It’s day four of the Wild Worlds buzz week and I am SO excited for today! I have Lisa M Stasse, author of THE FORSAKEN stopping by the blog today. She was gracious enough to chat with me about The Forsaken (which I already bought — just released July 10th!!). Here’s a quick summary of the book:
Synopsis from GoodReads: As an obedient orphan of the U.N.A. (the super-country that was once Mexico, the U.S., and Canada), Alenna learned at an early age to blend in and be quiet—having your parents taken by the police will do that to a girl. But Alenna can’t help but stand out when she fails a test that all sixteen-year-olds have to take: The test says she has a high capacity for brutal violence, and so she is sent to The Wheel, an island where all would-be criminals end up.
The life expectancy of prisoners on The Wheel is just two years, but with dirty, violent, and chaotic conditions, the time seems a lot longer as Alenna is forced to deal with civil wars for land ownership and machines that snatch kids out of their makeshift homes. Desperate, she and the other prisoners concoct a potentially fatal plan to flee the island. Survival may seem impossible, but Alenna is determined to achieve it anyway.
My “Halfway Through Review”: So I’ve had a lot on my plate recently and after I bought my copy of THE FORSAKEN (very giddily, I might add) I just got around to starting it recently and am now about halfway through. Already we’ve got danger, savages, action, romance, intrigue, and mystery and I’m so interested to see where Lisa takes us in this story! I’ve seen a few descriptions out there calling The Forsaken a combination of the TV show Lost and The Hunger Games – And I’d have to say that’s a pretty accurate description so far! Assuming Ms. Stasse doesn’t “pull a Lost” and leave all of our questions unanswered (I’m sure she won’t! And my Lost rant is something for another day), I can definitely see many similarities and the dystopian aspects of The Hunger Games are similar as well with the unified North America and an over-controlling government that people don’t seem to have much trust in. How do I feel halfway through? Curious. Suspicious. Craving more of Liam & Alenna, and so excited to see how these kids end up and if they can ever make it off that dang island!
INTERVIEW WITH LISA M. STASSE
Lisa was so kind as to chat with me about THE FORSAKEN and her favorite reading and writing habits!
Can you give us a brief summary of THE FORSAKEN?
LS: Alenna Shawcross, a sixteen-year-old girl from the United Northern Alliance, inexplicably fails a government personality test. She’s diagnosed with subversive tendencies and a high capacity for violence. She gets exiled by her government to a tropical prison island called “The Wheel” that is divided into colored sectors, where she has to choose a tribe and fight to survive. Along the way, she falls in love, forges alliances, and tries to escape from the island. She also learns some secrets about her own identity during the journey.
I see from your bio that you’ve lived in a few really interesting places (Spain, Russia, Hawaii) – Did your time in these exotic locations help you in the exploration of the “super-country” of the U.N.A. and creation of The Wheel?
LS: I studied political science as well as English in college. I always wanted to travel (I grew up in a really small town in upstate New York, so that probably had something to do with my desire to escape!) I think my travels definitely informed the creation of the U.N.A. and the wheel. For example, I learned a lot about tropical islands from my year in Hawaii! So that helped when it came time to create the island prison colony in the book. And seeing really different cultures like Russia and Spain broadened my way of looking at the world—especially Russia.
The Wheel sounds like a place I would never survive! How did you come up with the concept?
LS: It all began with a weird dream I had. A nightmare where I was being chased on a prison island by men in black robes with knives. When I woke up, I realized that a prison island for rebellious teenagers would be a cool setting for a book (or at least for part of a book). Then I started reading about different prisons and teen boot camps, and learned some details about them. Then I thought that in the future, there would probably be machines to keep the kids on the island and control everything. That was how “the feelers” (the flying machines that snatch kids and take them away) developed. So basically, the concept of the wheel came out of all different kind of things. And of course other dystopian novels like 1984, The Maze Runner, Brave New World, and The Hunger Games were also inspirations. So was Lord of the Flies and the TV show Lost.
Alenna seems like a real fighter and really tough-as-nails. Do you see a lot of yourself in her character?
LS: I wish I were as strong as she is. I hope that I at least have some of her perseverance. My friends tell me I’m more like Alenna’s friend Gadya (in that I’m outspoken even when I don’t mean to be—not that I have tattoos and dyed blue hair like she does!) But Alenna is definitely my favorite character in the book.
I have to say, I was first drawn in by the cover art. It’s amazing! Can you give us a little insight on how it ties into the book?
LS: I love the cover art too—I got really lucky. The designer, Lizzy Bromley, also did the covers for Wither and Level 2. She is super talented and got the feel of the book exactly right. The different colored lines on the front represent the different colored sectors on “the wheel.” And of course the satellite dish represents some of the ways in which the United Northern Alliance controls the population of the prison island, and its rampant use of surveillance. Of course the cover also has some other interesting parts to it, but I don’t want to give any spoilers away!
Why choose the young adult genre?
LS: I love reading YA books. It’s my favorite genre. And right now it seems like there’s so much cool stuff and energy happening there. My favorite books of the last couple years have all been YA (from The Hunger Games and Divergent to Where Things Come Back).
And now a little less serious, and a little more fun – Quick Bookish Q&A!
Where is your favorite place to read/write?
LS: At my desk in the living room, listening to music with my two cats and my husband nearby.
Are there any authors you’re dying to meet?
LS: JK Rowling would be awesome. It would also be fun to meet Suzanne Collins. I met Ellen Hopkins recently at ALA and she was really nice and gave me great advice.
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
LS: I love Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood.
Who’s your biggest literary crush?
LS: I love all of John Green’s characters—hard to pick a favorite. Love Miles aka Pudge from Looking for Alaska even though I don’t think of him as a literary crush. 😉
Who’s your favorite literary villain?
Romance or Sci-fi?
LS: I read both. Probably sci-fi at the moment.
LS: Hardcover is my favorite, but I will read any format. I have a Kindle and Nook, but still love paper books.
THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME! I really appreciate it! 🙂
Thank YOU, Lisa!!! I had so much fun with our interview and learning more about THE FORSAKEN!
Here are some links to hook you up with some more info about THE FORSAKEN and Lisa Stasse:
- Book trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GtIwks26SZU
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/lisamstasse
- Twitter: @lisamstasse
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/lisamstasse
- Website: www.lisamstasse.com
I’ve already got my copy! Get yours at:
Want to win a SIGNED COPY of THE FORSAKEN? Thanks to Lisa, I’ve got one up for grabs! Enter here for a chance to win!!
| GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED |