This week is a double treat: interview + cover reveal of Rosanne Rivers, a debut YA author!
After the Fear
In Sola’s city, everyone obeys the rules. Stay away from the trigger cameras and regularly update your Debtbook, and you just might survive. But having to watch the way criminals are dealt with—murdered by Demonstrators in the Stadium—is a law Sola tries to avoid. When a charming Demonstrator kisses her at a party, however, she’s thrust into the Stadium and forced into the very role she despises.
Armed with only natural resourcefulness and a caring nature, Sola narrowly survives her first bout. Her small success means she’s whisked off to a training camp, where she discovers a world beyond the trigger cameras and monitoring—a world where falling in love with a killer doesn’t seem so terrible.
Yet life as a Demonstrator has no peace. Sola must train her way through twenty-five more Demonstrations before she can return home to her father. At the end of each battle, only one survivor remains.
Sola could face anyone in the Stadium . . . even a loved one.
Ladies and gents, here’s Rosanne Rivers.
What’s your book about and where did you get the idea for it?
RR: Well the book is set in England in the year 2099, where Roman-style gladiatorial battles are the government’s way of raising money to pay off the nation’s enormous monetary Debt. It follows Sola as she trains to become one of the top fighters (Demonstrators) in England, falls in love, discovers unlikely secrets and deals with the oppressive society she lives in.
As mundane as it sounds, I actually got the idea from the huge deficit England has at the moment! Politicians are always going on about it over here. I liked the idea that when you’re born, you’re already born with a personal debt that you can be called upon at any time to pay off. When it came to how someone was going to pay this off, I looked to football. There’s so much money in it, it’s crazy. No matter how much debt we’re in, we’ll always find a way of spending money on the things we like. So I made football matches into Roman-style one-on-one battles, and in my book that’s the hobby which everyone loves and is willing to spend money on.
For the rest of the society, (trigger cameras/ a mandatory social networking site called Debtbook etc) I just looked at the world we already live in. When I started writing, the government in England were talking about introducing cameras which activate when they hear certain ‘trigger’ words. And then there’s Facebook, which fits so perfectly into a dystopian world that it’s scary! Every element in my book is from something which I could see happening in the future, but sometimes it’s an augmented version.
Love this – you actually pluck inspiration from actual events…oh so scary, we’re this close to a dystopian world coming to life, me thinks.
My favorite movies/books have always been dystopian: 1984, Blade Runner, Brazil, Hunger Games trilogy…which stories would you consider your favorite and how did they play in your own writing for this book?
RR: Yeah it is a bit scary . . . yet so much fun to write about!
Oh I haven’t read Blade Runner or Brazil, I’ll have to check them out! My favourite dystopian books have to be The Hunger Games, The Handmaid’s Tale and Delirium, (with Inside Out and Uglies coming in very close, too!). I’m a bit slow to the game but I’ve just start reading Divergent, which is awesome. I think the dystopian trend certainly gave me the confidence to write and finish this book. Before The Hunger Games, I would have worried that no one wanted to read about a killer teenager! Once I had the idea, a lot of my inspiration came from history books and tales of gladiators. The camp in ATF is very much based on a Roman ludus, with lots of the training techniques being adapted versions of those used by gladiators.
Cool beans, bringing in History into your books…which makes me wonder, what’s your next project? Will you stay in the futuristic genre or jump trains?
RR: I’m so glad you asked. I’m just in the research and plotting stage of my next book . . . It’s a YA fantasy following a young woman who is part of an all-female organised crime gang. So it’s a detour from the futuristic genre, but there will still be lots of fighting. This time though, I’m hoping to get the reader on side with the ‘baddies’, because let’s face it, we all have a dark side!
Rosanne lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series.