Tag Archives: Divergent

#WW Penned Con St. Louis & Natasha Hanova Interview!

21 Sep

As you’re reading this, I’m probably packing books and trinkets and other wonderful goodies for Penned Con St. Louis! Last year, I attended this awesome convention as a reader, and I’m ecstatic to be attending this year as an author! Penned Con is on September 23 & 24 in St. Louis, Missouri, and I will be signing books, taking pictures, and just having a ton of fun with readers. (Click the link for tickets and more info.) I hope to see you there.

Natasha Hanova

Natasha Hanova

On top of that, I’ll be sharing a booth with the wonderful and talented Natasha Hanova, so come check us out. We are on our way!

So, today, I’m breaking a blogging rule of mine and featuring an interview with this awesome lady!

Please welcome YA author Natasha Hanova! (Also, if you visit her website today, you can read my interview! Click here.)

Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you? What do you write?

Hello Shannon! Thanks for having me on your blog. My name is Natasha Hanova. #Whovian. #WalkingDead #GimmeAllTheChocolate. I enjoy reading and writing paranormal, dark fantasy, and dystopian books with romance.

What do you love most about reading?

I love how books take me to new places I’ve never been or show me different aspects of a place I’m familiar with. As a writer, I pay particular attention to the methods other authors use to draw me into their book, whether its voice, style, character, plot. I read for enjoyment, and at the same time, I’m learning to hone my craft.

What do you love most about writing?

Quieting the voices? JK. When I write, I sit down with my laptop, a bag of M&Ms (we’re not discussing which size), and my headphones. One of my favorite parts of writing is getting so deep into the zone that I stop hearing the music, forget to munch on M&Ms, and fall into the fictional world on my screen. When my characters are talking and moving so fast, my fingers can hardly keep up with their pace. When the scene is so vivid, I can smell the crisp air, taste the pine, and touch dried leaves, and hear them crunch the setting. There’s little else that compares to that kind of joy.

What do you love most about publishing?

I like connecting with readers. I’m not going to lie, cover reveals are also exciting.

What are you currently working on?

I have a Young Adult Paranormal that’s Classic Snow White meets Buffy that I’m shopping around. I’m also currently working on an adult horror that’s dark, with sparks of light, and of course a touch of romance.

Any advice for writers out there?

Ever hear the saying, “There is no try, just do.” I think the same thing applies to writing a book. Set attainable goals. Find accountability partners, if you need to and just write. Even one sentence a day is progress.

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

Edge of Truth by Natasha Hanova

What are you looking forward to at Penned Con?

This is my first time going to Penned Con, though I know a few of the other authors attending. I’m looking forward to sharing a Table 35 with you.  I may or may not have chocolate available. I also can’t wait to meet all the people.

And since we’re talking about traveling, what is your favorite city/trip you’ve been on?

This summer, I went to Finland/Norway with my husband. I’d have to say that was in my Top 3 favorite trips. Beautiful country-side. Delicious food. Serene writing places.

Shout out to three books you love!

Argh! Only three. Man, okay. In no particular order, Touching Fate by Brenda Drake, The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole (Yes, I’m aware that’s more than one book), and Breathe by Sarah Crossan

Shameless plug time! What book of yours should we check out?

Edge of Truth. A recent reviewer described it like this: “[Edge of Truth] is about a girl who can LITERALLY make the earth quake. X-Men meets Divergent.”

Thanks again for having me.

Social Media Links

Website   *   Twitter   *   Goodreads   *   Facebook   *   Pinterest

Book Links

Amazon     *     Barnes & Noble     *     iBooks     *     Books-A-Million

Come out to St. Louis this weekend to hang out with us!

Read my interview on Natasha Hanova’s website here.

~SAT

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#WW When The Villain Isn’t A Person

13 Apr

I LOVE villains, and I have ever since I was child. I mean, have you watched a Disney movie? The villains are always shiny and scary and have the best sing-along songs. The villains are cool, and it’s even better when you fall in love with villains in novels, too. That being said, we have many aspects of villains we need to work on—like Writing Complex Female Villains—and villains who aren’t people.

What are some options?

Protagonist vs. Antagonist: The most common type of villain is the evil antagonist, the foreboding man with a cape and an evil master plan to take over the world. Okay. So storylines vary, but you get my point. Most villains are just that: Villains. One person vs. another person. They tend to have opposite ideals, and now they must fight one another to see who gets to win it all in the end. Think: Batman and Joker. 

Protagonist vs. Nature: Think of Twister, Contagion, or Jaws. This type of villain can be a storm, a disease, or an animal. Anything and everything that makes up nature can be a villain. You can get personal—with a single storm, like one approaching hurricane—or you can get HUGE—with extreme climate change all over the world. The best part about exploring Protagonist vs. Nature is putting your protagonist back on the food chain, so to speak. These types of stories, more than likely, take away any “power” humans believe they have, and that can feel pretty twisted at times. In fact, it almost makes it less about being a hero and more about surviving.

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In my life story, I am definitely fighting myself all the time. Writing is tough!

Protagonist vs. Self: Okay. So this is technically a “person” but think about as an ASPECT of that person. This could be an insecurity that dictates their life or a fear that prevents them from reaching a goal. This happens a lot in books centered on mental health. Now, please don’t think I’m calling mental health villainess. I’m not. But I am saying that it can be the force the hero is fighting…whether they are fighting against it, how to manage it, or how to accept it is the journey. The upcoming book, The Weight of Zero, is a great example of this. This is also common in athletics, especially if the story focuses on winning or reaching a goal rather than beating one particular opponent. This could also be a “finding yourself” story or even a coming-of-age tale.

Man vs. Society: Think of The Giver or Divergent or The Hunger Games. These types of books, more or less, revolve around society’s dysfunctions (or disagreements) as a whole. While there might be a “face” often seen in the books, the face is rare and fleeting, and the true evil resides in the beliefs of ALL rather than in one or two people.

The best part? More often than not, villains are a combination of these concepts. For instance, an extreme change in climate (Protagonist vs. Nature) could create a disease that drives your protagonist crazy (Protagonist vs. Himself), and now that character must prove to society that they have to change if they’ll have any hope at all of surviving (Protagonist vs. Society). No matter what though, it’s important to remember that a villain is the hero in their story. This goes for antagonists, nature, self, society, etc. Example from Protagonist vs. Nature? That man-eating creature in the woods is eating people because it’s protecting its young, not because it just loves eating people and wrecking lives. It’s really about perspective. Bonus points goes to likeable villains or villains we can sympathize with.

In my upcoming release, Bad Bloods would fall under this Protagonist vs. Society.

Bad Bloods in 35 words or less: 17-year-old Serena is the only bad blood to escape execution. Now symbolized for an election, she must prove her people are human despite hindering abilities before everyone is killed and a city is destroyed.

The protagonist is fighting to prove her people are human since society doesn’t see them that way. Rather than fight or try to convince each citizen one by one, they must fight the fundamental makeup of their city to overcome unwelcome hatred. There is a “face” behind the political group, but he only shows up twice and has very little importance to the storyline. (Protagonist vs. Society). However, the protagonist has hindering abilities and unresolved issues, and it causes her a lot of physical and mental pain. (Protagonist vs. Self) On top of that, she lives on the street in the middle of winter. She is very much fighting the Protagonist vs. Nature battle every single day. You don’t have to choose one villain, but be aware of your ultimate villain and the little ones in between.

Combine, twist, and have fun.

Not all villains need to be people. Not all villains wear capes.

~SAT

Clean Teen Publishing is hosting the CTP Awesome April Reads Release Party on April 15 via Facebook at 6 PM. You can meet authors, win prizes, and check out new books by clicking the link above.

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If you love free stuff, Minutes Before Sunset, book 1 of The Timely Death Trilogy, is FREE right now. Recommended to YA paranormal romance fans who want new creatures never seen or heard of before.

Read Minutes Before Sunset, book 1, for FREE

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Seconds Before Sunrise: book 2:

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Death Before Daylight: book 3:

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#AuthorinaCoffeeShop Episode 15 starts this Thursday via Twitter’s @AuthorSAT at 7 PM CDT. What is #AuthorinaCofffeeShop? Just how it sounds! I sit in a coffee shop, people watch, tweet out my writer thoughts, and talk to you! I hope to see you there.

When Reading is a “Fad”

22 Sep

Announcements: 

During my latest interview, I had to fight a blush when The Random Book Blogger asked me which Take Me Tomorrow character I would marry if I had to chose one. Read my answer by clicking here, or read her book review by clicking here. The Random Book Blogger shared a favorite quote from the story, so I thought I would share it, too, “Family,” Noah emphasized, “is important.”  If you want to know why Noah said this, you can check out the book here. ::wink wink::

When Reading is a “Fad”

Fad, according to the dictionary, is “an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object’s qualities; a craze.”

I think we can all agree that fads happen in the reading community often. Even if you aren’t a reader, popular titles have taken over the big screen. Twilight, Divergent, Harry Potter, Fifty Shades of Grey, and The Fault in Our Stars were everywhere, and even more novels will pop up in the future. Anymore it seems like most movies are based on novels, which is understandable considering most major production companies want an audience before they spend millions creating a film for the big screen, but it has only increased the visibility of reading fads. In fact, bookstores have even changed. The one near my house have an entire shelf dedicated to books for the big screen, and it includes books that are currently in the theatre as well as books that will be released as movies later this year. Someone is always standing by that shelf, and it was my recent trip to the bookstore that forced me to think about this.

Are reading fads positive or negative? Should we pay attention to them or write them off as nothing but entertainment?

That’s what I’m talking about today. Below, I’m going to be focusing on the pros and cons of book fads, including why you should stay updated on the latest and why you shouldn’t care. (Because that’s the unbiased thing to do, right?)

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photo from myshopsdiscount.com

Why you should care:

For me, this is a given, but I’m also involved in the publishing world. I want to know what’s in and what readers are talking about mainly because I’m obsessed with the book market (and it is a part of my job). That being said, I want to ignore that part of my life for a minute, and talk about this from strictly a reader’s perspective. It can be fun to share reads my friends and family who also read. By reading what is “in”, I’m increasing my chances to being up-to-date in my personal life as well as my work life or just plain ol’ conversations at the coffee shop. Paying attention to reading fads can be like paying attention to fashion fads. No one wears poodle skirts anymore, but people love that side braid, so I’m going to attempt that side braid, and when I try it, I might like it, and I might dislike it, but at least the trend pointed me to an opportunity I didn’t previously consider. Not a bad thing if I actually find myself enjoying what is “in”. (And that never means that I have to give up my traditional ponytail – a.k.a. my other books – that I’ve always loved and will continue to love).

Why you shouldn’t care:

Who cares if poodle skirts aren’t in anymore? I want to wear one, and I’m going to wear it to the bookstore. (Is this metaphor weird yet?) No one has to read what everyone is talking about because we don’t have to conform to the same conversations that everyone and their cousin is having. So what if everyone cannot wait until Valentine’s Day for Fifty Shades? Good for them. I can’t wait for chocolate, and that’s me. (Okay. Not going to lie. I probably will see the movie, but that’s for the top section. Oops.) But readers don’t have to care about what’s in or what might be in or what is in the theatres or whether or not they read the book before the film or even if there is a film at all. Just enjoy the entertainment like you want to, and if someone wants to talk about the in thing, let them (or talk about something else). There’s so much to discover in the world, and who knows? You might discover the next “big” thing before anyone else knows how big it is. That makes you a hipster. (In a good way….no PBR allowed…okay. Fine…PBR allowed, but only if the bookstore is BYOB).

In the end, there are many reasons as to why one reader might enjoy keeping up with the latest trends and there are just as many reasons not to. Being a reader means the reader is allowed to read whatever they want to for whatever reasons they want to. I have no problems with “fad” readers, and I have no issues with readers who strive to avoid trending books. I’ve personally found myself on both sides of the argument only to realize there shouldn’t be an argument at all.

Reading is what we enjoy, and that is enough for me.

~SAT

Website Wonders

29 Aug

Announcements:

Before we get into August’s Website Wonders, I wanted to thank two lovely reviewers for sharing their thoughts on Take Me Tomorrow and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy.

Bookish Lover Reviews started us off by reviewing Take Me Tomorrow, “If you liked Delirium series and Divergent, this is something in between. It has great action with lot of twists and a little bit of romance but enough to fall in love with story even more. I recommend it to everyone. Please pick it up, because this book deserves bigger audience.” The full review gets into detail about romance and action.

Tranquil Dreams posted their thoughts on the paranormal romance, Seconds Before Sunrise, “There is nothing better than a novel that delivers a believable story with an alternate reality/fantasy world intertwined and while giving us a love story also gets us to wonder what happens next. Thats what Seconds Before Sunrise is.” But she gets more into detail about the personal struggles Eric and Jessica have to face in her full review.

If you’re interested in reading either of these novels, here are the Amazon links to Take Me Tomorrow and Seconds Before Sunrise, book 2 of The Timely Death Trilogy. Be sure to let me know about your review. If you want me to share it, I would be more than happy to. Comment here or send me an email at shannonathompson@aol.com.

Website Wonders:

Every month, I share all of the websites I come across that I find helpful, humorous, or just awesome. Below, you’ll find all of August’s Website Wonders categorized as so: Reading, Writing, Inspiration Art and Life, and For Fun. Between each category is a photo. If you enjoy these websites, be sure to like my Facebook page because I share even more websites and photos like this there.

Enjoy!

Reading:

What Classic Novel Describes Your Life? My life is described by J. R. R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. How about yours?

J.K. Rowling Releases New “Harry Potter” Story, Characters, and Song (Video)

4 Ways “The Giver” Turns A Beloved Novel into Just Another Dystopian Teen Movie: So sad. Just so sad.

10 Novels You Need to Read and Why – For Dummies: The neat part about this list is how different it is. It isn’t the “best” or “for moms” or “to enrich your life.” It’s just a list that changes constantly.

Kurt Vonnegut Quotes to Start Your Week: “Live by the harmless untruths that make you brave and kind and healthy and happy.”

Vintage Books and Anchor Books

Vintage Books and Anchor Books

Writing:

These Writing Tips from George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb are just Epic

29 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You’re a Writer: “Writing” means doing literally anything else.

Synonyms for the 96 Most Commonly Used Words in English: Maybe a list writers can use?

French Phrases: I found it sad that she called it pretentious, but I think this is a good list to go on if you’re looking to incorporate the French language into a story or character.

Title Wave

Title Wave

Inspirational Art and Life:

12 Amazing Tree Tunnels You Should Definitely Take a Walk Through: What would be a Website Wonders post without my obsession with trees?

16 of the Most Magnificent Trees in the World: You know… because I’m obsessed with tress.

She Creates Miniature Paintings on EyeLids…THAT is Talent: There are a lot of fiction references, too.

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For Fun:

10 Uplifting Stories that will Warm Your Heart.

2048 Game: It’s addicting. I warned you.

25 Awesome Furniture Design Ideas for Cat Lovers

Rescue Me Ohio

Rescue Me Ohio

Hope you loved these as much as I did! I’m looking forward to sharing August’s Ketchup during my next post. September, here we come!

~SAT

10 Types of People You Will See at Movie Adaptations

23 Aug

Announcements:

We hit 200 ratings on Goodreads! And today, I would like to thank two readers who posted reviews on their blogs.

Another Night of Reading reviewed Take Me Tomorrow, stating, “I recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian novels that depart from what is now the Hunger Games/Divergent model. The heroine, Sophia, is a very ordinary, brave and strong girl who lives in a world that may be horrible to live in, but proves a very interesting setting for a story. I can only hope there will be a sequel.” But you can read her entire review by clicking here.

If you’re interested in reading the latest review of Minutes Before Sunset, Mel’s Shelves posted this, “This book held my attention from the beginning!” She gets into further detail, and you can read what she had to say about the paranormal romance by clicking here.

Thank you for continuing to read and share my novels. I always love to read your thoughts and feelings, so thank you for taking the time to post them.

10 Types of People You Will See at Movie Adaptations:

 Last night, I drove like a madwoman to the theatre to see the movie adaptation of If I Stay by Gayle Foreman. One of my favorite novels has officially become one of my favorite movie adaptations. (Thank you, book gods.) But it got me to thinking about movie adaptations, so I wanted to have a little fun by creating a list of people who attend movie adaptations.

1. The Die-hard Fan

They were born just to read this book, and their life is hitting a critical pinnacle of happiness at the theatre tonight. If the movie is horrible, their reading soul might be crushed forever…until they find their next favorite novel. Watch out. They will either cry at the horrible adaptation or cry at the beauty of the adaptation.

Favorite Line: I’ve read it four times…I mean, five, if you count the special addition version that included the film notes and the sequel preview in the back. You’ve read the sequel, right?

2. The Oblivious One

They did not know this movie was based on a book until the opening credits, and they ask questions throughout, such as but not limited to, “This was based on a movie? What is happening? I don’t get it. Who’s that? What is this even about?” Do not be mad at them. They might join the fandom soon.

Favorite Line: Where am I?

3. The Whisperer

This is usually two people – one is a die-hard and the other is an oblivious one. The diehard is whispering answers to the oblivious one.

Favorite Line: This part is really important so pay attention.

4. The Light Giver

Their cellphone is on. You can see it. But you almost can’t be mad because you know they aren’t texting. They are taking notes down for their blog or YouTube channel. You might even look them up later…even though you’re starting to get mad.

Favorite Line: Sorry!

5. The Whiner

They may not complain out loud, but they might as well be. Their sighs and grunts are nearly as distracting as their eyerolls, which – somehow – you have managed to see in the darkness of the theatre. They should’ve been an actor. Their dramatics are impressive. They might have even been a better protagonist. They kind of look like them, too.

Favorite Line: Seriously?

This is not the real trademark. That is my cat.

This is not the real trademark. That is my cat.

6. The Procrastinator

They read. They promise up and down that they do. They even swear that they were not going to see this movie before they read the book, but you convinced them to come early, so…they’re here. And they guess they’ll watch it first. But they’ll read the book the second they get home. This may or may not be the third time they’ve done this to you, but you don’t say anything because you still don’t know if they actually read, but you hope they do.

Favorite Line: I swear I was going to read the book first, but my TBR pile is too big.

7. The Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Lost Friend

Much like the Oblivious One, this one has no clue what is going on, but they are generally happier than the Oblivious One because they are engrossed with whoever they are with. They probably won’t speak either. They don’t want to interrupt the movie for the fan they love.

Favorite Line: Can I get you anything?

8. The Character:

You’ve been staring at them for ten minutes now, and you have yet to figure out if they are purposely dressed like the characters in the book or if they actually dress that way in real life. You wait for them to talk to figure it out, but they never speak. Therefore, they do not have a favorite line.

Favorite Line: N/A

9. The Patient One:

This is a whole new form of the die-hard fan. They’ve been waiting outside the theatre since 7 a.m…the theatre doesn’t even open until 10 a.m. and it’s snowing. There is no question as to whether they are dressed up as the characters. They are. They did this for the final book release, too, and you recognize their outfit because you were also there. They even met the author once.

Favorite Line: It’s no big deal. I’ve only been waiting for twelve hours.

10. You:

Yes. You. You are among this crowd, and you are one of them. You might even be a mixture of all of them. This is possible – especially if you attend every movie adaptation you hear about. We know it’s a guilty pleasure, and that’s okay. Sit back, grab a Coke, and relax. This is going to be good…even if it isn’t. You always have your book to return home to anyway.

Favorite Line: Who? Me?

I hope you enjoyed this list! If you have a type you would like to add, please do so below! Or just talk about movie adaptations in general. Whatever, really. We can talk here. It’s not like we’re in a movie theatre or anything.

~SAT

Censoring Myself in the Publishing World

10 Jul

Fantasy is More Fun is giving away tons of prizes to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Check out the raffle by clicking here, be sure to join, and you might win ten novels! Minutes Before Sunset is included!

Censoring Myself in the Publishing World

It’s hard to be yourself in an art industry – as strange as that sounds.

Correction: It’s hard for me to be %100 myself 24/7 in the publishing industry. Perhaps this a fact of life – not just something in the publishing industry – but I have found myself censoring myself about my lifestyle because I’m afraid that I will lose readers if they don’t agree with me. (Personally, I don’t see why we have to agree about everything, but this still happens.) This happens in and outside the publishing world, but I wanted to share the topics I struggle with as an author in order to help other authors talk about their personal troubles. I also hope to take my first step at being %100 honest without fear of reader rejection.

So here is a list of things I have been afraid to mention before:

Books I Dislike and Like:

This isn’t about if they are good or not. I am a firm believer in the fact that books can both be good and be disliked. My personal example of this is Divergent. I just could not get into it. I could not wrap my mind around a society the forces you to be only ONE thing, and the color scheme seemed too simple for such a complex topic. I also felt like it had a lot of religious undertones that made me very uncomfortable. That being said, I still think Veronica Roth is a fantastic writer. I can see a variety of reasons to love it. I can appreciate her prose. On the opposite spectrum, I enjoyed Twilight. There. I said it. Granted, I was 14 when I read it, so it was also marketed to girls my age at the time. I actually remember buying Twilight after a friend told me about it and being reluctant only to go back the very next day to buy the second book that had just released. It wasn’t until much later that I considered the themes in it – when others saw it as abusive, I saw it as just a story – just entertainment. Either way, it still makes me really sad when readers hate on other readers, so that’s why I think I censor myself about my personal book tastes. I don’t want a fan to think I’m attacking their favorite book, because I understand how personal a book can mean to a reader, how much joy and heartbreak can come when a reader loses themselves in a story and how destructive it can feel when others try to tear it to pieces.

I smoke hookah and I drink:

I’m 23, so both of these acts are legal for me, but I try not to mention this about myself because my readers are primarily young adults, and I don’t want to encourage them to do either of the things. As a contradiction, my next novel, Take Me Tomorrow, deals with a lot of themes about drugs in society, including the youth. The sad fact is that many young adults find themselves involved with drugs. This a reality. But my biggest fear is someone telling me their kid blamed me for trying hookah or trying a drink. Here’s another ugly truth: my mother died from a drug overdose. They were legal painkillers prescribed to her. So I know the deadly consequences that can derive from drug use, legal or not. Perhaps – because of my various experiences – I am sensitive to how people perceive me in regards to the drugs in my upcoming novel. Who knows? When I’m asked in interviews “Where do you write?” I find myself struggling to answer honestly, “In a local hookah house.” Because I don’t want other kids to smoke because I smoke occasionally. I know it’s bad for you. I understand this. I am only afraid readers will somehow think I am saying it’s good for you when I’m not.

From Post Advertising

From Post Advertising

Depression associated with publishing:

It happens. I have days where I struggle – just like any person in any industry – but there seems to be a strange stigma associated with artists. If we complain, we aren’t grateful. If we complain, we are selfish because there are so many writers who wish they were published. But can’t we be honest? Can’t we say it’s hard? Can’t we feel sad sometimes, too?

Characters I’ve based off of people:

I don’t directly and purposely try to base my characters off of people in my life, but – as time passes – I can see strong correlations. Still, I am terrified of admitting to my relationships (friends or not) with these people because many of these people are no longer in my life. It feels rude. It feels selfish. Maybe I’ll get over it. Maybe I won’t. But sometimes – when I realize this – I miss them. I miss the characters that were once my closest friends. And I have struggled to even make friends. Since I moved around a lot as a child, friends didn’t last very long. We always moved. But losing friends when I still lived in the same area was an extremely difficult part of my teenage years. I didn’t have to deal with it until I was 15 – and it was hard. Really hard. I couldn’t comprehend how someone I confided in could turn their back on me (or how I managed to turn my back on others.) So when those characters clear up, it can be confusing and unreal and strange, so it’s much easier to deny the possibility that my characters might – in fact – be them.

Certain scenes:

When I was younger, it was easier to be true to the story. I didn’t care what readers thought of a controversial scene, but now I find myself changing them or cutting them out completely – mainly because I or people I have met have gone through many of these trials and I don’t want to stigmatize the victims. I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want to trigger something.

My personal life:

So you know I have a cat. You know I live in Kansas. You know that I work for AEC Stellar as an author and an employee. You know I lost my mother at a young age and my college roommate. But you don’t know how much I mentally struggle to believe that I created a relatable female character because I struggle to relate to females in general (which I think stems from the fact that I was mainly raised by my father and brother, therefore feeling more comfortable around males.) I’m also more comfortable writing as a male, and when readers ask me about it, I get really uncomfortable about it, because I don’t even know why. To clarify, I’m not uncomfortable with the fact that I enjoy writing as a boy; I get uncomfortable when someone tries to make sense of it, like there has to be a reason for it. I – on the other hand – just want to accept it for what it is. The only other topic I would like to clarify on is that I am not just a “cat person.” I grew up with dogs, and I love and miss my husky, Shadow. (So much so that Argos in Take Me Tomorrow is based off of him.) He was in my life for 15 years. If I had a yard and the proper time and money for a puppy, I would get one. But I don’t. So I have my cat, Bogart, and I love him very much. But I love cats and dogs and pretty much every animal on the planet.

There are ugly parts of everyone’s life and art, but – even though it is common – it is hard to confess to those darker moments. That being said, confessing to those thoughts can help others who struggle with truths they avoid. I like to believe that my “ugly” parts aren’t ugly at all. I am human. That’s what makes us artists.

Feel free to share those things you avoid mentioning below! It’s quite a freeing moment, and I’m glad to share my struggles here, especially if it helps other artists come out with their struggles!

~SAT

Is that Novel REALLY Dystopian? How Market Trends Affect Incorrect Labeling

14 Mar

yDhftSBDesirable Purity asked me about my inner life, including what my secrets are. If that isn’t enough to intrigue you into reading my latest interview, I also shared a verse of poetry I have never released and shared a message to those  who see me as an inspiration. Desirable Purity also made the lovely banner you see on the left, so check out the full interview by clicking here.

With the Divergent movie releasing in a week, my television commercials are filled with dystopian images – a broken society, a dramatic tension, a fight against suppression. We’ve seen these images before, especially with the recent popularity of The Hunger Games sending this genre into the “What is Hot” category on numerous entertainment websites.

This happens all of the time.

The popularity of one novel is the catalyst for a growing infatuation with that genre. While dystopian has been around for ages, there has definitely been an increase in the recent market – but is the market ACTUALLY filled with dystopian novels or just novels claiming to be dystopian when they are, in fact, something else entirely?

I believe a mixture of both has happened, but I will get into why I think that is later. First, I want to take this moment to clarify that I am not against dystopian novels at all. In fact, my first novel, November Snow, is definitely dystopian, and that was published in 2007, one year before The Hunger Games. So I’ve always been a HUGE fan of dystopian. This piece is more along the lines of how to understand the industry and how we shift popularities by blending genres over time.

So let’s tackle this genre where I believe it gets confused:

There are many novels out there claiming to be dystopian when they probably aren’t. Not really anyway. Instead, they fall into sub-categories, like science-fiction and post-apocalyptic. And not every novel in those categories are dystopian.

What’s the difference? Let’s break it down: (Definitions provided by The Oxford Dictionary)

  • Post-apocalyptic: “Denoting or relating to the time following a nuclear war or other catastrophic event…Denoting or relating to the time following the biblical Apocalypse”
  • Dystopian: “An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.”

And just for clarification reasons:

  • Utopia: “An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.”

Here is the main difference for me: Post-apocalyptic is more about an event’s effect on the world, while dystopian is more about a setting’s effect on the world (like government.) Aliens fighting humans to the death is post-apocalyptic. Aliens setting up a new, controlling government where fights take place is dystopian. Both are science-fiction.

So, why all the confusion?

Actually, I don’t believe there’s confusion at all. Instead, this is generally a marketing strategy, and a successful one at that. When novels are labeled by category, there are many options to consider, but the market often chooses to take advantage of that blurry line in order to gain more readers by convincing them that it is just like the last book they loved. And you know what? Readers might actually love it. (So, yes, I’m not saying this is always a bad thing. I’m just pointing out why I think this happens.)

Personally, I LOVED this article: Dystopian Fiction: What is it Really? 

It explains why Lauren Oliver’s Delirium trilogy and Lauren DeStafano’s The Chemical Garden trilogy are NOT in the same genre despite both of them being labeled as dystopian. As a lover of both of those trilogies, I found myself nodding my head at every sentence of this article. (Also, the writer’s name is Shannon, too. Small world full of Shannon’s. Beware.) It’s definitely worth the read if you want to know more about the differences between the genres.

But because of the blending of these genres, I wanted to add one more thing:

If I had to guess where the market is headed, I would say that this exact blending of genres will cause science-fiction to be the next “big” thing, but who knows what will take over next? My bet is on aliens.

What do you think? Have you seen genres blend during popularity spikes? Do you think the blending affects where the market takes off next?

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

Join me on FB, and your responses might be used next!

On my Facebook author page, I asked what makes a novel dystopian, and here were a few answers:

Alexis Danielle Allinson: Dystopian to me means a darker, non-conformity ending whether it is death, hum drum life goes on, the “bad-guy” takes over or the end of everything. (continued on FB page.)

Dan Thompson: My current WIP ‘Here Lies Love’ touches on dystopian themes. In my story, the sun has disappeared, leaving existence and life futile and mundane. More of subsistence really. My book isn’t about the dystopian setting however, more about how my main character deals with the obstacles thrown at her and how she tries to create a life for herself.

Tell us your thoughts below!

~SAT

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