
Thanks Amber! Looking forward to the Mental Muse post in December.
Heres the GIVEAWAY