Thursday, August 4, 2011

Author Interview: Kate Messner previews Eye of the Storm

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interviewed over 20 authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13.  These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works.  Enjoy!

Today we have Kate Messner (author of THE BRILLIANT FALL OF GIANNA Z among others) previewing her upper middle grade thriller EYE OF THE STORM due out March 2012 from Walker.

Here's the summary:

In the not-too-distant future, huge tornadoes and monster storms are a part of everyday life. Sent to spend the summer in the heart of storm country with her father in the special StormSafe community his company has developed, Jaden Meggs is excited to reconnect with her dad after he spent years researching storm technology in Russia. She’ll also be attending the exclusive summer science camp, Eye On Tomorrow, that her dad founded. There, Jaden meets Alex, a boy whose passion for science matches hers, and together they discover a horrible truth about her dad’s research that is putting countless lives at risk. As a massive tornado approaches, threatening to destroy everything in its path, Jaden is torn between loyalty to her dad and revealing his secret. Can she find the courage to confront her dad and save everyone from the biggest storm yet?

And it even has a cover already!

Now, onto the interview.

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
Well, for starters, dystopian novels are often really exciting, well-paced reads, and I think the suspense is one of the main draws for readers when it comes to this genre.

As far as the darkness, I’m not sure it’s the actual darkness that readers crave so much as the ability of dystopian fiction to ask the question, “What might our world be like, if…?” What might it be like if we let reality television spiral out of control? If we try to make everyone the same? If we don’t pay attention to our environment and our climate? I think some of the most effective dystopian novels challenge readers to think about our world’s modern-day issues by shining a light on worst-case-scenarios.

If EYE OF THE STORM had a theme song, what would it be and why? 
I’d choose “Storm” from Lifehouse’s “Who We Are” album for a couple reasons. First, because it fits the weather theme of EYE OF THE STORM, but more than that, it’s a song about love and about believing. That’s really what’s at the heart of EYE OF THE STORM…how the people who love us can help us find hope and courage even in the darkest times.

What fictional character from another book would Jaden chose as her best friend and why?
Jaden would love Meg Murry from A WRINKLE IN TIME because they’re both scientists and thinkers. And as long as we’re talking about books, I’ve always thought that Jaden would love reading BORROWED NAMES: POEMS ABOUT LAURA INGALLS WILDER, MADAME C.J. WALKER, MARIE CURIE, AND THEIR DAUGHTERS by Jeannine Atkins. Jaden loves poetry, and this book explores the relationships between these moms and daughters in verse. (I think Jaden would love the part about Marie Curie and her daughter most of all!)

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why? 
Well, the HUNGER GAMES trilogy is a huge favorite, but that’s not exactly an unsung hero in the world of dystopian literature. As far as lesser known books, I think GENESIS by Bernard Beckett is brilliant for YA readers, and for younger dystopia fans, I loved Leslie Connor’s CRUNCH. I blogged about both of those books (and other dystopian favorites) a while back – check it out!

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends? (you know, in case it ends next year)
I want to finish my next book! And if the world is ending next year, I’m also going to eat a whole lot of chocolate.

How does your novel stand out from other dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction out there?
EYE OF THE STORM is different in a few ways. First, it’s walking the line between upper middle grade and YA, so it’s great for middle school kids as well as high school. Second, it has a strong focus on meteorology and climate shifts, which is different from the usual oppressive government fare. And third, there’s more of a focus on science as a means to solve problems than I’ve seen in other books, which is something I really loved when I was writing, and I hope it’s an element of the book that readers enjoy, too.

Thank you Kate - sounds fab!

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Mary @ BookSwarm said...

I'm a total fangirl for Kate -- just bought her REAL REVISION book to use in my classroom. Looking forward to her newest! Thanks for the great interview.
Mary @ BookSwarm

Zibilee said...

I am loving these interviews and finding that I am learning a lot about both the genre and authors by reading them. I particularly like that first question and the varied answers that it gets. Thanks, Lenore!

Cheryl said...

That was a great interview!

Michelle said...

I so agree with Kate's comments on the strenght of dystopian being in those books that show us what our lives could be like. I'm always most moved by reads that have that realistic feel to them as if it could acually happen to us sooner than later.