{Blog Tour and Top Ten} Illuminated by Iris Marsh

Iris Marsh
Publication date: November 21st 2022
Genres: Coming of Age, Fantasy, Thriller, Young Adult

In this coming-of-age YA contemporary fantasy, a teenage girl has her life turned upside down when her family is breaking apart, and she discovers her supernatural powers. There’s no time to deal with it, however, as she’s targeted by a dangerous power-siphoner.

Nikki Chase, a 16-year-old striver, feels like her life is falling apart around her. Her parents’ marriage seems in trouble, her best friend prefers to spend time with the popular girl, and she’s quite certain she’s on the verge of a psychosis. After all, normal people don’t see colors around people or hear voices, right?

When a volunteering assignment leads her to a mental hospital, Nikki is determined to figure out what’s going on with her—and if perhaps she belongs in that facility. What she discovers is nothing she expected: Lorene, a volunteer, tells Nikki she’s not crazy but, in fact, has the power to influence people’s thoughts and beliefs. However, someone has been sucking the power out of people just like her, leaving them behind as an empty shell. Desperate for help and someone to trust, Nikki teams up with Lorene to discover who is behind the siphoning. But can she stop them before she becomes a victim? And can she do so without becoming addicted to the power herself?

Fans of suspenseful contemporary fantasy will love this YA coming-of-age fantasy thriller book about coping with difficult emotions, navigating relationships with family and friends, and the addictive quality of power.

Goodreads | Amazon

***10 things you wish every aspiring writer would know***

There are many things I’d like writers to know when they’re at the start of their journey. Heck, I feel like I’m still at the start as well. I do hope this list below will give you some guidance on what you can expect on this crazy journey of becoming a published author.

  1. Writing is a skill that you can train. I don’t know why, but somehow many people believe that when it comes to writing, you either have talent or you don’t. This isn’t the case—yes, you can have talent, just like someone can have more talent for playing the piano. But we all agree that we can all learn to play the piano. In the same way, we can all learn to write. You just have to invest in your education and keep practicing to improve your skills.
  2. Feedback is important; get it wherever you can. Speaking of improving your skills: it’s very difficult to know where to improve if you don’t ask for feedback. You can get this from writing groups, either online or in real life. Note that not all feedback is created equally: use what is helpful and ignore the ones that aren’t. I found the best kind of feedback is the professional kind. I hired a writing coach and developmental editor for this purpose; it really made me improve a lot faster. However, I’ll admit it was also an expensive investment. So, if that’s not within your budget, find groups online or in your neighborhood to critique each other’s stories. Or post on a platform like Wattpad.
  3. Learning about marketing is also important. Writing your book is only part of it. If you want it to actually sell, you also need to understand marketing. I know, it’s not what most of us dream of when we think of our career as authors. The good thing is: I found that marketing can also be fun. Really, it’s just about giving your potential readers something they enjoy and connecting with them.
  4. Treat is as a business instead of just a hobby. I find that this leads you to take it more seriously. Of course, this really depends on your goal. If all you want is just to publish a book and be happy with it, then perhaps thinking of it as a hobby is fine. But if you want to make a career out of it and perhaps even earn a full-time income some day, you need to consider your writing as a business.
  5. Negative feedback is part of it. When you put out pieces of your writing for others to read and critique, inevitably someone is going to say something mean or bad about it. It sucks. But the truth is: not everyone is going to like what you’ve written. And that’s okay. Usually, the negative feedback concerns something that’s more related to their tastes than to your quality of writing. If their feedback is in any way valuable, you can turn it into something positive: you learned something new and now you can use that to be a better writer. If there’s nothing valuable there, let it go.
  6. Don’t let fear and doubt paralyze you. We all deal with doubt when we’re writing (I know I do). I think it just comes with the job. There will be many points where you feel like you’re not good enough and will never make it as a writer. Learn some skills to deal with this (I like to meditate and reframe my thinking. You can also journal or use positive affirmations). Don’t listen to your doubts. Don’t listen to your anxiety. You can do this. There are also many communities, for instance, on Facebook, where you can get a big dose of encouragement when you need it. You don’t have to do this alone, after all.
  7. Editing is a large part of writing—so it also counts as writing. When we think of writing, we think about plowing through that first draft. And finishing a first draft is already a great accomplishment. However, editing that first draft into a good story that you feel confident enough with also takes up a lot of time. You have to think about your structure, your characters, descriptions, and so on. And when you’re finally happy with the story, there’s still line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Don’t underestimate how long the editing process will take you (especially the first time you do it).
  8. Publishing books is a long-term process; match your expectations. There are always exceptions to the rules, and some will find instant success with the very first book they publish. Most of the time, this isn’t the case, though. Don’t feel discouraged when you published the book, and you sell a little, but mostly it’s crickets. If you keep pushing, you’ll get there. Keep promoting and marketing your book, keep writing and publishing new books, and eventually, you’ll be able to earn a decent living with your writing. It might just take longer than you’re hoping for.
  9. Keep the fun in your writing. It can be easy to feel discouraged, sometimes, especially when you start doubting your abilities. Or writing can start to feel like a chore when you have a deadline looming over your head. Remember why you want to be a writer and why you want to share your stories with the world. You have an internal need that drives you to do this. Write down your why’s somewhere so that whenever you feel like you’re done with writing, you’re reminded why it’s something you love to do. And if you’re really feeling demotivated, it’s okay to take a break. Have a week off and use your writing time to go outside for a walk. You’ll see that, eventually, your mind will refresh and will come up with new ideas for your stories. And writing will be fun again.
  10. Listen to advice and test out different methods. Work out your own process. There’s so much advice out there, from how to write, what to write, and what not to write. However, we’re all unique beings, and what works for one person might not work for another. Not all journeys are the same, nor should they be. So, whenever you hear some advice, consider whether it’s something you’d like to try or if it’s something you agree with. If so, go for it. If it works, then great. If not, then toss it out and never use it again.

***Author Bio***

Iris Marsh is a behavioral researcher turned writer. As such, she focuses on her character’s journeys as well as the plot. Her YA fantasy debut novel Illuminated is no exception: it’s both suspenseful and heavy on character development. Currently, she lives in the Netherlands with her partner and cat.

She would be overjoyed if you visited her website IrisMarsh.com and would love it if you followed her journey on Instagram.



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