The Ink Splat is our monthly activity letter filled with inspiration sparking challenges and resources guaranteed to inspire your creativity. In this Ink Splat, the book and author spotlighted is Apple By R.A. Black along with an author interview! Submit a response to a challenge and you may have a chance to be published online! What are you waiting for?

The Challenge: Family Bonds

Family is central in Black’s story, so for this month’s challenge, write a story where you have two main characters who are related to each other. They can be siblings, mother and daughter, cousins, anything!

Bonus Prompt: here’s a writing prompt from R.A. Black! A good exercise is to write a list of character traits that you know your character has, then pull out all the lines in the first couple of chapters that show that. So if they’re brave, pull out the lines showing them being brave. Then get someone else read through and make a list of the character’s personalities and the lines that they used to get each trait. Hopefully, your lists should be very similar, but if not, you know you need to make the character’s personality stand out more.

Submit your response HERE.

Do a little digging:

There are some crazy relations, what with in-laws and cousins twice removed. Do some research into what kind of complicated family relationships you can use!


Apple By R.A. Black

Enter a gothic story of madness and cruelty, where the bonds of sibling loyalty are tested to the grave and beyond. High on the hill, Cavington Hall lurks like a beast surveying its territory. Spoken of in hushed whispers, it is home to Doctor Charles Cavington, last of a family cursed by genius and insanity in equal parts. It has now become home to twelve year old Apple. A run-away, she is forced into the doctor’s service as payment for saving her brother’s life. 

While Apple struggles to cope with her loneliness and isolation, the mysteries surrounding Doctor Cavington are growing. What exactly is his interest in the two siblings? Is there any truth to his strange tales. of Guardians and Reapers, ethereal figures he claims are responsible for dealing with the souls of the dead? And what is making that thumping noise in the locked nursery at night?

About the BOOK: apple

Q: What are some important themes or messages in the novel? 

A: Family is a big theme in the novel, as is revenge. 

Q: Do you have a favorite character and why?

A: Probably Skye, because he’s based on the big brother I always wanted. I’m also very fond of Apple. You can’t spend that long in someone’s head without knowing them inside out. 

About the PROCESS:

Q: Were they any challenges that came with writing a Horror novel with a Young Adult audience?

A: Not really. The young narrator means that everything is written for a young audience and it also means it was easy to ramp up the tension, because Apple is constantly scared.

Q: If you had to give one tip on writing scary stuff, what would it be?

A: Fear in fiction works on one of two levels. Either the reader fears for the characters, or they fear that what is happening could happen to themselves. You need to create characters that people care about, or you set up a situation where the reader starts to feel nervous for themselves. Blood and gore tend not to be very scary, because people don’t come into contact with them that often in most lines of work. Shadows, thunder, spiders, unexplained noises are all much more common. If you can tie these to the fear your character is feeling, the reader will start to pick up on those images in real life and share the fear.   

Q: Why did you decide to self-pubslish? What was the experience like?

A: I wanted to get the book out, but at that point, I didn’t want a career as a writer. Self-publishing allowed me to get the book out on my terms, without dealing with the stress and heartache of trying to get an agent. It was, and still is, both a fascinating experience but also very hard work. Self-publishing isn’t necessarily easier than going the traditional route. It’s just a different set of challenges. Learning how to format the book took time and a lot of yelling at Microsoft Word.   

About the AUTHOR:

Q: What inspires you to write?

A: I’m quite lucky, in that stories seem to come to me without too much trouble. Sometimes a book or a film will inspire something. I also like looking at old photographs which can sometimes spark new ideas.

Q: Are you working on anything new?

rablackA: My current project is a fantasy novel called Happily Ever After. It starts at the end of a long war, when a knight named Lavie is sent to try and assassinate the man who invaded their kingdom. When her enemy surrenders unexpectedly, Lavie finds herself technically victorious. She, her best friend Harry and Prince Brendan, now face the opportunity to live in peace, just like they planned. But it’s never that easy. Brendan worries he might not make a good king; Harry struggles to come to terms with the fact he can’t be with the man he loves; and Lavie finds living in peace much harder than fighting a war.

Q: Any tips for young writers?

A: Keep writing and reading. The more you do of both, the better you’ll get. Always seek feedback, and be prepared to listen to what people say. You don’t need to use it, but you need to be open to it at least. Don’t edit yourself until you’re completely done with the first draft, but allow other people to do so if they offer. That way you can see if there’s anything you need to be aware of going forwards.  

Check out more on R.A.’s blog here! Also, here’s her Facebook. Apple is available on Amazon

Thanks again R.A.!!

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