Thursday, August 23, 2012

Delving Into Destiny - Carlyle Labuschagne & The Broken Series.

I've been keen to feature South African native, Carlyle Labuschagne for a while now and, with the international release this past week, of her d├ębut novel in what is to become a three part cycle called "The Broken Series", I really wanted to help create a buzz around this exciting new talent.

Carlyle first came to my attention via author Lisette Brodey, who featured her at The Swansea Herald last month and I was immediately struck, not only by Carlyle's enthusiasm and drive, but also by the visual style that she incorporates into her writing. Carlyle shared some beautiful photographic examples, taken by her, which were resplendent with colour and life and I connected with the similar process that I have employed to imbue my own writing with a visual quality. I think that giving to the reader, something that will touch off intense visual cues readily, is an important skill that is a key quality in good writing.

So to Carlyle herself.  Born and raised in South Africa, Carlyle discovered her love of words early and describes writing a poem at aged 12 that was the catalyst for a life long commitment to writing. Through college, where she received a Diploma in Novel Writing and into adulthood, Carlyle continued to hone her craft, cognisant of her dream to develop a significant project that would allow her to achieve her dream of publishing.

That project, The Broken Series, has now come to fruition. Carlyle's first book "The Broken Destiny" was released internationally this month and both she and her novel - described as a rich, dystopian sci-fi fantasy - have been making a big impression. 

Ava is the great granddaughter of the founder of their kind: The Broken were genetically enhanced to survive evolution during the last years on earth, after which their experiments were abandoned and they moved to a distant star, Poseidon. Ava carries a secret journal that one belonged to her mother, which leads her to believe that her people are not what they seem. 

Ava has to decipher her mother's rantings in the journal, differentiating truth from madness to determine The Broken's true identities and origins. A few of The Broken will soon experience a "change," and each generation's change differs from the previous. (Ava's generation has been labelled the make it or break it generation.) Weeks before Ava's seventeenth birthday, an attempted kidnapping by Zulu warriors changes her destiny forever. Saved by a Minoan boy, she is taken back to his village where all the lies about her kind's existence (and how they came to be exiled to planet Poseidon) are brought to light. The Minoans are an ancient race that carries a secret tying in with Ava's prophesied destiny. Her destiny is to rise above the fall, to become what she hates to save them all.

"The Broken Destiny" is a richly constructed tale, brimming with detail and narrative that draws upon classic elements of fantasy, which Carlyle has skilfully re-imagined into her own signature brand. Her characters display a dynamism and voice that are accessible and visual. They are easy to invest in and one can really foster a relationship with them - which is important as the trilogy advances. Their individual arcs are established very well and they feed from the protagonist, Ava, effortlessly. Added to the characters are the cross currents of dystopian, fantasy and science fiction genres which Carlyle manages with a deft hand. Blurring the genre lines can be quite challenging and not always successful. It requires patience and balance. That Carlyle succeeds generously here, is testament to her skill as a word smith and stylist. 

The visual qualities of the narrative are inescapable here and it is to Carlyle herself that I refer via an informal email chat about her use of imagery, among other things, in her writing.

I use many tools to stimulate the creative process. My number one is of course music. Images are a necessity. One picture can spawn an entire novel on its own. A world lies within one moment captured in that image. 

My writing process centers and unfold around three things. One the book title or title chapter - I write around that and try to keep to the theme. Two the feel of the music kind of juices the mood of the scene out for me. Three and image - draws out the creativity and focus towards where I am going, what I am feeling, there are details in images, music and words that bring my writing to life in ways other things cant.

On it's own "The Broken Destiny" stands as a compelling piece of dystopian literature that carries quality, drama and adventure effortlessly across the pages. As the first instalment of the eventual three book cycle, it leaves the reader excited for more from this universe. It is a considerable achievement.

"The Broken Destiny" can be purchased right now from Amazon.

Readers can connect with Carlyle Labuschagne at her Official Site.

Carlyle's Facebook Portal can be clicked to here.  


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