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Review and guest interview: Six Moon Summer by SM Reine

My good friend and indie author SM Reine has a book releasing today called Six Moon Summer.

I was lucky to read Six Moon Summer prior to release and let me tell you, it is a great book.  It’s about this teenager, Rylie (I just love that name!), who is sent to summer camp by her soon-to-be divorced parents.  She’s immediately singled out, made fun of, and bullied by he other campers, leaving her isolated and angry and confused.  She writes in a journal, which is really cool.  It brought up memories of my own journal-writing days.

Rylie is attacked the night of the full moon and awakens with no memory of what happened, just healing claw marks on her.  She is very confused and scared.  She meets Seth, from the boy’s camp nearby, and they become friends…and more.  Rylie learns about what has happened to her and she and Seth grow closer.  She’s forced to make some difficult decisions and comes out of it stronger than before.  I’m not giving spoilers, but I will tell you this: the ending will surprise and amaze you.  Very nicely done.

What I love about Six Moon Summer is how the author handled the werewolf mythos.  It’s not totally the standard mythos (although getting bitten does transfer what they call “the curse”); instead, it’s slightly different and twisted around.  The creation myths are cool, too.  The neatest thing is how one turns into a werewolf.  It’s done incrementally and it involves a choice on the part of the afflicted.  It’s really neat and unique.

Another thing I enjoyed was Rylie’s relationship with Seth.  And Seth himself.  He’s got a wealth of knowledge about werewolves and he helps Rylie and teaches her things.  Towards the end we find out a bit more about Seth and his connection to werewolves — it will surprise you.

I like the fact that it is a coming-of-age story.  Rylie is forced to grow up and grow strong to handle what is next.  That’s her only option.  And she chooses well in my opinion.

My only real complaint (if you could call it that) is the very end.  Obviously, this is book 1 in a series (Seasons of the Moon — it sounds cool, doesn’t it?) but I felt there needed to be a bit more closure for Rylie.  But this didn’t tarnish my enjoyment or make me not like the book.  On the contrary.  I loved the book and want more.  You hear that, Sara?  I want more, dammit!

So, if you like werewolf stories and coming-of-age stories, and a twisty plot and surprise ending, go forth and get a copy of Six Moon Summer.  You’ll be so glad you did.

Oh, and one more thing: I have read A LOT of fantasy over the years and occasionally I can predict what the ending will be.  Well, with Six Moon Summer, I had no friggin clue.  Not even a seedling of an idea.  And that’s good because it kept me so engaged, wanting to find out more, and it was so original that it blew me away.  So, this is not your typical fantasy book.  It’s really different and really cool.

And I love the name Rylie.  Did I mention that?

SM Reine was kind enough to let me interview her.  She’s a fun person to talk to and she’s a wicked talented writer.  To find out more, visit her blog at  http://www.smreine.com .

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Sara, and I like writing, reading, and Greek yogurt with honey.  The very first story I ever wrote was a horror piece about bats (which are apparently very frightening for kindergarten students) and my most recent story is fantasy about werewolves, thus proving I haven’t really grown up in the last twenty years. The former was called “BATS!!!” and the latter is called “Six Moon Summer.”

2) Tell us about Six Moon Summer.

I’d love to say it’s a moving coming-of-age story about struggling to deal with circumstances beyond the control of an individual, but it’s actually about summer camp, beach parties, and monsters, much like the best horror movies of the 60’s.

3) What was your inspiration for it?

Amusingly, considering I’m an indie author now, it was an offhand comment by a literary agent. She had rejected a different werewolf project and said that she hoped it would be more like a high school girl dealing with her transformation around other kids her age, or something like that, and it gave me some cool ideas.  The other story (deservingly) got trashed, and this one is much better.

4) What are your upcoming projects?

I’m going to release a steampunk novella called “The 19 Dragons” sometime this summer, which is in the almost-complete rough draft stage, and then I’ll release the untitled sequel to Six Moon Summer around October.  The other two books in the series will come out in 2012, and I’m also planning to start publishing an urban fantasy series in summer 2012 after I sneak in a quick paranormal YA romance in the spring.  My calendar is very full!

5) Why did you decide to self-publish vs. going traditional?  Do you feel that there are more advantages going the indie route?

Success in publishing has always been a mix of hard work and luck.  I’m not terribly lucky, so I’m hoping my hard work will be more successful on my own than with a publisher.  Indie authors can also get things out much more quickly.  That’s a huge advantage.  I also have all these projects sitting around that probably wouldn’t be considered marketable by traditional publishers that I really want to share with people, so I decided to take charge and get them out on my own.

6) How long have you been writing?  Did you always know you were going to be a writer, or did you fall into it by accident?

I’ve always been a writer.  It’s all I ever wanted to be, besides Indiana Jones.  My mother and great-grandmother are/were both writers, so I’ve had excellent role models to inspire me in that direction.

7) Tell us what your perfect day would be like.

I would wake up early.  The baby would stay asleep (which he never does when I leave bed), and I would go for a hike before the sun rises.  Then I would come home to a happy husband and baby with breakfast all ready and fill up on bacon before getting to nurse and write for hours and hours.  Around dinner, we would all go for a walk in the park, then read for a long time in bed before going to sleep again.  Isn’t that cheesy?  I just want to spend time with my family.  Gosh, I’m gross.

8 ) Where can we purchase Six Moon Summer?

Six Moon Summer is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Createspace, Smashwords, and Goodreads (which I just learned sells ebooks!).

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