Today I’m shining the Author Spotlight on Caryn Lix and her debut novel SANCTUARY.
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Age Range: 14-99 (YA)
Launch Date: July 24 2018
Please tell us a little bit about your book.
Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.
Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.
As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.
But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.
At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.
As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.
What inspired you to write this story and/or these characters?
I love space. I love aliens. I love messy decisions and blurred moral lines and romances that transcend boundaries. I wanted to put all of these things together with that sense of claustrophobic horror you get from the very best creepy movies and video games, and that was why I decided to write about an alien attack on a prison – and one on a space station. You can’t get more trapped than that.
As for my characters, I love them all. I really do. They start as these vivid dreams and become my best friends and worst enemies, taking on a life of their own until I really don’t have much choice about getting them down on paper. They sneak out of my brain onto the page.
Everyone says writing is a process. Could you share a little about your writing and/or research process?
Everyone has such a unique perspective on this, and I love hearing how other people write. For me, I often start with a rough outline, but before long that goes out the window, which means there’s usually a point halfway through where I’ve written myself into a corner and am curled up on the couch under a blanket yelling plot ideas at my dogs. Eventually my husband convinces me to go write some more, at which point I write a truly terrible chapter that has to be deleted later, but that’s enough to propel me back into the story and get things moving again. In this way, bit by bit, an idea becomes a plot.
We know no writer is created in a vacuum. Could you tell the readers about a teacher or a librarian who had an effect on your writing life?
I had so many amazing teachers. I mention three in my acknowledgements. The first teacher who ever told me I could write was Ms Rochester, my grade 8 creative writing teacher. It had never occurred to me before that. In high school, my English teacher Mr Feschuk and my drama teacher Mr Montalbetti both had huge roles in encouraging me to write. I really don’t think I’d be where I am without them.
What makes your book a good pick for use in a classroom? Is there any particular way you’d like to see teachers use it with young readers/teens?
As a teacher myself, I think I have a pretty strong connection with what kids like to read. This is a great classroom pick for reluctant readers who want page-turning action, but will still appeal to a wide audience, making it a good whole class read. I’d love to see teachers use it to explore themes of isolation, of corporate entities and their control over the world, of what we can trust in terms of what we see and hear in the world around us.
I’m a little dog obsessed here at www.patriciabaileyauthor.com. Would you tell the readers about your favorite dog (real or imaginary)?
Um, YES. I have two dogs. Aleiah is a nine year old rescue. She’s a black lab with three legs. We think someone kicked her as a pup and her leg grew in crooked. The rescue organization had to amputate it before I adopted her. She is my very best friend and is always at my side. Archer is a three year old Boston Terrier. He is 50% adorableness and 50% nightmare. When he’s not curled up being the cutest thing you’ve ever seen, he’s attacking a wall because it looked at him funny. They are my constant writing companions.
Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta. Visit her online at www.carynlix.com or find her on Twitter and Instagram: @missrithenay