Book Editorial, Books, Editorials

Guest Post: Lissa Price talks about going from fan girl to author at cons

For our last post for the Lissa Price Featured Author Week Lissa talks about what it’s like to go from con fangirl to published author sitting on a panel with some of her favorite writers, and about an awesome anthology she’s a part of with the possibility of winning an award. Take it away Lissa!

****

Going From Fan to Author at WorldCon

photo-144 Tight CropBefore I was a published author, I went to several of the legendary WorldCons, the major convention where the Hugo Awards are presented. I loved listening to authors like George RR Martin and Neil Gaiman read. I met Cory Doctorow in a kaffeeklatsch and even got to have tea with Neil and a few other fortunate members.

That was fantastic and inspiring. Then, once I became a published author, I got to participate on panels side-by-side with such established, award-winning authors as Nancy Kress, Jay Lake, Charlie Stross, Harry Turtledove and more.

So I’m excited about the possibility of attending LonCon3, the next WorldCon set in London. As a bonus, I am in the Campbellian Anthology, an online collection of samples by the writers eligible for the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer.  The first part of Starters is there, as well as “Portrait of a Spore,” a short story that is otherwise exclusive to the Starters paperback. This book, edited by M. David Blake, is available for a free download for a limited time – it may end after March 31st, the deadline for nominations. Even if you are not a member eligible to nominate, you can enjoy the anthology which has over a hundred new writers.

The Campbell Award is given to the best new writer whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the two previous calendar years. I’m in my second and last year of eligibility to be nominated for this award, with endorsements by Grandmaster Harlan Ellison, Kami Garcia (Beautiful Creatures and Unbreakable) and David Gerrold, Hugo and Nebula winner for The Martian Child and screenwriter for Star Trek (The Trouble with Tribbles).

The prize is named in honor of science fiction editor and writer John W. Campbell, whose science fiction writing and role as editor of Analog Science Fiction and Fact made him one of the most influential editors in the early history of science fiction.

http://stupefyingstories.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/announcing-2014-campbellian-anthology.html

http://io9.com/a-trove-of-great-science-fiction-and-fantasy-free-for-1514412496

****

Thanks Lissa! Be sure to check out the links, and don’t forget to enter to win a copy of Lissa’s books! 

 

 

Book Interviews, Books, Interviews

Interview: Lissa Price talks about her ‘Starters’ world in this exclusive interview!

Lissa Price was awesome enough to sit down with us and answer some questions about her series,  her characters, her writing process, what she’s reading, and more! Enjoy this exclusive interview. Now, without further ado, take it away Lissa!

****

lissa price1: For those who are unfamiliar with you, tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the author of the YA science fiction thriller series STARTERS and ENDERS. I live in the hills in Southern California minutes away from Hollywood, so my life is a mix of wildlife neighbors and preview screenings with directors.  I’m a fan of Walking Dead, Christopher Nolan, and the French series, Les Revenants (The Returned).

2: In your own words, can you give us a little summary of the Starters/Enders world?

The premise of Starters is that after the Spore Wars, which wiped out all people between the ages of 18 and 60 who did not get the vaccine, desperate teens — Starters — rent out their bodies to seniors, called Enders, so they can be young again temporarily.

Starters without any grandparents, like Callie, my main character, would be assigned to workhouses. Instead, she chooses to squat in abandoned office buildings with her little brother Tyler until they are smoked out by the marshals. That drives Callie to seek out Prime Destinations, where she rents out her body to earn money to feed her brother. But she realizes something has gone wrong when she wakes up in the life of her rich renter and discovers her body is being used to assassinate a senator.

3: I’ve heard you talk about this before in interviews, but for our readers, can you talk about how you were inspired to write about the science behind the books (I’m thinking of the vaccine thing we talked about at CC last year)?

I got the idea for Starters at my local Costco. I went to the pharmacy to get a flu shot but there wasn’t enough vaccine for everyone. So, the US government had set up a triage system. The very young and the elderly, and of course the infirm, were to get the vaccine first. It looked like a dystopian future with long lines of people in Costco, hoping to score the injection. I left without the shot. But I thought, wow, what if this was a devastating disease and the only ones left were the weakest members of society? What kind of world would that be?

4: Take us through the process of developing a world based around the Spore wars and the subsequent results.

So I had the landscape of only the Starters and Enders, for the most part. A few Middles existed due to the black market or special favors to get the vaccine, but mostly you don’t see them.  I looked for the conflict between the young and the old, taking elements of what I see in the world around me and then exaggerating the conflict for dramatic effect.  Everything I built in the Starters world came out of necessity – I never built something because I thought it would be cool.

starters-pb5: You have a lot of love aspects in these two books. The big surprise at the end of book 1 really shocked me (and many other readers), and adding in Hayden to book two ups the ante even more. Talk to us about how you decided to the path of Callie’s love life in the midst of all of this turmoil.

Thanks. I love hearing from readers when they get to that part of the book. I get tweets saying “Everyone in my train car just stared at me because I gasped out loud!”

The love story is absolutely essential to the plot of the story, something that is pretty clear when you get to the end of Starters and definitive once you get to the end of Enders. Remove it and the story loses the scaffolding. Blake has to be there, he’s not just a subplot love story. Hyden in book two, same thing. Michael’s role is also important, but because of the part he plays, he doesn’t get as much time on the page in book one.  And Callie’s reactions to these guys is key to her development.

6: You have some interesting technology in these books. There’s the ability to hop into other people’s bodies, and then mind-controlling metal chips and all that they can do. Take us into the exploration and development of the awesome technology of the world.

I did a lot of research on the brain and then pretty much tossed it aside to go with my gut. I start with what I see is possible already – how minds can control robotic hands – and then take it further. So, in the story, Prime Destinations (which the Starters call the Body Bank) has the technology to allow for Enders to control a Starters’ body. A chip implanted in the Starter makes the connection. As the video trailer (insert link) says: “It’s as easy as going to sleep.” As a writer, I don’t want to bog down the pace with lengthy technical jargon – this is the conceit that the reader has to accept in the first few pages.

7: Callie has an interesting journey from the start of Starters to the end of Enders. What was it like developing her story? Did she as a character come naturally to you? What’s your favorite thing about Callie?

I liked that Callie was just a normal, middle-class girl with a home and family who found herself now living on the streets, scrounging for food and water, and trying to protect her brother. I think she shows my younger readers that no matter how bad things get, you have the courage and the skills to survive. She came very naturally to me, although some of her changes surprised me. My favorite thing is that no matter what horrible, crazy, mind-twisting thing I throw at her, she always gets back up, stronger than ever.

enders8: Tell us about your writing process. Walk us through a typical day. Do you outline a lot, or do you try and let the story flow as you’re writing?

When I’m working on a manuscript, I am at it all day, breaking for meals and exercise. I work late into the night because I’m a night person.  My writing process goes like this. I think about the story for a long time. I’ll sketch out ideas, make notes, visualize scenes. Then I write a synopsis.  I’ll have the main twists, key scenes, the ending. I work on that for a few weeks before I start writing chapter one. I try to stay loose, knowing that this is a charcoal sketch and I will go back later and change the lines. I will make scene notes on notecards that I put on a board. I have friends who use a computer program to do this but I prefer to do this manually. I spend so much time at a keyboard, it’s a pleasure to be able to stand and move cards around. Then, as I write, I use the headlight method. I know that I’m driving from L.A. to Philly, and that I’ll stop in one city on the way, but each night I can see as far as my headlights go. So you go page by page, listening to the characters, judging what they would do. It’s kind of a hybrid method.

9: What’s up next for you? Any new projects you are working on?

I have two projects that I’d love to talk about but cannot announce. I’ll just say that I’m very excited about both of them.

10: What’s on your reading shelf right now? Anything you’ve read recently that you’d recommend? We’re always looking for great books.

My to-read stack is more like a roomful of books, but I’m currently reading GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE by Andrew Smith. I just finished S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst and loved it.

Any final comments?

I’m so appreciate of the support of my fans. Readers can always reach me via my website: www.lissaprice.com and follow me on Twitter @Lissa_Price and LissaPriceAuthor on Tumblr and LissaPriceAuthor on FB

****

Thanks Lissa! Be sure to check her out on her social media sites mentioned above, and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy of each of her books! 

Book Events, Books, Events

Giveaway: Win A SIGNED copy of ‘Starters’ and an audiobook of ‘Enders’!

starters enders

For the Lissa Price Featured Author Week the author was kind enough to donate some amazing prizes for us to give away. There are two books up for grab, so be sure not to miss one! Not sure what the books are about? Be sure to check out our review of the series! 

Our giveaway process is simple, but unfortunately only open to residents of North America (sorry, international fans!). If you’re under 18, please make sure to get your parents’ permission to enter the giveaway. You can earn a total of six entries in the giveaway:

  • ONE entry for simply entering the giveaway
  • TWO entries for following us on Twitter
  • TWO entries for “liking” us on Facebook
  • ONE entry for talking about the giveaway on Twitter

The giveaways will stay open until Thursday, April 3rd , at 11:59 pm. Winners will automatically be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The first name of the winners will be announced on this post and the winners will be contacted by a member of our staff to begin the process of shipping out your prize. Good luck!

First up? You can enter to win a copy of Enders on audiobook! Audiobooks are so great for drives to work, road trips, or even when you’re cleaning (all of these are personally tested by yours truly. I couldn’t survive without my audiobooks!). So be sure to enter below to win a copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.jsAlso, do you want to start the series, or would you like to add a signed book to your personal library? You can enter below for a SIGNED paperback copy of Starters.  Thanks Lissa for this awesome prize!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway//d12vno17mo87cx.cloudfront.net/embed/rafl/cptr.js

 

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

Lissa Price’s ‘Starters’ and ‘Enders’ are fantastic dystopian sci-fi

Lissa Price’s books are amazing. Simple as that. I’m so excited to be reviewing this series . Starters blew me away when I read it, and I was so excited to get my hands on Enders, which didn’t disappoint either. Lissa’s strong writing and creative world sucked me in, and I was happy to stay there for a while. If you want some awesome dystopian sci-fi, this series is for you!

Because there are two books to summarize here, I’m going to use the official summaries for the stories:

starters enders

A riveting sci-fi dystopic thriller and series launch from the author of ENDERS.

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie.
Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter.
Callie soon discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than she could ever have imagined. . . .

The riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller STARTERS!
Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

When talking to Lissa about the initial idea of this book, she mentioned vaccinations and how when something first comes up it’s the young and old who get covered first. This concept led to the idea that all the others in between die, and the vaccinated are all that are left. What a terrifying world that would be, where there is no middle person. Lissa takes it one step further with the futuristic science, and I absolutely loved the idea of renting out a body. It made me think about what I would do in that situation (though, if this really happened, I’d be dead, as I’m in the in-between age), whether I’d offer up my body to be used, completely out of my control. But like so many of the young, there wasn’t really a choice if they wanted to survive and not waste away in the only other options, which were all terrible. This thought-provoking world was fun to play in, and I enjoyed the different scenarios that Callie was thrust into.

There were also a bunch of surprises in both books that I didn’t see coming, things that totally caught me off guard and had me gasping out loud. Don’t expect the expected in this series, for sure. Lots of great romance, suspense, and and unexpected twists and turns. It’s hard to review a series without giving too much away, but if you really love dystopians, and enjoy weird science, strong characters, and great romantic surprises, this series is for you!

Book Editorial, Book Events, Book Interviews, Books, Editorials, Events, Featured Author Week, Interviews

It’s Lissa Price (‘Starters’/’Enders’) week on Lytherus!

price, lissa copy

Hi all! We got off to a late start this week due to some site issues, so we’re going to be featuring Lissa into the weekend. But we’ll still have all the awesome goodies you expect from a featured author week!

Lissa is here to talk about her STARTERS series, which began with STARTERS and finished with ENDERS, which hit stores in January of this year. This series has made a big splash all over the world, and we here at Lytherus are big fans of Lissa’s work.

Here’s a summary of the books from Amazon (warning, there will be some mild spoilers from book one in the summary of book two):

starters-pbReaders who have been waiting for a worthy successor to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games will find it here. Dystopian sci-fi at its best, Starters is a terrific series kickoff with a didn’t-see-that-coming conclusion that will leave readers on the edges of their seats . . .” raves the Los Angeles Times. In the future, teens rent their bodies to seniors who want to be young again. One girl discovers her renter plans to do more than party–her body will commit murder, if her mind can’t stop it. Sixteen-year-old Callie lost her parents when the genocide spore wiped out everyone except those who were vaccinated first–the very young and very old. With no grandparents to claim Callie and her little brother, they go on the run, living as squatters, and fighting off unclaimed renegades who would kill for a cookie. Hope comes via Prime Destinations, run by a mysterious figure known only as The Old Man. He hires teens to rent their bodies to seniors, known as enders, who get to be young again. Callie’s neurochip malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her rich renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, even dating Blake, the grandson of a senator. It’s a fairy-tale new life . . . until she uncovers the Body Bank’s horrible plan. . . .

 

endersThe riveting conclusion to the sci-fi thriller STARTERS!
Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael—teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations—Starters who can be controlled and manipulated. With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life—but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?

No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.

Here’s what’s on the list for Lissa goodies this week:

Weds: Summary of the features

Thurs: Review of STARTERS/ENDERS

Fri: Giveaway!

Sat: Interview with Lissa

Sun: Guest post by Lissa

Stay tuned as we bring you all of these wonderful things!

Book Events, Books, Events

SDCC12: Hungry for Dystopia Panel

San Diego Comic Con 2012 has a great spread of interesting and exciting panels, and one of the biggest was Hungry for Dystopia. Dystopian worlds are one of the most popular genres in fantasy lit (particularly YA) at the moment, thanks to books like The Hunger Games. On the Hungry for Dystopia panel seven awesome authors discussed why this genre is just so damn appealing, despite—or perhaps because—of its darker nature.

This was a stellar panel with some kick-butt novelists all set to discuss doom and gloom: Anna North (America Pacifica) led the discussion with panelists Neal Shusterman (Unwind trilogy), Lissa Price (Starters), Paolo Bacigalupi (The Drowned Cities, Ship Breaker, and The Windup Girl), Michael Grant (The Gone series, BZRK), Daniel H. Wilson (Robopocalypse and Amped), Gennifer Albin (Crewel), and Marie Lu (Legend trilogy). A few I haven’t read, but all I have heard of and have a lot of respect for their work and subsequent successes. They made up a great dystopian panel in the breadth of types of themes (environmental issues, political issues, technology issues, etc).

There were only a few questions, but that really allowed for the writers to go to town, talking about their various stories within the themes of the things asked. The first one asked what modern anxieties helped inspire their books. The answers were nanotechnology, age-prejudice vaccination, abortion, brain-altering chips, environmental destruction, and gender issues. Holy crap, it was amazing the variety of stories presented under this umbrella theme. A few times I found myself shaking my head with the awesomeness of the creativity that was present.

The next big question was about the importance of place in dystopian worlds and the role it plays. Bacigalupi loves to take familiar places and amp them up in his books. Grant confines himself to a setting map and sees what he can play with within that. Price and Lu both commented on the presence of LA, with Lu adding that it’s practically already dystopia. And universally it seemed like everyone enjoyed inflicting pain in their home town.

The final big question before the Q & A was about why bad futures seem to always involve young people. The panelists had a lot to say about this one, and the answers seemed to stick to a similar theme. Children are more flexible and adaptable than adults. Their lives are already controlled, and yet at the end of teenage years you go from being controlled and having no power to having all the power because you essentially inherit the world. It was great getting glimpses into their heads about why they do what they do with characters and setting, and the universal themes were dissected and discussed.

Dystopian is huge, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere any time soon. Hearing from those in the midst of this was great, and the authors’ personalities shone through their intelligent and often silly answers.  I was actually so moved by some of their descriptions of their books that I dropped almost a hundred bucks on books to get autographed, because I just have to read them. All in all, a successful, thought-provoking panel that I thoroughly enjoyed with a stellar lineup of amazing authors.