by J.A. McLachlan
Release Date: 05/15/15
Summary from Goodreads:
The Occasional Diamond Thief is the tale of Kia, who is courageous and practical with a quirky sense of humor, and a loner.
When 16-yr-old Kia is training to be a translator, she is co-opted into travelling to Malem. This is the last place in the universe that Kia wants to be — it’s the planet where her father caught the terrible illness that killed him — but it’s also where he got the magnificent diamond that only she knows about. Kia is convinced he stole it, as it is illegal for any off-worlder to possess a Malemese diamond.
Even worse, Kia must translate for Agatha, who is as different from Kia as it's possible for two people to be - Agatha is idealistic, naïve, and compassionate.
Using her skill in languages – and another skill she picked up, the skill of picking locks - Kia unravels the secret of her father's mysterious gem and learns what she must do to set things right: return the diamond to its original owner. But how will she find out who that is when no one can know that she, an off-worlder, has a Malemese diamond? Can she trust the new friends she’s made on Malem, especially handsome but mysterious 17-year-old Jumal, to help her?
And will she solve the puzzle in time to save Agatha, the last person she would have expected to become her closest friend?
EDGE Publishing has a Thank you Gift for anyone who buys the print version of the book. If they send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with their Amazon receipt, they will receive a copy of a short story that features Kia.
Praise for The Occasional Diamond Thief by J. A. McLachlan
*** "J. A. McLachlan is a terrific writer -- wry and witty, with a keen eye
for detail. I've been following her work with interest and delight since
2003. In a world where young-adult fiction is booming, The Occasional
Diamond Thief propels McLachlan to the front of the pack." -- Robert J.
Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of FlashForward
"The story is full of humor, danger, fun, and adventure. This is Science
Fiction anyone would love." -- J. Jones, VINE VOICE
"Flawless--The Occasional Diamond Thief was one of those rare stories
where I found myself hanging onto every word. McLachlan delivers a
fast-paced, unpredictable story with perfectly-executed twists.
Descriptions were succinct and epigrammatic with no room for boredom. It
felt so real, it was almost like being in the theater with a surprise
treat at the end. Much like the theater, once the credits have started to
roll and the crowd starts to thin, there was a snippet at the end that you
do not want to miss." -- BittenbyBooks.com
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Hello, I’m J. A. McLachlan, the author of The Occasional Diamond Thief. I’m so pleased to be meeting you, and I’d like to thank C.J. for having me here on C.J. Anaya’s Author and Book Spotlight, today. This blog tour is part of my online launch of The Occasional Diamond Thief, and I’ll have something different at each stop – book excerpts, author and character reveals, vlogs, reviews and blog posts – for you to enjoy. You can find The Occasional Diamond Thief at: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00NF9NYJM And you can find me at: http://www.janeannmclachlan.com
Author Interview: The Things You Need to Know About a Character
Before I start writing, there are five questions I ask about each of my characters. These are the things I have to know before I can tell their story. They make great interview questions, Too!
- What do you want? What would you do anything to achieve? These are my characters’ goals.
- What do you love/like? These are my characters’ strengths.
- What do you hate/dislike? These are my characters’ obstacles.
- What are you afraid of? These are my characters’ weaknesses.
And I used to be afraid of public speaking. At conferences when they asked for comments from the audience, I’d sit frozen to my seat. But sometimes I’d whisper an idea to the person beside me, and a couple times she/he got up and went to the mic and said it. Only every time this happened, they’d mangle it, and I’d think, oh man, I’d have explained that so much better, and I’d be mad at myself for having been too afraid to get up and say it myself. Finally I took a toastmasters course, and it really helped. Then, the more I did it, the less frightening it was. Now I love to get up and give a talk, especially about books and writing.
- What are you proud of? These are my characters’ successes.
And here is one of my happiest moments: https://youtu.be/wnnr9MYkCCs
Excerpt: (in this excerpt, Kia is with her father, who is dying)
He starts as though I’ve hit him, and pulls himself onto his elbow, leaning toward me eagerly. “Ahhh!” he cries, staring just above me.
The look on his face… a second ago I wanted to hug him, and now I can’t help backing away.
“Sariah! At last!”
I look over my shoulder. There’s no one there.
“All these years I’ve pitied you and hated you, because of it. At last you’ve come to claim it back!”
I peer around the room, afraid to move. Who is he talking to?
“Take it! Take it!” His hand moves in a jerking gesture toward the dresser. The agitated movement nearly makes him fall back against his pillows. He holds tight to the side of the bed.
What if someone hears his raised voice? Only its weakness has prevented it from carrying beyond the room, but someone could walk by any moment and hear the shrill urgency of it. “Shhh!’ I whisper, “shhh!”
“There, in the top drawer!” Again the desperate gesture. Whoever he thinks I am, my only means of quieting him is to do as he insists. I hurry over and open the dresser drawer.
I can hear him gasping for breath and half turn to tell him to lie down, to rest. His eyes are bright with fever. He gives a sharp nod toward the open drawer. I give up and reach into it.
What am I looking for? I pat at the folded clothes. Should I pretend to find something? Would that calm him? I hear a soft rattle in his breath that frightens me. I have to get him to calm down.
“The corner… behind… wood.” Every whispered word is punctuated by that horrible rattle. He’s so certain, there has to be something here. He’ll only be satisfied when I bring it to him.
I’m about to give up when I feel a narrow crack between the backing and the bottom of the drawer, in the far left corner. A piece of leather seems to be stuck in it. I pull on it, but it resists. I hear a gasping breath from the bed. Getting a firmer grip, I pull with all my strength. Slowly, the thing comes free. A leather pouch, no bigger than my two thumbs curled together, lies in my hand. I hold it up to show him.
He nods, a single small jerk of his chin as he sinks back against the pillows. “… inside, just as… it from you.” I can barely make out his whispered words over the rattle of his breathing.
“What is it?” I hurry over to him, risking Malemese again.
“You know! It’s yours…your heart.”
I almost drop the pouch. Does he really believe it holds someone’s heart? It seems to grow heavier in my hand, and colder...
He whispers something. I bend over the bed, my ear only inches from his mouth, trying to sort the breaths that are speech from the background of labored breathing.
“…no one knows about it …take it away …I’m done with you at last!” His words end in a sudden, harsh rattle. With a soft sigh his head slides sideways, mouth half-open.
“Father!” I grab his hand, shaking it. “Father!” My scream brings everyone rushing to the room.
Check here for the other places I’ll be from May 18th until May 29th:
J. A. McLachlan was born in Toronto, Canada. She is the author of a short story collection, CONNECTIONS, published by Pandora Press and two College textbooks on Professional Ethics, published by Pearson-Prentice Hall. But science fiction is her first love, a genre she has been reading all her life, and Walls of Wind is her first published Science Fiction novel. Her new science fiction novel is The Occasional Diamond Thief. She is represented by Carrie Pestritto at Prospect Agency.
Book Tour Organized by:
YA Bound Book Tours