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DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (8)

Published September 20, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post. I now have a post from author Stacy Claflin!

Does Dystopia Show the Future Consequences? by Stacy Claflin

Dystopian society in fiction is like any other kind of fiction in that there is some of the real world elements brought into a made up world. In most cases, the authors base their dystopia on some element of our reality going terribly wrong. It starts with a ‘what if…?’ question. What if a small faction of society found a way to overtake the government? What if an alien race took over and forced humans to be slaves? What if dragons are actually sleeping underground and they wake up tomorrow and make it their goal to kill all the adults? What if a psychotic dictator suddenly arose from an unknown country and persuaded all of the countries on the planet to follow him? Depending on the type of fiction, the dystopian society would obviously be more or less likely to happen. Aliens and dragons are unlikely to overtake the human race, but a small group could conceivably rise to gain power and destroy the lives of many. The what if question leads to an extreme and heavily distorted answer to the question. That’s what makes a good story. Although highly unlikely to become reality, I think that it does give an indication of something that could possibly happen. In most cases, you can take elements from any given dystopian tale and find ways that it shows something that could potentially happen if things were to go awry in our world. What is usually most interesting is the human reactions to the extreme situations. When we read these stories, we find out how the characters think, act and feel. During that experience, we are able to put ourselves in their shoes and think about how we might react if we were in the same position. The fact that they cause us to think about the way that things could be is a good thing. Perhaps it can even help us to make the world around us into a better place.

About Stacy Claflin

Image of Stacy ClaflinStacy loves writing, reading, and watching Young and New Adult Paranormal and Paranormal

Romance. When she’s not busy writing, she’s spending time with her family and running a preschool

from home.

STACY’S BOOKS:

Fallen

Deception

Betrayal

Forgotten

Chasing Mercy

Get Stacy’s novella Fallen for free!

Connect with Stacy

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/

stacy.claflin.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/growwithstacy

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/

growwithstacy

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6591338.Stacy_Claflin

Website/Blog: http://stacyclaflin.com/

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DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (7)

Published September 17, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post. I have had the pleasure of interviewing the author of ‘The Elites’ Natasha Ngan! She very kindly answered my questions, so here they are!

Interview with Natasha Ngan

1) Hi Natasha! Unfortunately I haven’t gotten round to reading your book, ‘The Elites’, so can you give me a little overview of the books and what was it like writing it? 

The Elites is a futuristic YA novel set in a city where no one ever enters, and no one leaves. The story follows Silver, one of the privileged Elites – the guard of the city’s leaders – as she does the unthinkable and leaves the city, discovering in turn the secrets it keeps hidden both inside and outside its walls. The Elites was the first novel I’ve ever written, and it was a lot of fun! A lot of hard work too and sleepless nights, but it was amazing to see how naturally and instinctive a story unfolds as you write it, and its characters are very close to my heart.

2) So, I know you run a fashion blog, being an author seems like a pretty big transition, how did you feel when you had finished the first draft?
 
It was overwhelming! I think because I’d been going and going, working and working on getting it done, and then suddenly I stopped and it was over, and a million feelings just flooded me – happiness, disbelief, sadness, exhaustion. I was proud too, that I’d finished writing it and I was happy with how it turned out.
 
3) What was your journey to publication like? Was it a relief, or just another step to having your book introduced  to the public? 
 
It was a complete whirlwind – it all happened so fast. After the first draft, I had a read through and did a few minor changes then sent out the first three chapters to agents. I was expecting them to take ages to reply, so thought I could edit the book properly in the meantime, but I had an offer of representation the very next day! I then met with a few agents and decided on the wonderful Nicola Barr at Greene & Heaton – she just got my book, and got my writing. Then we polished it up and sent it out to publishers, and a few days later Hot Key put in an offer! I have always wanted to be a published author, so it’s a dream come true. It’s a fantastic feeling, knowing there are people out there who’ve read and enjoyed The Elites.
 
4) Are you planning on writing anymore books, unrelated to ‘The Elites’? 
 
I am! My second novel for Hot Key, The Memory Keepers, is out next year. It’s another YA sci-fi/fantasy, this time set in London. In a future where memories are traded as commodities, one boy – Seven – and his unlikely companion Alba discover a memory about him that reveals a past he never knew he had, and together, they try and figure out what it all means before Seven is discovered by those who want his secret for themselves. I’m enjoying writing it so much and can’t wait for readers to meet Seven and Alba. Then after that, I have a YA urban fantasy series, and so many more books I want to write. It’s neverending!
 
5) QUICKFIRE – 
                         Ketchup or Mayonnaise? Ketchup!
                         Rice Krispies or Cherrios? Rise Krispies. It’s like my daily breakfast.
                         Heels or Flats? Flats! (Loses all fashion blogger credentials)
                         Flash-fiction or Poetry? Poetry! I like my stories meaty.
 
6)  Okay, lets talk a little about fashion – what’s your favorite collection, and season? If we’re talking high-end designer, then I love anything by Helmut Lang and Isabel Marant. Since my budget doesn’t really stretch that far though, my high-street favourites would have to be Topshop for clothes and Zara for shoes. 
 
7) Your pictures, on your fashion blog, always look so amazing, can you tell me a bit about who takes them? It’s my boyfriend Callum! He’s an incredible photographer, though he doesn’t do it professionally (I always tell him he should). We set up Girl in the Lens as a creative outlet and project for the two of us, and it’s grown into a little business now. Taking photos with Callum is pretty funny. It usually consists of me failing to pose and him moaning about how stupid I look when I try!
 
8) And, lastly, how do you balance everything? From running a fashion blog, a book blog, ‘The Elites’, and the rest of your life? It’s difficult – having three jobs, two of which (writing and blogging) are more lifestyle choices as they never stop. It takes a lot of dedication and hard-work. I always think though that if you really love something, you’ll put in the effort to make it work. Life is too short not to.
Hope you like them sweetie!
Natasha x
Thank You So Much for that Natasha! It was great hearing/reading your answers!
You can check out Natasha’s book ‘The Elites on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16070141-the-elites?from_search=true

DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (6)

Published September 15, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post, today I have a post from Stephanie, the wonderful blogger behind Book Fr3ak!

5 Steps to Writing a Successful Dystopian Novel

Hey guys! So I’m Stephanie (from bookfr3ak.wordpress.com/ ) and I was asked to write a dystopian feature for this blog. I chose to write about what I think are the 5 basic steps to writing a successful dystopian novel. But what is dystopia? Well, dystopia is “an imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one”, usually set in the future. It is possible to set a dystopian novel in the past, but something entirely different happened and the present would be completely different. For example, what would have happened if the dinosaurs had never gotten extinct? Ok, now that you know more or less what it is, here are the simple steps.

Step #1 : Choose a topic, something that is happening in the world right now, or that you think may happen, that may lead to disastrous consequences in the future.
So many things are happening right now, whether it’s pollution, global warming, our overpopulated planet or even the excessive deforestation. Choose wisely, something from which you can extract many ideas from, because it will play a big role in your novel.

Step #2 : Research your topic extensively for better results.
You have to know your topic inside-out, every single possible information. A good way to keep track of everything is by taking notes or making a list of the pros and cons of your topic. Make sure that you understand your topic and what it’s role is within your story.

Step #3 : Read, read and read!
Another big player in your story is the dystopian factor. So you might want to read as many dystopian books as you possibly can, preferably some that treat of the same topic as yours, and find some within the best-sellers. It has to be something others wanna read, after all! For example, The Host by Stephenie Meyer is set in a world where aliens have taken over the planet, possessing people’s body’s, because the humans had nearly killed off the planet (pollution ~> global warming) and they had become violent creatures. Or how about The Maze Runner? Scientists have taken the smartest kids they could find to be part of an experiment, all because solar flares had hit the earth causing some sort of virus making people go crazy. These two books have been loved by many, and others that are quite popular are Divergent, The Hunger Games (I was obviously going to have to mention it sometime), Fahrenheit 451, the Uglies, and one of my personal favorites, The City of Ember.

Step #4 :  Make an outline of your story.
Now that you know everything you gotta know, start making an outline of your story. What’s going to happen in each chapter? Who are the main characters? The villain? What happened that ultimately led to that situation? How does it end? Make sure that everything is coherent. No one likes a book that’s too confusing to understand, where it’s easy to get lost. Especially if your events don’t make sense. Try to make it as original as possible ; think outside the box! It’s easy to subconsciously think of a book and end up with a different but similar version.

Step #5 : Write it!
It’s your time to shine! Now that all the preparation is complete, your homework is done and you can finally get started with creating your masterpiece. Remember to stick to your idea and be as inventive as can be, and hopefully you will end up with a result better than you could’ve ever hoped for! But if not try again and again because you will get it. Of course the writing and editing process may take a while, but it will all be worth it!

I hope that this was helpful! Who knows, maybe one of you will become the Next Big Thing in dystopian fiction? 😉 wish you all the best!

Stephanie xoxo

Thanks a lot for that Stephanie, great post! Hopefully, for anyone else, these 5 steps will help!

Keep Reading,

Fionnuala x

DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (5)

Published September 11, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post, today I’ve have a post from Alex Woolf author of ‘Soul Shadows’ who’s thinking about the future!

The future of Dystopian Fiction is looking very rosy! by Alex Woolf

I seem to be watching a lot of dystopian television at the moment. I’m currently caught up in The Walking Dead and Stephen King’s Under the Dome and soon to start on Jericho. I’ve also read quite a bit of dystopia in recent years, including The Hunger Games, Gone and the marvelous Soterion Mission by my friend Stewart Ross. In fact I was reading dystopian fiction long before I’d even heard of this term. As a boy I gobbled up 1984, The Day of the Triffids, Fahrenheit 451, The Running Man, Brave New World and many others.

What was it about these books that gripped me, that grips all of us – because they’re among the most popular novels ever written? What they all have in common are, of course, exciting plots and strong characters we can identify with. But, more important than that, the best dystopian stories take ordinary people and place them in extraordinary situations. They are stories of survival against the odds, struggles between good and evil in the most brutal of settings. They imagine futures or even alternative presents in which the human species has taken a wrong turn, intolerance has won out, brute force holds sway, or else we’ve found ourselves confronted by something we simply can’t deal with, like a deadly plague or zombies or giant man-eating plants.

We all like to imagine what might happen to us if the world suddenly went to hell, and dystopian fiction gives us a safe place to indulge such speculations. If the power grid went down, mobiles stopped working, and the supermarkets ran out of food, if the streets became overrun with savage gangs, would we be among the survivors, hiding out in abandoned schools and factories? Would we be honorable and try and save as many people as we can? Or would we live and let everyone else die? Would we plan and strategise for the future, try to carve out something resembling civilization, or would we spend our remaining days eating, drinking and partying?

People have been obsessed with dystopian futures ever since John the Apostle wrote about his apocalyptic visions in the Book of Revelation, and probably since a long time before that, so it’s not an obsession of the modern age. Over the years, some have also imagined positive futures, utopias, but these have never been as popular. Personally, I think the future will be a mix of good and bad, a ‘dis-utopia’, if you like. I write about one such scenario in my sci-fi trilogy Chronosphere. In my future, life is slick and high-tech with hover-bikes and personal robots that wash and cook and clean for you, and time stores where you can buy yourself an extra year if you like. But there’s also a lot of bad stuff going on behind the scenes, with powerful people using the new time-warping technology to torture people and bend them to their will.

Dystopian fiction often envelopes the entire world, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. All the elements that make dystopian fiction so exciting can work just as well if the characters are trapped in a place that effectively becomes their world. The boys stuck on the uninhabited island in Lord of the Flies, for example. The same choices must be made by the characters: do we degenerate into animals fighting and killing each other to survive, or do we retain our humanity, our nobility?

There are so many possible stories that can be told on this theme, and with all the advances in technology there will always be new, imaginative and disturbing scenarios arising for the downfall of civilization (bio-engineering and nanotechnology to take just two). So, with the greatest possible irony, I’d say the future for dystopian fiction is looking very rosy indeed!

Thank You for that Alex! It was a very thought provoking post and I’m glad we all got a chance to read it! Alex has also offered a copy of his book Soul Shadows to be used in a giveaway which you can enter here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/24109b2/

Bio – Alex Woolf has worked as a writer and editor for over 20 years and has published around 80 works of fiction and non-fiction, mainly for children and young adults. As well as the Chronosphere series, he’s also written Soul Shadows, a dystopian horror novel about shadows that come to life, published in 2013 by Curious Fox. He lives in Southgate, North London, with his wife and two children.

Website: http://alexwoolf.co.uk
Twitter: @RealAlexWoolf
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alex-Woolf-author/163044690377900

DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (4)

Published September 8, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post! I got the chance to interview author Jeanne DuPrau, author of dystopia novel ‘City of Ember’ and its sequel ‘The People of Sparks’. It was such a pleasure, so, without further ado, here are her answers to my questions!

Interview with Jeanne Du Prau

Hi Jeanne, for those who don’t know can you tell me a little about yourself and your novel ‘The City of Ember’?
     I’ve always been a writer in one way or another. I’ve taught English and writing; I’ve worked in publishing companies; I’ve worked as a tech writer. I left the nine-to-five world to do my own writing, and I published essays, book reviews, and books of non-fiction before writing The City of Ember, a story about a city where there’s no natural light except that produced by electrity–and the power is running out.
What was your journey to publication like?
     It has been relatively easy for me to get my writing published. I found a good agent for my novel, there was an auction for the book, and I ended up with Random House, which has been a wonderful publisher for me. I have also had an excellent editor.
If you weren’t an author what else do you think you would be doing?
It’s hard to imagine doing anything else. If i were good enough, I’d like to be a musician of some kind–but I’m  not good enough.
If you had the chance to become one of your characters who would it be?
I would be Lina, who gets to run around her city and peer into all its shops and houses and dark corners.
Do you have any writing habits? If so what are they?
I work best in the mornings. I am not a very organized writer–I don’t write always from 9 to 5, I don’t even write every day. I have to do a lot of thinking, and I usually write many drafts and revise many times. I like to sit with my laptop outdoors in the summer, as I’m doing right now!
Thank You so much for that Jeanne!!
Keep Reading,
Fionnuala x
Authors Links –
     Website – http://www.jeanneduprau.com/index.shtml
     Twitter – https://twitter.com/DuPrauJ
     Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeanne-DuPrau/109426962408265

DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (3)

Published September 5, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post, today I’m happy give you a the chance to read a guest post by Faye, The Bookshelf Butterfly!

The Pure Trilogy by Juliana Baggot

Whilst thinking about ideas for a dystopian theme blog post, I came to realize that I really haven’t read much dystopian fiction, even though it is a genre I really enjoy. In doing some research into dystopian novels, I’ve noticed I’m missing out on some popular reads. These include the dystopian classic 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins and the Divergent series by Veronica Roth. I hang my head in bookworm shame. One series I am happy to have read however is the Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott, which I shall talk about now.

The first book in the trilogy is Pure, which sets the scene of a world which has been devastated by Detonations and divided the population into two main groups; Pures and Wretches. Pures are a select elite community, unharmed by the Detonations as they reside in a protective Dome. Wretches are everybody else who survived, who fused to whatever they happened to be closest to at the time.

Pressia Belze, a girl with a doll’s head for a fist, lives a hard and dangerous existence and dreams of a life inside the Dome where she imagines she would be safe and cared for. Meanwhile inside the Dome, Partridge lives under a strict regime, so life inside the Dome isn’t as perfect as people think. Unknowingly bound together, fate will see it that Pressia and Partridge are destined to change the world.

In the second book, Fuse, Pressia and Partridge uncover their entwined history in a mission to save the Wretches and overthrow the Dome. Pressia is dealing with her feelings for Bradwell, a boy with birds fused to his back, whilst Partridge is discovering nasty truths about his father and has his own love problems. Fuse is even more explosive than Pure, revealing secret after secret and throwing a miasma of obstacles and dangers at the lead characters.

All the characters are so well devised and individual, with their unique burns and fusings. My favourite characters are a pair of brothers fused together, El Capitan and Helmud, whose relationship is comical at times but also extremely sad. Julianna Baggott has created a hauntingly striking world in which she explores themes of identity and society, using creative plotlines and an interesting use of science and technology. The film rights for the Pure trilogy have already been bought and I think they will make incredible viewing for the big screen.

The third book in the series, Burn, is due for publication next year and I seriously cannot wait to see how it all ends. Amazingly imaginative, with twists and turns throughout, I urge anyone who hasn’t read any of the Pure books to put them to the top of their reading list. And while I wait for Burn to be released, maybe I’ll catch up on The Hunger Games before my bookworm status is revoked!

Thanks for that Faye! I’ll definitely have to look up the Pure Trilogy.

Keep Reading,

Fionnuala xo

DYSTOPIAN DELIGHTS – DISCUSSIONS, INTERVIEWS & REVIEWS (2)

Published September 3, 2013 by booksforbirds2013

INTRODUCTION – 

For those of you who don’t know I’ve been planning this special/feature of posts for the month of September all related to or about Dystopian fiction. There were two reasons why i decided to do this: 1) Is that I’m going back to school tomorrow and starting Year Ten, and my timetable is is soooooo full this year that I won’t be able to post as often. Though I’ll try for at least two posts every seven days. 2) It was just an idea I had that I thought would be really fun to get different people (authors, and bloggers) involved.

Even though this took a bit of planning and adjusting it was really fun and I just want to thank everyone who contributed and helped make this possible! :D

Welcome back, to another Dystopian Delights post, today I’m happy give you a the chance to read a guest post by Ruth Silver, author of YA Dystopia ‘Abberant’!!

What attracts readers to the Dystopian genre? by Ruth Silver

The Dystopian genre has been increasingly popular since the success of The Hunger Games. With books such as Divergent getting the green light for filming and a 2014 release date, it’s not surprising to see the rise in dystopian novels. Publishers are pushing the genre, hoping their dystopian will be the next big hit.

What makes readers connect with a world unlike their own? Curiosity. Intrigue. Even a hint of mystery in trying to understand the world that the author has created. Dystopian stories all feature extensive world building. Along with the fantastical reality set often in the not too distant future, the genre is filled with intense action and adventure. We’re rooting for the underdog and when we connect with the characters, we find ourselves imagining life in their shoes. It’s both frightening and exhilarating. We want the heroine to win but we often witness their change and growth through the story. We watch them endure through whatever hardship they suffer and in most cases, they come out stronger. It makes you connect with the story, the character and the world that they live in. The stories are centered around survival but even with a dismal setting, hope is always alive in the story. Dystopian novels have become relevant because they feel real. We wonder if it could actually happen.

Ruth Silver is the author of YA Dystopian, Aberrant, the first in a trilogy released by LazyDay Publishing. The second installment, Moirai, will be available September 26th. You can read more about Ruth at her website:http://writeawaybliss.com

Thank You for that thought provoking post Ruth! But it hasn’t ended yet 🙂 Ruth has kindly supplied me with; 3 autographed bookmarks, 3 bottle-cap key-chains and 3 scrabble tile necklace charms, you can win this swag by entering the giveaway below!! (Note: There will be three winners, each receiving one of each, winners to be picked at the end of the month.)

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/24109b1/ – This is hosted on my facebook page as WordPress does not allow Javascript, good luck!!

Keep Reading,

Fionnuala xo