Take a peek---
Now Ali’s on the run and terrified. While searching for other survivors, she is captured by the General who leads the invasion. He’s smitten by Ali, and when she refuses to submit to his whims, he brands her for death. In a wild act of defiance, she snatches the branding rod and sears the mark onto his face. Marking not only him but also sealing her fate. Ali manages to escape and flees into the bush once more where she finds a group in hiding. Even with the scars left by the General, Ali learns to love and falls in love with the young man who found her—Damien Rogers.
But the General is hunting her. When he discovers their location, and finds her with another man—Damien—his wrath is kindled and his obsession is inflamed. Ali must put herself on the line or the General could kill her family, those who help her, and most significantly, the man she loves.
Branded was first born in my 11th grade English class. In its rawest form, it was a single scene short story. We were asked to write something about five pictures our teacher put up on the board. All of them would be considered bright and happy, but a picture of a field of bright yellow flowers with a mountain behind them struck my attention. This scene is the scene where Ali and Nick set up an ambush against the enemy in a canola field. Although this isn't the picture used in my high school class, it's similar.
Sunflowers are one of my favorite to grow in my garden...A field of them is lovely!
The contract for Branded was a total fluke. Although I was querying it, I wasn't really pushing hard for a contract. Due to its controversial content, I knew it would need someone special to love it. I guess Debby at Soul Mate was that special someone. Anyway, I entered it into a query comp to go in the running to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Hey, I want books! To my surprise, I got a full request for it as well as the $10 GC. The contract came to me on the day of my debut novel's release (Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh.) It was a pretty good day all around.
Wow! Double score on that day!
Branded is the second version of this story based on these characters. The original was written in a school notebook. I let a friend borrow it to read it, and never got it back! Heart breaking! But with it in mind still, I rebuilt it for NaNoWriMo of Nov 2012. This version is a much stronger version anyway.
I see where Ali gets her strength and determination!
Ali went to the same high school I did! It really is an academically selective high school, and so since she's very smart, it fit, even if she's more cunning smart than book smart. So the description of the area and the school is first hand and a real place.
When I read Branded, I felt as if I were right there. From the wedding reception, to the 'bush', to the school---all the settings came to life through your descriptions, even though I've never been to Australia.
The Blue Mountains is also something else Ali and I have in common. In fact, her home is based on my home. She grew up in my hometown, and raids the grocery store we rushed to when we needed a last minute something or another. It's such a beautiful place I really wanted to showcase it.
Gorgeous! Now I really want to visit!
Thanks Katie for sharing Five Behind the Scenes Secrets from Branded today!
Born and raised in Australia, Katie’s early years of day dreaming in the “bush”, and having her father tell her wild bedtime stories, inspired her passion for writing.
After graduating High School, she became a foreign exchange student where she met a young man who several years later she married. Now she lives in Arizona with her husband, daughter and their dog.
She has a diploma in travel and tourism which helps inspire her writing. She currently works as an Acquisitions Editor with Curiosity Quills Press to help support her family.
Katie loves to out sing her friends and family, play sports and be a good wife and mother. She loves to write, and takes the few spare moments in her day to work on her novels.
Here's how you can follow Katie--she has written other novels too, including the very popular Kiya Trilogy.