Friday 11 September 2015

Blog Tour Interview - The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

The Ark
Author: Laura Liddell Nolen
Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication Date: March 26th, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

Book Description:
There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…

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Author Interview

1. What inspired you to write your first book?
I was pregnant with my first child, a girl, and I thought, here’s this person I’ve never met, and I love her so much it hurts. I would do anything for her. What if that’s not enough? What if she can’t find her way in the world despite my dead-level best efforts?

So I created Char, another girl I fell in love with, and gave her all the “flaws” I’m most afraid of. She doesn’t see the world in black and white. She doesn’t follow rules she can’t make sense of. She’s fiercely independent, but not as independent as she believes herself to be. Her understanding of good and bad are much more complicated than mine, a quality I find inspiring in others and terrifying in a daughter. And I gave her friends and enemies who bring out those attributes in her, as well as a mother who really, truly loves her. The Ark is about Char’s journey toward knowing herself.

In real life, I’m more like Eren. He’s happy to follow the rules. His life has given him no reason to question authority. But if you think about it, in some ways, that’s way more screwed up than Char’s point of view.

Eren thinks he’s a good guy because his decisions are based on a deep-seated belief in right and wrong. In his mind, he always does what’s right; therefore, he must not be a villain. But reality is a lot messier, and sooner or later, Eren will have to confront that.

2. Do you have a specific writing style?
I try to do what works for the story, but I’m always going to love a good chase scene. Action and tension are key parts of nearly any story I’m telling.

3. How did you come up with the title for your book?
It was harder than I expected!! Generally, I start calling the book something in my head, then halfway through the first draft, I evaluate whether my first idea was good enough. With The Ark, I called it The Place Without Names right through the end of the second draft before realizing I needed something less confusing for this story.

4. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
My main goal is always to give the reader a good time. If you’re entertained by the story, I’m happy. If you end up thinking a little bit about the way the world works, so much the better.

5. How much of the book is realistic?
More than you might think! Even though it’s set fifty years in the future, I researched every relevant aspect of the story: spaceships, handcuffs, and even hotwiring engines.

Of course, I tried to make the characters as realistic as possible, too. Char is like a lot of people I know whose experience has taught them to question authority. Her relationship with her parents has a bigger impact on her decisions than she cares to admit.

Possibly the biggest surprise, for me, is when I’m reading the news and a story pops up about scientists discovering a meteor that could potentially collide with earth at some point in the future. It’s not as farfetched as it may seem.

6. What book are you reading now?
I wish I could keep it to one! I’m smack in the middle of Grey by Christi Whitney and Supervillians Anonymous by Lexie Dunne.

7. Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
I recently finished Belt Three by John Ayliff, and he’s brilliant. He writes like some of the best old-school sci-fi authors of the past. I cannot wait to see what he does next.

I also really enjoyed Trial by Fire by Josephine Angelini. She captured that intangible feeling of self-discovery and potential that makes YA such an exciting audience. Plus, who doesn’t love a good witch/bad witch story set in an alternate universe?

8. What are your current projects?
Right now, I’m finishing writing The Ark Trilogy. Char has a long way to go before she finds what she’s after. Then, I’ll start work on a new action/adventure series about a boy who takes himself a little too seriously. I can’t share any details about that one yet, but I’m extremely excited about it.

9. Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
YES! I learned that it takes me waaaaay longer to write a book than I ever plan for! Wish me luck on the next two.

10. What were the challenges (research, psychological etc) in bringing your story to life?
For me, finding the time to write is the hardest part of all. And when I do find time, I need to keep myself motivated. And when I’m motivated, I need to be able to think clearly about where I want the story to go that day. It’s like all the stars have to align perfectly!

Thanks again for having me!

About the Author
Laura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.
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