BLOG TOUR: The Sham by Ellen Allen

The Sham by Ellen Allen 
Release Date: 09/07/14
Blurb Description: When love leads to death, be careful who you trust…

Eighteen-year-old Emily Heath would love to leave her dead-end town, known locally as "The Sham", with her boyfriend, Jack, but he's very, very sick; his body is failing and his brain is shutting down. He's also in hiding, under suspicion of murder. Six months' ago, strange signs were painted across town in a dialect no one has spoken for decades and one of Emily's classmates washed up in the local floods.

Emily has never trusted her instincts and now they're pulling her towards Jack, who the police think is a sham himself, someone else entirely. As the town wakes to discover new signs plastered across its walls, Emily must decide who and what she trusts, and fast: local vigilantes are hunting Jack; the floods, the police, and her parents are blocking her path; and the town doesn’t need another dead body.


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The idea for this book came to me in a nightmare... It was so vivid that I imagined I was 17 again, at school, in the same group of 4 friends that I used to hang around with. We were involved in a murder and cover-up. I started writing partly as a way to get it out of my head and then the characters turned into real people... and Emily and Jack were born.

As some of the early reviewers have stated, it is quite extreme in chapter one, and necessarily so. This is the incident that sets up the whole book; something awful happens that sets off a train of events for the characters. This book is a mystery in two ways in that we're: 1) trying to find out who killed Emily's classmate; and 2) trying to work out who Jack is. I hope you enjoy it!

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About the Author
I’ve just finished writing my first book, so I’ve been busy trying to work out how all the pieces fit together – the planning, the plot, the rules, the imagination, the characters, the grammar, the structure, the endgame… there’s too much stuff to remember and a lot of the information that I’ve discovered online about how to write isn’t that good or even well written (the irony in reading advice on writing that isn’t well written…)

So I decided I needed to find somewhere to store the good stuff. Then it occurred to me that other people might find it useful too. So here it is. My online reference tool of all the useful (i.e. good) advice for writers-to-be. I only post here when I have something really useful to say about the craft (Twitter is for daily musings, Goodreads to review and Amazon to buy my work); it’s all about the quality here, folks, not the quantity… Enjoy!


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Extract one: “We’d all smoked the same little something”
From chapter: Have you seen anything? Or How dead bodies ‘melt out’ in spring thaws

          We all knew something was off. We could feel it, in about a million mammoth ways. The classroom was buzzing, as if we hadn’t been able to cope with the endless weeks of gloom. Like everything had been packed inside, so tight, for so long, that something had to snap.
          I took my usual seat, lollygagging in the middle of the classroom, wondering if the bottom of my jeans would ever get dry. We were still inundated with water but now from below, rather than above. The mammoth influxes of snow had started to melt leaving us to navigate the puddles, pools and streams left on every manmade surface. Becky and Rebecca were making a triumphant return to school, sitting on desks at the back but I kept my distance, wanting to keep well away. I smiled at a joke one of the boys made but I didn’t make eye contact. I remembered something Jack had said. Seem engaged in what’s going on, but don’t get involved or singled out. It seemed like good advice; an invisible boy knows how to stay hidden.
          I found a soggy breakfast muffin full of cold egg and tinned tomatoes seeping into my textbooks that Mum must have sneaked into my bag before I left the house. She can never remember I hate tomatoes, how many sugars I have in my tea or that I haven’t eaten a Jaffa Cake since I was six. Her memory is perpetually locked into my childhood patterns, pre-pills, before pre-breakfast cocktails were the norm. I took a bite because I was too hungry to mind or to worry about smelling out the classroom but I had a sense of unease. The days Mum acts like a Mum, they’re never the best.
          Like the day Grace finally died. My mother was sane, motherly. Offering advice. Telling me I might want to think about not going to see Grace in the funeral home. It’s better to remember them living, she had said. Breathing, laughing. But I had to see for myself, say goodbye. And now every hello I make to Grace, every memory I bring back to life begins with the last one I have. Cold. Stony. Her hair in a style she would have hated. A dress cherry-picked by her mother that made her look about ten. Like something out of Anne of bloody Green Gables. Like I said. The days when Mum makes sense, when I’m grateful for her efforts. Those never turn out well.
          Everyone was making so much noise. It was like we had all smoked the same little something before breakfast, inhaling the crazy. Kitty was quite literally, begging,

  “have you seen Me?”

She’d suddenly appeared everywhere, plastered all over school on posters the size of entire walls, her head eight times its usual size. I couldn’t help thinking they were looking for the wrong girl; she was barely recognisable from the picture they’d used; pre-make up, pre-highlights, pre-pubescent. Maybe – if she’d been discarded outside, left to rot like Cath – the hail and snow and wind and rain might have eroded all adolescent traces, like a two-month outdoor facial for her face? Would they draw the teenage mask back on like they did with Grace? A little mascara here, a little hairspray there? As if it makes a difference.

          I shimmied down inside my coat, snuggling under my hood. I wasn’t sure if anyone there knew that Jack even existed, never mind if they’d got wind of the police’s suspicions but I felt tainted by association. It was as if Kitty was speaking directly to me, pleading, Come and find me. I’m still okay. Nothing bad has happened. Yet. But we all knew different. Not the details. We had 20 minutes to wait for the hows, the where fors. 20 minutes for the puss to ooze through our streets, beneath our school gates and classroom doors. Before the hysterics really began.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for hosting my blog tour this week. It's much appreciated!