Hundreds of them.
There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.
When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.
More importantly, who they are.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
HOW IMPORTANT ARE NAMES TO YOU IN THIS BOOK. DID YOU CHOOSE THEM BASED ON SOUND OR MEANING?
Almost all of my books have names with special meaning, some foreshadowing a big twist. In The Annihilation of Foreverland, Reed’s name was symbolic of his ability to tolerate suffering, bending in the face of gale forces but never breaking.
WHERE DOES YOUR TOMORROW SPRING FROM? IN OTHER WORDS, HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE CRAZY WORLD?
Sometimes, I can’t remember how the story started by the time I get to the end. The Annihilation of Foreverland started with the premise of identity. I wanted to write it as a YA book in the science fiction dystopia genre in a way that slowly unfolded as well as questioned who we are and explore our fear of death, and what we’re willing to do to avoid it. Like all of my stories, it does have a romantic angle mixed into the action. Because it should.
GIVE YOUR BOOK THE BECHDEL TEST. IT HAS TO HAVE AT LEAST TWO (NAMED) WOMEN IN IT WHO TALK TO EACH OTHER ABOUT SOMETHING BESIDES A MAN.
I failed because there’s only one female in The Annihilation of Foreverland. However, the young adult sequel (Foreverland is Dead) passes with flying colors since its mostly female characters that rarely talk about men.
WHAT SORT OF BODY COUNT ARE WE TALKING HERE?
The bodies die, but not necessarily the characters. Chew on that a second.
DO YOU WANT YOUR TOMORROW TO MAKE IT BIG, AS IN JK ROWLINGS-BIG? WHY OR WHY NOT?
Believe it or not, no. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like to make enough cash to pay off this house and send my kids to college, but I’ll pass on fame and fortune. Anonymity is a blessing.
YOU CAST YOUR CHARACTERS FOR A MOVIE. WHO MAKES IT?
In The Annihilation of Foreverland, I only casted two characters in my head while I was writing it. The Director is Jeff Bridges and Mr. Jones is Anthony Hopkins. It was like watching a movie as I wrote.
HAVE YOU WRITTEN IN ANY OTHER GENRES BESIDES YA DYSTOPIAN? WHAT DREW YOU TO YOU THIS GENRE?
I’ve been fascinated by consciousness, identity and what this all means since I was young. I would read my grandfather’s science fiction books with elements of artificial intelligence and alternate realities and wonder what happened when they died? I suppose that’s why all of my writing deals with the big mysteries of life in one way or another. In a way, I write for my own exploration, in a sort of thought experiment approach, pulling apart our identities, exploring what makes us who we are. If I lost my memories, would I still be me? If I had my body parts replaced with synthetic replications, at what point would I not be me? Do I even need a body?
What am I?
A few years ago, I figured I’d write a romance novel. Since all of my books have a romantic element, I thought it would be fun. Halfway through the novel, I found myself thinking more and more about the next project—a dystopian idea. So 40,000 words in, I scrapped the romance novel and got back to what I love. Science fiction.
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This is Ryder’s last stop.
It’s a half million acre ranch and home to forty teenagers. It’s also home to a famous and eccentric philanthropist with a peculiar obsession with the North Pole. His name is Billy “Big Game” Sinterklaas. But shortly after Ryder arrives, secret messages begin leading him to what’s really happening. Billy Big Game believes that Santa Claus is real.
This is the year he proves it.
He says there’s one Christmas story no one has ever heard, the legend of the biggest and baddest reindeer of them all, the one who leads the sleigh and protects the herd. But Billy Big Game doesn’t want to discover the last reindeer. He wants to capture him.
That’s why he brought Ryder to the ranch.
REVIEWS FOR THE CLAUS UNIVERSE
Can we resist the temptation of perfection? Are we still human when our bodies are replaced by synthetic replications?
If biomites exist, laws will be imposed to prevent excess and abuse. Those with 50% biomites will no longer be considered human.
They will be halfskin.
Halfksin: The Vignettes is a compendium of short stories found throughout the Halfskin trilogy, a harbinger of what humanity’s pursuit of perfection may look like.
INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
WHAT GENRE DO YOU PREFER?
Science fiction, dystopia, technothriller and, to some extent, young adult. I do have a series of novellas in the vampire genre. Yeah, I know. Doesn’t fit. That character, Drayton, came out of nowhere when I was at a community theatre production of Dracula. I figured that an immortal vampire would more likely become compassionate and wise as he grew older. The technothriller Halfskin is similar to vampires in that technology promises immortality and complete control of our bodies. But then what?
WHY A SYNTHETIC STEM CELL?
Organic life is too nilly-willy. We’re limited by our DNA. Give it to the scientists to perfect this vehicle that carries us around because it is a vehicle. If we no longer have organic bodies, if every one of our cells is replaced by something manmade all the way down to the neurons and synapses, then what are we? What if our world is just a computerized environment, ala The Matrix? Would we know the difference? Look, we’re printing organs today. I’m not, but someone is. Some genius has figured out how to push play and heart or liver or kidney comes down the chute. Halfskin takes the idea into the distant future and explores whether this leads to more happiness or just more of the same. Because more money, more problems.
DO YOU HAVE ANOTHER JOB BESIDES AUTHOR?
Day job, I’m a college horticulture teacher. Writing is a passion. No plans to change it.
WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
WHAT TALENT WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO HAVE?
Omnipresent supergalactic oneness.
IF WE HAD A CUSTOM THAT ALLOWED US TO EAT OUR CHILDREN, WHAT KIND OF SAUCE WOULD YOU USE?
Ketchup, the miracle condiment.
ARE OUR ELECTRONIC DEVICES STEALING OUR SOUL? AND IF SO, DO YOU MAKE
OFFERINGS TO YOUR TOASTER?
I offer white bread and the toaster gives back crunchy, brown bread. Never doubt a true miracle.