Author: Karen Wrighton
Title: Ascension of the Whyte (The Afterland Chronicles #1)
Published: 9th June 2014
Sara Carson did not believe in life after death, Heaven, Hell or even reincarnation. However, what she didn't know was that some of us are special. For some of us, death is just the beginning of our next great adventure. Sara Carson was one of those special people, and her most incredible journey did not begin, until the day she died.
A magical début novel that will leave you breathless.
began writing prolifically and drawing from a young age. Karen trained as a Psychologist
and Teacher before finally finding the time to pursue her love of writing, firstly by
creating a successful Psychology blog and now by writing her first novel.
Karen's début novel 'Ascension of the Whyte' is a magical epic fantasy novel for young
adults and is to be the first book of the 'The Afterland Chronicles' series.
Karen's style is strongly influenced by the books she loves to read, such as Lord of
the Rings and Harry Potter. This is evidenced by the magical quality that pervades her
Karen has two daughters and lives in Norfolk, England with her husband John.
To find out more about Karen and her book, or follow her on social networks click on the
On Writing and Plotting
By Karen Wrighton
Writing this book came quite naturally to me, in fact I would say that the book seemed to write itself, but it didn't so much write itself as evolve, almost in true Darwinian fashion. It all started with a car journey, my daily commute, which is a long and tedious three hour journey through Norfolk's slow, tractor ridden country lanes.
I had been thinking about writing a book for some time and my computer was filled with half written manuscripts and plot ideas. On this day though I had just finished reading John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars the night before and I was thinking about the bravery of the young people and how they were both so desperate to discover what had happened to a character in the story they were reading, who they believed had died, but didn’t really know for sure because the author had left the ending open. I started to think, well maybe death did not have to be the end of the story. After all it was a story, so really anything could happen!
Then as I was driving I was gifted an idea by my active imagination. The image of a young girl swam into my mind. It was her first day of high school and she was walking out of school excitedly planning to attend a party with her friend, full of life, hopes, dreams and expectations and then something catastrophic happens, she is hit by a lorry and killed. The end of everything she had planned, but what if that was not the end of the book, I thought, what if it was the beginning of an adventure.
That was the genesis of the story and before I arrived at work that day I had the framework solidly in my head. I knew the beginning, I had a great idea for a plot and I knew how I wanted it to end. So now all I had to do was plan and write it. Phew, that sounds easy when you say it quickly, but in fact I was just about to embark on the most difficult, though possibly the most enjoyable part of this journey into authorship - planning and writing the story.
When I plan the ideas come first, mainly I just make things up using my imagination, sometimes I get ideas from things I see, hear or read about and sometimes they come from trying to solve a problem that the plot has thrown up.
The research comes next and usually the research gives me more ideas about how I can weave the information or characters into my story. For example I needed a method of communication in the Afterlands, J K Rowling had her owls, but I was loath to use birds as well, so I looked into
communication in animals and came across the bee and how bees communicated with each other through dance.
I had already decided that some of my characters would be able to communicate with animals as well as to transform into them, so the bee made a brilliant messenger. I later discovered that bees have long been associated with magic, which I took as a sign that I had made the right choice.
Almost all of my planning and writing evolves in this fluid way. My characters regularly take me places that I hadn't intended to go. Originally I had two villains, Ka and Phlegon, but I soon realised that they were both such strong characters that the book wouldn't work with both of them in it. This gave me a big headache for a week or so until, again on my commute to work, I thought that instead of killing one of them off and losing a great character what if somehow I was able to combine the two of them together. Phlegon was made from Fyre so I was thinking of some type of mechanism for melding or forging them together and so I did some research and discovered how a crucible works and then the process of assimilation was born.
I don't think I could ever be organised enough to sit down and plan every detail of the story before I put pen to paper and anyway, I would soon get bored. I like to build interesting characters that take me to unexpected places and do unexpected things. It is this that keeps me engaged with the story and hopefully it’s what keeps my readers engrossed too.
If I were to explain to you how I plot ‘in a nutshell’, I would say that plotting for me is seventy percent character driven, twenty percent research driven, ten percent plot driven and mostly takes place in the land of my imagination, while driving through the Norfolk countryside behind a tractor travelling at 20 miles per hour.
So, when I read the blurb- I expected what anybody would expect. A story on the afterlife- maybe something similar to Meg Cabot's latest series. Instead, I got something MUCH, MUCH better!
Alright, despite all the technical terms, and the fact that I had to go back and read the beginning two times over to really get what was going on, this book was, in one word- BRILLIANT!
Karen Wrighton has the ability to imagine like no one else does- I was so astounded with the depth of the writing, the various lands of the Ascendants, and, just simply how beautifully everything was planned out.
Fine, now, instead of me babbling incoherently, I should probably give you a gist of what the book really is about. Well, in a special version of the Afterlife, called the Afterlands, there live people- not so ordinary ones like you and me, but ones capable of more- mentally and well, magically. There are natives, that live and die like us and then there are the Ascendants. The immortal- save for a few venoms- Golds, Muds, Bloods and the Whytes (whom were previously extinct- for lack of a better way to describe them)
Rose Whyte is the first Whyte to ascend in over a millenium, starting up an ancient prophecy that threatens war on all the realm- and the loss of everything they've established.
And that's all you need to know. This book was brilliant (yet again) and I could babble on (again) but I feel that it would make this masterpiece lose it's magic. So, you know...