A thought-provoking and exciting start to a riveting new dystopian trilogy.
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.
Hello Lisa, thanks for sharing with YA Fresh! Please tell us about your debut novel The Forsaken.
Lisa: THE FORSAKEN is a dystopian novel about a 16-year-old girl named Alenna Shawcross. She's a "good girl" who has never done anything wrong. But when she inexplicably fails a mandatory government personality test (and is diagnosed with highly subversive tendencies and a capacity for brutal violence) she is immediately exiled to a harsh prison island known as "The Wheel". There, she must quickly figure out how to make friends, how to fight back, and how to escape from the island--or else she is not going to survive for very long. The Wheel is divided into different sectors, and controlled by wild tribes. There are also government machines patrolling the sky that snatch kids and take them away for secret experiments. THE FORSAKEN is kind of like a cross between The Hunger Games, the TV show LOST, and Lord of the Flies--although hopefully it's also it's own unique thing!
Wow, sounds fantastic! What was the main inspiration for this book?
Lisa: The idea came from a nightmare I had about being chased by men in black robes on a tropical prison island, as well as my dislike of standardized tests like the SAT. The two things merged, and I came up with a vision of the future in which a standardized personality test determines your entire fate. If you pass, you get to live and work as a productive member of society. If you fail, you lose everything and are banished to The Wheel. But of course, the personality test is corrupt, and a lot of innocent kids get banished and have to fight it out with the crazed and violent ones.
What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Lisa: I finished Book 2 of THE FORSAKEN trilogy a few weeks ago. It's called THE UPRISING, and is larger in scope and darker than Book 1. I'm already working on the third and final book! In addition, I'm working on a supernatural thriller set in Detroit, about identity theft.
Cool! Thanks again for visiting with us, Lisa! Would you like to close with a writer's tip?
Lisa: My advice for aspiring writers is to read as many great books as possible (in all genres) and to write something every day. It doesn't have to be anything amazing. For years, most of the writing I did was just keeping a journal. But if you read a bunch of great books, and write each day, you will definitely get better as a writer! I read about 3-5 books/week, and I try to write something each day (even if I throw it out the next day, hehe). It's a constant learning process. But it's also a lot of fun!
Okay YA Freshers, check out Lisa's awesome book trailer below! Cool, huh? Lisa has been kind enough to offer up a copy of The Forsaken to a lucky YA Fresher. Leave a comment on this blog post between now and Monday, August 20th, 2012 (USA residents only please) and a lucky winner will be chosen and announced Tuesday (August 21st). Thanks and good luck!!
Lisa M. Stasse was born in Syracuse, New York, and has since lived in Spain, Russia, Hawaii, and North Carolina. She graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Government and English literature, and is currently a digital librarian at UCLA. Lisa loves watching science fiction movies, cooking Spanish food, and dancing around her house to 80's music (when no one is watching). She lives in Santa Monica, California with her husband and their two-year-old daughter. All three of them are learning how to surf. Visit her website, www.lisamstasse.com.