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Shards of Sky Blog Tour ~ In Which I Interrogate E. C. Colton (And Try to Figure Out How to Advertise Without Sounding Pushy)

If you didn’t know, I am friends with many writers of all ages. Some of them are published, some of them have blogs, and some of them possess neither attribute. One of those friends is Emeline Colton, better known as E. C. Colton. She is the talented author behind A Change of Heart, and has been writing for about nine years. Her new novella, Shards of Sky, is available for preorder, and I had the opportunity to interview her about her book!!

Will hope prove itself worth fighting for?

Nestled within the mountains of Colorado, life is anything but perfect for two children and their negligent aunt. Yet it becomes even more of a disaster when a mysterious accident leaves Aryon mute and Jenn terrified for their futures. Battling her own sorrow, bitterness, and distant memories, Jenn journeys through the mountains of Colorado in search of their father, who may only be as real as a wisp of mist. The biggest things standing in her way are the miles of seemingly endless forest, her shattered memories, and a mysterious woman trailing her.

As she journeys on, Jenn is forced to confront her past. Has time changed her memories? What will it take to be strong and unhindered by the darkness around her? And does this woman hold the key to her past—her real past?

But no matter where Jenn goes, a shard of sky shines bright overhead as a distant reminder of the hope she’s fighting to hold onto—and the person she could become. 

Heart-wrenching and emotionally moving, this story delivers a powerful message of courage and the wonder of hope. 

So, without further ado, let’s get started!!

1. How long did it take you to write Shards of Sky?

To be honest, when I get asked this question, my mind can’t help but blank. 😅 I’d say the first draft took one or two months, but the whole editing process took a lot longer.

2. Where did the initial inspiration for the story come from?

Well, first and foremost, I believe all inspiration comes from God. And quite frankly, I have no idea where the story idea came from. I was doing house cleanup one day, when the idea popped into my mind. Later that day, I sat down and wrote the first chapter of Shards of Sky — and I loved it so much, I just had to keep writing.

3. Who is your favorite character, and why?

Ooh, good question. I love all my characters, but I’d say Jenn. She’s extremely real to me, and though she’s really weak physically, she proves her strength in unexpected ways. I think if she was a real person, we’d get along fairly well — not that we’re alike at all, though!

Marisa would be a close second. She’s really fun-loving and quirky, and she and Jenn are like, complete opposites. I think we’d also get along pretty well, too, if she was a real person. If only… 😂

4. Did you base any of the characters on a real-life person? If so, why?

I don’t really base my characters off of people in real life, for some reason. I find it’s easier for me to picture them in their situations when I can take liberty with their personalities and little quirks — though if I ever met someone like my main characters, I’d be positively thrilled.

5. What is your favorite scene?

I have two. Here are both of them!

Jenn turned and walked away in open defiance, out onto the porch. Her rebelliousness crumbled and she sucked in a breath, then let it out slowly.

Slowly.

She looked up at the sky, the sea of endless bright blue. Somewhere out there was her Dad. Her Dad. Not any other girl’s — but hers.

She was just waiting. Waiting for him to come, because that was what mattered. Standing right there on the deck and staring into a sea of blue, she felt her hopes soaring again, the eight years of waiting shattering into insignificance. He seemed so close — so close that she could reach out and step into his hug.

Who knew? Any minute, he could appear. And change their lives.

Dad, when are you coming?

~

Jenn sat up.

Around her, a blaze of color ignited with a spark of life. A bluebird fluttered by, wings a flashing pinwheel of blue that reflected the sky. The shrill song of a warbler made its way through the maze in her mind.

Her hands were scarred by brambles — scars from her journey. Her soul felt heavy enough that she could barely resist the imagined downward pull of the earth.

Jenn felt as though a butterfly often does when it emerges from a cocoon — different and odd, as though she wasn’t the same person anymore. She almost felt as though she had been transformed — but in a way that was no longer remarkable, no longer beautiful, no longer whole.

~

I love the first scene, because it displays what Jenn wants most in life — to be loved, and wanted, and cared for by her father. As for the second, I loved writing that scene and the description.

6. What are some of your favorite quotes?

And then the people who had taken them away and driven them to a cold, stark white building. The kind woman at the front desk had given them lollipops — Jenn could still remember the flavored sugar melting against her tongue. 

.

Closing her eyes and letting the warmth of the blanket calm the storm raging in her mind, she sunk into the depths of sleep. 

But even sleep wouldn’t erase her memories.

.

The hawk was still calling in sharp, peaked tones.

It was screaming. Screaming at the world and everything in it. At that moment, Jenn wished she could be a hawk, releasing all that pent-up frustration and fear that burdened her.

.

She could only hope that she wouldn’t explode with all the confusion and tension that were whirling in her mind like shards of broken glass.

Those are a few of my favorites, because I love the feeling each of them conveys.

7. Out of all your published works, where does Shards of Sky rank?

I’ve only published two books, but in my personal opinion, Shards of Sky is definitely better than my other novelette (after all, I wrote that one when I was nine!). I love it because it basically represents the type of stories I’ve always wanted to write — the tear-jerking, soul-searching, thought-provoking ones for young adult readers.

Shards of Sky was originally titled Voiceless, and it was a story about a girl who was trying to restore her mute brother’s voice. It’s changed drastically over the months of editing, though, so after I finished major plotline edits, I decided to change it because the old title wasn’t as fitting. I was re-reading my old drafts, when I stumbled upon a quote where Jenn, the MC, looked up at a piece of the sky through the branches and it inspired her to keep going. I incorporated more of that into the storyline, and eventually retitled the story after that aspect. I love the title, because it conveys an image of hope–but it doesn’t make much sense until you read the book.

8. Where did the title come from?

Shards of Sky was originally titled Voiceless, and it was a story about a girl who was trying to restore her mute brother’s voice. It’s changed drastically over the months of editing, though, so after I finished major plotline edits, I decided to change it because the old title wasn’t as fitting. I was re-reading my old drafts, when I stumbled upon a quote where Jenn, the MC, looked up at a piece of the sky through the branches and it inspired her to keep going. I incorporated more of that into the storyline, and eventually retitled the story after that aspect. I love the title, because it conveys an image of hope–but it doesn’t make much sense until you read the book.

9. On a scale of one to ten, how much do you enjoy breaking readers’ hearts?

Hands down, a ten, though that does sound pretty cruel. I’ve always wanted to write tear-jerkers, the type that make readers emotional. And honestly, it never happened until I wrote Shards of Sky — and I when my beta readers started crying, was quite proud of myself. 

10. Do you have any advice for young writers struggling with the publishing and/or marketing process?

Write down your battle plan in advance, and take your time. When figuring out the publishing and marketing process, learning in advance and knowing exactly what you have to do when is super important. Refer to the reason you wanted to publish in the first place, and let that fuel you to keep going.

And most of all–pray. God will strengthen you to do what seems humanly impossible. I’ve seen this time and time again during my publication and marketing processes. I think that’s one of the most important aspects of writing — co-authoring with God.

I really enjoyed interviewing E. C. Colton, and I am looking forward to getting my hands on her book!

Shards of Sky is available for preorder, and if you preorder it, you will be sent several digital gifts (or goodies, as Em put it XD) such as:

  • Digital artwork
  • Desktop and mobile wallpapers
  • An exclusive letter from the author
  • A free e-copy to give to a friend
  • AND a printable Shards of Sky bookmark!

Go here to preorder this beautiful book, and go here to fill out the form for the preorder goodies! The submission deadline is April 18th, so if you want to get your preorder goodies, make sure you fill out the form before then! You can also find this book on Goodreads here!

Here is the blog tour schedule, if anyone wants to see whose posts are coming up:

April 8 – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (intro), Cynthia at Achinty (interview) 

April 9 – Mia Harden at Windows to Mia (interview)

April 10 – Daniel L. Amador at The Right Kind of Writer (review)

April 11 – J. S. Clingman at My Little Hole in the Ground (interview)

April 12 – Allie Jo Anderson at Allie Jo Anderson (review)

April 13 – Althea Truth at Apple Blossoms (interview)

April 14 – Liesl Brunner at Quote, Unquote (interview), Ryan Elizabeth at Ryan Elizabeth Writes (interview), Hannah E. M. at Precarious Book Stacks (review)

April 15 – Allyson Jamison at Shay’s Scribbles (interview)

April 16  – Addison Vallier at Story Well (interview)

April 17 – Cara from Paper Strider (review)

April 18 (launch day) – E. C. Colton at Quill of Hope (finale), Samantha Hopper at Stuck in a Story (review & interview)

I hope you guys enjoyed reading this interview!

E. C. Colton is a Christian, entrepreneur, cat mom, and author of A Change of Heart. She strives to write stories that illustrate deep truths through realistic characters. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her drawing, designing graphics, and scribbling away in a vintage notebook with a cup of tea. 

Collabs

Interview With Liesl Brunner ~ In Which I Find Out Things I Didn’t Know About My Best Friend

One day, I was organizing my blogging schedule and I saw a little gap in March. A little gap is always an easy fix (unless it’s not), but rather than scouring my Way-Too-Long Blog Post Idea List, another idea popped into my head. What if I collaborated with another blogger?

And what better blogger to collab with than one of my very best friends, Liesl Brunner??

It just…..I dunno…..makes….sense!

So yeah, I asked her some questions, and she asked me some questions. (Which appeared on her blog here if ya wanna check it out)

Without further ado, let’s get started!

1. What’s something you’re oddly passionate about?

Hm, this is a hard one, because I like a lot of weird and obscure things. I love learning about the Titanic (not the movie, though that was beautiful too). Unsolved mysteries, like the disappearance of Flight MH370, also fascinate me. And I really enjoy memorizing things and public speaking. I’m not quite sure why, considering how much of an introvert I am.

2. Which freaks you out the most: mice/rats, bugs, spiders, or snakes?

Actually, none of these really freak me out. I wouldn’t want to have them, like, touching me, of course, because…echh. But I think mice are cute, spiders and snakes are cool, and some bugs are pretty okay. Though if I had to pick one that freaked me out the most, it would probably be just generic bugs.

3. Have you broken any bones or gotten stitches?

When I was four, I jumped off my bed and broke my collarbone. Not my finest moment. 

As for stitches, not yet, though with my hobbies, it’s almost an inevitability. I’m hoping that I won’t have to, because I’ll probably pass out.

4. What was one of the scariest moments/days of your life?

Without a doubt, the day my dad had his stroke. It was so scary seeing my father hooked up to those terrible machines. He was in the ICU for a while, but thankfully, his brain recovered fully. His back was a little messed up because of the hospital bed, and it still bugs him sometimes, but physical therapy helped. I thank God for His provision in letting my dad live.

5. If you could travel anywhere for free, where would you go?

You know, honestly, my first instinct is Canada. I have several friends there, and something about Canada just seems so intriguing to me. Don’t ask–I can’t explain it.

Other than that, probably Scandinavia. My grandparents went on a Scandinavian cruise a few years ago, and the pictures and stories they brought back were amazing. I’d also love to visit the Mojang headquarters in Stockholm, because, let’s face it, I’m a giant nerd.

6. How would your friends describe you?

I actually consulted some friends on this, because originally, answering this, I kind of thought, “I’m…smart, and…crazy?” And that wasn’t enough. So I asked them. At least it’s accurate.

Kate: Creative, pretty logical, observant, artsy, fun to be around, curious 

Allison: God-centered, intelligent, always there for people, easy to talk to, artsy, energetic

Ava (my sister–this oughta be good): Calm, slightly shy and quiet when you first encounter the creature, but warms up to be funny and smart and full of memes. If you manage to get close enough, she occasionally purrs. Likes warm spots of sunlight, Butterfingers, and values the company of books over that of people. But she also occasionally bites or roasts. When grumpy, immediately exit the situation. Let her spend some time in a room alone (what happens in there, no one knows…). Watch your words; they are easily refuted.

(Thank you so much, Ava.)

Kaitlyn: Energetic, fun, encouraging, helpful, fun to talk to, nice, funny, a good friend

Lena: One of the most motivated people I know. You are the type of person who follows through and completes goals. You are incredibly kind and gracious and such a good teacher. You are also so upbeat and fun to talk to.

Thank you, guys. That was sweet. Well, there ya have it.

7. Do you prefer writing with pencils or pens?

Pencils. I’m left-handed, so when I write with pens, the ink smears a ton. I use Bic mechanical pencils for everything (.7 lead, of course), but I have one rule: I don’t use the erasers. I use a pink pencil eraser instead of the one on the end of the pencil, because for some reason unknown to mankind, I don’t like seeing a mangled eraser.

8. What is your favorite thing to do with friends?

I like having conversations. Like, honest-to-goodness, deep conversations. I feel like it helps me get to know them on a more personal level.

Also, I just enjoy being quiet with them. I once had a friend over, and we spent an hour just reading together, and it was the best. “Being alone together” makes me happy.

9. What is your favorite and least favorite thing about your appearance?

Wow, this is a hard one.

For my favorite thing, honestly, I just really like how I’m built. I’m tall and kind of willowy, and I have a certain grace that I admire about myself. (I really feel like I’m tooting my own horn here.)

And my least favorite…this is going to sound really dumb and shallow, but I hate my eyebrows. Like…it’s debatable that I have two at this point. They’re thick. And dark. And I hate them.

10. What is your favorite and least favorite part of your character/personality?

Again, I feel really vain, but here goes.

My favorite part of my personality is probably my energy. I’m very positive and very community-oriented, and if I feel like I’m in a family-type situation, I will not hesitate to be energetic and crazy. This also translates into being a passionate leader and teacher. I enjoy sharing my love of things with others. My least favorite part is also my energy, because I can be really…over-the-top sometimes. I had a reputation at my last community campus for being “the crazy person.” Well, every trait has its ups and downs.

So yeah, that’s that. I didn’t know some of these things, so it’s always great to ask questions so you can get to know your friends better.

(Also, if you’re here from Liesl’s blog, hai. Hola. Bonjour. Konichiwa. It’s great to see you! 😁 *offers biggest, cheesiest smile you will ever see*)

(And if you haven’t been over to Liesl’s blog, I definitely recommend checking it out. And not because she’s my best friend or anything)

(Also, if you want to see me answer these questions, let me know. I’m more than up to it! Well, barely. I just got over being sick *facepalm*)

(This is the last group of parentheses, I promise)

(Or maybe this is)

(Or this)

(Okay, I’ll stop)

Thanks for reading!!