Thank you for the interview Kristi Helvig, I’m excited to showcase a new science fiction, dystopian on parajunkee.com!
BURN OUT looks very interesting, but the first thing that caught my eye was the comparison to Beth Revis and Lenore Appelhan’s series…both fan favorites of YA SciFi addicts, like myself. What do you think about the comparison?
Well, I think it’s a compliment for sure! Those comparisons are from my editor, but I’ve read both Beth and Lenore’s work and love them. I’d say they’re similar to mine in that they have strong sci-fi components, but the premise of the books and the characters are vastly different from one another.
I don’t know…watching too many Discovery channel documentaries? The research aspect of being a psychologist has lent itself well to writing. I’m a huge nerd and spend my free time watching documentaries, and I really love quantum physics. While my friends are watching The Real Housewives of Wherever, I’m watching theories of black holes in the universe. Sad but true.
It’s about a 17-yo girl who thinks she’s the last girl on a dying Earth, only to find out that there are other survivors who turn out to be even deadlier than the planet. She’s torn between saving herself by getting off the planet and protecting her father’s bio-weapons that she swore she wouldn’t let fall into enemy hands.
Not really, though I’m sure my formative years spent watching Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica had something to do with it. BURN OUT was actually partly inspired by a song. I heard this haunting song on Pandora after watching one of those aforementioned space documentaries and then had a vivid dream that same night about Tora and James (the characters in BURN OUT). I wrote the first draft in six weeks.
As far as inspiration after I wrote the book, I have to mention Joss Whedon because I want him to write the screenplay if it ever turns into a movie (a girl can dream). A friend of mine read BURN OUT and told me they thought I’d love a show called Firefly by Joss Whedon, and I’m ashamed to say that I was like “Josh who?” Yeah. Anyway, that next week, I watched every episode of the show on Netflix and was devastated to find out it was cancelled, even though I was about 8 years behind the rest of the world. Story of my life.
Tora is my 17-yo main character, and reviewers have described her as a female Han Solo. She’s sarcastic and tough, but underneath it has a vulnerability that few people see. Her dark humor has helped her survive horrific circumstances, including living alone in an underground bunker. James is a soldier who is initially sent to take her father’s weapons by force. He’s stoic and doesn’t say much, yet they have similar losses in their lives and form a cautious bond with each other. I don’t want to give too much away about romance but there’s not really much room for it in her world.
I started out with googling and documentaries, but that only takes you so far. I needed a plausible way for our sun to burn out early as well as help with some other science aspects, so I contacted a well-respected astrophyics department at a large university. They were awesome and provided much needed assistance on the book. I had to do the same thing with the second book as it takes place on a different planet, and I needed help with planet mass versus rotation speed, etc. It’s always great to get help from people smarter than you.
I’d just like readers to experience what it really feels like to live in Tora’s world. I still remember waking from that dream and thinking “holy hell…that was intense.” The coolest thing is that I’ve had multiple people email me after reading the book to tell me they can’t stop thinking about Tora. That makes me insanely happy.
Burn Out by Kristi HelvigPublished by EgmontUSA on Apirl 8, 2014
Genres: Dystopian, YA Science Fiction, Young Adult
Source: Tour Host
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 signed hardcopy of BURN OUT, a red sun necklace, and assorted sun survival items (ie. chapstick, sunscreen) US Only
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