Finding Refuge, the second book in the Marked Ones series, written by Cathi Shaw, was released last Thursday.
The Summerland author moved here from Vancouver in 2008 with her husband and three children and says it was the best move they ever made.
She has a masters and doctoral degree in education and holds a teaching position at Okanagan College, but is taking the next year off in order to write her books.
Shaw says she has been a writer all of her life. “I was recognized really young,” she said. “My teachers would say, when you become a writer, so I grew up with the mentality that one day I’d be a writer.”
The Marked Ones series is fantasy written for young adults between the ages of 14 and 18 years.
The story line is about three sisters, all of whom have been adopted. They are growing up in a small village and have heard of a prophesy that speaks of a mysterious mark, a mark that they each have. When other children start showing up with the same mark…that is when the adventure begins.
When Shaw sat down to write the first book of the series called Five Corners, she wrote it in one month.
“It was a great learning process to finally get it on paper,” she said. “I came up with the idea for the book when I was running one day and still living in Vancouver.”
Shaw explained that her writing process is to come up with an idea and then think it all the way through from beginning to end.
What she learned was that when she sat down to write the story, it all came out different than she had planned.
Her style of writing is light on description and features more action, dialogue and character development. She gives the reader just enough information to see the picture, while still being able to use their own imagination.
Writing the second book has been different for Shaw.
“I haven’t been carrying the idea around for so long,” she said.
What motivated her to write the second book was that people who had read the first one were asking her when the next book would be released.
She expects to be pressured for a third book by her fans and has already started working on it.
“I know there will be a third book for sure and probably a fourth book,” she said.
People have asked Shaw where her ideas come from and she tells them, “I don’t know, they just come.”
“When you’re in the flow and writing, it is really exciting,” she explained.
Getting her work published took determination. “I sent out letters to 57 agents and I received 57 rejections. No one wanted it.”
Although she was frustrated she decided to take the manuscript directly to a publishing house. The second one she sent it to said yes, they would publish her book.
“So that is when I did the happy dance around the living room,” she said.
The down side of going with a smaller publishing company is that the author has to do much of their own marketing. Shaw finds this to be a challenge. “I think the hardest thing is getting the word out, because there are so many books,” she explained.
“Getting reviews is the biggest thing. People will read the book if they know about it. It’s word of mouth!”
As a mother of teenagers, Shaw feels she is lucky because she has a built in group of test readers. Her teens share the book with their friends and in this way she gets feedback on her work.
If you would like to share these books with the teens in your life and help get the word out, you can order them online at cathishaw.com.
If you know a positive story about someone in our community, contact Carla McLeod at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the Summerland Review newsroom at 250-494-5406.
Cathi Shaw is the author of Finding Refuge, the second book in the Marked Ones series.