Saturday, 29 March 2014

{Spotlight - Interview & Giveaway} Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw

Five Corners: The Marked Ones by Cathi Shaw

Published on 30 January 2014
Genre: YA Fantasy
Page Count: 294


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.

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In this post:

This was no use. She would just have to find Teague and talk to him, whether she liked it or not. No sooner had the thought formed than a familiar voice suddenly filled her head.

It's time we talked, Thia. Teague's voice was so real that she stopped what she was doing and looked around the small yard behind her only confirming what she already knew. She was alone.

What was going on? Teague was not present and yet she could have sworn she heard him clear as a bell. Thia shook her head and wondered if she really was going crazy. She recognized Teague's voice perfectly. It was the voice she'd been hearing since she was six years old. A voice she thought only existed in her dreams.  

Putting the bird aside, Thia moved towards the kitchen door. She was just reaching for it when it opened, and she found herself face to face with Teague.

For a moment they just stood and stared at each other. Thia took in his familiar features: the unruly brown curls on top of his head and the high cheekbones that seemed to be at odds with his boyish face. The faint beginnings of laugh lines that were forming at the corners of his eyes. And those eyes. She felt a shiver run down her spine as she held his gaze with her own. His eyes were closer to silver in color than grey and they currently had so many emotions shifting through them that she couldn't identify any of them, despite the fact that they clearly reflected what she was feeling inside.

"I thought it was probably best we talk in private, don't you agree?" he said aloud.

Thia nodded. He was right. Sukey would be arriving to start helping with dinner preparation soon and there was no telling whether Kiara might come to see if she needed more birds. Her sister had been in a killing mood earlier. It was probably best that she talk to Teague away from curious eyes until she figured out what was going on. She moved out of his path and Teague stepped out into the small, enclosed yard shutting the kitchen door firmly behind him.

"What are you doing?" Thia asked, trying to ignore the veiled panic in her voice as she watched him move to the table where the dead birds lay. Grimacing slightly he removed his gloves and reached for one of the birds.

"It's more probable that I saw you doing work and offered to help than that I sought out a supposed stranger for a private talk, don't you think?" he asked reasonably.

Thia nodded and moved wordlessly behind the opposite end of the table to resume work on her abandoned bird. She watched Teague's hands as he skillfully removed feathers from the bird he was holding. Clearly he'd plucked chickens before despite the look of distaste on his face.

"Who are you?" she demanded. "And how do you do that?"

Do what? He asked without speaking aloud, the boyish grin on his face.

Thia felt a pang in her gut. That grin was so familiar. She'd seen it so many times in her dreams. Even as his features had shifted, the round youthful face lengthening into that of a young man, two things had stayed the same in her dreams: Teague's eyes and his smile.

She swallowed, sudden fear curling in the pit of her stomach. Teague paused in his work and looked across at her.

"Please stop doing that!" Thia said, flinching when she heard the desperation in own voice. "It's bad enough that you’re here, in person. I don't need to be hearing you in my head, too!"

"Okay," he said guiltily. Thia fought to suppress dream memories. His eyes, an even more amazing silver grey in person, glimmered in the late afternoon light.

She looked down, taking solace in the sudden silence between them.

"It's not a dream this time, Thia."

"I know," she admitted in a whisper. "But how is this happening?"

Teague shook his head at her, his hair falling forward over his forehead. "I know you're shocked. I was, too, when I first saw you. Then I realized that what we thought were only dreams, were just forays into a different reality." Excitement lit up his features. "A reality that, at times, feels more real than this one, don't you agree?"

Thia opened her mouth to deny what he was saying, even as a dozen memories burst to life in her head. Her mind focused on her first dream memory of him.

Teague had been a boy, only a few years her senior. He’d found her scared and alone along a small river, just as his song had depicted. It must have been some time after Brijit had told her the truth about her birth parents - that they had both been killed in a horrible accident. In the dream, she'd been looking for her parents and found herself suddenly alone.

She remembered the feeling of utter loneliness and despair that had flooded her. She’d wandered lost and afraid, sobbing her heart out. And then suddenly the boy – Teague - had been there. He had led her along a path and back to where Brijit and her sisters had been waiting for her. When she woke she'd felt safe and overwhelmed by the sense that everything was going to be all right.

Thia stared at the boy in front of her, studying his face for any sign that he was joking. But Teague was serious, his eyes willing her to understand but Thia refused to admit that what he was saying could be true.

"It’s not possible, is it? After all, there are no such things as different realities," she insisted vehemently. "There has to be some other explanation. If I dreamwalk, why don't I do it with my sisters? My mother? My friends?" She gestured helplessly. "The only person I've ever shared a dreamwalk with is you. Why is that?"

Teague was silent.

The silence seemed to stretch between them, heavy with shared knowledge. Thia blinked. She finished her last bird and saw that he had also finished and put his gloves back on. The early winter afternoon sun was low on the horizon.

She reached for the tray of birds to carry them into the kitchen. Teague hurried around the table and took the heavy tray from her before she could protest. For the first time Thia noticed he was taller than in her dreams. Not as tall as her sisters but certainly taller than she.

He looked down at her, his eyes unreadable in the fading afternoon light.

And yet the essence of him was so familiar. Before she could stop herself Thia instinctively reached out to touch his forearm, wanted to feel the warm muscles above his gloves, to reassure herself that he was real.

Teague jerked away before she could reach him and Thia felt an inexplicable sense of hurt flood through her.

"I'm real, Thia," he whispered aloud, his breath stirring the hair on her forehead. "But you can't touch me. I can't explain right now but please don't try."

And we have Cathi with us for a short interview!

Hi Cathi, Welcome to Michelle Chew Writes. It's good having you with us today! Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’ve been writing for more than 30 years. I can’t imagine surviving this world without writing. Writing has always been the way I process what goes on around me. In addition to writing, I’m married and the mother of 3 teenagers, I have two Labrador retrievers and I love enjoying the outdoors in my hometown of Summerland, BC.

Can you describe your book in one sentence?
No. I don’t think I can! That’s a tall order and for a book to be simplistic enough to describe in one sentence makes it not worth reading IMHO!

Where do you get your ideas/inspiration for your book?
I think I’m inspired by the world around me. The original idea for The Marked Ones series came to me when I was running about 8 years ago. But I didn’t start writing it until 2 years ago so I think all the things I was exposed to in the intervening time period just helped to flesh out the ideas and storyline of the novel.

Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?
I like the idea of the Prophecy guiding the course of things. I think most of us are very intrigued by the thought that things could be predestined. The first draft of Book 2 is almost complete and the Prophecy continues to play an important role but even I don’t know what will happen in the end!

Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Book 2 of the Marked Ones (Finding Refuge) is now in the editing stage. I’m hoping to have it ready for release late this year or early 2015. I’m also working on a Dystopian series.

What do you do when you are not writing?
I teach writing! I’m a professor at Okanagan College in British Columbia. I’ve been teaching writing for about 12 years.

When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I tend to write very quickly. So the hard part was just sitting down and starting rather than completing the novel. I had been carrying around the story of Five Corners for a very long time – finally I signed up for Nanowrimo at the advice of my writing partner, Rochelle Dionne. When I had a strict schedule I had my 70,000 word first draft completed in 3 weeks time! The editing took about 3 months. So it was very fast in the end!

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I think it’s really important for a writer to choose a genre he or she loves. I love YA fiction. I used to teach Children’s Literature at Simon Fraser University and I mostly read young adult fiction. It just made sense to write in the genre I most enjoy reading! For Five Corners, I have always loved Fantasy novels, so it was pretty easy to come up with a high fantasy story. My new favorite genre is Dystopian. That’s what my next series will be.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I just write. I find that my first few drafts are often very short – almost like an outline – but I do better if I sit down and just let the story spill out. The bonus to that is that I am ALWAYS surprised with out the story comes out. I really don’t know where the story comes from but it takes on a life of its own very quickly and it’s almost as though I’m just the scribe for the story.

Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
I love hearing from my readers. I think once a writer puts her words in print, she doesn’t truly own them anymore. As soon as someone else starts reading the story, they take ownership of the characters and storyline. I love chatting about my characters with my readers.


  1. Thanks for hosting me, Michelle! :)

  2. This looks interesting, not sure I am a fan of the cover but the premise intrigues me. Thanks for sharing the excerpt.

    1. I have to agree with you on the premise, Kimba. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you enjoyed reading the excerpt.