Today I'm thrilled to welcome young adult author Lisa M. Stasse to the blog to answer a few questions about her dystopian novel, The Forsaken. I thoroughly enjoyed this book (you can read my review here) and am already counting down the days until the next book is released. Welcome to Supernatural Snark Lisa!
You’ve just woken up on the wheel groggy and disoriented. What’s the first thing you do?
I try to find anything I can use as a weapon, like a pointed tree branch or something. I paint my face and arms with mud to blend in with the landscape. I try to hide and hike my way through the jungle toward one of the villages in the blue sector, where I'll be safe. If I'm forced to fight, I act as crazy as possible to try to scare the drones away from me!
The young men and women that make up Alenna and Liam’s village are all responsible for individual tasks that aid the village as a whole. In what capacity do you think you’d find yourself so as to be most beneficial to those around you?
I would probably not be particularly useful on the wheel, given that I am addicted to Starbucks coffee and to my laptop and iPhone. However, if I was stuck in the village, I would probably be best at cooking (like Rika). I love to cook, and I would rather do that than slaughter people or build huts, so that's probably where I'd end up.
David is an extremely interesting character who keeps us questioning his motives throughout despite how desperately we want to trust him. Name one character from another book who kept you suspicious of them the entire time you were reading.
Yay, I'm so glad you liked David and thought he was interesting! He's one of my favorites. So this actually isn't from a book, but the last character I really loved but was crazily suspicious of for the longest time was the character Sawyer on the TV show LOST.
If you found yourself facing one of the few remaining cameras on the wheel and knew your family could see you even if they couldn’t hear you, what would you try to say to them?
I would want them to know that I love them. And that I hadn't done anything wrong to get sent to the wheel! I'd probably try to tell them not to worry about me too much either, and that I was going to head to the gray zone to try to escape!
Do you remember the first sentence of The Forsaken you wrote? Did it survive all the edits?
In the editing process, I added a brief prologue to the book, so that changed things around a bit. But the first sentence of Chapter 1 actually did make it through all the edits: "As our bus approaches the Harka Museum of re-education, I peer out the window at the soldiers standing out front in the sculpture gardens." I think the only thing I added was the word "Harka" along the way. Other than that, it survived intact!
The feelers are absolutely terrifying in that they represent the unknown. Those who are taken are never seen again, so no one on the island knows exactly what happens once someone gets caught in their grasp. Are they a part of the wheel that popped into your head early on in the writing process, or were they something that came about once other details about the island were in place?
The feelers were actually suggested to me by my husband (who is an obsessive sci-fi fan) when I was babbling to him about all my ideas for the wheel in the planning stages of the book. I instantly took the idea and ran with it! I wanted something really scary, like the tripods in War of the Worlds, and also really technological. Even now, many of our prisons are automated in different ways (as strange as that is) so I wanted to push that concept as far as I could. So they were always part of the design for the wheel. They are essentially the mechanism by which the UNA keeps control over the island.
If Alenna could get a one-sentence message back to the people still living in the UNA about what happens on the wheel, what would she say?
"Worst vacation ever!" Okay, but seriously, she would not say that. That's the kind of silly thing that I would say. But Alenna is very earnest, and the book's journey involves her coming into her own and discovering her own personality and her own strength. I think she would say something like: "Don't trust the government, because the wheel is a lie, and it's filled with normal kids, not criminals, and you need to fight back against the UNA and rebel, before it's too late!"
Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Lisa! More information on Lisa and her books can be found here:
Amazon Buy Link
THE FORSAKEN (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.