Hello and welcome to the website of Children of Sinai. Thank you for coming in to see what it’s all about.
For those of you who have read our books…
We would like to thank you all for your support, it means a lot to us. Special thanks go to those readers who have kindly left wonderful reviews such as...
'A 5-star read'
'Story writing at its best'
'Haunting and enticing'
'Gripped from start to finish'
For those of you who haven’t yet taken the plunge...
Award winning Children of Sinai is a mystery-thriller-adventure tale of archaeological discoveries, and religious conspiracies, with splashes of fantasy and sci-fi. Children of Sinai is based on the Abrahamic religions; The Sixth Fire incorporates Native American beliefs. We are currently working on Daniel, the final book in the trilogy, and together they will form a single, unique story that seamlessly blends fiction with non-fiction. A brief description of each book is detailed within its own section below.
Why not give it a go? What could be better than curling up with a cuppa, and escaping reality with a super story?
Shelley Clarke & Terri Nixon
CHILDREN OF SINAI
1965, Jericho: Archaeologists Karen and George Milburn make a discovery that could threaten everything the world has come to believe: an eye-witness account of a biblical event, with a prophecy for the future.
2002, Cambridge: their son, a computer science lecturer, is living an ordinary life with his wife and twin daughters... until the dreams start.
After reading his deceased parents' journals, Milburn embarks on a dangerous journey of discovery. As his destiny unfolds he realises that the prophecy directly involves his family, and he vows to do whatever it takes to protect them.
A foretold eclipse reveals a stark warning for mankind, and the twins learn they have been given unusual powers... but they must learn how to use them, if they are to win the desperate and unequal fight to save their world.
CHILDREN OF SINAI II:
THE SIXTH FIRE
Hope Meadows is now a thriving community of survivors, following the world-changing revelations made by The Fathers. They live and work together to follow the guidelines set down for a kinder, more tolerant future, and their number is growing every day.
A Ute medicine woman inherits the double-edged gift of visions of her own, and, following their confusing messages, she leads her diminished group to Hope Meadows. It becomes clear that an ancestor’s prophecy, and those of the old tribes, are to become a reality... but they come with one final warning for mankind. Their ancestors, and those of the Hope Meadows founders, are inextricably linked, and their communities must now work together to preserve the world for which they have fought.
But old enemies are gradually building their plans against them, and all too soon they realise that the solution could prove as deadly as the threat.
This story had been bouncing around my head for many years, and putting it down on paper was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. It was originally only going to be put in print for friends and family. I asked my dear friend, and brilliant author, Terri Nixon, to check through the manuscript for me. Terri was so impressed that she encouraged me to publish it, but my writing skills were not publishing worthy. Terri added her wonderful style of writing and magic to my own and there we were with a book.
We were both thrilled when the book won two awards:
5* Chill With a Book Readers’ Award winner
5* Readers’ Favorite International Award winner
After publishing Children of Sinai, I felt that there should be more to the story and it simply wouldn’t leave me alone; I was compelled to write more. Terri and I worked together so well that we have also co-authored the sequel Children of Sinai II: The Sixth Fire. This has taken longer than I imagined due to (thankfully successful) treatment for breast cancer. Once the research and writing was done, I handed my draft to Terri who worked her magic once again, and there we were with another book.
This is entirely a work of fiction based on Biblical events, Native American stories of creation and prophecies, theories, historical finds and my imagination. It is an interpretation only and not intended to cause any offence; I hold the greatest respect for peoples’ beliefs. Children of Sinai is based on the Abrahamic religions; The Sixth Fire incorporates Native American beliefs. Although the story is fictional, the intent is to show we all have the same origins; that our stories may once have been the same, changed by human migration and organised religions, and hopefully will be again one day.
Our thanks go to Chris Bloodworth Photography for the fabulous new covers, and the super photo of us together, and to my beautiful step-granddaughter Poppy Anning for being such a super model.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Clarke Nixon is author duo Shelley Clarke and Terri Nixon, who first met while working together in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Plymouth. They quickly became friends, and when Shelley had an idea for a story, Terri, already an established author, helped her to shape it into a novel and get it into print. Not only were they compatible colleagues, but they discovered they were a great writing team too.
Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen.
Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.
Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up.
Terri Nixon was born in Devon, but grew up on the edge of Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, where she discovered a love of writing that has stayed with her ever since.
She also discovered apple-scrumping, and how to jump out of a hayloft without breaking any bones, but no-one’s ever offered to pay her for doing those.
Terri writes family sagas for Little, Brown, and thrillers for Hobeck Books, under R.D. Nixon. She has also written horror, as T Nixon, and contributed to several multi-author anthologies using a number of variations on her name/s. She might be forgiven for not knowing who she is on any given day.
1. Can you tell us about yourself? As much or little as you want.
I was born in Kent in 1958. Mum was a hairdresser with a love for reading, she passed all her treasured childhood books down to me and I devoured every one. Dad was a Fleet Chief in the Royal Navy who, no matter how tired he was, always had time to make up a bedtime story for me and my brothers. When my children were small I carried on the ‘making up a bedtime story’ tradition and now I do the same for my step-granddaughter.
I’ve always worked in education, my last being an admin post in the Faculty of Arts, at the University of Plymouth, and I loved it. I retired from the Uni to work from home as a bookkeeper and artist plus I felt the time was right to get the pups I wanted, it had been 10 years since my last doggy and I’d so missed having one around. Being a Naval sprog, I have happily moved around all my life. As you get older it’s not so much fun so I finally settled down with my hubby and our two Tibetan Terriers. Dad and my two wonderful kids all live locally too, it was like a mass exodus to Devon!
My loves: my wonderful family and friends (all with crazy genes thankfully), who have all been so incredibly supportive of my venture into publishing, food (hence I’ve put on weight), music (I love to sing and show off at karaoke), nature and animals (I’m one of those plant eaters), art (I’m constantly sploshed in paint), and pretending that I’m not an adult (it’s more fun).
2. From reading about your writing endeavours on Goodreads, not only an author but a poet. What inspires you to write poetry?
At school I loved making up stories but hated writing essays so got out of them by writing poetry instead. From that I discovered that I loved that art form and have kept most of the poetry I have written from my teens until now. Several of my poems have been published and over the years I’ve earned a whopping £10 in royalties.
My stories come from a very vivid imagination and my serious poetry comes from somewhere deep inside me. My light-hearted poems come from the child that is still within me and were inspired by my own children.
Sometimes I’ve been amazed at what has come out of my head and have surprised myself. Ideas can come from random thoughts or everyday life experiences and my need to question them. If I need to work on an idea, it’s usually in the bath or when I’m walking the dogs, when my head’s clear and I’m relaxed … that’s when my imagination takes control. I never force it; I just wait until inspiration hits me.
3. Can you give us an outline of what your book, Children of Sinai is about and why you chose to write it?
This is a tricky one as to outline the book would be to give the plot away. The idea for Children of Sinai (my debut book) came out of the blue and to be honest, it felt more like the story wrote itself. I felt compelled to write it as there are many aspects of things I hold dear within the story. I’ve never been very good at accepting that everything is as it appears to be, I look beyond what I see, hear or read, and think ‘But, what if …’ As I started to get deeper into the story and spent years on the research; verisimilitude (what a lovely word, it rolls off the tongue) was of the utmost importance. Although a work of fiction, my thriller actually crosses more than one genre including a splash of sci-fi and fantasy; I’ve always been interested in biblical events and archaeological finds, both subjects being open to multiple interpretations.
I had intended Children of Sinai to be for friends and family only. Once the manuscript was finished, I asked my dear friend, and talented author Terri Nixon, to read through it for me. I actually felt quite nervous that it wouldn’t be liked or that it might be too far-fetched but I needn’t have worried. Terri was so impressed that she encouraged me to publish it. My writing, however, was not publishing worthy so she very kindly offered to improve it and improve it she certainly did. Terri has a beautiful writing style and she added her magic to my own. I will be forever grateful to her for her help. It was a new venture for us and she was credited with the editing but looking back I believe it should have been co-authored.
For me, the best thing about putting a story down onto paper is the feeling that I’ve created something. It’s the same feeling I get when I paint. Both are an expression of me, part of who I am on the inside taking a tangible form. I love the excitement of knowing that someone else is going to read my creation and it’s a wonderful feeling when it is appreciated. To know that I might have passed on an idea that will make people think, or that I might have created a character they can relate to, or a story that stirs their emotions, is such a great reward and makes all the hard work worthwhile.
I chose to write Children of Sinai because the story wouldn’t leave me alone and I wanted, in a small way, to show how I believe we all came from the same beginnings (whatever they may be) and at one point all had the same story to tell. Human migration and organised religions have changed that story and it has separated us. My dream is for humanity to realise this and live in peace.
4. Biggest hurdle you had to overcome as a writer?
This is finding cheap but good ways to promote my book. It’s a tough business with so many great books out there and, as an Indie author especially, getting your own one noticed is the hardest thing ever. I can be quite resourceful though and came up with a few ideas that did generate some sales.
I made the arrangements for two book blog tours (all by myself) and felt so proud as all this is new territory for me. Again, I worried my story wouldn’t be liked but oh the joy I felt when it received glowing reviews, Anne Cater and Rachel Gilbey did me proud organising those tours. Children of Sinai is self-published so the marketing stuff has been hard especially when you can’t afford to pay for it. I’ve tried all sorts of things, even putting a decal on the boot of my car to advertise it. I posted flyers all over Derriford Hospital when I was having treatment and I got sales from that too and made a couple of lovely new friends toboot.
I have sent copies of my book to Mr Steven Spielberg and Mr Ron Howard. I doubt very much that they will even get to see it but you gotta give these things a go. If you don’t try, you don’t get.
Last week I dived into using Microsoft Video Editor. It’s free and comes with Windows 10. I only found it by accident so had a play with it. I am not techy at all but was surprised at how relatively easy it was. By downloading photos from Canva and music from the internet (all copyright free) I created my own book trailer (with help from the son of my dear friend Lori) and was so chuffed with the end result. I posted the trailer on a few sites and instantly sold more copies, yippee!
5. Anything in the pipeline?
Yes, there is. Although Children of Sinai was written as a stand-alone novel, the story and characters kept buzzing away in my head. So, there will be a sequel called The Sixth Fire. Terri and I worked together so well that we are co-authoring the sequel. This has taken longer than anticipated due to my breast cancer treatment, the chemo (blurgh) and the radiotherapy took its toll but I am now on the way back to me.
6. What one piece of advice would you like to offer to other writers, poets etc that helped you on your writing journey?
This has been a huge learning curve for me. Until Children of Sinai was published I hadn’t a clue what MS, WIP or POV meant nor did I realise the huge amount of work that goes into writing a novel. I came to have a great respect for all authors.
Advice I would give to anyone starting this rollercoaster is not to worry about what other writers are doing or what style they are writing in, find your own way, write what you would like to read and never be afraid to ask for help. Twitter is a good platform to promote your work and I have met some lovely authors there and found some fab books to read too. Two authors in particular have helped me enormously by reviewing my story and helping with promotions. My thanks to both Lex Allen and Bryan Quinn on that score. Indeed Lex and I have discovered that we have similar POVs.
7. Anything else you want to add?
Yes. My thanks to you Lyn for inviting me onto ‘Focus on Friday’. This is my first ever interview and it’s been a pleasure joining your page. Huge congratulations to you on the super success of ‘My Adopted Life’.
1. What's been happening since your last Focus? Best and maybe most challenging?
Shelley… The best thing for me was getting The Sixth Fire published and the challenge being to find reviewers willing to review a sequel. We were most fortunate in finding Zoe O’Farrell who has organised two super tours; Children of Sinai on 8-12 November and The Sixth Fire on 22-26 November. Two lovely authors/bloggers, Suzanne Rogerson and Jessica Belmont, also volunteered to review The Sixth Fire. I can’t wait to read the reviews; it’s exciting and scary at the same time.
Terri… This is my first Focus, and I’m so thrilled to be here, thank you!
2. What did you do to keep your publication fresh in the minds of people during lockdown?
Shelley… Actually we didn’t. This is because part of Children of Sinai includes a terrible virus; it didn’t feel right to advertise it while people were worried about Covid, but we’re back on track now. Part One of the sequel was completed prior to my breast cancer treatment, which occurred during lockdown. When that was over and I felt more like myself, I used the time to carry on with the rest of The Sixth Fire. Terri worked on it in between her other novels.
3. A new book! Can you give us a bit of insight on what it's like to be a co-author?
Shelley… For anyone out there thinking about co-authoring, it must be quite daunting if you’re not sure about writing compatibilities. I’ve been so very lucky having Terri as half of Clarke Nixon. We met as colleagues when working in the Faculty of Arts at Plymouth University and got on fabulously well together. As you know, after years of research and writing, I passed my story over to Terri to check through for me as it was only intended to be for friends and family. Terri was so impressed she encouraged me to publish it but my writing skills were not publishing worthy. She is a well-established, amazing writer, and by adding her wonderful style of writing to my scrawls, Terri turned my story into a novel. We worked together so well we decided to do it again for the sequel. And, we’ve never disagreed, how about that! To top it all, we have received glowing reviews. What a team!
Terri… Shelley’s story had so much eye-opening, mind-popping stuff going on, I was delighted when she agreed to let me help, and as the story unravelled I got more and more excited about sharing it. For myself, and looking at the mechanics of it, it’s a strange feeling; being used to knowing exactly where my own stories are going (at least until my characters decide otherwise!) to then get used to working piecemeal takes a bit of adjustment. It’s a different way of working, but each little segment Shelley sent me was like opening an advent calendar door! I loved putting the flesh on such strong bones, and I’m so pleased people are enjoying the story and have said it’s made them think again about what they thought they knew. Turns out Shelley and I work together brilliantly, in many other ways than in the office!
4. Where can we find this much awaited read?
Both Children of Sinai and Children of Sinai II: The Sixth Fire are available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.
5. Anything else you want to add?
Shelley… Thank you again for the invitation to be included in Focus on Friday. And, I loved all three of your My Adopted Life books, super congratulations Lyn.
Terri… And I’d like to say thank you to everyone who’s read and reviewed Children of Sinai, and I hope you’ll be equally intrigued by The Sixth Fire. And thanks to Lyn, too, for featuring Clarke Nixon today.
'Focus On Friday'
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