The Path Keeper by NJ Simmonds Review and Interview

Review

The Path Keeper isn’t just another story about a girl falling for a guy, or a “damsel in distress” novel. It is so much more than those simple descriptions. The Path Keeper is a story placed in modern day, but will walk you through times far to long ago. The story follows the life of Ella, your typical young adult who just so happens to have the mouth of a sailor & a knack for taking the difficult path. In particular, the difficult path of falling in love with the “wrong guy”. Zac is a mystery that Ella desperately tries solving. He keeps a lot of secrets that slowly start unraveling the more he comes around Ella. That isn’t all though. Both Ella & Zac are thrown through trial after trail, testing how much they can actually handle. Can they do it? Can love always find a way? “Can love ever be stronger than fate?”

I’m not going to lie. At first, I was really iffy about The Path Keeper. It was a little bit out of my typical reading style. Just a tad bit, but enough to make me nervous. That feeling didn’t last very long AT ALL because just 6 short paragraphs later Ella came into the story. Oh, how I loved Ella’s character! She isn’t a weak, little girl who needs saved! She’s strong and beautiful. I gotta admit, I kinda felt like her & I had a lot of similarities. As for Zac, you wouldn’t believe how many notes I have screaming at him and asking what the heck was going through his mind. Without going into much detail or spoilers, Zac has reasons. He breaks down at the perfect pace throughout the story. Keeping you turning page after page hoping for more! Just as Zac & Ella do, you learn how to (impatiently lol) wait because it’s 100% worth it.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking for a new series to become immersed in. As a side note, there are curse words as mentioned above. Ella has quite the vocabulary. There are also a couple of very nicely put romance scenes that may not be very appropriate for really young ones. It is done very classy though so it isn’t a Fifty Shades of Grey kinda thing. Other than that, everything about this novel will leave you begging for more. Trust me..I literally started begging the author for spoilers of the next one haha.

As Ella’s mom, Felicity, states, “What is meant to be is written in the stars & I have grown to accept it.” Let me be one of the first to tell you, you reading this story is meant to be. It is written in the stars. Just make sure you have plenty of free time before you start because you won’t want to put The Path Keeper down.

Interview 

When did you start writing? And why?

I’ve enjoyed writing – since the age of six I have written stories for fun. Although I also wrote for work (marketing) throughout my twenties, I didn’t start writing fiction seriously until I was 32. My kids were both toddlers and I was up every night with them – they never let me sleep, it drove me mad. The only way I could cope was by thinking of this crazy story I’d come up with. Then slowly I started writing it down and attending writing classes and that’s how The Path Keeper was born. It was the only good thing to come out of four years of severe sleep deprivation!

Do you have a muse? If not, what’s your inspiration for writing?
I don’t have a specific muse, although certain events in my past (and questions I’ve grappled with) have certainly influenced me. I get my inspiration from all sorts of places. For instance, my daughter said something two years ago that became the title of one of my works in progress before I even knew what the story would be. I’m also influenced by movies, teen series, songs and travel. I’ve lived all over the world, so that definitely colours my fictional worlds.

In your acknowledgment, you mention that The Path Keeper had a much different ending. What ending did it originally have? And what brought about the change?
Ha, yes, well that was before I focused on the mystery of Zac’s mother and the importance of the jewellery. Originally, Ella and Zac’s challenge was for something awful to happen to her without him interfering – that was the only way Zac could save her from Mikhael. Sebastian was going to get his revenge on his step-sister in a burning barn on her father’s land while Mikhael held Zac back so he couldn’t interfere. It was very dramatic, and Sebastian ended up burning to death, but it didn’t work. So I decided to let her awful step-brother run away instead and I added the other big twist. Sebastian will get his comeuppance eventually, don’t worry!

Will we be seeing Zac and Ella, or similar characters, in any other future works outside of The Indigo Chronicles?
Yes and no. Their love story is complete by the third and final book in the series, Children of Shadows. I really needed to draw a line under it. Although I am planning on possibly writing a novella about Ella’s other past lives – so he will feature in that, although it won’t be Ella exactly. As for Luci (a major character in Son of Secrets) and Gabriel – their story is left quite open. Plus, I’m writing a completely new, unrelated series, and I couldn’t help leaving a few Easter eggs in there. My new world overlaps a little with The Path Keeper world…I couldn’t help myself!

How would you describe your writing style in The Path Keeper to a new reader?
I really don’t know, as I have never been specifically influenced by any writer. I guess it’s a very straight-to-the-point, action driven style – while at the same time, being fantasy romance, it has the odd cheesy moment and pretty prose. I would say it’s a mix of V.E.Schwab and Dan Brown in style (non-flowery, action-driven and I do love a cliff-hanger), but with a London edge. It will appeal to those who enjoy books with the romance and steaminess of The Time Traveller’s Wife or Outlander, but don’t mind the grit of Game Of Thrones and Court of Thorns and Roses, but with a bit of Twilight’s forbidden love. Quite a mix!

What should readers expect when starting The Path Keeper?
They should expect swearing, sex, and some triggering storylines (sexual abuse, mental health and suicide make an appearance, although aren’t central to the main plot). This is YA Plus, it’s not for young teens and the protagonist, at 19, is not a delicate flower. Therefore, although it’s romance and has a teen main character, it gets pretty uncomfortable in places (especially if you’re religious or triggered by the above). Although hopefully you’ll be swept away with the romance, and perhaps even question things you thought you already ‘knew’.

How would you describe the perfect writing space?
Silent and comfortable, I don’t ask for anything more than that to be honest. I don’t need scented candles, snacks or certain music to write, I just need time, space and quiet. For me, the perfect conditions are knowing I have all day to commit to my work and I can really delve in deep without having to keep checking the time to get the kids from school or make dinner. Although I need to be warm – I can’t write if I’m cold!

Do you have any tips for new or upcoming writers?
1. Read, read, and read. Read everything, even genres you don’t enjoy normally, and really analyse how your favourite writers do it. How do they create suspense, how do they flesh out characters, how do they manage flow and pacing and grab hold of your attention?

2. Don’t overthink about who you are writing for, what an agent is looking for or what the market needs right now – just write what you love. Write the book you would love to read. Don’t worry about getting it wrong, just get it down on papers.
3. Never stop learning. It doesn’t matter if you have a Phd in Creative Writing or have published ten books or have read every How To book out there – keep learning. Make friends with other writers, share tips and woes, join a class or attend a writing retreat, read books on writing and keep evolving. I still have so much more to learn, and I’m writing my 5th novel.
4. Grow a thick skin and learn to accept ‘no’. You’ll get a lot of rejection in this industry, so you need to roll with the punches and not get offended or upset about it. Easier said than done.
5. And finally, never ever give up. Keep going. There’s no entry level requirement or cut off point for being a writer!

 

Every blog tour in the blog has a letter. Collect them all to spell out the answer to this competition question: What does Zac get in the sequel SON OF SECRETS that’s very out of character? Prize info and entry details will be posted in The Glass House Glass magazine on release day 28 May 2019. Check out today’s letter and competition graphic below.

17TPK book blour tour compTHE PATH KEEPER blog tour graphic_final

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