Friday, February 16, 2018

Walker Q&A with Neal Shusterman



1.       Tell us something hardly anyone knows about you. 
I like to write longhand before entering it into the computer—and I use a fountain pen.

2.       Where did the idea for Scythe come from?
After so many years of teen dystopia, I wanted to do the opposite.  Instead of a story about the world gone wrong, I wanted to explore the consequences of the world gone right.  What happens when we, as a civilization, get all the things we say we want?

3.       What is your favourite book?
Hard to pick just one.  But if I had to, it would be A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.

4.       What inspired you to become a writer?
The books I read growing up, and teachers who encouraged me along the way – particularly an English teacher I had in 9th grade.

5.       How did living overseas as a teenage influence your writing?
 It made me feel like a citizen of the world, and that nothing was beyond my grasp.  I honestly don’t think I would have had the nerve to think I could be a writer without that experience.

6.       If you were to become a Scythe who would you choose as your patron historic?
  Kurt Vonnegut

7.       What book do you wish you had written?
Ender’s Game.  But here’s the thing – Orson Scott Card had asked me to co-write Ender’s Shadow with him (a retelling of Ender’s Game from the character Bean’s perspective). In the end, however he decided to do it himself instead – although he gave me a really wonderful mention in the foreword.  After reading Ender’s Shadow, I was glad I didn’t write it, because if I had, I would have been robbed of the pleasure of reading it! 

8.       What is your favourite word and why? 
Brouhaha.  It’s just a funny word, and my books create quite a brouhaha!

9.       Describe your writing style for us in ten words?
 Thought. Provoking. Enough. To. Keep. You. Up. All. Night. Pondering.

10.   What is your favourite writing snack?
Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice-cream.
                             
11.   Can you tell us a little about your next project?
It’s called DRY, and it’s a story about what happens when the water runs out in Southern California.  It’s predicted to be bad.  I co-wrote the book with my son, Jarrod, and it follows several kids during the first week without water, when twenty-three million people basically become water-zombies, willing to kill for water.  It’s kind of a zombie apocalypse story, but a real one, and that’s what makes it so scary.  Naturally we’re watching very closely what happens when Cape Town, South Africa runs out of water…


Missed the SK review of Scythe?  Catch up here.

Q&A courtesy of Walker Books.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sabbath Amusements XXIII

Today at church we viewed a broadcast for Australia and New Zealand.  One of the speakers described how hard it was to say good-bye to his daughter as she entered the the Missionary Training Centre -- which he called The MTC.  Mia leaned over to me and whispered in my ear, "Why did the papa have to say goodbye to his daughter?"  I explained she was going on a mission and the papa was really going to miss her, but they both wanted her to go.  Mia persisted, "But yeah, why did she have to go to the empty sea?" 

A delightful mondegreen, if there ever was one.

More Sabbath Amusements here.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Scythe, Neal Shusterman


Unwind's originality and ambition had done enough for me that my interest was piqued when I saw Shusterman's name on my Walker Press Release.  Then I read this endorsement:

"Over the years, I've heard many books touted as the successor to Hunger Games, but SCYTHE is the first one that I would really, truly stand behind..."  - Maggie Stiefvater

Sold.  Not so much because I enjoyed The Hunger Games (although I did, very much), but because this came from Maggie!  When Maggie speaks, I sit up and request books.  

I'm glad I did.

Book's basic premise: 
In the future we're so good at health and safety we're living forever and so the place is getting pretty overpopulated.  Solution?  Culling numbers...or in other words, there must be those who "glean."   

Bullet time...
  • Scythe's world boasts the two things I liked about Unwind -- originality and ambition.  I've never read anything quite like it, and the broad scope of its utopia has been on my mind plenty since.  This is the kind of future you'll want to talk about with a friend while you're reading.  I've already hijacked my book club into reading it next because I need to discusssss. 
  • Ethical questions abound, but what makes them so interesting, is that I'd never asked myself any of them...and I'm still not sure I can fully answer them.  I was rattled by how warped my moral compass would seem at face value if I stated some of the acts and behaviours I was okay with in the world of Scythe, out of context.  Unlike the concept of "unwinding," I bought into this proposition big-time and it made for trippy reading.  I'm looking forward to more from Shusterman.
  • Advisory bullet: There's minimal swearing and no sex scenes, but there's a crapload of violence...and disturbing violence enacted by youth, at that.  For that reason, I don't think I could read this one again and again...but apparently I can muscle my book club into reading it.  *eye roll*
  • I think there's still some room for growth in terms of narrative pacing, exploration of grey areas, and romantic chemistry, but I found the world and its rules compelling enough to keep reading. 
If you enjoyed The Hunger Games and any Scott Westerfield (particularly Uglies), this is for you.  It also shares some tonal and thematic elements with 1984 and The Giver.

It is the beginning of a series (and it's been optioned for film)...and I'll be following along.

P.S.  Isn't the cover clever!?  Look closely.

Review copy received from Walker.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

All three for free for the next few


It's my birthday this week! 

And for the next few days, all three of the novelettes I've written (The Quin, Missive and Salvage) are FREE TO DOWNLOAD in the form of The Gen2K Omnibus.  There's even bonus stuff.

One-click, no cost, short fiction.  

So get yourself caught up while it won't cost a thing! 
Or gift a wee collection to a friend. 
Or carry on your way, that's okay too.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, to those who have taken time to explore these teasers and share their reviews on Amazon and goodreads -- your support is the best birthday present. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

So...all three of my novelettes are out :P

 http://a.co/d5NPbqS
The third and final novelette in Tama and Bex's story arc is now available. 

If you've been meaning to get to this little series but the holiday season has flown by without you getting to it, you don't even have to go back and grab them one by one...

As I've put up an omnibus that includes all three!
http://a.co/8d3I1Jg
Bonus: The omnibus version includes a Gen2K Glossary and the first chapter of the Gen2K novel. I'm hecka-biased in thinking this would make a nice gift for a friend -- they're perfect for a long flight or layover; short and easy reading.

I hope you enjoy them.

And THANK YOU to those who have posted reviews or messages me in some other way with their support, it means a lot.


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