Saturday, 24 August 2013

Spotlight + #Giveaway: Sky's End by Lesley Young #SkysEnd

Paperback, $15.99
eBook, $2.99
ISBN: 978-1619352384
430 pages
Soul Mate Publishing
July 15, 2013

A secret she must never share. A secret that two warring species are determined to control. A universe’s future at stake.

Twenty-year-old Cassiel Winters joins Earth’s new space academy in hopes of finding her brother, one
of Command’s top pilots and her only family, who’s been reported MIA. But she quickly realizes she may not be cut out for life in space, where female cadets are outnumbered, competition’s fierce, and she’s already failed her hand-to-hand combat test once.

Even the station’s most respected officer, Lt. Damian King, probably can’t help Cassiel pass the second
time around – so why is he so interested in her progress? If only one of her freaky déjà vu visions would offer an answer instead of mysterious messages like hide.

When Cassiel’s manipulated into a perilous mission, she encounters a warrior species bred to protect
the universe from an even greater threat. And she learns that her secret visions are at the heart of it all.

Now Cassiel must fight to control her own destiny and race to save her brother – even if it means pretending to be the pawn of Prime Or’ic, the cold-as-steel Thell’eon leader. Even if it means risking her life, facing hard truths, and making the ultimate sacrifice.


Marissa Curnutte


‘Sky’s End,’ the first novel of the Cassiel Winters series, is definitely not your brother’s sci-fi

TORONTO, Ontario – Science fiction has seen a resurgence in recent years with the revival of the Star Trek franchise and the ever-growing popularity of classic literary works like “Ender’s Game.” And now, award-winning writer Lesley Young is propelling the genre into a new direction with her debut novel, “Sky’s End.”

“Sky’s End” is the first book in a series that chronicles the futuristic adventures of Cassiel Winters, a spunky cadet on Earth’s new space station 568,000 miles from home who discovers a unique déjà vu-type gift that allows her to travel between dimensions.

Life in space doesn’t come easy for Cassiel at first, but her newfound capability transforms her from an innocent cadet to a force to be reckoned with after an enemy threatens to destroy multiple universes. The battle is bigger than at first expected, and an unsuspected love causes quite the stir in her fight to save the galaxy.

Fueled by the author’s own affection for astrophysics, “Sky’s End” mixes real scientific theories with gripping action, fantasy, romance and self-discovery. The journalist in Young asks the deeper questions to make the characters and story, through fiction, real to life.
With Cassiel telling her story in first-person as it happens – and descriptive phrases like her nickname for the space station, “cylindrical giant floating sausage,” or detailing the out-of-our-worlders’ 20-inchwide biceps – readers are placed smack dab in the middle of this unconventional, taut tale of betrayal, true love and destiny.

Available in paperback and e-book July 15, “Sky’s End” is Young’s first work of fiction. She is a nationally recognized journalist living in Canada. She writes regularly for Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living and House and Home Magazine.

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Q&A with “Sky’s End” author Lesley Young

For someone releasing their first novel, you do an amazing job at blending genres – science fiction, romance, adventure. What made you venture outside your roots in journalism to write “Sky’s End,” and how did that background help make the fictional story more realistic?

Thanks! Journalism is exhaustingly serious, and I was tired of taking myself so seriously. The minute I freed myself from those restraints, within 60 seconds of staring at a blank screen, this is what poured (more like gushed) out of me.
That said, because I am a journalist, I wanted the story to be real. I guess the same integrity at the heart of my health reporting was at play in “Sky’s End.” I just couldn’t buy in if Cassiel and everything that happens to her wasn’t honest. That meant I had to root the science in some kind of truth, and question every single scene, how the plot unfolded, her character development, the dialogue…pretty much everything (including myself a million times — as in, ‘Can you really pull this off?!’).

Your writing style really pulls readers into the action. Why did you decide to let Cassiel Winters tell the story for herself?

Writing in past tense separates me from my characters, in the way that watching a television show puts an ottoman, a coffee table, and 100,000 miles between me and the actual set.
Writing present tense connects me directly to characters’ here and now, and there’s not much in life I find more enjoyable. The experience is visceral, palpitating, real-to-life, moment-by-moment drama that I (and readers) get to live—through my characters.
Only after I started writing did I learn that people say present tense limits certain aspects of the fiction technique, but so far I’ve found ways around that. Funny, I actually find it much easier to write this way. I’m hooked!

What do you think makes Cassiel Winters such a unique character, especially when comparing to other sci-fi books?

Well, for starters, she’s female – and there aren’t many in sci-fi novels out there. But mostly it’s her voice. I didn’t want to get through lots and lots of plot before readers could get up close and sometimes uncomfortable with her. I wanted Cassiel to be ‘naked’ to the world from day one. I wanted her to amuse, and entertain, and disappoint readers just like real people do when you let them in. And, hopefully, she does.

You say the science behind “Sky’s End” is based on real astrophysics?

Well, very loosely. But yes. Increasingly, a group of leading physicists have put forward a theory to explain questions in quantum mechanics that baffled the likes of Einstein. And it is called Mtheory or multi-verse theory. Basically, string theorists make a pretty compelling mathematical case for there being multiple universes out there. (Alert! Boring science stuff over.)
It just astounds me. Here we are, truly on the cusp of an amazing new understanding of our place and relationship in the cosmos. I mean how could you not fictionalize that?
Other basic sci-fi stuff is rooted in some science (or credible scientific theorization). For example, the space station is powered by helium. Then there is definitely fictionalization like how it is Cassiel can travel between universes … I am prone to déjà vu myself. [Insert wild imagination and ‘ping’ — why, if there were, multiple universes, that would totally explain déjà vu!!] Hence, Cassiel mistakes her ability to travel between dimensions as déjà vu for most of her life.

Soul Mate Publishing mainly releases romance novels, and you’re personally an avid romance reader. How did that play a role in shaping the story of “Sky’s End” and the rest of the series?

100% total honesty here: I wrote what I wanted to read, and I am a romance fan.
It was only after I finished the book, and I started to query ‘romance’ agents and editors, who rejected it because it was futuristic, or it ‘read’ sci-fi or the intern was rushed to hit that Guess sale, did I realize how unique “Sky’s End” is. It is genre novel that is not a genre novel. Ack! 
“Sky’s End” is suspense — Cassiel encounters mysterious events while chasing down clues to find her brother and get to the bottom of the mystery of her role in the universe. It’s adventure —there’s a combat test, high-speed chases, and other perilous cat-and-mouse pursuits. It’s sci-fi — the book is set in the future and in outer space during earth’s early exploration days. And finally, “Sky’s End” is romance — with lots of sexual tension between Cassiel and two strong, very different male characters. (And no, it’s not another love triangle, or, at least, not a conventional one.)
The important thing is my editor at Soul Mate Publishing saw something she liked. She stepped outside her wheelhouse for sure.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

They change all the time, but right now I really admire, and reread for inspiration, Charles Portis (for the total package), Karen Marie Moning (for voice), Silvia Plath (for mood), Monica McCarty (for pacing), and Charlaine Harris (for soft, entangled suspense). They are certainly pros for a reason. Also can’t say enough good things about Elizabeth Wein’s “Code Name Verity.”

“Sky’s End” is the first book in a series. What’s next for Cassiel Winters?

Lots of mystery, excitement, adventure, and trials of the heart. I am up-at-night scared and brimming hopeful for her. She’s got to sort out the big mystery she discovers at the end of Book One, and she’s going to need help. The question is who will she turn to, and how will that play out. I don’t want to ruin the fun, but there’s a pretty big surprise in store for her. I can’t wait to experience it!


Journalist Lesley Young never thought she would delve into the world of writing fiction, but when she sat down for the first time to put pen to paper, ideas for what would become her first novel just poured out naturally. Young’s first book, “Sky’s End,” is a multi-genre tale that showcases her unique style of weaving romance, action and wit into one page-burning story.

Young was born in Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. She holds an arts degree from the University of Alberta and a journalism degree from the University of Victoria.

Young now lives in Loretto, Ontario where she works as a journalist, freelance writer and editor for health, décor and business magazines. Since 2008, Young has written more than 300 articles for print and online media including Profit, Toronto Life, MSN Green, and Elle Canada among others. She is a regular contributor to Reader’s Digest, Best Health, Canadian Living and House and Home Magazine.

Young has won three gold honors for feature stories from the National Business Magazine Awards and another top media award from the Canadian Dermatology Association.

Soul Mate Publishing releases “Sky’s End” on July 15 in paperback and e-book. The novel is Young’s first installment in a series about Cassiel Winters, a futuristic heroine, and her outer space escapades.

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