~ Meet the author ~
Cathi Shaw lives in Summerland, BC with her husband and three children. She is often found wandering around her home, muttering in a seemingly incoherent manner, particularly when her characters have embarked on new adventure. In addition to writing fiction, she teaches rhetoric and professional writing in the Department of Communications at Okanagan College and is the co-author of the textbook Writing Today.
~ About Five Corners: The Marked Ones ~
Growing up in a sleepy village untouched by distant wars and political conflicts, it was easy for Thia, Mina and Kiara to forget such horrors existed in the Five Corners. That is until the dead child is found; a child that bears the same strange birthmark that all three sisters possess. A Mark their mother had always told them was unique to the girls. Kiara's suspicions grow as their Inn is soon overrun with outsiders from all walks of life. Strangers, soldiers and Elders who all seem to know more about what is happening than the girls do. After Mina barely survives an attack in the forest, the sisters are faced with a shattering secret their mother has kept from them for years. As danger closes in around them, the sisters are forced from their home and must put their trust in the hands of strangers. With more questions than answers, Kiara finds herself separated from everyone she loves and reliant on an Outlander who has spent too much time in army. She doesn't trust Caedmon but she needs him if she has any hope of being reunited with her sisters and learning what the Mark might mean.
~ Guest Post ~
Categorizing Your Book – The Trouble with Labels
When I wrote Five Corners, Book 1 of The Marked Ones, I wasn’t thinking about what category my book would eventually land in. I was just consumed with getting Thia, Mina and Kiara’s stories down on paper. But since publishing it, I’ve had a lot of questions from people asking if my book is a Young Adult work or Teen book or a Children’s book. Sometimes they just simply ask, “What age range would your book be appropriate for?”
To be honest, I really had no idea the age range for my book, even when I started marketing it. My beta readers were all girls between the ages of 14 and 18. My 30-something writing friend read it and she loved it, too! So I thought it was definitely a young adult novel that would appeal to teenage girls and women who liked that genre. But then something quite remarkable happened.
My mum (who is in her 70s) was reading the book (because, obviously, she’s my mum and needs to read all my work) and my 10-year old niece happened to be visiting her. They started reading it together and soon my niece had taken my mum’s copy of the book and was reading it on her own (because Grandma was reading too slow)! She adored the book and fast became one of my bigger fans.
So it looked like the book would appeal to girls between the ages of 10-18 (with a few adults thrown into the mix). My mum thought children as young at 8 could read it.
But what about boys? Would they like Five Corners? The first boy to read the book was my daughter’s best friend. I have to admit I was a bit nervous while he was going through it. But I didn’t need to worry: he loved it, too!
Then my 12-year old nephew read the book. And he liked it so much he started promoting it to his friends at school! Not to be outdone by his cousin, my 12-year old son, requested a copy to sell to one of his best friends. Clearly boys liked my book, too!
Then another woman in her 70s read the book. And a man in his 50s and former students in their 20s and 30s. And suddenly I didn’t know what category Five Corners fit in.
Then I started thinking about the need to label and categorize our books. And I wondered how many readers we actually turn off by putting a YA Fantasy label on a book?
I mean I do understand the need to be able to put the book in a certain area of the bookstore (in fact, I recently just had to ask a local store to move my novel from the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelf to the Teen shelf) but I wonder how many books I’m missing out on because I don’t read the genre they are categorized in? And that makes me sad.
Now when I’m asked who would enjoy my book, I answer anyone who likes a good story – full of adventure, strong characters and unsolved mysteries. Anyone who likes to read!