Even though The Revisionary released in 2017, it remains increasingly relevant to our times. After all, living in 2020 has somewhat felt like living in a dystopian novel (where anything that can go wrong probably will go wrong).
That said, my desire in writing The Revisionary and the other two books in the trilogy was to show hope through dark circumstances. Specifically, my characters find that hope by rediscovering America’s heritage. I want my readers to walk away feeling inspired to press on and do what’s right even if they’re swimming against the popular current.
I’m honored to share an excerpt from this latest book review. For more details and to learn more about this reviewer’s blog, keep reading.
“I’ve seen one dystopian movie and have never been particularly interested in the genre, but after looking at the reviews for The Revisionary, I decided to give this book a try. The Revisionary is the first dystopian book I’ve read, and wow, does it set the bar high for other books in the genre. Five stars is not a high enough rating. The plot is incredible, the characters relatable, and the settings chilling …
“The Revisionary is a powerful, thrilling read. Whatever your opinion of the dystopian genre, this is a book you have to add to your TBR list.”
I first met Kristen in a Facebook readers group and discovered we share two things in common. First, we spell our names the same way. If you’ve ever had someone misspell your name, you know how exciting it is to meet someone else who has the same spelling as you.
Also, we both write young adult dystopian fiction from a Christian worldview. I’m thrilled to share an interview with Kristen today where she talks about her new release, Apprentice, now available on Amazon.
Q: You’ve written several nonfiction books for teens. What prompted you to also branch into young adult fiction and the dystopian genre, in particular?
As a kid I was always reading, so fiction has been a life-long love for me. I have a bit of a soft spot for books like Brave New World, the Hunger Games and so on. I love a good story — one that keeps you on the edge of your seat reading to the end. It was fun to try and write one of those stories for myself.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this dystopian adventure?
First and foremost, I hope they’ll be entertained by the story. But I guess I hope people will also enjoy the themes it raises as it investigates the question of love: what is love, really? What does the word mean? How do we know love when we see it? The dystopian aspect of the story looks at the question of how love and power intersect. What happens when a political power takes a word we all care about and uses it for their own ends?
Q: You’ve lived in the UK, Sydney, and currently live in New South Wales. (That’s in Australia, for my American friends). Have any of the places you’ve lived or visited impacted the setting of this book?
Not for this one. There is another series I’m working on that was inspired by my local region. But this one was more inspired by sterile environments I’ve seen in images than by anywhere I’ve lived.
Q: When did you first start writing for teens, and why do you think reaching this age group through both fiction and nonfiction is important?
I started writing for teens when I was one (quite a long time ago!). For teens, I think they’re living through an age where life can be super threatening – where they are processing issues of identity and purpose and a general sense of “where do I fit in the world?” Fiction gives teens a safe space to explore those questions in a way that non-fiction doesn’t always manage as well. Fiction helps us to process issues that are often too threatening to deal with in real life. In fiction we get to see characters triumph over adversity. We watch the characters experiment with different actions and consequences, and make choices that we might not be brave enough to make. So through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.
“Through fiction, we learn to orient ourselves in the world even while we’re being entertained.” ~ Kristen Young on @khogrefeparnell
Q: As writers, we often don’t get to see how our writing influences others. However, sometimes readers do reach out and share with us. What has been the most encouraging feedback you’ve received?
I received feedback on one of my books from a non English-speaking reader a few years ago – they tracked me down through Facebook to say that they’d managed to get a copy in their country. It was a little mind-blowing to find that my work had travelled so far around the world. That was super encouraging!
Q: What has been the most challenging and/or most rewarding part of being a writer?
The most challenging part is the waiting. The concept of ‘overnight success’ is a complete furphy (as we say in Australia). That is, it’s non-existent. It took me several practice novels and a lot of writing before Apprentice was born. In between, there were long, painful periods of waiting to hear from publishers and other professionals.
Q: Can you hint when readers might expect to see the sequel to Apprentice?
2021 is going to be a good year. Is that enough of a hint? 🙂
Meet Author Kristen Young whose new Christian dystopian novel for young adults is the latest extension of her heart for teens.
Kristen Young was born (and spent a memorable first few months of her life) in the UK, grew up in Sydney, but now lives in the Central West of NSW with her husband, three children, and slightly neurotic dog. She has been involved in church-based ministry for over 20 years, and loves helping people of any age to see how awesome Jesus is. Kristen has had a number of books published, beginning with The Survival Guide series of devotions for teens. What if? Dealing with Doubt is a book for anyone from high school age onward, and aims to help anyone struggling with doubts about God, Jesus, or faith. In more recent years she has been writing fiction, and Apprentice, the first book in the Collective Underground trilogy is being released through Enclave Escape in October, 2020.
The Love Collective is everywhere. It sees everything. Be not afraid.
Apprentice Flick remembers everything, except the first five years of her life. And for as long as she can remember, Flick has wanted to enter the Elite Academy – home to the best, brightest, and most loyal members of the Love Collective government.
Flick’s uncanny memory might get her there, too … even if it is the very thing that marks her as a freak. But frightening hallucinations start intruding into her days and threaten to bring down all she has worked so hard to accomplish. Why is she being hijacked by a stranger’s nightmare over and over again?
Moving to the Elite Academy could give Flick the future she’s always wanted. But her search for truth may lead to a danger she cannot escape.
Happy first day of October! I’m pinching myself over here, because Florida actually feels like fall right now. This morning was in the 60s! Northern friends, just humor me here. That’s a big deal for Florida.
What better time of year to “fall” in love with fiction? (Sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun!) I’m excited to share that my young adult dystopian trilogy, The Rogues, is on sale from October 1 through 5 for only $.99 on Kindle!
The Rogues trilogy blends suspense, science fiction, and American history into a saga that offers hope through a rediscovery of heritage. One reader said:
“I’ve read my fair share of dystopian fiction, Christian and secular alike, and this is hands down my favorite to date. It’s unique, clever, inspiring, and challenging, and prompts me as a reader to revisit history not only to learn from, but engage with it.”
I’m excited to share that I’ve teamed up with BookSweeps to give away a collection of teen and YA novels to two winners.
The Grand Prize winner will receive an eReader, and you can also win my YA Dystopian novel, The Revisionary, plus books from 45+ other authors, including my fellow Christian fiction author Beckie Lindsey.
You can enter the giveaway by clicking here. It’s open through September 30.
Win a prize pack of 45+ young adult fiction books, including my YA dystopian novel The Revisionary, plus the grand prize of a new eReader! @khogrefeparnell
You all are in for a treat today! Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist who has accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. She’s an inspiration for young writers (and “young at heart” writers too), and today, she shares about her latest release in her modern-day Daniel series.
Q: What prompted you to write a contemporary fiction series on Daniel?
It all started in a college class. We were going over the Old Testament in a semester, and during the unit on Daniel, the teacher said, “Daniel and his friends would’ve been 14 or 15 when they were taken into the Babylonian captivity.” That always struck me. I’d thought of them as being 20 or 30. But these teens are standing strong in their cultural identity and are thriving. I wanted to see what that looked like now.
Q: Danny and his friends deal with serious drama and trouble from the schools they attend. Did any of your own experiences shape some of their situations?
Legally, I’m not sure how much I can spill on this, but in short, yes. One of the schools I attended, which shall remain nameless, contributed a great deal of content in the book. It’s so funny because when I talked with high schoolers on the book, they asked, “Legally, how is this possible?” And I said, “Actually, a great deal of what goes down happened on some level in my own experience.” All three books in the trilogy have a kernel of truth in what I experienced at said school.
Q: Who is your favorite character in this series and why?
Oh, Hannah. She’s basically Tumblr and Hot Topic meets Christianity. She never minces words and is everything I wish I could be if I didn’t have a filter.
Q: What do you hope readers will take away from this series?
I hope they walk away with some form of a discussion. This series tackles relevant topics from cyberbullying to school shootings to mental health. I know I don’t go easy on readers in this series, but teens deal with this stuff every day. If we don’t talk about the problem, the problems will never get fixed.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring young writers?
So many things I could put in this answer! The most obvious is, obviously, don’t give up. You’ll be surprised just how many steps it takes from writing that first draft to getting it in front of readers.
And second, learn everything you can about publishing. I started querying at 17 years old, only having written books for a year, and I did NOT know what I was getting myself into. It takes a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of learning.
Q: In addition to Den, releasing this week, you have another book scheduled to release next year. What can you tell us about it?
Yes, ma’am! So I have a superhero chat-fiction “Dear Hero” releasing with INtense Publications this September 2020. It follows the story of a Hero and Villain as they meet on a Nemesis-pairing app. Basically Tinder for heroes and villains. They fight, but they don’t expect to fall in love.
The sequel for that is projected to come out in April of 2021, and if the publisher gives the green light, the final book in the Blaze trilogy should release in August of 2021.
Meet Hope Bolinger, a multi-published novelist and literary agent whose Modern-Day Daniel series challenges young adults to confront the lions in their own lives.
Hope Bolinger is a literary agent and multi-published YA novelist (Blaze, Den, and Dear Hero). When she isn’t busy racking up 60+ bylines, she loves to connect with readers at hopebolinger.com
About DEN: If You Don’t Want to Die, Don’t Sleep with Lions
Danny Belte barely survived his sophomore year at King’s Academy, having to deal with horrible initiation practices, stomach-churning cafeteria food, and the constant threat of arson.
His junior year doesn’t start off much better. Facing a series of mysterious suicide attempts that begin on day one–and a disturbing pattern that appears to connect them–Danny has a feeling something far more sinister is at play. He tries to narrow down a list of suspects as those closest to him disappear, one by one.
Can he protect his friends from a possible murderer on the loose? Or will he find himself trapped in a fate worse than a lions’ den?
Subscribe to Kristen’s newsletter for monthly book buzz about Christian fiction for adults and teens, plus be the first to learn about giveaways and personal takeaways for your everyday adventures.
When you join, you’ll receive a free copy of Kristen’s novella, A Cord of Three Strands, the prequel to her award-winning novel, The Revisionary.
Christmas in July keeps getting better! Earlier this week, I shared about the multi-author giveaway I’m taking part in. Now, I’m excited to announce that my entire Rogues trilogy is on sale for $.99 each on Kindle.
Maybe I’m guilty of overusing the word excited, but go ahead, just ask my husband how excited I get about deals. After our last visit to Khols and my semi-gloating on the 80% markdowns I’d snagged, James laughed and said, “You’re practically making money!”
Thank you. My point exactly.
Well, I’m not making money on this sale, and that’s fine by me. As an author and avid reader, I enjoy finding book deals and the chance to try new-to-me authors. When I have the opportunity to be on the giving end, that makes me just as happy.
Where can you grab your copies?
Just skip over to Amazon, and you can find all my books there. And if you come to love my characters and their adventures as much as I do, I’d be grateful if you’d take the time to leave a review.
Happy reading and happy Christmas in July!
Happy Christmas in July Book Sale! Get The Rogues trilogy on Kindle for $.99 each, now through July 30. @khogrefeparnell
Hey, friends! If you live in Florida (or anywhere in the south), you don’t need me to tell you that the weather is hot. If you’re wishing for cooler weather, I can’t help you. But I can bring the next best thing … a Christmas in July book giveaway!
In partnership with Celebrate Lit, I’m including a free Kindle copy of The Revisionary in this month’s multi-author giveaway.
About The Revisionary
Summer is 2149 is anything but steamy. In fact, it’s ice cold, and the political climate, even colder. However, nineteen-year-old Portia blazes forward in her plan to rescue her brother from his satellite exile the only way she knows how: by joining the ruling elite. Her plan derails when she’s wrongly accused of helping the Rogues fighting for freedom the rebel way, and she must decide if it’s better to rewrite the rules or join those who break them.
Enter the Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win one of two prizes: a $350 Amazon gift card or 45+ books. Click here to enter.
The event and giveaway is going on now through July 26! Open to US residents only.
Enter the Celebrate Lit Multi-Author Giveaway for a chance to win a $350 Amazon gift card or 45+ books, including my dystopian novel The Revisionary. @khogrefeparnell #giveaway
Have you ever talked to someone ONCE and come away thinking, “Wow, she’s so cool but totally down to earth, and I think we could be friends in real life?” That’s how I feel about award-winning author Lindsay A. Franklin. Although I’ve never had the privilege of meeting her in person, the emails we’ve exchanged make me hope that our paths will cross one day.
For now, though, I’m thrilled for you to meet her right here on the blog as she shares about her Christian fantasy series, The Weaver Trilogy, and its epic conclusion, The Story Hunter, releasing today.
Q: What inspired the fantasy element of “story strands” and the concept of “weaving stories” as being a special power some characters possess?
The series was inspired by the phrase “story peddler,” which I heard an acquisitions editor say in a workshop about the publishing process. She was referring to selling manuscripts to her publishing board, but I wondered what it might be like to be a “story peddler” in a world where art was magic and “story” had to be something a traveling peddler (in the more traditional sense) might sell—something physical. Why strands that solidify into crystal? I have no idea! It just came out of my imagination that way.
Q: Who is one of your favorite characters from the Weaver Trilogy and why?
I have a lot of favorite characters in this story, even when I’m forcing them to make terrible decisions (Brac comes to mind there). Digwyn is the most personal to me, as her story is the most based on mine, but something personal is poured into each of them. My love for my father is in Yestin. My close relationship with my daughter is in Tannie (on whom I based Tanwen, back when my daughter was only five). Kharn’s easygoing nature and his dorky dad jokes are a wink at my beloved husband. There’s a little something I love (or love to hate in some cases!) in each of them.
Q: The characters in your stories experience the loss of friends and family throughout their journeys. When Tanwen asks how she can make the loss stop hurting, she’s told, “It’s supposed to hurt. Because people matter. And when we lose them, it hurts. It leaves a void.” Why do you think this truth is so important to include in fiction, and how do you think it can help readers who have experienced loss?
It’s human nature to try to avoid pain. It leads to a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms. Avoidance. Denial. Numbing. I think it’s important to accept that some things are supposed to hurt. Life is hard. Our world is fallen. Pain is inevitable. Doctors tell us physical pain is important because it shows us where the injury is, where the disease lies, what’s broken. Emotional pain is the same. Allowing yourself to ride those waves of pain, rather than trying futilely to fight against or ignore them, is the beginning of processing your grief so you can heal and one day move into your new normal—one that will always honor and in some sense grieve the ones you lost but will allow you to live on without them.
Q: An important topic The Story Hunter explores is choosing forgiveness over revenge. Why do you think this message is so powerful, not only for a fiction story like this one, but also in real life?
Forgiveness can be profoundly difficult to practice. By nature, I’m a bit justice obsessed, to be honest. We have a long-running joke in my family of origin. When I was two or three years old, my older sister hit me and was made to apologize. She bounced over to me and threw out a flippant, “Sorry!” I glared at her and said, “The main thing is you did it.” It was utterly shocking and offensive to me that my parents expected me to forgive her just because she said she was sorry. It didn’t erase what she’d done in the first place! So, “The main thing is you did it” became something of catchphrase in our family—usually to poke fun at how ridiculously difficult it was for me to forgive someone who had wronged me.
But when I became a Christian at eighteen, everything changed. I was suddenly sharply aware of my own sin—the many ways I failed on a daily basis, and how woefully desperate I was for God’s grace. Because of Jesus’s atoning sacrifice, God never says, “The main thing is you did it” when we ask for forgiveness. He offers complete forgiveness freely, and it has been my life’s goal to model that in my life whatever way I can. Vengeance merely compounds wrongs. It doesn’t bring healing, it doesn’t bring peace. Vengeance says, “I want you to hurt because I hurt.” Forgiveness sets the offender and the offended free.
Q: Can you hint about what next project you have in the works?
Well…I can tell you it’s a YA portal fantasy, and my research will involve reading and rereading many classic works of literature. The project “code name” is Cosmic Library, which is fantastically terrible. I promise to think of a better title than that!! 😊
Meet author Lindsay A. Franklin who talks about her Weaver Trilogy, latest release, and the power of forgiveness. @kjhogrefe
Lindsay A. Franklin is a Carol Award–winning author, freelance editor, and homeschooling mom of three. She would wear pajama pants all the time if it were socially acceptable. Lindsay lives in her native San Diego with her scruffy-looking nerf-herder husband, their precious geeklings, three demanding thunder pillows (a.k.a. cats), and a stuffed marsupial named Wombatman. She’s @LinzyAFranklin on Instagram and Twitter, and is also on Facebook.
About The Story Hunter, Book 3 in The Weaver Trilogy
Redeeming the past is a fatal quest.
In the wake of a deadly coup, the capital city of Urian has descended into chaos. Heartbreak and bloodshed await Tanwen and her friends as they discover the unlikeliest leader now rules Tir.
If they want to save the realm, Tannie and the Corsyth weavers must rescue Queen Braith and unmask the Master, ending the strife once and for all. But the success of their hunt depends upon an ally no one trusts.
The Master has a new target in sight: fragile, trauma-scarred Digwyn, whose unique weaving ability could turn the tide of any war. When the desire for vengeance proves too powerful for Digwyn to resist, Tanwen must face a terrifying truth: the fate of Tir rests in the hands of a volatile, shattered girl.
I am so excited to introduce you to today’s guest blogger, Jorja Ayres! Please join me in welcoming Jorja to the blog. This teen writer and her friends are striving to raise the bar for young adult fiction, and today, she shares her reason “why” and a writing tip for other aspiring young writers.
Guest Post by Jorja Ayres
Hi, everyone! My name is Jorja Ayres, and I’m one of the writers on Tales of the Lonely Sun. TotLS is a writing and reading blog that focuses on sharing and creating stories that shine bright in our dark world. This post is part of our blog tour. If you want to find out who else is a part of the tour, enter a bookish giveaway, or read some of our posts, click here.
Why Do I Write?
I’m a writer. I’ve written blog posts, short stories, and am working on a novel. The question is: why? Why do I spend hours upon hours every week punching buttons on my laptop’s keyboard? Well, it’s the same reason that pianists press black and white keys and artists drag graphite and wax across paper. To try and create something beautiful. For me, though, there is more to it. I am part of the group of people in this world that use their creativity to create things that bring glory to God. My way of doing that is writing clean fiction with good themes and messages of hope. Whether you are a writer or not, I encourage you to think about your “why.” Psalm 119:59 says, “When I think on my ways, I turn my feet to your testimonies” Self reflection when it comes to hobbies or jobs can help us realign our lives with God’s will.
How Do I Write?
Part of the mission of Tales of The Lonely Sun is to help people write stories that stand apart from the dark and hopeless stories that are becoming more and more common in today’s world. A common struggle is not knowing where to begin. Coming up with an idea for a writing project can be difficult, especially because inspiration tends to disappear as soon as it is sought out.
One quick way to get creative gears turning, and come up with original ideas, is to use a random word generator. Generate random words and craft a story out of them. I recommend this word generator, because it lets you choose the parts of speech you want your words to be.
As an example, I got these five words from a generator: infamous, pocket, pass, typical, and airport. Different people would come up with different stories for these words, but my mind immediately jumped to a spy story. Combining all of the words into one sentence describes a scene: A typical looking woman in an airportpasses a man who slips a piece of paper into her pocket containing information on aninfamous criminal. To fill this sentence out into a story, we start asking questions. Who is the woman? Why is she a spy? Does she know the man who gave her the note? If she does, what is their history? Why is she the one getting the information on this criminal? What is her history with this criminal? Already a plot starts to emerge. Asking more questions leads to a more developed story.
Once you have a general story idea, you must make decisions on how you want the story to go. One major step in this process to identify the theme you want to include in your story. What do you want the character(s) and readers to learn from the story? Your theme should be something you are passionate about, something you want to shout from the rooftops. This will give your story meaning; it will give you your “why.”
Whether it’s the theme of your story or the anthem for your season in life, having a Christ-centered reason for whatever project you are undertaking makes all the difference.
About Jorja Ayres
Jorja Ayres (pronounced Georgia Airs) is a 15 year old Christian writer, reader, and fangirl. Her hope is to help the readers of Tales of the Lonely Sun navigate around some of the beginner mistakes that she has made, as well as share some writing hacks that made things simpler for her. Her dream is to one day be able to give her readers the same feelings that she has experienced when reading some of her favorite books, as well as share positive themes that shine bright in this dark world.
She lives in Southern Arizona with her family, dogs, and hedgehog.
There are so many reasons I love October. It’s the month James asked me to marry him. It’s also the month that introduced my best friend to the world. Happy birthday month, Devon!
To share my gratitude for this beautiful month, I’m offering my Wings of the Dawntrilogy on sale for $.99 each (Kindle versions). These contemporary suspense novels are for young adults and the young at heart, or anyone ready for an adventure.
Happy October! Enjoy my Wings of the Dawn young adult fiction trilogy for $.99 each on Kindle for a limited time.