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, October 29, 2014

The price of freedom just might be her own life - Balance Broken (Starbright #2) by Hilary Thompson


Balance Broken is the second in the Starbright series. In the first book, Justice Buried, Astrea fights to remain independent in a world which demands she submit to an ancient prophecy. In Balance Broken, she learns that independence means little when the world is depending on her.

The world cries for Order, but she’s igniting a revolution.

One hundred years before, the Great Sickness reduced the world to three cities. Now, Asphodel no longer lingers underground, and the Starbright Maiden of Justice has returned.

Everyone has faith in Astrea’s ability to save the world - but only she knows the dark truth about her powers.

Astrea teams with Stian, Lexan, and Zarea to enlist the help of Lord Hadeon of Tartarus. They hope Hadeon will aid in attacking Asphodel’s First Leader Keirna, but the Destroyer usually takes lives, not sides.

As Astrea discovers life outside of Asphodel, she begins to wonder whether the remaining world is too broken to save - especially since the price of freedom just might be her own life.

Thank you, Mrs. Hilary Thompson 
Starbright series started with a prophecy. What do you and your characters believe about destiny vs. free will? 
Astrea and Lexan actually discuss this a bit in the books. Astrea doesn’t believe in destiny because she’s heard of people trying to outsmart a prophecy or create their own destiny – she craves free will! Lexan is the more religious of the two, and he believes the teachings of the society much more. He believes that even if it appears that people are changing their destiny, they are really following the gods’ plans – often without realizing how their actions fit into the overall master plan. 

I lean more toward Lexan’s point of view, but it’s definitely a riddle! One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from Astrea’s mother: “Sometimes we don’t know what we’re made for until life unfolds.” 

What is important for the stories that shouldn’t be put in the main book? What is the purpose of the novellas in a series? 
From an author’s point of view, the novellas give me an outlet to explore other characters. I really enjoyed Lexan as a narrator! I’m also planning novellas from Stian’s and Aitan’s points of view. Stian’s will tell the story of his life before Asphodel. Aitan’s will tell what is happening in Asphodel after Astrea and Lexan leave. The main points of each will be added to the full-length books for clarity, but the novellas are like watching the bonus scenes and end-credit scenes in a movie. Everyone loves those extra bits of story! 

From what I saw, the personal and general interest dilemma is present in Balance Broken. How did you (and/or the characters) sustain the opposite points of view? 
I think this question ties back to character growth, and how we mature as people. Most of us start out pretty selfish and self-centered, and as we age, we become more other-centered and concerned about the good of the communities where we live. Since Astrea is a teenager, she’s in the middle of this growing up – a classic coming-of-age story. But she’s being put in a very dramatic version of the conflict. She has to give up so much in order to truly help her community, that the reader is drawn into sympathy for her. We don’t want her to have to give everything up just to save people who should have led better lives! 

Starbright series is categorized as Young Adult. What is your opinion about the messages (hidden between the lines) of the book and about how big issues young readers can handle? 
I think young readers already handle bigger issues than most adults are comfortable with them handling. I teach high school, and your average teenager is certainly not sheltered any longer. However, I don’t know each of my readers’ personal journey, so I try to stay sensitive on tough topics. Astrea grapples with a lot of heavy issues, including death, addiction, self-sacrifice, unwanted sexual advances, and untrustworthy adults. She does a lot of things I wouldn’t approve of, but that’s part of learning who she is. Real people make mistakes, and hopefully they learn to question their own actions and make better choices. 

One of the messages I’m not really hiding is how I believe young people need to be independent, and not always define themselves by who they are in a relationship with. Astrea wants and needs to learn what kind of person she is by herself, before she can define who she is with another person. 

What are the advantages/disadvantages of being a teacher – for a writer who writes young adult? 
One of the best benefits is seeing how young people interact with each other, and what they are interested in. I think my dialogue is more realistic because I hear young people speak every day, and I’ve learned the cadence. Even though I’ve created different slang words, I hope that my characters sound like real people! 

One disadvantage is that sometimes I get discouraged by how few teenagers actually read. Many of my students never read for pleasure, and rarely even for an assignment. I know that a lot of adults don’t read either, and it makes me wonder about job security! But there are always a few reading fanatics in each class – and they give us all hope for the future! 

About the author:
Hilary Thompson was born to parents who made a habit of taking roads less traveled. But she was also a first child, and an independent, willful child, so she has made a habit of taking a few roads on her own.

After trying on hats made for artists, architects, restaurant and retail workers, landscape designers, legal secretaries, and professional students, she retreated back to her first loves of education and writing.

Hilary now teaches high school full time, writes whenever and wherever she can, and reads as much as her eyes can handle. She also tries not to spoil her own independent, willful children or neglect her wonderful soul-mate of a husband too much. She tends to ignore laundry baskets and dirty dishes.

Author's Giveaway
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Shane @ItchingforBooks said...

Good interview. Thanks for participating :)

Cheryl R said...

I am also discouraged to see many teens do not read, I have been blessed with two teens that have gone to the library at lunch time so they can feed their desire to read a lot.

Spg Chlomo said...

awesome interview :)

Julie Waldron said...

Would love this for my daughters, they both LOVE to read :) Thanks for the giveaway!

Unknown said...

I was lucky my teen loved to read, I could not keep him out of the book store, he begged to go all the time. The excerpt is great. And I would so love this series. thanks for the giveaway

Unknown said...

Thanks so much for the amazing interview questions - they made me think! :) I hope your readers enjoy the answers, and good luck to all on the giveaway!

justwin4once said...

I like the quote “Sometimes we don’t know what we’re made for until life unfolds.” also. Seems to make so much sense.