Blog Tour + Guest Post: Sanctuary


By Caryn Lix
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 10, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
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Alien meets Alexandra Bracken’s The Darkest Minds in this thrilling debut novel about prison-guard-in-training, Kenzie, who is taken hostage by the superpowered criminal teens of the Sanctuary space station—only to have to band together with them when the station is attacked by mysterious creatures.

Kenzie holds one truth above all: the company is everything.

As a citizen of Omnistellar Concepts, the most powerful corporation in the solar system, Kenzie has trained her entire life for one goal: to become an elite guard on Sanctuary, Omnistellar’s space prison for superpowered teens too dangerous for Earth. As a junior guard, she’s excited to prove herself to her company—and that means sacrificing anything that won’t propel her forward.

But then a routine drill goes sideways and Kenzie is taken hostage by rioting prisoners.

At first, she’s confident her commanding officer—who also happens to be her mother—will stop at nothing to secure her freedom. Yet it soon becomes clear that her mother is more concerned with sticking to Omnistellar protocol than she is with getting Kenzie out safely.

As Kenzie forms her own plan to escape, she doesn’t realize there’s a more sinister threat looming, something ancient and evil that has clawed its way into Sanctuary from the vacuum of space. And Kenzie might have to team up with her captors to survive—all while beginning to suspect there’s a darker side to the Omnistellar she knows.



Guest Post

Criminal Intrigue in Characters

One of the hardest things about writing Sanctuary was writing the prisoners.

These are people who are meant to be sympathetic, but they are also people who have been in prison (some of them for real crimes, some for imagined) for a very long time. That left me facing the question of how five years on an isolated orbital prison, surrounded only by other prisoners, would affect someone. What would it be like to enter the prison when you were twelve years old, have almost no contact with your family, and grow up in that sort of regimented space?

I debated over that question for quite a while. I wanted my characters to have criminal intrigue. Some of them have committed real crimes, after all. But I didn’t want them to be bad people. I think life is most interesting in the grey areas. What would we do to survive? What morals would we compromise if it meant protecting the people closest to us? And how would our views of right and wrong change in those situations?

Life is all about perspective. Oprah Winfrey once said, “So go ahead. Fall down. Life looks different from the ground.” That always stuck with me. Shifting your point of view does so much for a person. It makes life more complicated, eliminates the easy answers, but it also makes things more interesting. So when I wanted to create criminal intrigue with the space station prisoners, that’s how I started.

For each main prisoner, I wrote out a file – a cold, impersonal account of their past crimes as documented by Omnistellar Concepts. And, very deliberately, that’s where I stopped. I didn’t give myself these characters’ perspectives, not yet. I wrote the file and left it at that because that’s all the perspective Kenzie has when she first enters the prison. She sees the prisoners as animals in a zoo: vicious, brutal, barely human, ready to pounce and attack. And she isn’t wrong. They are all of those things, because that’s what years of imprisonment can do to you.

But as I moved further into the book, I went back and rewrote each file from the characters’ points of view. Some of the characters hadn’t committed the crimes they’d been accused of at all. Some of them had, but believed they’d done the right thing. Some of them hadn’t been criminals when they entered Sanctuary, but years of unjust imprisonment had soured them. I shifted my perspective when I introduced the prisoners as characters in their own rights, and then I let Kenzie’s perspective shift with mine.

One of Kenzie’s favorite quotes is from her beloved manga series Robo Mecha Dream Girl 5. The main character in that series often quotes the Japanese proverb nanakarobi, yaoki: fall down seven times, but gets up eight. Kenzie falls down a lot in Sanctuary. Every time, the world looks a bit different from the ground – and so do the prisoners she’s been raised to hate and fear.

In the end, criminal intrigue really is all about that perspective. Even if your characters are violent, vicious, and guilty-as-can-be, they have to believe in themselves. Characters have their own motivations, beliefs, and ideas, and once you discover those, there’s no limit to where they can take you!

About the Author


Caryn Lix has been writing since she was a teenager and delved deep into science fiction, fantasy, and the uncanny while working on her Masters in English literature. Caryn writes novels for teens and anyone else who likes a bit of the bizarre to mess up their day. When not writing, Caryn spends her time obsessively consuming other people’s stories, plotting travel adventures, and exploring artistic endeavors. She lives with her husband and a horde of surly and entitled animals in southern Alberta.



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  • Prize: 1 copy of SANCTUARY
  • US only
  • Starts: 7/18
  • Ends: 8/1

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