Thursday, October 17, 2013

Interview and Giveaway with John Hennessy, author of At The End

Today we have author John Hennessy stopping by the blog as part of our Spook-tastic Halloween event! John is here to talk about his YA post-apocalyptic sci fi thriller, At The End, and share with us his favorite Halloween-y reads and spooky stories!

At The End sounds like a great and thrilling story, and I don't know about you guys, but personally I can't wait to read it! 

I also have the pleasure of hosting a giveaway of John's exciting new book, so be sure to scroll all the way down and enter! :) And great news - it's INTERNATIONAL! 

How would you describe At the End to those who haven't heard of it yet?

At the End, which is book one in The Road to Extinction trilogy, is a story of survival, mixed with some fun adventure and bitter hardship, set in the near future after the birth control industry has been shut down and a massive population boom. It is centered on a group of teens who are some of the few left after most of the population mysteriously goes missing, and what they do tofight the most terrible threat the Earth has ever known.

What were the challenges in bringing this story to life? Did you have to do any research for your book?

Great question. Since it is set in the near future (2048 to be exact) I did have to do quite of bit of research to make the world believable, though I did make up a lot of stuff based on current prototypes, especially in regards to our future weapons. This has been one the book’s most praised qualities by those who have read it (it was previously self-published), and so I’m glad that it was worth the time, since some of the digging wasn’t as fun as I thought it’d be.

Beside the research aspect, my main challenge was keeping the two major characters straight, as At the End is written with two alternating perspectives, one male and one female, both written in first person. It was a lot of fun to do, but a lot of work for me as well.

Can you share with us a few of your favorite quotes from At the End?

One of my favorite quotes comes earlier on in the first chapter: We gathered the equipment, grabbing any spare blades and accessories. My dad’s utility belts proved useful for stuffing knives into as well. In twenty minutes we transformed ourselves from scared-shitless teenagers into scared-shitless teenagers with garage weapons.”

Another one: “Her eyes locked with mine, and a flood of warmth pulsed in my body; blood rushed to my crotch. I tried to put the feeling down. At that moment, I wish I had a textbook with me.”

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll leave you with those!

What are some of your literary inspirations? Favorite books/authors?

Michael Chrichton was one of my favorite authors (and still is) growing up, along with Garth Nix and Elie Wiesel. I love Don Quixote, No Country for Old Men, but for the last few years George R.R. Martin and his A Song of Ice and Fire saga have been my favorite.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

I did play with a few different themes, but I think the biggest one relates the importance of friendship. Itwas critical in the story, and I tried to really show how the group’s bond makes them stronger.

What is your favorite paranormal creature and why?

It might be called more mythological than paranormal, but the manticore is pretty wicked, especially when depicted with batlike wings and a lion face instead a human one. Between vampires and werewolves, the lycanthropes win in my book.

Halloween is almost upon us. To me that means horror movie nights with popcorn, tricks and (hopefully) stacks of yummy treats, and, perhaps most of all, the chance to scare someone and experience the thrill of being scared myself. What does Halloween mean to you? 

I love Halloween. For me it means a horror movie marathon with my wife while carving pumpkins, baking the seeds, and drinking pumpkin beer (I live in Portland, OR, aka Beervana, so it’s big here). Not to mention piles of peanut butter M&M’s.

Do you have any real-life spooky stories to share with us? Any supernatural experiences or blood-chilling encounters? 

My wife sleepwalks sometimes, that’s always spooky. Other than that, ’fraid not, none that’d be considered blood-chilling . . .

What are some of your favorite scary stories? Any favorite horror or thriller books/authors?

The Mist is insane. I freak out whenever a fog rolls in.

What's the scariest / most memorable horror movie you ever saw?

Open water scared the shit out of me. Every time I see the ocean I have to remind myself of the slim chances that a shark will swim up from the depths and rip me apart. Next to that, I thought Pandorum was pretty good for a scare.

Fill in the blanks:

1) If I was magically transported back in time to the Dark Ages, I'd...
more than likely being hacked down by the Lombards or Visigoths or some other crazy Germanic tribe—if I was transported to Western Europe anyway.

But before they got me I’d try to collect as many books as possible and bury them in a safe place so that all the historical accounts that were lost during the time period might survive and give future generations valuable insight into the past.

2) I'm a pro at...
sitting in my computer chair, I can do it for hours and hours! (is that a good thing?)

3) I'm addicted to...

4) I'm scared of...
my chubby kitty accidentally knocking out the window screen and getting lost outside. That’d be a nightmare! Plus giant geese following me around in parks . . .

5) The last book I faked reading was...
oh man, about every book I had to read for my History of Britain class in college, which I had to write a 25-page term paper connecting all ten+ sources. Yeah . . . that was a dive into the art of BS.

Last question: I'm super curious and I'm sure your fans are all wondering about it too: are you working on a new book now? If so, when can we expect it? Can you share some juicy details to keep our appetites going?

I’ve finished book two of The Road to Extinction trilogy, entitled Into Cinders, and it is queued for editing, but I’m not sure when it will released. I’m also a couple chapters into the last book. After that I have big plans for an epic fantasy story that I’m developing with one of my close cousins.

Thank you so much for interviewing me!

At The End by John Hennessy

Night 1: 12 billion taken.

Day 1: Confusion.

Night 2: 13 billion taken.

Day 2: Panic.

Night 3: 13 billion taken.

Day 3: The fight for survival begins.

In 2048, the human population borders 39 billion after the termination of the birth control industry, and the realities of overcrowding have sunken into the minds of the world, until billions mysteriously go missing. In the wake of civilization’s collapse, a trio of teenage gamers from Washington struggle to endure. Maggy, a strong-willed intellectual, leads Darrel and Félix, two shy geeks, on an expedition down the west coast, as they try to determine the source of humanity’s downfall.

A YA post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller.

2 copies of At The End (thank you, Permuted Press!)
RUNS TILL: October 31st
OPEN TO: Everyone - it's an International giveaway!
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