I'm very excited to a part of the Burn Out Blog Tour for Kristi Helvig's awesome book, hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I have Kristi joining me today to answer some questions.
Author: Kristi Helvig
Publisher: Egmont USA
Pub. Date: April 8, 2014
A futuristic blend of Beth Revis's Across the Universe and Lenore Appelhans's Level 2, Burn Out will satisfy the growing desire for science fiction with a thrilling story of survival, intrigue, and adventure.
Most people want to save the world; seventeen-year-old Tora Reynolds just wants to get the hell off of it. One of the last survivors in Earth's final years, Tora yearns to escape the wasteland her planet has become after the sun turns "red giant," but discovers her fellow survivors are even deadlier than the hostile environment.
Holed up in an underground shelter, Tora is alone--her brilliant scientist father murdered, her mother and sister burned to death. She dreams of living on a planet with oceans, plants, and animals. Unfortunately, the oceans dried out ages ago, the only plants are giant cacti with deadly spines, and her pet, Trigger, is a gun--one of the bio-energetic weapons her father created for the government before his conscience kicked in.
When family friend, Markus, arrives with mercenaries to take the weapons by force, Tora's fury turns to fear when government ships descend in an attempt to kill them all. She forges an unlikely alliance with Markus and his rag-tag group of raiders, including a smart but quiet soldier named James. Tora must quickly figure out who she can trust, as she must choose between saving herself by giving up the guns or honoring her father's request to save humanity from the most lethal weapons in existence.
1) Do you think your psychology background influenced the story when you were writing Burn Out?
Absolutely. I think everything in our lives impacts other things. I’ve worked with many clients who’ve lived through traumatic experiences. They never failed to surprise me with their strength and humor, and the characters in BURN OUT rely on these traits in the book. I think BURN OUT addresses many complex psychological issues and that surviving the solar apocalypse involved just as much mental strength as physical for my MC, Tora.
2) What made you want to write in the YA Sci-Fi genre?
What’s weird is that it wasn’t something I planned on even though I love sci-fi and grew up on a diet of Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica (the new BG was one of my all-time fave shows). I was in the middle of writing a YA fantasy when I had a vivid dream involving the characters of BURN OUT. It wouldn’t let me go and I started writing it the next day. I am an admitted space documentary junkie and had watched one just prior to that dream. The idea of all these other worlds out there amazes me, and the fact that Earth is really just this tiny blip in the universe.
3) Was there anyone in your real life that inspired characters in the novel?
No. The dream I had about my MC Tora involved a very specific girl and personality that I’ve never encountered in life. I woke up and thought “that’s the most bad-ass girl I’ve ever seen.” All of the characters were in that dream and they were just so real and life-like that it made that first draft pretty easy.
4) Do you have a special writing space?
Ha—though I joke of wanting a fancy home office with built-in bookshelves surrounding me, I’d still probably end up writing on my couch with my dog beside me. I’ve written in the same place for so long that it seems like my creativity opens up as soon as I sit down. I don’t want to mess with that!
5) How does it feel to be a published author?
There’s a sense of satisfaction that my little book is going out into the world where it can hopefully reach more readers. Other than that, I’d say there’s definitely more pressure now (I’m editing the sequel at the same time I’m promoting the first book), whereas before being published I could just take my time and enjoy the writing process.
6) What’s currently in your to be read pile?
Up next for me are The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon and The Diviners by Libba Bray. I just finished Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell and it was SO good!
7) Describe your book in 5 words
Tough heroine on hostile planet.
So we have Tora, she’s living alone in this underground bomb shelter of sorts, except for the fact that she’s packing a loaded secret room full of guns that could blow up a whole planet and then some. This shelter is not your typical let’s store some cans on a shelf variety either. She’s got all kinds of cool gadgets and safety precautions to keep her safe. The down side...she’s alone and the Sun has gone off into Super Nova status (perhaps not that but I forget my sun cycles) the punch line is the sun is at the end and it’s scorching the earth that you burn to crisp if you step outside with protection. With the untimely death of her mother and sister and then the murder of her father Tora is left to fend for herself. She’s doing so pretty well actually but there are people who want the guns. Which leads to all kinds of dangerous situations and crazy discoveries. There’s a new planet but will Tora ever get to it.
This book was pretty crazy. I think it was bending my mind because it had that thriller aspect to it. You never knew who to trust and I had these images of people walking around in the dark killing each other. One time you would think this guy was okay and then he would shoot at you, then this gal seemed top notch and then she would punch you. that’s not exactly how it happened but you get the jist. You can trust no one ever. So it messes with your head in that respect. You feel almost as tired as Tora trying to sort through who is good and who is bad and besides that what the heck has happened since Tora has been under ground in general.
I liked Tora a lot. She has a lot of snark is pretty well adjusted for someone who has been trapped underground by herself. She obviously has trust issues thankfully but at the core of it all she is a good person. She also can be pretty bad ass if she wants to be but not completely perfect. That 40 minutes a day of walking hasn’t done much for her Stamina. She’s resourceful and easy to root for.
The other characters all have their plus and minuses but like I said since you couldn’t really trust anyone there were often times I felt afraid to get attached to them. I don’t want to give too much away because this is one of those books you really need to form your own opinions about them because of the nature of what is going on. I’m not even going to mention the romance because it’s complicated and I felt afraid for Tora. I really did not want to see her get screwed over.
This book has some unanswered questions at the end, that I’m assuming are going to be answered in future installments. As I said I wanted to keep flipping and have more pages appear. I’m excited to continue on with the series to find the answers I’m looking for.
For a sci-fi enthusiast like me I would definitely recommend this book to you. With the Earth being destroyed it also has it’s dystopian element too.
1 signed hardcopy of BURN OUT, a red sun necklace, and assorted sun survival items (ie. chapstick, sunscreen) US Only
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