The Reading Sparrow Episode 2 | Reading Nook: Villò

This month I discuss current and next reads with Villò. The books we talk about include Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke by Eric LaRocca, Inheriting Her Ghosts S.H. Cooper, Iron Gold by Pierce Brown, The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, and more!

Listen to the Episode

Read the Transcript

[The Reading Sparrow theme]

Sarina: Good morning, friends and bookworms, and sparrows. [laughs] This is Episode 2. It’s the 28th of May, I think, 2021. You can tell I have no idea what I’m doing because this is only the second episode, first one after the introduction. It’s the first reading nook chat with Villò this morning. Hi, welcome.

Villò: Glad to be here.

Sarina: Thank you so much for effectively being my guinea pig. [laughs]

Villò: Love being a guinea pig.

Sarina: [laughs]

Villò: That’s sounded wrong, didn’t it?

Sarina: [00:01:00] Not as wrong as what I thought in my head because I was thinking, I always had guinea pigs when I was a child. So, that was going in a darker direction, I feel. [chuckles]

Villò: All right. [chuckles]

Sarina: Let’s not go there. See, it’s totally already not weird. It’s only been two minutes and it’s totally not weird already.

Villò: Yeah, that’s totally normal.

Sarina: Yeah, I feel like for us, it kind of is. [laughs]

Villò: Yeah. We usually go right back into the dark things anyways. [laughs] 

Sarina: Yeah, it happens a lot when we talk, doesn’t it? Yeah, the idea for this chat is that we’ll basically just talk about the books that we’re reading at the moment, the books that you’ve read last, what do you think you might read next. It’ll be very chatty. Pretend we’re in a coffee house or something. Let’s dive in.

As I said, I don’t really have a plan for this, but I don’t think we really need one because we’re literally just talking about books. [00:02:00] What are you reading right now?

Villò: Well, I just finished reading– well, actually, I finished reading it last week. It’s a horror novella called, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke.

Sarina: Oh, that’s a great title.

Villò: I know. This guy– It’s written by Eric LaRocca. He just is a master at coming up with titles. Just everything he does. His other really short novella– Or, I think it was novella though, that had titled Starving Ghosts in Every Thread.

Sarina: Wow. Okay.

Villò: I know. You hear those titles, you’re like, “I really need to read this.”

Sarina: Yeah, I think I really need to read this.

Villò: Yeah, definitely. His prose is so poetic, and how it mingles with the horror element [00:03:00] is just so fascinating. I was just blown away.

Sarina: See, I always thought I couldn’t really read horror because I’m actually a massive coward, so it’s not normally my kind of thing. But since I have joined the wider reading community, on Instagram especially, I’ve read a lot more out of my usual genre, which is epic fantasy. So, horror is quite far away from that, really, but I actually quite like horror.

Villò: It is. There’s so much you can explore through it.

Sarina: And there’s so many subcategories. I always thought when I was younger, that horror had to be basically really gory and terrifying, because it’s really gory and brutal. And it doesn’t have to be that at all. I’ve really come to enjoy it. So, I might just check this out.

Villò: Yeah, I would definitely recommend you if you start with Starving Ghosts in Every Thread. It’s just really short read. I think it’s about I think 60 or 80 pages.

Sarina: Oh, great.

Villò: Yeah, so it’s really short. [00:04:00] But the prose just really drags you along, and you just are lost in this world that he creates. It’s just a short, short world, but afterwards, you’re like, “Whoa, that guy can write.”

Sarina: That sounds like my kind of book. I’m really excited about that.

Villò: This latest book, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke, it just completely blew me away. Again, it’s a novella, so short. I actually now tend to prefer novellas because I’m working full time and I’m writing, and I want to read as well. So, if it’s a novella or maybe a short story collection, I can just breeze through them whenever I want.

Sarina: Maybe that’s what I’m missing right now in my reading because I’ve been really struggling through my current reads and I’ve been struggling through them for a little while, to be honest.

Villò: Yeah, it’s the same with me. If I stumble upon a book that is maybe 400 to 500 pages, I [00:05:00] will procrastinate with it.

Sarina: Yeah, I think one of my current reads is more than that.

Villò: Oh, wow.

Sarina: I’m reading it on Kindle, so I’m not 100% Sure. I’m reading two fairly big books at the moment. One is The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan, because it’s epic fantasy. It’s one of those big ones that you think everyone who likes fantasy has read this. It felt like it was weird that I still hadn’t. [chuckles] I tried it once some years ago, for some reason I didn’t quite get into it, and then I just stopped, and I thought I should try again. And now weirdly, I go through phases with it. I either sit down, and I really love every word, and I feel like I could just make a note of any sentence, and it’ll inspire me to write at some other points, whenever I can come back to it. Then other days, I sit with it, and I’m really struggling to focus on any one sentence, like I just can’t make proper progress with it. I don’t know [00:06:00] what it is, but maybe as you said, it’s because we just need shorter reads right now.

Villò: Yeah. I think definitely, you should add like a mixture of things into it.

Sarina: Yeah, maybe I should. Well, I have considered starting something shorter, because I’ve already stopped reading it once, I’m worried that if I set it aside now, I just won’t come back to it. Just for the record, I do like it. I do kind of enjoy it, I know on those days when I really am loving it, but I cannot– I also still like it on the days when it’s a bit of a struggle. But I’m really having a hard time with it and I don’t feel like that’s very fair, because it is a very excellent book.

Villò: But at the same time, you shouldn’t have to press yourself or just force yourself to try to read it if you’re not really in it, you what know I mean?

Sarina: Yeah, I do. That’s normally exactly what I would advise people as well. [00:07:00] And that’s, I think, where I’m torn. I’m over halfway through with it now, so I don’t want to stop reading it because it is very, very good. Maybe it’s just because it’s just so massive and there’s like 12 books in the series and they’re all bigger than the last.

Villò: Oh, my.

Sarina: Yeah, it’s a big thing. I think they’re doing a Netflix adaptation, all of it, I want to say. It might not be Netflix, I need to check that. Because, as I said, it’s just one of those really massive epic fantasy things you know that every epic fantasy writer has probably read at some point, because it’s just so big, it’s a popular and so well known. I do like it. I’m just struggling with it, I don’t know why. [chuckles]

Villò: Yeah, I think at that point, you might want to take a break, maybe read something else.

Sarina: I’m just worried I won’t come back to it if I do. [00:08:00] That’s the only thing.

Villò: That’s why it’s always good to have it like where you can see it, so there’s a constant reminder. [laughs]

Sarina: Yeah. Well, that’s why it gets difficult because it is on Kindle, you see.

Villò: Oh, eBook.

Sarina: So, I can’t just have this massive doorstopper of a book next to my bed.

Villò: That’s true.

Sarina: If I close that, and I open a different eBook, I’ll possibly never see it again. [laughs]

Villò: Yeah, that’s true. I have so many books on my Kindle I need to get on.

Sarina: See, I’ve made a list recently of all the unread books that I’ve got on my Kindle and I think it’s over– this isn’t going to be as big a number as some of our listeners are probably used to. I think I got roughly 40 or maybe slightly more books than that on my Kindle that I haven’t read. I know some of you probably have hundreds, but for me this seems like a lot.

Villò: Yeah. I think I have about maybe 30-40 books or something. [crosstalk]

Sarina: It gets out of hand so fast. [00:09:00]

Villò: It really does, especially when you see all this like, “Hey, there are free books here.” I’m like, “Woo.”

Sarina: [laughs]

Villò: And then, I download them and I’m like, “I’m going to get to them at one point, eventually, hopefully before I die.”

[laughter]

Sarina: Yeah, I know the feeling. Look, we’re all buying books that we don’t read right away, don’t we?

Villò: Yeah. There’s probably not a soul here who can’t admit that.

Sarina: Yeah, I think. If you are listening and you think you’ve never done that, you’re lying. We’re onto you, we don’t believe it.

Villò: You’re a filthy liar.

Sarina: [laughs] Yeah, no offense, but probably.

Villò: Yep. [laughs]

Sarina: Well, before we completely offend most of our listenership anymore, very sorry, I’m sure you’re lovely. The other book that I’m reading and also kind of struggling with is– [00:10:00] Oh God, where is it? It’s next to the bed. I think it’s– Oh bloody hell, is it Morning Star? No. It’s the next one after that. It’s Iron Gold by Pierce Brown.

Villò: Oh, yeah. Those series are a tearjerker, is it?

Sarina: Yeah. Yes, they are. They are very painful. [chuckles] The first book in particular. I think the reason I’m struggling with this one is– well, two things. I kind of binged the first trilogy and if you’ve read the Red Rising saga, you will know just how hard it hits your emotions, it’s very painful series to read. Very excellent, also very painful. I think my feelings possibly just needed a break. I am slowly coming back to it now and I am enjoying it. At the moment, I also think I just don’t read paperbacks as much.

Villò: Hmm, I see. [00:11:00]

Sarina: But it is excellent. If you love sci-fi, then I can massively recommend the entire series. I think he’s currently working on book 6.

Villò: Okay, wow.

Sarina: Yes. There’s lots of potential to get your heart broken very badly.

[laughter]

Villò: Oh, God. That’s the thing. I try to avoid those books because even though I love having emotions toiled and just wrapped around your finger, but I don’t like the feeling afterwards when you’re ugly crying after you finish the book, and then you feel empty inside.

Sarina: [laughs] Oh, I was absolutely ugly crying with the series at several points. If you want to make it any worse for yourself, you can get them in audio format, and there is a song in the first book.

Villò: Oh, no.

Sarina: Oh, yeah, it’s very early on, that’s in Red Rising. [00:12:00] When you hear the song or when you read it in paperback or hardcover or whatever, you know exactly what this means at this point in the story, you know exactly what will happen next. I kid you not, the narrator sang it, and he sang it beautifully.

Villò: Wow.

Sarina: But I was on the bus when I listened to it, I was not prepared for it, and it was the most awkward bus ride of my life because I was just sitting there– It was a full bus too, and I was just sitting there thinking, “Oh God, this is horrible. I’m going to cry so hard, so bad.” [laughs]

Villò: I hate that. This is why I don’t– I mean I love listening to audiobooks. This is what I do, usually what I do when I’m going to work, but exactly, when I when it comes to this, I’m like, “No, I don’t want to cry in the fucking bus.”

[laughter]

Sarina: It was really horrible, but he sang it so well, it just hurts how much. I still have the [00:13:00] melody for it stuck in my head. So, every time it comes up, or just any part I just mentioned throughout the series, I sing it again, it just hurts me much more. But, yeah, if you already like really painful books anyway, why not go one step further, make it more painful and listen to the audiobook?

[laughter]

Villò: If you’re feeling masochistic enough, you know.

Sarina: Yeah. I mean, we’re all bookworms, so I think we all have a little masochistic streak for that anyway. If you really want your heart just torn to shreds, go for the Red Rising audiobook, and if you like sci-fi, because if you don’t like sci-fi, I’m not sure how much you’d like it.

Villò: True.

Sarina: Yeah, just very good.

Villò: Okay. Well, it’s going to be interesting with the book that I finished, Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke. I think it’s going to be interesting that they’re going to turn it into an audiobook. I don’t know if they have any plans for it because the entire format of story is put through [00:14:00] emails.

Sarina: Ooh.

Villò: Emails and also an instant messenger chat.

Sarina: Oh, I like things like that. I was talking about that the other day with someone else, but getting carried away again, go ahead.

Villò: It was so refreshing, because you’re always used to this straightforward narrative, either with a third-person point of view or first-person point of view or something like that. But there, you get into these dual point of views one from a person called Agnes Petrelli, I think she’s called and the other, Zoey Cross. You can definitely see, even just from the emails and from the instant chat that there is a distinct age difference between them. Agnes seems to be a little bit younger, and Zoey is a little bit older, you can kind of see how they write each other.

Like I told you, [00:15:00] his prose is so poetic, and he also continues that with this book. It’s just so interesting how it started. It started like an innocent friendship between two women. And then, it becomes more serious. They pursue a relationship together, and then things get dark so fast. It just gets so dark and so disturbing. And you’re just like, you’re glued to the screen, you’re like, “Oh, my God, I need to know what’s happening here. What’s going on?”

Sarina: You’re really selling it. [laughs]

Villò: It’s so good. I think I had the exact same reaction and emotion when I was doing my YouTube review. I still haven’t, I have to edit it. I was swearing, and I was like, “Oh, my God, this guy, you guys, you have to read it, it’s so good.”

Sarina: I’ve just made a note of the title, so I will definitely be getting to that. [00:16:00]

Villò: If you look it up and you see the cover, the cover is going to draw you in instantly.

Sarina: I’m very much looking forward to that. You know how much I love a good cover.

Villò: I know. And this one, oh my God, it’s so hauntingly beautiful.

Sarina: Sounds like my kind of thing.

Villò: I know. Like I said, it’s so good. I can definitely see this book being nominated for the Bram Stoker Awards for this year, it’s just that good.

Sarina: I know what I’m buying after this chat. [laughs] But let’s move on to what we might read next. Do you have any plans?

Villò: Yeah. There are two novellas that I need to get into. One is called Salvation Spring, and it’s a western horror.

Sarina: Ooh, okay. I think [00:17:00] I’ve only very recently heard about western horror for the first time.

Villò: Yeah, same here. I just recently got into– I read a book that is in the Splatter Western series.

Sarina: That’s the genre I first heard of, I think, only a few months ago.

Villò: Yeah. They have really started kicking up right now. Splatter horror as it describes is, a lot of gore. When I read this book, the Splatter Western book, it reminded me of The Hateful Eight.

Sarina: Okay.

Villò: The Quentin Tarantino’s movie?

Sarina: Oh, yeah.

Villò: Yeah. It really delivered on the gory part, so I really enjoyed it. Salvation Springs is supposed to be a little bit more just focused on the horror, and kind of on the weird horror.

Sarina: Ooh, I like a bit of weird horror.

Villò: It’s also, I think, she says it kind of leans towards [00:18:00] cosmic horror in the end.

Sarina: Wow. Okay, this sounds very fascinating.

Villò: I know. It’s a novella as well. I’m really excited to go into it. I think I might actually start this today. The other one, Salvation Springs, is by T.C. Parker, so I definitely recommend checking out her other books. She wrote a book called Saltblood, which is folklore that happens in the British Isles, like above Scotland.

Sarina: Okay.

Villò: I really enjoyed it because she added a little bit of language that was similar to Icelandic.

Sarina: Oh, all right. Just a quick side note there for anyone listening, Villò is Icelandic.

Villò: Yep. It really, really hit my roots when I was reading it. There’s some of the words that I’m like, “Hey, that’s similar [unintelligible [00:19:00] [00:19:00] Icelandic.”

Sarina: I suppose you wouldn’t see that too often.

Villò: No, I wouldn’t.

Sarina: Every now and again, when authors make up their own language, you might see maybe things that are similar to, I don’t know, Russian.

Villò: Yeah.

Sarina: One of the larger countries. And obviously, Iceland is relatively small to begin with and it’s such a– I don’t want to call it a niche language because that sounds weirdly mean and wrong.

[laughter]

Villò: It was more connected to the Old Norse, which Icelandic is derived from. So, it was nice.

Sarina: Yeah. I can imagine.

Villò: Yeah. I’m looking forward to what she’ll bring with this western horror that she wrote. The other one is called Inheriting Her Ghosts, and it’s a gothic novella.

Sarina: God, all these titles are really getting to me.

Villò: I know. People have really upped their title games here. [00:20:00] And then, there’s me with nocturnal something.

Sarina: [laughs] I like your titles though because I think they get the idea across just sign[?] off on what you write. But clearly some people are just really gifted.

Villò: Oh yeah, they are. It’s a gothic novella. It’s about this, I think– I love that, that made me so happy, the main character is 40 something and she’s, I think, just a bachelorette or something. She inherits this manor from her cousin or aunt or something like that. She has to deal with the manor, but something is in the manor that doesn’t want her here. She has these two or three big dogs that always know what’s in there. She’s like, “You’re not getting my dogs.”

Sarina: [laughs]

Villò: And she goes warrior type, like, [00:21:00] “I’m going to fight these ghosts.”

Sarina: [laughs]

Villò: But in a gothic, quiet, horror kind of theme. I’m like, “Oh, I’m so into this.”

Sarina: [laughs]

Villò: I’m probably not selling it correctly, but this is the vibe that I got when I was reading the blurb.

Sarina: Well, I feel like you’re selling it really well. I mean, I want to read it now. So, there.

Villò: Yeah, these are the ones I’m probably going to tackle this weekend.

Sarina: That sounds great. I think I probably just need to read a few shorter reads as well, maybe as a palate cleanser, I don’t know. I had my eyes on my First Reads by Olivia Wildenstein for my next books, because I have a feeling I’m going to need something really light, something that’s more fun after reading Iron Gold. And I’ve had my eye on a book for a little while anyway. I did an interview with her [00:22:00] and Katie Hayoz on my other podcast, The Writing Sparrow, about writing a duology– not a duology, just generally co-writing a book. They were both really lovely, and I really loved the book that they had written together, which is Of Wicked Blood. It’s fantastic, if you love a bit of sort of urban paranormal fantasy.

Villò: Ooh.

Sarina: Oh, yeah. It’s very fun, too. There’s lots of swearing and sarcasm in that. Very hilarious. I laughed a lot.

Villò: Okay, I need to check that one out. I love getting this kind of sassy, sarcastic, snarky things.

Sarina: Yeah, I think you’ll love this one. So, yeah, I thought I might try one of her books that she’s written on her own because I love this one so much. And, yeah, I think anything that’s going to make me smile again after Iron Gold is a plus. [laughs]

Villò: Yeah, definitely. I forgot to mention actually the one I’m actually listening to, audiobook at the moment, I hadn’t done that [00:23:00] before, but I kind of feel bad that I shouldn’t have started at the beginning. Have you watched the Netflix series, You?

Sarina: No.

Villò: Oh, you definitely should check it out.

Sarina: Okay.

Villò: It’s actually adapted from a book called You by Caroline Kepnes. It’s about this guy, his name is Joe Goldberg. He’s this– I don’t know how to describe him. He’s a stalker, for sure.

Sarina: Oh, great.

Villò: He gets obsessed with this woman called Beck in the first book, or in the first series that I watched. They have two series right now on Netflix. It’s all through his perspective, and it’s just so hilarious to listen to him, because it’s written like he is right, everything that he [00:24:00] does is right. He basically tells, “Oh, you should love me. I’m the best. We’re so perfect for each other.” It’s so fucked up and it’s so disturbing, but the way it’s written, you can’t help but laugh because you’re like, “What the fuck, man? You’re such a creep. You’re so disgusting.”

[crosstalk]

Villò: Yeah. It’s so funny. He’s so charming. At the same time, you’re like, “I’m not supposed to be charmed by you,” but you kind of make your way into this and I get this kind of like, “Ugh, go [unintelligible [00:24:41] go away. This is nasty.”

Sarina: This is where the horror comes in. This is why it’s terrifying.

Villò: Yep, exactly. And it’s so funny because, he doesn’t always get the girl right away. There are always obstacles, her friends or [00:25:00] something like that, which he never likes. He’s like, “Oh, I have to get rid of them somehow,” and he does that in such a funny way.

Sarina: Such a hassle.

Villò: It is. I remember in the first series, Beck’s girlfriend, like best friend, she loves to do jogging, and he wanted to gain more information on her. So, he starts stalking her a little bit and started jogging as well. In his mindset, he was like, “What the fuck is wrong with you people? Why do you like jogging? It’s like puking your guts out.”

Sarina: Well, that point I could totally agree on. I don’t understand how people go jogging. I hate running. [laughs]

Villò: Yeah, but it was so funny, because he’s supposed to be like this sewn-down guy but then suddenly you get these snippets where he’s like, “Oh, my God, I hate this. Why am I doing this?”

Sarina: Well, when you started describing this book to me, I wasn’t sure if I would like it, or how I felt about it, but actually, now it sounds really funny. Funny in a really fucked up way. [00:26:00]

Villò: It is. I’m listening now to the third book, because I felt like I’ve seen the first two series, I don’t have to read the books, but I think my friends are going to pull me back and like, “You need to read books.” Which I probably will at some point, but I’m like at chapter 20 on the third book, and I’m like, “I can’t really go back into the first book right now. I need to finish this, because this is pure gold. This is so funny.” The guy who is narrating the book, he does it in such a great way. He has a really nice voice. It’s definitely a voice that you would definitely connect to a guy who’s charming and is trying to be your friend and stuff like that. But then, when he gets annoyed, it’s so funny. He’s like, “Argh, this guy, this person, I hate him.”

Sarina: Well, you have [00:27:00] certainly sold that to me, I will have to check it out.

Villò: It’s so good. If you can’t find the time to read the book, I definitely encourage you to check out the Netflix adaptation, because it’s really good.

Sarina: All right, I will add that to our ever-growing list of things to watch that we don’t have time for. [chuckles]

Villò: Oh, yeah, I get that.

Sarina: Well, thank you so much for stopping by and talking to me about what you’re currently reading. This has been very fun, and totally not fucked it up at all. [laughs]

Villò: No, we didn’t. We didn’t go into the dark stuff, so this is good.

Sarina: Apart from the stalkers and the possessed houses and all that, we did go a little bit into that. [chuckles]

Villò: No, it’s perspective.

Sarina: Yeah, perspective. Exactly. So, yeah, thank you so much for stopping by. And I will let you get back to reading your fantastic books.

Villò: Thank you.

Sarina: Also, thank you so much for everybody who has been listening. [00:28:00] If you’ve enjoyed this, you can actually support this on Patreon if you search for Sarina Langer. It’s also going to be in the show notes anyway, so you can just click the link. Thank you so much, everybody for listening. If you would like to tell us what you’re currently reading, get in touch on Twitter, on Instagram, or wherever you like, and we can discuss what you’re reading as well. So, yeah, thank you so much. Have a fantastic day, everybody. Have a great weekend, and happy reading. Bye-bye.

Villò: Bye.

[music]

Sarina: If you’ve enjoyed this episode, let’s connect on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, on Twitter @sarina_langer or, on my website at sarinalanger.com. And if you really enjoyed this episode, you can also support my podcast at patreon.com/sarinalanger and get lots of awesome [00:29:00] exclusive content while you’re there. Until next time, bye.


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Take me to the Welcome page.

The Reading Sparrow Episode 3 | Release Day: Sable by Sharon E. Turner

HAPPY RELEASE DAY, Sharon Turner and Sable! *throws confetti*

Sable is the TENTH book in her epic fantasy series Kingdom of Durundal.

Please note: Sable released on Tuesday, May 25th. Since this podcast launched a few days later on the 28th, I couldn’t get the episode out on the day.

To celebrate with Sharon, check out her books or browse her website. You can also  follow her on Instagram.

Buy Sable.
Start with A Hare in the Wilderness
 (Book 1)

Listen to the Episode

Read the Transcript

[The Reading Sparrows theme]

Sarina: Good morning, bookworms and sparrows. It’s the 28th of May, 2021. This is Episode 3. We’re celebrating Sharon E. Turner’s release day today. [clapping] Hello, and congratulations, Sharon.

Sharon: Hello. Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Sarina: My pleasure. Goodness me, the 10th book.

Sharon: I know.

Sarina: Congratulations to you and Sable, that’s the name of the book?

Sharon: It is. Yes. It’s a good one. Yes, this is a good one.

Sarina: How does it feel?

Sharon: It feels like I am climbing [00:01:00] this huge mountain really, because the books just keep escalating. Now, I’m on number 10, or number 10 is just being released, it’s like goodness, I just didn’t imagine I would ever write this many. I think it’s because my writing is better. I find it a bit of a more adaptable process. I have more ideas that come– the ideas are more readily available, and then the writing flows a bit better. I think that comes with lots and lots of writing. That’s why I’m feeling quite pleased about this one. [crosstalk]

Sarina: And the funny thing is, that we have done an interview about how you have approached writing your 10-book series on my other podcast for writers, The Writing Sparrow. Funnily enough, that has also been out this week on Monday, and we didn’t plan it to coincide at all with your release day. It’s weirdly designed that way.

[laughter]

Sharon: [crosstalk] -looking down on me, yay. [00:02:00]

Sarina: Yes. Clearly.

[laughter]

Sarina: Tell us about your book, or the whole series, really, for readers who haven’t started it yet. There’s a lot for you to read, because this is at least going to be 10 books long.

Sharon: Yes, there is a lot, but they’re not really long books. Some books, I see are 500 pages, 600 pages. I was looking at one today, that was 1000 pages. But mine are on average about 360 pages, an average length of book. It starts with A Hare in the Wilderness. That’s the start and the setting and the characters and the type of book it’s going to be. Gosh, I’m going right back to 2017 that’s when I wrote it, it seems like ages ago. [00:03:00] I take a character out of all my books, and then I just expand on it. They have their own little challenges and their own– Sometimes, it’s usually the same antagonist in the first few books. Then, it just progresses. Then, I did the Sorceress of the Sapphire— there’s five books in the first set. Then I did Sorceress of the Sapphire three books, which are spinoffs, really. They are like the next generation from the children that are within the first five books.

Then, I’ve got these three– I’ve got three books lined out. Severn is already published. Sable is published, nearly published. Then, I’m writing another one called Sugita. These are almost prequels to the Kingdom of Durundal series.

Sarina: Right. Few things I want to come back to there. [00:04:00] You’re writing an eleventh book in the series.

Sharon: Yes, I’ve already started it.

Sarina: Oh, wow. Did you just say that you wrote the first book in 2017?

Sharon: Yes. It might have been before that, actually, because it took me probably about two years to think it’s worthy of being published.

Sarina: Let me just get that right. You’ve published 10 books in four years?

Sharon: Hmm, yes.

Sarina: Bloody hell, Sharon. How did you do that?

[laughter]

Sharon: I know. It is quite a lot, yes, but I am slowing down now.

Sarina: Yes.

Sharon: Sable, I actually started to write probably in October of last year, so it’s just being published now. Then, the book I’m writing now, which is Sugita, I’m planning to release in February. So, I am giving myself a bit more time each time.

Sarina: Yeah, I think that is wise [00:05:00] and I really hope that you spend your release day just relaxing and just treating yourself to everything because, goodness me, what a busy four years you’ve had. I can’t wrap my head around that. [laughs]

Sharon: Oh, no, yes.

Sarina: Well, how are you celebrating or how did you celebrate it? Just to avoid confusion here for the listeners. Today, is the launch date of this podcast, but Sharon’s book has actually been out since Tuesday. We’re catching up a little bit, but how did you spend your release day to celebrate an incredibly busy four years? I’m still wrapping my head around how busy you’ve been.

Sharon: Well, I had a blitz that went out. I was busy working with that as well on my Instagram, [00:06:00] and just getting as many readers as possible really. Yeah, I had quite a lot of preorders anyway. I nearly got a bestseller, but you never know. It still might happen. I got to about position three in one of the categories, but I was up against somebody who had also had a release date on exactly the same day, and they were probably a bit more proactive than me on the day, so yeah.

Sarina: Oh, but–

Sharon: It wasn’t– [crosstalk]

Sarina: Look, being number three is so incredible anyway. Congratulations to that as well, so much to celebrate.

Sharon: Yes, I was just so pleased to be that high up. I mean, sometimes when I’ve done like a free book, [00:07:00] any of them, I’ve got like bestseller in a free book. But when it’s paid, you get the banner and everything, that’s just a little bit more special that is.

Sarina: Hmm, I wonder what that feels like. [laughs] Never been there myself.

Sharon: Oh, I know. [crosstalk] –be on Instagram or Facebook like a footballer holding my banner.

Sarina: Yes.

[laughter]

Sharon: I got the goal. I won it.

Sarina: So, hopefully, some more new readers are going to discover your book from this podcast, that will be incredible.

Sharon: Yes, it would be. It really–

Sarina: I will have done my job if that’s the case.

Sharon: Oh, yes. [laughs]

Sarina: Maybe we can help you get to that number one and to get that banner, that would be incredible.

Sharon: Oh, my goodness. Wouldn’t it? Yes. Then, I shall send you a picture with me holding my yellow, whatever I’m going to have, I’ll make something.

Sarina: Oh, please do.

[laughter]

[00:08:00]

Sarina: Well, for everyone, really, would you mind reading the first line or the first paragraph of Sable?

Sharon: Yes, I will. I have it here.

Sarina: Of course, if there are any spoilers in that for the previous books for reader who are new, maybe go with the first book instead?

Sharon: I don’t think there’s– I’m doing from Chapter 1.

Sarina: I will leave that up to you which one you do.

Sharon: Chapter 1 is actually– It’s actually just a few pages from the last book, which is Severn, but I’ll go with it anyway. I’ll just read it anyway. I can’t Chapter in 2 here. I think I will read that bit because I think it introduces it. I’ll go with the first chapter then.

Sarina: Hook us in.

Sharon: Are you ready? [laughs]

Sarina: Yes, go on.

Sharon: [00:09:00] “From her hiding place, under the blanket in the wagon, eyes rimmed with tears, Sable waited. The clouds of smoke wafting around her swirled the flakes of gray and red ash. Tears stained her cheeks. Sable’s ears had been ringing since the wagon had entered the forest, and she heard the first screams of the villages. The whole place was on fire. And as the soldiers swarmed, their helms glinted in the firelight, their swords glistened wet with blood. Didn’t even hear her sister’s screams as she died. Yeah, it was too chaotic to single out just one, and everywhere she looked she saw innocent people being hacked down mercilessly.”

Sarina: Wow, what a start.

Sharon: [laughs] That’s it.

Sarina: That’s an amazing start.

Sharon: [laughs]

Sarina: Well done you. I know how to just to write fast lines. And this just is so atmospheric.

Sharon: Yes. [00:10:00] Yeah, I like that because I was looking for the second chapter, but I thought because this is the first and it’s obviously the opening of it. If I started off with Chapter 2, it wouldn’t have been the same, you would think well, “Who’s that and who’s that?” [crosstalk] -to go with that.

Sarina: Well, of course, the first lines are the first thing that your readers will read off the actual book. Beyond the cover and the blurb, and so they’re very important. I think you’ve done very well there, they’re very atmospheric, and they definitely sound like something that I would absolutely love.

Sharon: Yes. This is a good one. My family, ARC readers, beta readers, they’ve all said, “This is the best one.” I think it’s just that with readers generally, their writing does get better. It just does. You just have to go with it. I [00:11:00] read somewhere that Ernest Hemingway said that writers are the only profession where we remain as just apprentices, we never become masters, where we just improve all the time. We just can never get to that point where we’re a master, we improve. I’m happy with it, Sable, it’s good. I like it.

Sarina: I really enjoyed that. Thank you so much for reading that for us. You can bet I will be starting your long series before they double again.

[laughter]

Sarina: In another four years, you’ll be on 20, just imagine. God.

Sharon: I think I do have to stop there actually, because people will just look at like a 20-book series, is like, “Oh my God, I can’t read all that.” It has to be– yeah.

Sarina: Okay. [00:12:00] Just imagine that you’ve been at that point before where you’ve said, “Right, this is going to have to be the last one.” Then, a bit later, you probably went, “No, just one more.”

Sharon: I know, because I quite like the way the series– The first five are all belong to the clans, and they’ve all got sort of a totem, that’s why they’re called like, A Hare in the Wilderness. It’s a totem animal, and then the Wolf, Leopard in the Mist, Stag, and then A Moth. They’re all totems [crosstalk] actors. Then I have the Sorcerer series. Now I have Severn, Sable, and Sugita. These are the prequels. It’s kind of nicely rounded. I quite like the little stacks that they’re in.

Sarina: Yeah. makes it easy for box sets as well.

Sharon: Well, yes. That’s what I will probably do next is do something like that. Yeah, in those little sets. [00:13:00]

Sarina: That’s very exciting.

Sharon: Yes. If I wanted to do audios, I might start off with possibly these three, so we’ll see how that goes as well.

Sarina: That’s a great idea. For readers who haven’t tried your books yet, where should we start? Should we start with the first prequel with Sable, or should we start with A Hare in the Wilderness?

Sharon: Yes, I think that will probably be the best start really, because although these are prequels, but there’s a very sort of– I can’t think of the word now, he is not a very nice kind of antagonist. He is my main [00:14:00] antagonist in the series, in the first few books. I quite liked his character, and you never really knew much about him. It was always like, “Where did he come from?” “Why was he like that?” “Why was he so evil?” Then, so you need to find out how evil he is, horrible, and he’s just unrelenting and just such a really bad character as a bad man, villain. But in Severn, you get to find out a few things.

Sarina: Woo-woo. Well, I think we all like a mysterious villain, don’t we?

[laughter]

Sharon: Yes. He’s a good one. In fact, on Instagram, there was a– I think there was a question or something, like who’s your favorite villain? One of my followers put the General from A Hare [00:15:00] in the Wilderness.

Sarina: Oh, that must have been so satisfying to see. [laughs]

Sharon: Yes, because I was like, “Oh my goodness, it’s amazing of all the books that she’s read.” I think that Lord of the Rings is one of her favorite books, so to actually put that, I was like, “Wow, that’s amazing.

Sarina: Lot of compliments.

Sharon: Yes, so it did work. I did make him really horrible.

[laughter]

Sarina: Well, it’s working for me. I think I’ve actually already added your first book to my Kindle anyway, but I’ll double check, I’ll make sure that I have it.

Sharon: That’s good.

Sarina: I’ll review it once I’ve read it as well.

Sharon: Oh, good, yes. I know, yes. I saw a funny post, I think that was on Instagram as well, where somebody had put something about not having time to write reviews, and yet they read the whole book. So, surely, giving a review [00:16:00] just doesn’t take long at all if you’ve read a whole book.

Sarina: No, it doesn’t have to be long either, does it? Really, just a quick, “I like this,” is enough. It doesn’t have to go into detail.

Sharon: Exactly. Yeah. It really is, just what you liked, and what worked and the strengths. Yes. [crosstalk]

Sarina: Yeah, exactly. If you’re listening, and you have already read Sharon’s books, or you want to start her very amazing, impressively long series, please also leave a quick review. It really doesn’t have to be long at all. In fact, you could even just write it if that’s all you have time for. It really helps an indie author massively. I’m sure she would really appreciate it. I would also be very grateful.

Sharon: Yes, indebted. I’ll look for the reviews. I’m a bit like that. I look up and see how many I’ve gotten, and what was the most recent one and things like that, because it’s very satisfying.

Sarina: [chuckles] [00:17:00] Yeah, it is. I have a message for you from my Patreon. Becky says, “Yay, huge, happy release day to the lovely Sharon Turner.”

Sharon: [laughs] Thank you.

Sarina: “I am wishing her all the success. She deserves it, she works so hard on these fabulous books.”

Sharon: Oh, Becky, yes. Which is on my website as well, I still periodically put it up, but they publish– Platform House did my really good book series video, and it is so epic.

Sarina: Oh, yeah, the trailer.

Sharon: So epic. I still look at it. They did that a few years ago. I know I’m biased, and they do amazing work with all the authors, they really do, and all of them are just so good, well, I still think mine’s the best. [00:18:00] I still get this, “Oh, God, that’s so epic.” It’s fantastic.

Sarina: They do very good work.

Sharon: It’s good. They’re amazing. Yeah.

Sarina: We can link to all of that, and I’ll, of course, link to your website and to your Amazon offer page as well to the first book and your series, of course, so that new readers can start there and to the 10th one, to Sable for anyone who wants to continue and hasn’t preordered it.

Sharon: Yes, preordering, because it’s going to be at a low price, you see, because it’s on preorder, so it’s like about 99 cents or something and pound in the UK. It will go up. So, it’s best to get it now.

Sarina: Right now, it’s cheap and on preorder, but by the time this episode airs in a week on the 28th, the preorder will be done.

Sharon: Oh, right. Yes.

Sarina: Sorry everyone. Should have got in there out early, that’s what you get for not preordering. [00:19:00]

Sharon: I might wait another week or something. Yeah, we’ll see.

Sarina: Okay. Who would you say your books are for? They sound like very epic, dark fantasy reads to me. So, I’m sold. But who would you say your books are for?

Sharon: I was thinking about this. It is for everybody. I would say I think my books sit somewhere between the Chronicles of Narnia and the Game of Thrones. I only say in between because obviously the Game of Thrones is really epic, it’s got a huge cast, it can be quite dark and disturbing. There’s kind of quite a lot of sort of sexual activity as well in Game of Thrones. Then, you got the Chronicles of Narnia where [00:20:00] the animals, sort of the superior beings. The protagonists are the females, Susan and Lucy, we’ve got the witch who is cunning and clever. The whole setting of it, it’s always snowing there, but like in Game of Thrones as well. Mine sits in the middle, but only because of the qualities that are within the Narnia books. I know they’re children’s books, but there’s so many more elements that can be relayed into sort of the older readers.

But then, obviously, what I just said about the Game of Thrones is massive, and those books are really thick books, and just so much going on. Mine’s kind of in the middle. They’re clean, there is romance, but they are clean. There’s a lot of action, lots of battles, people do die. I like having a female protagonist, so obviously, there’s A Hare in the Wilderness, but then I don’t leave the guys out. I also have the males as well. My books are probably for anybody who grew up with the Narnia books, and want something a little bit more adult like, but not probably quite so oppressive as Game of Thrones. Most people will have heard of those two series as well. That’s why I quite like to use those.

Somebody once said to me that my book was quite like Lord of the Rings, but I couldn’t see that particularly. I couldn’t really see that, but maybe A Hare in the Wilderness is a bit like that. Maybe, maybe people– that sort of thing. It’s that sort of epic scale, yeah.

Sarina: Well, I mean, if you readers have made that connection, then they’ve clearly seen it somewhere in there. So, that’s a perfectly valid comparison. [00:22:00]

Sharon: Yes. Maybe I should go with that really, because people have said. I actually started to write the books before I even saw an episode of Game of Thrones, because when I was writing them and publishing them, people were saying, “Oh, it’s just like Game of Thrones.” I say, “Well, I haven’t even seen it. I don’t [crosstalk]–”

Sarina: [laughs]

Sharon: –people saying it. Then, when I started to watch it, I thought, “Oh, yeah, I can actually see the connection.” Although it’s a bit tamed down, but I can see the connection. That’s what it’s like. I think that’s why I can keep going with the series, because there’s just so many that I can sort of spin off from the characters and the storyline– [crosstalk]

Sarina: Well, it sounds absolutely fascinating. I’m very much looking forward to explore your world and meet your characters. I hope that our listeners will also very much enjoy them. I don’t mean to go [00:23:00] harping on about this, but please leave a review if you do read them because it would help sharing out massively. It can make such a big difference for an indie author.

Sharon: Yes, it does, because I think the more reviews you have– I don’t know if this is correct or not, maybe you know more about this. The more reviews you have, does Amazon promote you more? Do they help you more?

Sarina: Well, I have heard conflicting opinions on this actually. I have heard that they start doing more once you hit 50 reviews and start to promote it a bit more from there. It could also just be that, obviously, the more reviews you have, that readers are just more likely to buy it because they see that there’s more social proof that people are enjoying them. I have also heard that Amazon doesn’t really change anything when you hit 50. I think they do because when my first book had 50 reviews, I did see a spike in downloads. It could be that they [00:24:00] do something, but I mean, either way, the more reviews you have, the more social proof you have, there’s nothing that helps you sell books more than seeing that lots and lots and lots of other readers have loved it. So, please leave a review, you would help Sharon massively.

Sharon: A Hare in the Wilderness, I’ve probably got probably about 80 on the UK side, and what, 76– so it’s about the same sort of but I’m averaging at 4.6, an average. Or maybe 4.7, so I’m quite pleased with that-

Sarina: Which is very good.

Sharon: -because you can’t please everybody.

Sarina: No, you never can.

Sharon: It also shows that they’re sort of quite honest reviews. I haven’t paid people for [laughs] them.

Sarina: No, you should never do that.

Sharon: No. They’re honest reviews, and I quite like the ones that, “Okay,” give me a three star, but like I say, [00:25:00] you can’t please everybody.

Sarina: Any way, three stars is still very good. I mean one reader’s criteria for giving a book three stars might be the same as another reader’s criteria for giving a five. You just don’t know what they’re looking for. Everyone is different.

Sharon: Absolutely, yes.

Sarina: Well, listen, thank you so much for coming on. I wish you the best release day. I hope it goes or I hope it went fantastically.

[laughter]

Sarina: May Sable lead a fantastic life and may the 11th book to follow it [chuckles] be just as well received as A Hare in the Wilderness.

Sharon: Yes, that would be good. That’d be fantastic.

Sarina: Thank you so much for coming on to my podcast to have a chat about it for your release day. Congratulations again.

Sharon: My pleasure. Thank you very much. Thanks.

Sarina: Yeah, I hope you had a fantastic release day. Have a great [00:26:00] weekend now. Yeah, thank you so much. Have a fantastic day everyone. Bye-bye.

Sharon: Bye.

[music]

Sarina: If you’ve enjoyed this episode, let’s connect on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, on Twitter @sarina_langer, or on the website at sarinalanger.com. If you really enjoyed this episode, you can also support my podcast at patreon.com/sarinalanger and get lots of awesome exclusive content while you’re there. Until next time, bye.


Support this podcast on Patreon.

Transcript by speechdocs.com

For more from my podcast, browse the category right here on this website or listen with your favourite provider.

Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.

The Reading Sparrow Episode 1 | Welcome to My Reading Nook!

Welcome, bookworm!

If you love books, you’ve come to the right place. I celebrate the books I read with other bookworms and new indie releases with their authors. Occasionally, I also celebrate my own new releases–on these rare days, another author takes over and asks the questions! All episodes (after the introduction) will feature a different guest.

Get your favourite beverage, relax…

and let’s talk about books!

Listen to the Episode

Read the Transcript

Welcome bookworms and Sparrows! It’s the 28th May 2021 and this is episode 1! I’m so excited you’re here, and I can’t wait to talk to you about books. I wanted to give you a quick overview of what you can expect:

First of all, I’m Sarina Langer, your host! I’m a reader of many genres, although epic fantasy will always have my heart, especially if it’s on the darker side. My favourite authors include NK Jemisin, Brandon Sanderson, Leigh Bardugo, Patrick Rothfuss, Karen Miller, and many others! I’m also an indie author of dark epic fantasy, now dipping my toes into urban paranormal fantasy. I’ve published 6 books at the time of recording. All episodes will be chats with other bookworms and indie authors (except this one). I’ll aim to keep all reading chats to roughly 20 minutes and all release day chats to about 30 minutes so you can get back to your current read and so my guests can do the same.

On the last Friday of every month, I’ll talk to another bookworm about the books we’re reading, what we want to read next etc – many moons ago when I had a bookish blog, I took part in a weekly tag, I think it was called WWW – what did you read last, what are you reading right now, and what will you read next – and this will be a little like that. I’m only doing it once a month because I’m a slow reader.

The other part to this podcast will be chats with indie authors to celebrate their new releases. These won’t be regular chats because it’ll depend on when indie authors publish new books and either get in touch with me or I find and invite them.

Whether you’re here for a release day chat or for a book club chat, all episodes will be very casual, very relaxed, much like sitting in a café with a friend to chat about books. At least I hope so 🙂

I’m really excited to chat about all things books to you – if you’d like to be on this podcast, get in touch – my social links will follow in a moment! Let’s make a tea and get comfy, and let’s begin.

If you’ve enjoyed this episode, let’s connect on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Facebook @sarinalangerwriter, on Twitter @sarina_langer, or on my website at sarinalanger.com. And if you really enjoyed this episode, you can also support my podcasts at patreon.com/sarinalanger and get lots of awesome exclusive content while you’re there. Until next time, bye!


Support this podcast on Patreon.

Transcript by speechdocs.com

For more from my podcast, browse the category right here on this website or listen with your favourite provider.

Sign up for my mailing list for updates on my books, excerpts, early cover reveals, and the exclusive freebies Shadow in Ar’Sanciond (the Relics of Ar’Zac prequel novella) and Pashros Kai Zo (a Relics of Ar’Zac short story, which isn’t available anywhere else).

Take me to the Welcome page.