Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dystopian Tour: Interview and Giveaways Foreverland series by Tony Bertauski


When kids awake on an island, they’re told there was an accident. Before they can go home, they will visit Foreverland, an alternate reality that will heal their minds.

Reed dreams of a girl that tells him to resist Foreverland. He doesn’t remember her name, but knows he once loved her. He’ll have to endure great suffering and trust his dream. And trust he’s not insane.

Danny Boy, the new arrival, meets Reed’s dream girl inside Foreverland. She’s stuck in the fantasy land that no kid can resist. Where every heart’s desire is satisfied. Why should anyone care how Foreverland works?

Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.

Hundreds of them.

There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.

When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.

More importantly, who they are.


Have you written in any other genres besides ya dystopian? What drew you to you this genre?
I’ve been fascinated by consciousness, identity and what this all means since I was young. I would read my grandfather’s science fiction books with elements of artificial intelligence and wonder what happened when they died? I suppose that’s why all of my writing deals with the big mysteries of life in one way or another. In a way, I write for my own exploration, in a sort of thought experiment approach, pulling apart our identities, exploring what makes us who we are. If I lost my memories, would I still be me? If I had my body parts replaced with synthetic replications, at what point would I not be me? Do I even need a body? What am I?

A few years ago, I figured I’d write a romance novel. Since all of my books have a romantic element, I thought it would be fun. Halfway through the novel, I found myself thinking more and more about the next project—a dystopian idea. So 40,000 words in, I scrapped the romance novel and got back to what I love.

How important are names to you in this book. Did you choose them based on sound or meaning?
Almost all of my books have names with special meaning, some foreshadowing a big twist. In The Annihilation of Foreverland, Reed’s name was symbolic of his ability to tolerate suffering, bending in the face of gale forces but never breaking. In Foreverland is Dead, Cyn…you’ll find out on the last page.

Where and when do you prefer to do your writing?
Back room with lots of windows. I used to play music, but I get more done if it’s just the birds singing and the neighbors cutting wood. Lately, I’ve been writing in local coffee houses for a change of scenery. It’s more expensive than my house, so not sure how long this will last.

Do you have another job besides author?

Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a hobby, a part-time passion. No plans to change it. 

Any movie, any book...who is your favorite antagonist?
A great antagonist is as important as the protagonist. I’ve always loved a character that, despite their heinous actions, no matter how despicable, you just can’t seem to hate them as much as you should. I thought Heath Ledger captured that ultimate paradox with The Joker.

About the author:
Short: Father, husband, teacher, writer. Not always in that order.

During the day, I'm a horticulturist. While I've spent much of my career designing landscapes or diagnosing dying plants, I've always been a storyteller. My writing career began with magazine columns, landscape design textbooks, and a gardening column at the Post and Courier (Charleston, SC). However, I've always fancied fiction.

My grandpa never graduated high school. He retired from a steel mill in the mid-70s. He was uneducated, but he was a voracious reader. I remember going through his bookshelves of paperback sci-fi novels, smelling musty old paper, pulling Piers Anthony and Isaac Asimov off shelf and promising to bring them back. I was fascinated by robots that could think and act like people. What happened when they died?
I'm a cynical reader. I demand the writer sweep me into his/her story and carry me to the end. I'd rather sail a boat than climb a mountain. That's the sort of stuff I want to write, not the assigned reading we got in school. I want to create stories that kept you up late.

Having a story unfold inside your head is an experience different than reading. You connect with characters in a deeper, more meaningful way. You feel them, empathize with them, cheer for them and even mourn. The challenge is to get the reader to experience the same thing, even if it's only a fraction of what the writer feels. Not so easy.

In 2008, I won the South Carolina Fiction Open with Four Letter Words, a short story inspired by my grandfather and Alzheimer's Disease. My first step as a novelist began when I developed a story to encourage my young son to read. This story became The Socket Greeny Saga. Socket tapped into my lifetime fascination with consciousness and identity, but this character does it from a young adult's struggle with his place in the world.

After Socket, I thought I was done with fiction. But then the ideas kept coming, and I kept writing. Most of my work investigates the human condition and the meaning of life, but not in ordinary fashion. About half of my work is Young Adult (Socket Greeny, Claus, Foreverland) because it speaks to that age of indecision and the struggle with identity. But I like to venture into adult fiction (Halfskin, Drayton) so I can cuss. Either way, I like to be entertaining.

And I'm a big fan of plot twists.


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Unknown said...

thank you for the giveaway, i am new to this genere but i am getting in to it, i like that it is like a thriller and you want to no what happens and you are routing fot the people and there is hardships and love and adventure and all the different things in it, sometimes paranomal and monsters just depending so yea great so far i look forward to all these books thank you

Hope To Read said...

dystopia books and world give a secret world away from the crap we deal with daily

Unknown said...

I love the novels/worlds of dystopian just because its an escape and I know itll sounds weird/rude but they have it normally so much worse then my life so getting into these stories I can see how they have it worse and still got out of it alive and that gives me the sense of power and hope that I need to get through my life. Oh and also just because normally the stories are pretty badass :)

Unknown said...

I like these worlds because they are just so different then are world. and they are action packed, and entertaing to read about, thank you for the giveaway