Author Kristen Simmons is in the Dystopian August hot seat today. Her debut ARTICLE 5 is coming out with Tor Teen on February 14, 2012 – just in time for a post-apocalyptic Valentine’s Day!
Here’s the teaser summary:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police — instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior — instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.
17-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.
In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.
And the interview:
Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
Because they mirror the world we live in. They make the "light" more identifiable. They highlight our struggles and put them into the context of a hero's journey. And who doesn't want to be a hero?
If ARTICLE 5 had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Ach! Love it! A5 has a whole playlist actually, but if I had to pick one song, I'd probably pick "Imaginary" by Evanescence.
What fictional character from another book would Ember chose as her best friend and why?
Ember would probably be BFF's with Viola from THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO. I think they'd connect over both being thrown into radically new and dangerous situations after suffering the loss of their families and homes. Plus they'd be able to push each other to do whatever they needed to do to survive.
What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
I'm not sure all of these are dystopian...but I'm going to classify them that way anyway:
THE KNIFE OF NEVER LETTING GO (the Chaos Walking Trilogy)
THE ROAD (it's adult, but it's so, so good)
THE HANDMAID's TALE
(ok, that's six. Sorry).
What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends? (you know, in case it ends next year)
Publish this book. Also see a castle. Also dance on Broadway.
How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
One of the things that makes A5 different from other dystopian thrillers is its place in time. Ember's world is not run by machines or Skynet, there are no hover crafts or futuristic weapons. Her world is much like our own, with similar technologies, communication methods, and social issues. However, within this similar reality exists a very different political structure - a moral regime, governed by a set of faith-based rules which have replaced the Bill of Rights. A5 looks at what might happen to life as we know it should the separation between church and state be dissolved and the punishments for noncompliance be taken too far. And Ember, like all of us, is forced to adapt to that environment while remembering what it was like before everything changed.
Visit Kristen’s website
Add ARTICLE 5 to your GoodReads wishlist
Kristen is also a part of Brave New Words, a group blog for YA sci-fi debuts in 2012
ALSO! Kristen has an advanced reader copy of ARTICLE 5 she’ll send to anyone in the world. To enter, fill out this form by September 3, 2011 at 11:59 pm CST. I am very envious of the winner!