Friday, 22 August 2014

Blog Tour! Sarena & Sasha Nanau Discuss THE POISONED EMERALD

Awesome twin-writing-duo Sarena and Sasha Nanua are touring the web promoting their latest novel, THE POISONED EMERALD, the final book in The Pendant Trilogy! Today, they've stopped by to talk about their latest novel, self-publishing, and writing in general!

The poison is spreading....

I wrapped myself in the portal’s embrace and felt my feet land on a new surface. I stood on a sandy beach that was wet and damp, causing the ground to stick to my shoes. The portal snapped shut, and I felt misty rain dance on my shoulders.

Thunder sounded from overhead, and before I could comprehend the impending storm, a gash of lightning hit the hill just to the right of the river. The ground quaked below me before an explosion of sand burst from the ground.

AS WINTER ARRIVES Arica Miller is back to regular school life at Hill Valley. After resolving the disappearance of the King’s Jewel and returning it safely, Arica doesn’t expect anything else to go wrong. Too soon does Arica learn that a great evil—a poison—has spread through the Sorcerers Underworld, threatening to take away all magic. And worse, the only person who can save the magical world has been kidnapped: the king.

In order to find the king, Arica and her friends must follow an ancient prophecy in which they must defeat vicious creatures, travel through mysterious forests, and restore peace to the poisoned land—no matter how dangerous it could be …

In this final installment of The Pendant Trilogy, Arica learns of dark pasts, unknowable futures, and the truth of the pendant’s origin. Arica doesn’t have much time left—and if she fails, the mortal and the magical worlds are both at stake.
Tell us about yourselves and your new novel, THE POISONED EMERALD.
We’re twin writers/authors of The Pendant Trilogy, and are due to start university this year! Our new novel, THE POISONED EMERALD, follows our main character Arica as she searches for the king of a magical land; he is the only person who can stop the poison that threatens to erase all magic in the world! It’s the conclusion to our trilogy, where Arica’s story will come to an end. 

THE POISONED EMERALD is the third and final novel in The Pendant Trilogy. Where did the inspiration for the story come from?
Well, years ago, when we started writing The Pendant Trilogy, we actually had different title names for our books. THE KING’S JEWEL was originally “THE UNDERWORLD” and THE POISONED EMERALD was originally “THE POISON.” We came up with the idea of a poison spreading across the world, one that would threaten to take away magic forever—and we thought it would be a great idea to use for our final book in the trilogy. We thought the poison would be imperative to Arica’s journey in this final installment of The Pendant Trilogy.

What was the timeline for THE POISONED EMERALD like? When did you begin writing? When did you finish?
The timeline for this book was pretty haywire. We started writing it in July 2013 (for Camp NaNoWriMo) and finished the bulk of it last summer (about 63,000 words). The remainder of the book was written during the school year, but we were so busy we barely finished it! The first draft came to 104,000 words, but we cut it down to 88k. The timeline for our books have, on average, been around 6 months, though we could easily write a book in 2 – 3 months given the free time.

The two of you have co-written THE POISONED EMERALD, and this is the third novel you’ve written together. How did you go about the writing process together? How do you get over disagreements?
Normally, we begin by coming up with ideas and writing them freehand. When one of us feels like writing a certain scene, we’ll write it, and then show it to the other twin. If we like it, we’ll continue. That’s basically how it works. If we disagree on something, we usually find a way to come to a mutual agreement on the subject. Since we’re twins, we usually have very similar ideas/ways of thinking so that doesn’t happen too often!           

You two have been writing since you were nine years old. Have you always co-written your stories, or did you used to write independently? Do you think your “twinness” played a part in your ability to write together without murdering each other?
We started writing books together at the age of nine—we’ve never written independently, unless for a short story or something for class. Sasha started writing a book on an airplane on our way to St. Maarten before 5th grade. She just handed me the notebook and told me to read it, and I liked it so I continued writing. It’s been that way ever since.
I like the term “twinness”, haha. I think it definitely does play a role in our writing together. As I mentioned before, since we’re twins we have very similar thoughts/ideas, and so I guess we don’t look like a lot of crazy authors who talk to themselves … rather, we talk to each other! Talking to a twin kind of is like talking to oneself, at least for us.

You’ve chosen to self-publish The Pendant Trilogy. Why did you decide to go down this path? Would you recommend it to other writers?
Yes, our mom was the one who pointed out our publisher after she saw it on the Chapters/Indigo website. It allows us to feature our books in all online markets while keeping the creativity/storyline we wanted. I’d recommend it to writers who have a bit more free time on their hands. It definitely requires a lot more marketing/promotion than other routes. We’re still young, so we think there’s a lot of time to still learn about publishing—though the truth is, writing these books has been a huge experience! We’ve learned so much about publishing and books in these past two years … more than we could have imagined.

Like most writers, you both have busy lives. Can you explain how you manage to fit writing? What are your schedules like?
We say the same about writing as we do reading: We don’t really have time. We make time. During the school year everything is so hectic we can barely finish four books in a month, but there are some weeks where we’ll read three books … Even if there’s an exam around the corner (oops). As for writing, we try to take any possible time we have to write. Usually that’s not during the school year, but in the summer. Luckily, in these two spare months, we can do what we really want to do, and that is to write!
So, all in all, I guess you could say our schedules are pretty packed. We can only imagine how it’ll be in university.

Do you have any advice for new writers?
Read every day. Writing is like a sport—you have to practice. And if you ever want to be good at it, you have to read. Read often, and better yet … read like a writer. Reading like a writer means to analyze what the author does, and why they write the way they do. Sometimes I have to switch my mindset from lazy reading to sharp reading. Analyzing other works is a great way to learn your own writing style. It’s okay if you start by imitating your favourite authors—a lot of writers do this, and then shape their own style!

Thanks, Matt, for the wonderful interview! <3

 Want more? Add the first two books, THE GEMSTONE and THE KING'S JEWEL, to Goodreads. You can buy the books from Amazon, B&N, and Indigo.

Sarena and Sasha are also having a give away! Head over to Icey Books for your chance to win signed copies of all the books in The Pendant Trilogy! (Only open to US/Canada.) Good luck!

Sarena and Sasha Nanau are teenage twins living in Ontario. They love reading books in their spare time and enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels. They have been writing books since they were nine-years-old. The Gemstone is their first novel. You can visit them online at