Guest Post: We Shall Be Monsters by Tara Sim

Crushed on by Kelly BookCrushin, on June 20, 2024, in Guest Post, New Releases / 0 Comments

Guest Post: We Shall Be Monsters by Tara Sim

Today we are thrilled to share a guest post from Tara Sim about her experience from writing her first series versus her fourth! Christy and I are big fans of Tara, I still remember when Christy insisted I read Tara’s first book, Timekeeper, and I knew right then, that we would be fast friends, but also that I loved the style in which Tara wrote. We Shall Be Monsters is hitting shelves on June 25th and you can catch Tara on tour in support of her newest release – preorder campaign details here.

Guest Post: We Shall Be Monsters by Tara Sim

We Shall Be Monsters (We Shall be Monsters, #1)

by Tara Sim
Published by: Nancy Paulsen Books
on June 25, 2024
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Mythology/Folklore, Young Adult

Frankenstein meets Indian mythology in this twisty, darkly atmospheric fantasy where the horror is not the monsters you face but the ones you create.

After her sister Lasya’s sudden death, Kajal vows to do whatever it takes to bring her back. No cost is too great, even if it means preventing Lasya’s soul from joining the cycle of reincarnation. But as Kajal prepares for the resurrection, her sister’s trapped soul warps into a bhuta—a violent, wraith-like spirit hell-bent on murdering those who wronged it in life. With each kill, the bhuta becomes stronger and fiercer, and Kajal’s chances of resurrecting Lasya with her soul intact grow slimmer.

Blamed for Lasya’s rampage and condemned as a witch, Kajal is locked away with little hope of escape. That is, until two strangers who label themselves rebels arrive and offer to free her. The catch: She must resurrect the kingdom’s fallen crown prince, aiding their coup to overthrow the usurper who sits the throne. Desperate to return to Lasya’s body, Kajal rushes to revive the crown prince . . . only to discover that she’s resurrected another boy entirely.

All her life, Kajal has trusted no one but her sister. But with Lasya dead and rebels ready to turn her over to the usurper’s ruthless soldiers, Kajal is forced to work with the boy she mistakenly revived. Together, they must find the crown prince before the rebels discover her mistake, or the bhuta finally turns its murderous fury on the person truly responsible for Lasya’s death: Kajal.

Guest Post: Writing My First Series vs. My Fourth
by Tara Sim

When I first set out to write what would become my debut book, Timekeeper, I had no idea that it would become a series. Not that I wasn’t familiar with writing them—Timekeeper was my tenth novel I’d written, and the beginning of what would become my third trilogy—but it was meant to be a standalone. And then I got to the end and realized, oops, the story was way bigger than I had initially thought.

This was back before I had a literary agent, let alone a publication deal. In those days, the joy of writing was not yet impeded by deadlines and reader feedback, and I had a lot more freedom and a lot more energy. To put it simply, I wrote with my id, which led me to drafting the entire Timekeeper trilogy before I even signed with my first agent because I was simply having too much fun.

Now, would I recommend writing a whole series before getting a deal for it? Absolutely not. While it was nice to know exactly what would happen to the characters while revising book one for publication, it was also a pain to revise, as was book two. I also got to dodge the dreaded “drafting while on deadline” process, but that would come back to bite me later.

Once the Timekeeper trilogy was done, I moved on to a duology next: Scavenge the Stars. I worked with a book packager on this series because at the time, fantasy was a tough sell, and no one wanted my epic fantasy pirate series (RIP, I’ll always love you). So, much like my first published series, this was a bit of a different experience, but which ultimately advanced my career. It also resulted in my first “oh no I have to draft an entire book on deadline” conundrum. Spoiler alert: It’s hard!

I regard Scavenge as a necessary stepping stone in my career, as it was a good transition from the smaller publication of Timekeeper to becoming published by a Big 5. (Is it Big 4 now? I can’t keep up). I sold my first adult series, The Dark Gods, which fulfilled a dream of mine I’d had since I was fifteen: to write adult epic fantasy. Truthfully, I’m still working on this series because it’s a beast, but at the time of writing this I’m wrapping up the last book and it’s bound to be a stunner.

So that brings me to series number four: We Shall Be Monsters.

It’s been a hot minute since I’ve published a YA novel—the last one was Ravage the Dark in 2021- and I’m delighted to return to it. I’ve also learned a lot since I first sold Timekeeper in 2015. For one thing, I can better navigate how to plan out sequels and write them while on deadline. For another, I’ve let go of the idea that I should know how the series ends before publishing the first book. There are things that I discover along the way—either due to finding plot connections or because the characters make better (well, worse) decisions than me—that all feed directly into that climax.

Every book tends to need a different approach, even books within the same series. It comes as no surprise, then, that each series requires a different approach. With Timekeeper, it suited me better to have the whole thing completed before making my authorial debut. With Scavenge, it helped to have additional hands pushing the product and getting my name out there. With The Dark Gods, I altered and elevated my drafting and revision process. With We Shall Be Monsters, my approach has been to create a lovingly crafted story that will surprise not only the reader, but myself.

And ultimately, the number one thing I’ve learned in my career so far?

I need to have fun.

Being an author is literally my dream job. However, the work involved is strenuous, and the business of publishing is hard on the mind, heart, and body. Writing was a joyful endeavor, because it fulfilled a deep seated need in me to create characters and situations to put them in, but now it’s a job job, and it can be difficult to remember the spark that brought me here.

So: I’m going back to follow my id. I write my heart trash. I try to have as much fun as possible in-between the sessions where I’m pulling my hair out with logistics and bemoaning craft.

The difference between writing my first series and fourth is more of a circle, bringing me back around to asking myself: what should I write today, and how will it bring me joy?

About Tara Sim

Tara Sim is the author of The Dark Gods trilogy, the Scavenge the Stars duology, and the Timekeeper trilogy. She can typically be found wandering the wilds of the Bay Area, California. When she’s not chasing cats or lurking in bookstores, she writes books about magic, murder, and mayhem.

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