Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Vendetta Nation Blog Tour

Vendetta Nation
Genres: YA, Dystopian
Published: October 18th, 2013
What if you gave up everything you knew and loved for a lie? 
Nearly one year ago, Celaine Stevens made the choice to leave her life behind to join The Epicenter, an organization charged with bringing down The Man in Black - a terrorist and the one responsible for the murder of her entire family. Battling conflicting emotions and the pain her decision caused, Celaine tells herself that her sacrifices will all have been worth it when The Man in Black is finally apprehended. 
But, instead of hunting the elusive entity, Celaine and her partner Ian Grant find themselves preparing for a war looming on the horizon. Angered by President Brook’s ever-tightening restrictions, a rebellion has formed, leading the charge against the President and anyone who stands in their way. Caught in the middle, Celaine and Ian are forced to choose sides, having to decide whether to align themselves with the rebellion, whose motives they question, or obey the orders given to them by an organization they are steadily growing to distrust. 


Preparing and Planning the Dystopian Novel
With the popularity of series such as The Hunger Games, Divergent, Matched and Legend (just to name very few), dystopian novels have permeated the literary world in seemingly endless droves. Being both a fan of dystopian fiction and an author of it, the appeal of this genre is apparent to me, for dystopian novels contain some of the most action-packed, exciting, and heartfelt stories in fiction. Part of this reason stems from the overall complexity of the plots themselves. A typical dystopian novel often encompasses more than one genre, containing much deeper storylines and far more complicated plots, the likes of which, in my opinion, tend to be absent from novels in other genres.

But what makes a dystopian novel? What kind of research and preparation goes into its development? In my writing journey, I have found the answers to those questions to be just as complicated and varied as the actual novel.

What makes a dystopian novel? In order for a novel to be a dystopian novel, the setting must be in a place that consists of one’s worst nightmare in some way, shape or form. Typically, these novels are set in a totalitarian environment where basic human rights have been stripped away, leaving the masses to fend for themselves, living in sheer fear of the world around them. But as horrible as they may seem, in order for these make believe settings to work, they also have to be realistic enough for the reader to be able to relate to them in a way that they can believe in their existence. This in and of itself is difficult and doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the amount of research many dystopian novels require in order to get them right. Therefore, I would highly suggest to anyone who is thinking about writing in this genre that they do their research into past events in history where dystopians were more of a reality than fiction.

When creating your own dystopian setting, a writer may want to reflect on historical events and use elements taken from those events in the story they create, such as dictatorships, totalitarian leaders. Adding this slice of historical familiarity allows the reader to connect with the story and may actually get them to believe it could happen again.

The government and governmental corruption are huge hallmarks in dystopian fiction and it is in these areas that most of the extensive research is done - at least it was for me. In my novels, I found myself having to research the amendments to the Constitution, examples of totalitarian rule, dictatorships, and a little bit about the military and geography. Granted, my research wasn’t extensive, but I was able to get more of a feel for how my characters should act and how societies under these types of rule function. A simple Google search can take you to various articles on the Internet that will provide you with enough information to make your story accurate.

Other forms of research one could do when writing dystopian fiction is reading dystopian fiction. As I mentioned above, there are plenty of novels to use as your reference. See what other authors have done and expand or improve upon it. Everyone has their own ideas of what constitutes a dystopian environment and the beauty with this genre is that the possibilities are endless, whether they involve government corruption, a zombie apocalypse, changes in climate, or an overzealous military. Just have fun with it and keep writing.

A fine mist fell from the sky, but did nothing to dampen the spirit of the crowd nor diminish the gloating smile on Brooks’ face. Even from within the confines of my suit, I could feel the chill in the air. It sent a shiver down my spine. The resistance was coming, I could sense it, and the anxiety I felt preceding it was unnerving. I glanced over at the soldiers again. They remained stiff, unnerved. Could they sense it, too, or were they where it was all coming from in the first place? Again, I found myself fixated on them. They were all too perfect. In their coordinated movements, their lack of emotion, their robotic nature.

Their robotic nature.

 Then it hit me. “Your brainwaves are picked up by receptors in your helmet while you’re in the simulation so, yes, in a sense I can control them.” That conversation Ian and I had with Cameron while outside the simulation room the day he manipulated my body. Was it possible that this was occurring on a much grander scale? I imagine that if Cameron could come up with something so diabolical, Brooks probably had someone in his back pocket who could trump it tenfold…or even Cameron himself. Of course, The Epicenter was funded by the Brooks’ administration. It only made sense that their investment produce dividends somehow. I felt the rage boiling from within the very depths of my soul. If my suspicions were true, what else had we been lied to about?

 Brooks’ sudden silence broke my attention away from the soldiers. He stood, staring out on the horizon, his expression remarkably unchanged, perhaps even a little relieved as though he’d been anxiously awaiting a party guest who’d arrived fashionably late. Ian’s relaxed form hardened in my peripheral vision. His body was already preparing itself for a fight. A gasp escaped from the lips of most in the crowd. On the sidelines, the soldiers came to life, awakening as though someone had flipped their switch to ‘on’.

Our worst fears were coming to fruition. Tonight, there would be a battle where clear sides would be drawn once and for all. Where true superheroes would come to life and blood would stain the ground.
Sara Furlong Burr  
Sara "Furlong" Burr was born on February 1, 1982, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. At an early age, when it became apparent she wouldn't have the luxury of skating through life on her looks or athletic prowess, Sara found her true passion in writing. While in fifth grade, she wrote her first "novel"(whose name escapes her at the moment) about five friends who win a trip to Hawaii. At ninety-something pages, it was her crowning achievement during her childhood (you may now begin drawing your own conclusions on how sad a childhood Sara actually had).

After focusing much of her adult life on her family and career as a paralegal, Sara found the voices in her head becoming unrelenting and she returned to her true passion. Currently, she's working on the third book in the Enigma Black trilogy (due out in 2014). She's also tossing around ideas for a chick-lit book about two ill-fated lovers (Lord, help her).

When she's not writing, Sara enjoys reading (pretty much a given), attempting to garden, shopping (prerequisite to being a woman), and spending time with her family and friends who somehow manage to tolerate her numerous disappearances propagated by infrequent bouts of inspiration.

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