1. Where did the idea for The Version Of Us come from? It came to me quite suddenly, a couple of years ago. I’d written two novels before, but neither of them had quite taken flight. I was spending a while thinking about what to write next, and woke up one day with the idea of telling the story of a relationship, from beginning to end, in three different ways. I immediately felt excited about its potential; about exploring the impact of the decisions we all make - some small, some significant - on the course of our lives. I was nervous, too: it seemed like a scarily ambitious idea to take on. But I do believe that the things that scare you tend to be the things that are really worth doing. So I set my nerves aside, rolled up my sleeves, and got on with it. 2. Who inspires you? People who work hard to express their own unique viewpoint on the world, rather than just replicating others’ art, thoughts or ideas. My husband Andy, an actor and musician, has a quote from Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters hanging above his desk: “Don’t follow in the footsteps of the masters - seek what they sought.” Well said, I think. 3. Who are some of your favourite authors? Anne Tyler has been my number-one favourite author since I first read her novel A Slipping-Down Life as a teenager. All her novels are set in and around Baltimore - a city I now know well, as Andy has family there - and she manages to paint such fascinating, colourful lives on the smallest of canvases. I also love Elizabeth Strout - Olive Kitteridge is another of my favourite books - and I hugely admire Esther Freud’s precise, expertly tooled writing style. 4. Who would you love to play Eva and Jim in a live action version of your book? Well, the TV rights for The Versions of Us have been optioned by Trademark Films - the production company behind some gorgeous literary adaptations, including I Capture The Castle and Parade’s End… so I’m afraid it would be impolite of me, at this stage, to say who I’d like to play Eva and Jim! But I did have some faces in my mind when I was writing, so it will be interesting to see whether they match up… 5. Do you have any advice for getting past writers block? I’m not sure I believe in writers’ block - I think it might be one of those myths that gets passed around to make writing sound more mysterious than it actually is (though I hope I won’t one day eat my words!). Writing, for me anyway, is a job like any other - yes, one that requires a degree of inspiration and (hopefully) good ideas, but a whole lot of hard work too. I have days when I can barely string a sentence together and everything seems bleak and pointless, and others when it all seems to flow and I remember why I love writing so much. My advice to anyone stuck in the former situation is that, like all things, it will pass. Just keep going, keep sitting down at your desk, keep putting one word after the other, and eventually, you will remember why you want to tell this story, and find your own unique way of telling it. Hold onto that, because it is all any of us have.
Sarena and Sasha Nanua are teenage twins living in Ontario. They love reading books in their spare time and enjoy science fiction and fantasy novels. They have been writing books since they were nine-years-old. The Gemstone is their first novel.
Arica Miller is thrilled to begin her sophomore year at Hill Valley Private Arts Academy. Little does she know that the prestigious school holds more hidden secrets than she'd anticipated—especially with the headmistress.
When Arica accidentally comes into contact with a mysterious gemstone necklace, she receives strange hallucinations that connect to her family's past. She soon realizes it is no regular necklace, but a necklace that contains power beyond her knowledge. Things take an even more dangerous turn when she is absorbed with knowledge of a world of sorcery.
Follow Arica as she faces suspicious friends, monstrous creatures, and struggles to come to terms with the truth of her family's connection with sorcery. Can she defeat a powerful enemy keen on getting the gemstones?
Unravel the intriguing answer as you witness Arica’s thrilling journey in The Gemstone!
The King’s Jewel (Book 2):
After an unthinkable battle, Arica Miller is bursting with questions. The last thing she expected was to go to the source of all magic—the Sorcerers Underworld. She soon realizes the magical world is facing an immense threat: The king’s crown, also known as the Jewel, has been stolen by an unknown thief. And what’s worse, the gemstones have been taken by a magical flood that has a suspicious link to the headmistress.
Now Arica and her cousins are summoned to go on a dangerous search that leads them to the waters of the Bermuda Triangle. If Arica wishes to return home, she must find the gemstones and unlock the mystery of the Jewel’s thief; but what she doesn’t realize is that the culprit could be closer to her than she’d ever imagined....
Follow Arica in a new quest to unravel the mystery of The King's Jewel!
The Poisoned Emerald(Book 3):
As winter arrives Arica Miller is back to regular school life at Hill Valley. After resolving the disappearance of the King’s Jewel and returning it safely, Arica doesn’t expect anything else to go wrong. Too soon does Arica learn that a great evil—a poison—has spread through the Sorcerers Underworld, threatening to take away all magic. And worse, the only person who can save the magical world has been kidnapped: the king.
In order to find the king, Arica and her friends must follow an ancient prophecy in which they must defeat vicious creatures, travel through mysterious forests, and restore peace to the poisoned land—no matter how dangerous it could be … In this final installment of The Pendant Trilogy, Arica learns of dark pasts, unknowable futures, and the truth of the pendant’s origin. Arica doesn’t have much time left—and if she fails, the mortal and the magical worlds are both at stake.
1. Where did the idea for The Pendant Trilogy come from? The idea for The Pendant Trilogy actually came from the covers for THE DARKEST POWERS series by Kelley Armstrong, in particular the first book THE SUMMONING. Sarena noticed the girl on the cover was holding a sort of necklace with a gemstone/ruby attached, and started getting ideas for what eventually became The Pendant Trilogy. She came up with the idea in summer of 2010, and we began writing The Gemstone in August 2010. (Plus, we were lucky enough to meet Kelley Armstrong in April and exchange bookmarks! It was super awesome!) 2. Who inspires you? Family-wise, definitely our mother. But author-wise, it would have to go to JK Rowling (aka the QUEEN of fantasy). We've loved fantastical books since a young age and her story inspires us every day!
3. Are you working on anything at the moment? Yes, we are currently revising a YA novel we wrote back in NaNoWriMo 2014. We're hoping to polish it up and start querying in June!
4. Who are some of your favourite authors/books? Some of our favourite authors are Roald Dahl, JK Rowling, Sara Shepard, Scott Westerfeld, RL Stine, Rick Riordan, Laini Taylor, etc. Some of our favourite books include UGLIES, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban/Deathly Hallows, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, the PLL series, the PJO series, and more!
5. What do you do when you're not writing? When we're not writing, we might be reading outdoors (but mostly inside), watching Once Upon a Time, reading all the unread books on our shelves, or procrastinating on social media! Or cooking :)