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[D&B Vol. 01] Episode 005

The demon blood had stiffened on her battle tights. It flaked away in small patches, covering the cell’s wooden bench in spots of darkness every time she shifted.

Her thighs hurt from laying on the hard surface, her hips and shoulders too, all those soft points objecting to a night spent in close contact with something never meant for sleeping. Not that she’d intended to sleep, not with her cell mate looking at her with hard calculation, but exhaustion had pulled her eyes closed almost as soon as the door slammed closed behind her.

She hadn’t dreamed, not even of that dark space between lives.

The dull throb in her legs and arms brought her half from sleep, but it was the dull itch between her shoulder blades that woke her.

Someone had lowered the lights during the night, leaving the cell in half-gloom, but the figure across from her was easy to make out.

A man sat where the hard-eyed woman had. Lean and pale he slouched against the wall, his white-blond hair model perfect, the dark roots just so. He stared at her out of pale, black-rimmed irises that had always reminded her of light trying to escape a black hole.

He smiled. ‘You’re usually harder to find.’

Byrne was up and across the cell, teeth bared, summoning her trident to her hand. A force like an anvil sent her crashing back into the wall. Starlight burst behind her eyes, coming with sharp pain as her head hit the concrete, trident dissolving before it had formed. She must have lost a few seconds there, because when she blinked he was above her, staring down, and for a heartbeat she thought she saw concern replace his smile.

‘I’m going to kill you,’ she said.

The smile flooded back to his face. He crouched. ‘You always say that, but so far…’ He gestured to his unruffled T-shirt and jacket. ‘You’re not doing too well.’

Byrne struggled to stand, getting her feet under her before the same force that had sent her into the wall pushed her back down.

He shook his head, brushing his hands down his jeans. ‘I don’t know Byrne, twice in two lifetimes your sister has died on your watch.’ He folded his arms over his knee and leaned in close. ‘Maybe you should get another job?’

She spat. The blob of saliva hit his cheek, and he jerked like she’d hit him. His expression turned to stone, and even though she couldn’t see his eyes, she could see his anger in the fine tremble of his hand as he wiped the spit away. The same anger made the invisible band holding her down tremble.

Satisfaction coursed through Byrne’s blood and she smiled, showing teeth. ‘She’s not dead arsehole.’

‘She will be.’ He didn’t look at her, but at the spit on his hand. ‘She’ll make sure Suun sees to that.’

‘Not if I told Suun I won’t follow.’

His head snapped up. ‘You can’t do that,’ he said, but was the hint of a question buried under the certainty in his voice.

‘I can,’ she said, satisfaction running through her veins as she felt the invisible band crack. ‘Nova may stick a knife between her ribs, but you’ll still be stuck with me, Tellamoth.’


Don’t forget to check out the episode notes for more behind the scenes content.

!!! Very Important Question time !!!

Do we think Tellamoth is truly evil? Might he be a) redeemable or b) not guilty of the things we suspect he is?

[D&B Vol. 1] Episode 004

‘Sword Uthor!’ She barely heard Della yelling behind her, deliberately shut her ears to the power of her friend’s voice, to the command in the name she’d left behind when she’d stuck a knife in her own heart and launched herself into new life.

Not again. Not again. Not again. The chant matched the pound of her feet. Nurses scattered before her, adding their voices to Della’s command to stop. But she wouldn’t, not after the things she’d seen. Oh Powers, the things she’d seen. 

Byrne burst through the doors at the end of the long hall, ignoring the “No admittance” emblazoned across the front. There were more yells, a man hurrying towards her, white coat  flapping, another in the solid blue of a police uniform starting with surprise, hand falling to the gun at his hip. 

She let it flow around her, concentrating on the solid pulse in her chest, the link only a Sword could feel, the one that drew her to her sisters. A window separated her from the emergency care ward, beds and the quiet hush machinery, some occupied, others not and there, there a pale blue curtain blocking the view at the end of the room.

The doctor stepped in her way, towering over her. There was compassion on his face, buried under the anger as he reached for her—

She put him on the ground, stepping over his body as he wheezed for air, already rushing the police officer as his gun cleared its holster. He hit the nurses station, back sliding down the shiny white front before his arse smacked the floor, gasping for air like the first, pieces of his weapon shattered around him.

The curtain at the back of the ward called her, the hot pulse behind her breastbone telling her to hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. 

Byrne ripped the fabric aside.

Sunmetal didn’t glint or glow. In the grip of one of the royal blood it burned, a ravenous flame fit to rival a star, just like the tip of the dagger hovering over Nova’s chest.

Fear obliterated moderation and Byrne sent her youngest sister crashing into the wall. The dagger fell from Suun’s hands and Byrne caught it on reflex, snatching the burning metal out of the air. It turned black in her hands, the fire eating itself until nothing by but the pitiless cold of space remained.

In the hands of the blood sunmetal burned, but in her hands, the hand of the royal Bastard, it wasn’t flame that licked the metal.

Nova slept, her long black hair arranged in one of Suun’s careful braids, her face a mass of bruises, her right arm an ugly stump wrapped in bandages. 

‘It’s what she wants Byrne.’ Suun’s soft voice drew her gaze to the floor, to the baby sister she’d sworn to protect with her last breath. 

Eyes as soft as her voice, and as dark as the blade in Byrne’s hand gazed steadily back. No reproach, no anger, just a steady, soul deep understanding that cut deeper than any recrimination. Not for the first time, Byrne wondered if Suun had seen the horrors she had, felt the pain, the fear in the time between lives.

‘It’s not what I want,’ Byrne said.

Boots pounded behind her, sharp clack of authority and danger that reminded her of long-ago barracks full of soldiers. Reinforcements had arrived, come to take her away, yelling at her to drop the weapon and get on her knees. She let the dagger fall, touched the cold floor with her knees, but her gaze never broke from Suun’s.

‘When Nova wakes up, tell her to do whatever she wants.’ Byrne said as rough hands grabbed her arms. ‘But I’m not going to follow.’

Byrne had time to see Suun’s complexion turned a whiter shade of ghastly, before the hands pulled her up and marched her out of the hospital.


Don’t forget to check out the episode notes for more behind the scenes content.

Question time

I sense something strange about Byrne, something to do with why sunmetal turns black and cold in her hand, while it burns gold when one of her sisters touches it. 

What do you think this strangeness might be?

 

 

 

 

 

Sci-fi books on my TBR pile

Like a lot of bookworms, my to-be-read pile is huge, like monster kanji huge. Genre-wise there’s just about everything in there, from romance to action, crime and (of course) almost every shade of sci-fi and fantasy you can imagine. Here are a few of the sci-fi ones I’m really looking forward to reading.

Descriptions from Amazon and Kobo.

 

Draekora (Lynette Noni)

Cover of Draekora by Lynette Noni“I swear by the stars that you and the others slain tonight will be the first of many. Of that you have my word.”

With Aven Dalmarta now hiding in the shadows of Meya, Alex is desperate to save Jordan and keep the Rebel Prince from taking more lives.

Training day and night to master the enhanced immortal blood in her veins, Alex undertakes a dangerous Meyarin warrior trial that separates her from those she loves and leaves her stranded in a place where nothing is as it should be.

As friends become enemies and enemies become friends, Alex must decide who to trust as powerful new allies—and adversaries—push her towards a future of either light… or darkness.

One way or another, the world will change…

My thoughts
Strickly speaking, I’ve already started reading Draekora but I’d barely started chapter three before I was sidetracked, so it’s back on the TBR pile. I enjoyed the first two books in this series but the third (so far) is a little so-so, still I’m looking forward to getting back to it.

Cold Welcome (Elizabeth Moon)

Cover of Cold Welcome by Elizabeth Moon
Admiral Ky Vatta should return to her childhood home a war hero, but on the way her shuttle is downed by sabotage.
Marooned in a hostile landscape it’ll take every bit of wit, skill and luck she can muster to lead her fellow survivors to safety, knowing that the mysterious enemies who destroyed the ship are on the hunt, and may have an agent in the group ready to finish the job at any moment. And was the sabotage an attempt on Ky’s own life, or someone else’s?

My thoughts
I LOVE SPACE OPERA! But moving on… I picked this beauty up when I was on holiday in New Zealand. I really enjoyed the earlier series (Vatta’s War), featuring the same universe and characters and I just could resist picking up this one when I saw it. Expecting lots of action and a butt-kicking heroine.

Star Wars: Ahsoka (E.K. Johnston)

Cover of Star Wars: Ahsoka by EK JohnstonFans have long wondered what happened to Ahsoka after she left the Jedi Order near the end of the Clone Wars, and before she re-appeared as the mysterious Rebel operative Fulcrum in Rebels. Finally, her story will begin to be told. Following her experiences with the Jedi and the devastation of Order 66, Ahsoka is unsure she can be part of a larger whole ever again. But her desire to fight the evils of the Empire and protect those who need it will lead her right to Bail Organa, and the Rebel Alliance…

My thoughts
I have three words for you. Star. Wars. Ahsoka. Or, if you’re one of those rare individuals who’ve never heard of Star Wars, awesome butt-kicking heroine with glowy swords! ‘Nuff said.

P.S. I totally want a poster-sized version of that cover.

Over to you

What sci-fi books are on your TBR pile? Any new ones coming out, or maybe an old favourite you’re itching to re-read?

Thoughtful & sparing: Jenna O’Connell on Romance & YA Heroines

As a publicist, editor and occasional slush-pile reader, Jenna O’Connell doesn’t just know books, but the ins and outs of getting them on bookstore shelves and into readers’ hands.

BELINDA: Hot topic first. Do you think love is killing the teenage heroine and why?

JENNA: Killing is such a strong word! We’re certainly not seeing an absence of teenage heroines because of the current focus on love/romance. But is it killing originality in the YA genre? I think there’s an argument to support that. Continue reading

Aussie YA Secret Santa Blog Hop

Aussie YA Bloggers Secret Santa Blog Hop
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This year I’ve joined in on an awesome Secret Santa and blog hop run by Aussie YA Bloggers. I’m super exicted to be included because, well…who doesn’t like recieving books in the mail! Plus, there’s the wrapping and I looooove wrapping things.

What are your top 5 favourite books this year?

A lot of what I read this year falls under the category of ‘brain candy’, but there were a few standout reads.

  1. Magic Bites by Illona Andrews was fantastic. I started off reading expecting an bog standard urban fantasy and was delighted when it turned out to be anything but.
  2. Starship’s Mage by Glynn Stewart. I loved the way Stewart blended magic and real world physics that make a future world that almost seemed possible.
  3. Dead in the Water by Hailey Edwards is another urban fantasy that surprised me. It wasn’t all about the romance, which was refreshing, and it was really well written.
  4. Grave Visions by Kalayna Price. I was hanging out for this book for three years and I was not disappointed! It’s one of the few series I read as ebooks but would consider getting the paperbacks as well, just because.
  5. The Mayfair Moon by JA Redmerski. I finally got to read this one! It wasn’t available for about a year while it Redmerski was having it reedited and for all of that time I haunted Amazon, checking to see when it would be available again.

What are your top 5 favourite Aussie YA books this year?

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t read a lot of Australian fiction this year, although what I did read was great and it was YA.

  1. UnEarthed by Rebecca Bloomer is a sci-fi set on Mars. It’s great and has a nice twist on the typical teen romance. My only niggle is that it’s too short! I want more.
  2. Asena Blessed by Tracy M Joyce. Awesome epic fantasy with wolves, magic and women who kick butt. ‘Nuff said.

How did you go with your Goodreads challenge?

Not so well. This year I upped my goal to 70 books, which, a few years ago wouldn’t have been a problem, but ever since I started writing full-time I just don’t read as much. This year, I’ll be lucky to read 60.

What is your favourite blogging moment of 2016?

My antiheroine interview series! I love antiheroines (heroines who subvert the traits of the classic hero) and I just don’t think that there are enough of them out there. Sure, we have a heap of antiheroes such as Sherlock, Ironman and Han Solo, but you have to search harder for their female counterparts.

Interviewing other authors about why they’ve chosen to write antiheroines, what makes a good one and how they contribute to the reading culture was a lot of fun.

What are your blogging goals for 2017?

To blog more consistently. I’m planning on doing more interviews with authors and readers about select topics, such as what makes a strong female character, racial diversity in fiction and representations of the disabled. Really, any topic that I think we can learn something new about.

What books are you looking forward to in 2017?

  1. Grave Ransom by Kalayna Price
  2. The Aztlanian by Brandon Sanderson
  3. The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams

What is your favourite thing about the Aussie YA community?

Everyone is so friendly that I don’t feel weird about taking part in events even though I’m not a dedicated blogger (yet  I’m working on it). Plus, any community that runs a Secret Santa has to be awesome!

Leave 3 clues for your santee below!

  1. You thumped your Goodreads challenge twice over
  2. Your Goodreads shelves have funny, descriptive titles
  3. Your pet’s name rhymes with ‘jaw’

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog hop!



Featured image courtesy of SimplyPanda. Used with a Creative Commons license.

Wild, Tough and Cheeky: Carolyn Gilpin on Antiheroines

Carolyn is the author of Facing Up a story about a girl trying to pick up the pieces of her life after a car crash ruins her life.

BELINDA: Tell us about Carly, what makes her an antiheroine?

CAROLYN: Carly is an antiheroine because she is cynical, prickly, quick-tempered, stubborn, impatient with her family and pretty much most of society. She is rebellious and smokes and tends to stir trouble rather than smooth things over. But she is also tough, fiercely loyal to her friends, and suffers from inner guilt about the innocent person killed in the car accident which she and her friends caused while joyriding. This is one of the main causes of her issues, and she eventually finds a way to atone for this. Continue reading

On fighting, YA and sci-fi: An interview with Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee knows kung fu, so when she writes a fight scene you know it’s going to be awesome. Which is fortunate, since her debut novel, Zeroboxer, is all about boxing (plus you know, intrigue,  planet-spanning criminal enterprises and a smattering of romance).

Find out how you can win a copy of Zeroboxer at the bottom of the interview.

BELINDA: What is YA science fiction (sci-fi) to you?

FONDA: YA is fiction about the experiences of characters who are transitioning to adulthood. Science fiction is the genre of exploring the possible—not the world as we know it, nor a world that has never been, but the world as it could be. So to me, YA science fiction is about young characters navigating challenges in the context of a world that is different from, but a plausible extrapolation, of our own.

BELINDA: What drew you to the genre?

FONDA: I write science fiction and fantasy because it’s what I was drawn to read when I was growing up. As I kid, I loved Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain, and John Christopher’s Tripod Trilogy, among so many others. In my teenage years, I loaded up on Issac Asimov, Anne McCaffrey, and Piers Anthony. I’ve been an aspiring writer since I was ten years old, and have always written speculative fiction. I guess in some ways I’m lucky in that I have no desire to write anything else; I’ve enough to keep me busy!

BELINDA: Do you think there is a difference between YA sci-fi and that which is marketed at adults?

The cover of Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee.
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FONDA: I do think there’s a difference. I’ve had many adult readers tell me that they “don’t read science fiction.” Yet they’re fans of Star Trek, and Star Wars, and they read Michael Crichton and loved the movie The Martian. I think there’s often a general public perception that adult science fiction literature is for brainy physics types who want to read the hardest end of what we in the field dub “hard science fiction.” Which is not all true, though some readers do prefer this type of literature and perpetuate the impression. YA science fiction can still be “hard” (adhering strictly to science as we currently understand it) but because it contains elements typical of YA (focus on a young protagonist, coming-of-age issues, relationships with friends, parents, and romantic interests, and faster story pacing), I believe it can often be marketed as more mainstream and accessible than science fiction literature for adults.

BELINDA: What inspired the world of Zeroboxer?

FONDA: Zeroboxer was inspired by a number of things: my love of science fiction, martial arts, and action movies, combined with my background working in a sports company and seeing first hand the enormous amount of marketing, money and emotion involved in the athletics industry. It all came together in my mind as a nascent idea about a futuristic prizefighter who ends up inspiring and representing Earth. Everything else fell into place.

BELINDA: You’re a martial artist, what do most writers get wrong in fight scenes?

FONDA: I’m a big fight scene aficionado, and one of my biggest pet peeves is when writers don’t realistically depict the time required for someone to become a good fighter, and the extent of how exhausting and dangerous fights are. I roll my eyes when someone writes a character who seems to fight for hours against multiple opponents without getting injured, or who gets injured but then seems to miraculously recover after a short period of time.

BELINDA: What are a few of your favourite YA sci-fi books?

FONDA: House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, Feed by MT Andersen, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, and the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld.

About Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee, author of Zeroboxer.
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Fonda Lee is the author of the novel Zeroboxer (Flux/Llewellyn, April 2015), which is an Andre Norton Award nominee, a Jr. Library Guild Selection, and an ALA Top 10 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers. Her second YA sci-fi novel will be released by Scholastic in January 2017. A recovering corporate strategist, when she is not writing, Fonda can be found training in kung fu or searching out tasty breakfasts. Find her online at www.fondalee.com and on Twitter @fondajlee.

YA Sci-fi giveaway

Win a copy of Zeroboxer, along with six other awesome YA sci-fi books, in our giveaway running from 8 April 2016 to 10 April 2016.

Sign up to be notified about this and future giveaways.

Feature image courtesy of clement127 (via Flickr). Used with a Creative Commons licence.

Daydreaming the future: An interview with Jenny Martin

Cars, racing and a passel of my favourite movies! I talk with Jenny Martin about what makes YA sci-fi awesome and her book, Tracked. 

Don’t forget to check out how you can win a copy of Tracked at the bottom of the interview.

BELINDA: What is YA science fiction to you?

JENNY: First and foremost, it’s something near and dear to my heart. I spent a lot of my childhood with my nose science fiction novels. And while there were several wonderful speculative novels written for middle grade and teen readers, many of them were shelved in the adult section. Now, there’s a new generation of YA science fiction books, and it’s just wonderful to see. So many people, of all ages, are interested in asking “what if?” They daydream about the road ahead, where science, technology and humanity can take us. They’re interested in the intersection between the ingenuity of the mind and the restlessness of the heart. They’re fascinated by the prospect of faraway worlds and new frontiers, full of wondrous (and sometimes frightening) possibility. To me, that’s what YA science fiction is…an answer to that call.

BELINDA: What drew you to the genre?

JENNY: Again, the answer probably lies in childhood. When it comes to science fiction, I don’t think my heart ever had a chance. I was always in our little public library. I always watching adventure movies like Star Wars and SF shows on TV. I was always daydreaming in class, about rocketing into space or traveling to another time or conquering a kingdom. SF was, and still is, my window, mirror, anchor and escape.

BELINDA: Do you think there’s a difference between YA science fiction and science fiction marketed for adults?

JENNY: Yes, and no. I think some SF has a distinctly old school or adult flavor. For many years, science fiction was largely dominated by white male authors, and/or authors explicitly interested in intensely focusing on hard science. But over the years, the genre has slowly evolved and now, there are so many subgenres within SF. Yes, the time honored conventions are still thoroughly explored, and many different authors pen these traditional SF sagas, but now, there are so many other types of stories. There’s something for everyone. There’s room for everyone to share a fresh point of view.

I will say, that by and large, most YA SF seems to focus on heroes and heroines who are coming of age, on the raw cusp of adulthood. There is some crossover, with older narrators in YA and younger narrators in adult novels, but this pattern tends to hold. Overall, it’s a great era for SF. The field is wide open. Many readers are willing to champion both YA and adult books.

The cover of Tracked by Jenny Martin
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BELINDA: Tracked is marketed as The Fast and the Furious (one of my favourites) with a futuristic twist. What inspired you to write
a SF series about racing?

JENNY: Believe it or not, the inspirations for the racing world of Tracked hit me all at once. Around that time, I came across the remake of Death Race 2000 (the one with Jason Statham). I was intrigued by the premise, and thrilled with the foot-to-the-floor racing scenes. Not long after, I watched a documentary called Hot Coffee, a fiercely critical look at politics, corporate greed, and its impact on the criminal justice system. From there, my Star Wars-obsessed brain put these two elements together. I imagined a planet (one that had been colonized and settled through land run races, like home state, Oklahoma) where corporations held all the political cards. And then I imagined how a spitfire street racer might fight to take them down.

BELINDA: What’s next for you after the next book in the Tracked series, Marked, comes out in May?

JENNY: Thanks for asking! It’s been so wonderfully cathartic to wrap up Phee’s story in Marked, and now I’m working on a top secret project, something completely new and unrelated to the Tracked world. It’s a star-crossed, epic, multi-POV saga that rides the line between science fiction and fantasy. I like to think of it as a tech-drenched, swashbuckling, feminist Game of Thrones.

BELINDA: What are some of your favourite YA sci-fi novels?

JENNY: This past year, I really enjoyed Zeroboxer by Fonda Lee (a fantastic, speculative book at zero gravity boxing), Lost Stars by Claudia Gray (a gripping story set in the Star Wars universe) and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (an action-packed saga told in a really cool, really original way).

About Jenny Martin

Jenny Martin, author of Tracked
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Jenny Martin is an author and librarian. Her first novel, Tracked, released on May 5th, 2015, by Dial, an imprint of Penguin Random-House. Tracked was named one of Paste Magazine’s and Teen Magazine’s ‘Best Books of 2015’, and its sequel, Marked, will be released May 17th, 2016. Jenny is also an experienced speaker, panelist and presenter who’s appeared Texas Teen Book Festival, Texas Library Association and San Diego Comic Con. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with her husband and son, where she hoards books and writes fiction. And yes, she’s still on a quest for the perfect pancake.

Find out more about Jenny and her books on her website or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

YA Sci-fi giveaway

Win a copy of Tracked, along with six other awesome YA sci-fi books, in our giveaway running from 8 April 2016 to 10 April 2016.

Sign up to be notified about this and future giveaways.

Feature image courtesy of Anne Worner (via Flickr). Used with a Creative Commons license.

On mirrors and YA sci-fi: An interview with N.K. Traver

A computer-hacking teen. The girl who wants to save him. And a rogue mirror reflection that might be the death of them both.

That’s a great opening line and it’s on the back of Duplicity, a YA cyber-thriller by N.K. Traver. Find out how you can win a copy at the bottom of the interview.

BELINDA: What is YA science fiction (sci-fi) to you?

N.K.: YA sci-fi is about exploring current or future technology from a teen standpoint–specifically, as technology that can be influenced or changed.

BELINDA: What drew you to the genre?

N.K.: I kind of fell into it by accident. I’ve always had an interest in technology and the hypothetical ways it could affect our future, but I didn’t realize that was the direction Duplicity was headed until it came time to work out the explanation behind Brandon’s moving reflection. I didn’t want to go with a full fantasy bent, so I steered it toward a technological explanation.

BELINDA: Do you think there is a difference between YA sci-fi and that which is marketed at adults?

N.K.: To me, I think they’re pretty similar, especially as far as theme. I think there’s great crossover appeal for both age groups since the uniting factor remains the same: how technology might go wrong, or how it might go wrong in the wrong hands.

BELINDA: How much of your background as a programmer influenced the world you built in Duplicity?

N.K.: Almost all of it. The entire world behind the mirror in Duplicity is influenced by my understanding of computers and what they would be capable of–with a few liberties taken on future tech, of course.

BELINDA: As a programmer, are there things that authors get wrong that bug you?

N.K.: Most authors do their research when it comes to programming, but I will say that a star dies every time an author makes programming an easy skill to pick up or makes it some kind of god-power – i.e., a character who’s dabbled in website hacking suddenly knows how to hack everything from FBI vending machines to NASA launch codes.

BELINDA: What are a few of your favourite YA sci-fi books?

N.K.:I enjoyed The Silence Of Six by E.C. Myers, and I also really enjoyed All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill and The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.

About N.K. Traver

The cover of Duplicity by N.K. Traver
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As a freshman at the University of Colorado, N.K. Traver decided to pursue Information Technology because classmates said “no one could make a living” with an English degree. It wasn’t too many years later Traver realized it didn’t matter what the job paid—nothing would ever be as fulfilling as writing. Programmer by day, writer by night, it was only a matter of time before the two overlapped. Traver’s debut, Duplicity, a cyberthriller pitched as Breaking Bad meets The Matrix for teens, was named one of the ALA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers in 2016.

Find out more about N.K. Traver on her website or follow her on Twitter.

YA Sci-fi giveaway

Win a copy of Duplicity, along with six other awesome YA sci-fi books, in our giveaway running from 8 April 2016 to 10 April 2016.

Sign up to be notified about this and future giveaways.

Feature image courtesy of Chloe Blanchfield (via Flickr). Used with a Creative Commons licence.

Geekdom, YA sci-fi and Africa: An interview with Shallee McArthur

Shallee McArthur is the author of The Unhappening of Genesis Lee, a sci-fi thriller about a girl who remembers everything, until the day she doesn’t.

Don’t forget to find out how you can win a copy of The Unhappening of Genesis Lee at the bottom of the interview.

BELINDA: What is YA science fiction (sci-fi) to you?

SHALLEE: Ooh, a big question, that one! I believe science fiction is a wonderful way to explore all kinds of fascinating future possibilities, and YA is excellent at focusing a story tightly on a character. So I guess, to me, YA sci fi is finding out how a futuristic possibility impacts a specific character’s life and world.

BELINDA: What drew you to the genre?

SHALLEE: Well, I think I became a sci-fi-geek in the womb. I grew up on a steady diet of things like Star Trek, Star Wars, and X-Files, so it’s a genre I’ve always loved. The flip-side to my geekdom is that I’m also a science nerd. I was the weird kid who spent my summers doing science experiments in my kitchen and staring at Jupiter’s moons through my telescope. I simply couldn’t NOT write science fiction!

The cover of The Unhappening of Genesis Lee
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BELINDA: Do you think there is a difference between YA sci-fi and that which is marketed at adults?

SHALLEE: That depends a lot on the individual books, I think. I do see less space opera aimed at YA (more YA space opera, please!), and adult sci fi sometimes uses a different storytelling method—like focusing as much on a milieu or the science itself as it does on character or plot. YA tends to have stronger romance threads (yay kissing!). It definitely depends on what books you’re comparing, though. I’d LOVE to see a wider range of YA sci fi consistently on book shelves, just like I do on the adult sci-fi shelves!

BELINDA: In your bio, you mention that you’re raising your children to be ‘proper little geeks’ (awesome), how much of that and your love of Africa has influenced The Unhappening of Genesis Lee?

SHALLEE: Ha! Yes, I dearly love my little geeks. Passing on my love of science and science fiction is part of not just my parenting methods, but why I write sci fi. With Genesis Lee, I really wanted to delve into the psychological impact of the science of memory—and what happens when it’s lost. It’s something very personal to me, especially having had a grandmother who struggled with Alzheimer’s, and I knew it mattered to a lot of other people as well. As for my time in Africa, it impacted this story in one big way—the worldbuilding. Having the incredible experience of being immersed (fairly) long-term in a different way of life, I wanted to show that in my books. Our culture and world is a big part of who we are!

BELINDA: As a science nerd, are there things that sci-fi books get wrong that really bug you?

SHALLEE: I’m more or less of the opinion that if the writer can make it work for the story, it works for me. But for me personally, it will completely throw me out of the story if a basic law of nature is broken. I’m all for stretching the science—it is science fiction, after all—but I can’t suspend my disbelief if the basic foundations are broken.

BELINDA: What are some of your favourite YA sci-fi books?

SHALLEE: Ooh, yay! One that I ADORE is the Partials trilogy by Dan Wells. It’s got some dystopian flare, but what I really love about that one is how the science merges with the near future to seem so possible. In the space-sci-fi area, I also enjoyed These Broken Stars. It gave me something unexpected, and I always appreciate that! And I have to throw this in, even though it’s not YA, because it’s my favorite sci fi in the entire world: anything in the Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold. Absolutely brilliant in every way, and SO fun!

About Shallee McArthur

Shallee McArthur, author of The Unhappening of Genisis Lee
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Photo credit Erin Summerill Photography

Shallee McArthur is the author of The Unhappening Of Genesis Lee. She originally wanted to be a scientist, until she discovered she liked her science best in fictional form. When she’s not writing young adult science fiction and fantasy, she’s attempting to raise her son and daughter as proper geeks. A little part of her heart is devoted to Africa after volunteering twice in Ghana. She has a degree in English from Brigham Young University and lives in Utah with her husband and three children.

Find out more about Shallee and her books on her website, or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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Feature image courtesy of clement127 (via Flickr). Used with a Creative Commons license.