Book Review: Soul Asylum by CL Raven

Aside from a couple of places where it felt a little slow I liked this book a lot. The atmosphere created sticks true throughout and CL Raven give you a good feel for the Asylum. I think if they hadn’t then it would loose some of its impact because the Asylum feels like another character.

The characters are in part a little annoying but also engaged in trying to discover the secrets of the history of this Asylum.

I did find the protagonist, Phineus (yeah I know I’ve spelt that wrong!) particularly annoying, but in the way that makes me want to turn the pages and get to the bottom of the mystery.

I did suspect one of the big reveals, but not the other one. That one was bigger and I didn’t even have a clue, but it slots everything into place once you’ve realised.

This is one I’ll read again in the future so I can connect all the clues now I know the secrets of Raven Retreat.

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July 2nd 2018

I’ve written 1555 on two projects today, 1208 on WC2 and the rest was a little on PE3 this evening. The words this morning flew from my fingers impressively well despite it being early.

The words tonight were more of a couple of snippets to get scenes started. I’ll get more into them later on but even having just a day away from that story I don’t feel as stuck in the mud as I was.

Another short post tonight as I’m exhausted and planning an early night, after a couple of chapters though. Two of the books I’m reading at the moment are Soul Asylum by CL Raven and White by Tim Lebbon.

 

What I Want To Read In 2015

I didn’t read any where near enough last year. I can think of a half a dozen books that I really wanted to read but just didn’t get around to (Wool, Pandemic, Feed, The Man in the High Castle, Soul Asylum and The Earthsea Quartet). Those are just the ones off the top of my head. Lets add in some shorter pieces by Dan Abnett (set in his Gaunt’s Ghosts series) and J.C. Hutchins novella series, The 33.
Then I’ve got novels by Justin R. Macumber, Terry Mixon, Paul E. Cooley, Armand Rosamillia, Mimi Black and Christopher Stocking. (Dan Abnett also has a full length Gaunt’s Ghosts novel out this year too, yes I’m excited!).
I’d also like to read the second Lincoln Rhyme book, The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver and the first Harry Potter book read early on this year as well.
I’d really like to get start on the fourth Dark Tower book as I finished the third recently, but as it’s taking me a while to get through this series by Stephen King I’m a little reluctant to make a start on Wizard and Glass while I’ve got so many other books that I’m itching to read. That said, if I get through enough by the mid-point of the year then I may dive into it. I was thinking about giving it a go as an audiobook but these Dark Tower books seem so complex I’m not sure I’ll absorb them as much as I would do if I read them. I am a big fan of audiobooks, but I do miss the odd thing while listening (interruptions while at work) and also, I’ve read the previous three books and I think it’ll feel weird not reading the other four.

These are all books I’ve already got, either on my bookshelf or on my Kindle app or my iBooks app.

I will be listening to a lot of audiobooks this year as well. I’ve got eight or nine in my Audible library already.

I’ve set a Goodreads target of 60 books this year. With the audiobooks, comic books and the shorter pieces I’m planning on reading I think I’ll manage that. If I’m well ahead of target early on I may increase it but I’ll see how I’m doing.

Interview with C L Raven

I first discovered Cat and Lynx Raven through our mutual friend Cinta Garcia de la Rosa and over the last few months in particular I’ve felt that I’ve gotten to know these two young ladies a little. Cat and Lynx are twins who combine to become the writer C L Raven. They also attempt to contact the dead with Calamityville Horror on their YouTube channel.

 

First of all, when did you start writing and was it something you’ve always wanted to do?

We started writing novels at 12 but we’d always loved creative writing in primary school. It’s something we’ve done every day since we were 12 but we hadn’t really considered doing it professionally. We had no idea how to make it happen.

As a writing duo, what is your writing process?

One of us writes 2 pages then we switch. It’s that simple. We don’t tell each other what we’ve done or what we think should happen.

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Do you ever have creative differences?

Luckily, no.

What part of the writing process do you find the most difficult?

Sometimes it’s actually getting the ideas. We don’t wait for the muse to appear – if we did, we wouldn’t write anything. Sometimes we’ll have a vague idea like ‘ghost ship’ or ‘plague doctor’ then just start typing but starting is the hardest part.

I think a question which a lot of writers hate is the ‘Where do you get your ideas from?” and I believe a better question is what would you say have been the biggest influences on your writing?

Weirdly it’s bands. My Chemical Romance and Green Day have influenced a lot of our stuff. MCR’s The Black Parade album makes our imaginations tingle.

Your book covers are fantastic and very memorable, did you create them or did you work with a cover artist and is there one that you are particularly fond of?

We have no artistic talent whatsoever! Nobody would be impressed at seeing stick people on book covers. We’ve used two cover artists, one (River Rose) who is an artist, rather than a cover artist. She painted Disenchanted’s cover in water colours and digitally painted Deadly Reflections. We’re in awe of her talent. Soul Asylum’s cover is actually a photo of Denbigh Asylum that we took ourselves. We did an 8 hour road trip for that photo. We don’t have a favourite cover.

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Speaking of fondness, is there one book or story that is special to you?

Soul Asylum will always be special to us. It’s our first published novel but it’s not the first novel we’ve written. Gunning Down Romance started us on our self-publishing journey so that one’s special too.

Most of your work is horror and I was wondering if you’ve written in other genres or would like to one day?

We spent most of our teenage years writing crime but they were always with serial killers who did elaborate murders. We found the murders were our favourite part so we stuck with the killers and got rid of the police. We’ve now branched into historical horror which we’re enjoying as it combines our love of history with our love of horror.

I’d like to talk about C.A.T.S. Calamityville Horror now, how did it come about?

Weirdly, that came about through writing. We’d written a novel about ghost hunters and thought we should get some experience, so we bought a book on haunted places in south Wales and dragged our mum along to visit them. Then we bought tickets for an overnight ghost tour in Ruthin Gaol. A lot of people were telling us to get on YouTube to promote ourselves, so we thought a ghost hunting show would be fun.

Have you found that ghost hunting has influenced your writing?

Yes – Deadly Reflections is a collection of ghost stories. Some were set in places we’ve visited or the stories are adapted from ghost stories we’ve found during research. And we now write articles about our ghost hunting for Haunted Digital Magazine. They found us through Calamityville and asked us to write for them.

I’ve learnt a lot about the histories of the places Calamityville has visited and I was wondering if there was something you discovered that you found particularly odd or surprising?

Ooh that’s a really good question. We haven’t been asked that before. A few times we’ve discovered that some of the ghost stories aren’t true and we find that disappointing. Most of the Skirrid Inn’s ghost stories or historical stories aren’t true. One of the oddest stories has to be Carew Castle – it’s haunted by a Barbury ape, Satan. His owner Roland had trained him to attack people and one night he attacked a Flemish tradesman. The next morning, Roland was found with his throat slit and the ape was dead in the fireplace.

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In the end credits of Calamityville there is the line ‘No C.A.T.S. were harmed in the making of this show’ Have you ever had to take that off due to an injury?

We’ve never taken it off, though we should as we have all picked up injuries on the show! We seem to be clumsier when there’s a camera pointed at us. Fortunately it’s mostly minor injuries that come from us messing around.

Can you tell me about The Animal Army, and are they part of a plan for world domination?

They’re a major part of the world domination plans. The cats are in charge of the whole thing. We have 4 cats – Spectre, Warlock, Ebony and the visiting stray, Mousaffa; 2 rabbits – Drogo and Ghost; an iguana, Kyler; a duck, Peking; a corn snake, Charlie; 4 African snails – Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Kenya and Zambia; and our new addition, a 6 month old Lurcher pup, Bandit. Most of our animals seem to be either rescue pets or unwanted pets.

What are you’re favourite Movies, TV Shows and Music?

Films – Nightmare Before Christmas. We love anything by Tim Burton and horror in general. We only own horror films. TV shows – Sleepy Hollow, Bones, Criminal Minds, Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Grimm, Ghost Adventures. Music – My Chemical Romance, Green Day, Rise Against, Linkin Park.

And lastly, what has been the most pleasant surprise you’ve had since you published your first book?

That people actually read them and enjoy them. We’re used to just having our mum read them. And we got invited to read at a literary festival in East Budleigh, Devon. That was unexpected because we’re completely unknown. Best-selling crime writer Graham Hurley said we upstaged him. All we did was talk about failing to find Sir Walter Raleigh’s house, getting caught in a downpour and smelling of farm animals. People seemed to enjoy that.

Links:
http://www.clraven.wordpress.com
Twitter – @clraven @CalamityHorror
Facebook – C L Raven fan club https://www.facebook.com/pages/CL-Raven-Fanclub/117592995008142?ref=hl
Calamityville Horror fan page https://www.facebook.com/CatsTalesOfTerror?ref=hl

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little about these fantastic ladies. If you’d like to know more then please click on the links they’ve provided and explore their sites, their WordPress site is fantastic! Calamityville is a whole lot of fun to watch as well and I’ve enjoyed their fiction and I’m looking forward to reading more of it.