Monday, October 21, 2013

The Hundred: Fall of the Wents -- epic fantasy, at its best!

Today, I'm so honored to host an interview with the masterful and talented Jennifer Prescott, author of the newly released The Hundred: Fall of the Wents.

 If you love fantasy, especially epic and creature fantasy, you HAVE to get this book. I've already gushed about the amazingness of the story on GoodReads, so hop over here if you'd like to see my review.
Check out the synopsis and gorgeous cover:

Millions of years in the Earth’s future, humans have long vanished from the planet. Evolution has produced a host of wondrous and intelligent beings: shape-shifting Fantastic Grouts with globes of light atop their skulls; creatures descended from flowers; and massive swarms of bees that can bore perfect holes through metal or bone.
But some seek a way to bring the humans back into the world—a world filled with creatures like twelve-year-old Tully, a young, amphibious Eft who imagines humans as nothing more than old bones and fairy stories. When his beloved guardian is stolen by a menacing black shadow, Tully must embark on a journey to a cruel, northern land to save her and his entire species. In an adventure that blends time travel, magic, and science, Tully learns whom he can trust, and who will betray him—for the price of reawakening the Hundred.

You can buy the book as an eBook or paperback on Amazon here.

Now, let's hear the story behind the story...

1. Tell us about The Hundred.

The book was really inspired by the dire thought of human extinction. I had read A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and was blown away by descriptions all the species that had ruled the planet once upon a time and then vanished, as if they had never been. In addition, I understood that we could be wiped out by one of many cataclysms in the future. Our time on this planet is fragile. And so I asked myself: What might a future planet look like without humans, and what if we mixed in some magic and time travel into that?

2. What sparked the idea for the book?

I had a really terrible fever a few years ago, such that I was almost hallucinating. I slept and dreamed. When I woke, I wrote down one sentence in my journal that became the seed for the entire book. Flipping through the journal several months later, I encountered that sentence and knew the book had to be written. That sentence was: “
What if there were a world in which it took three creatures (Ells, Efts, and Wents) to reproduce, rather than two?”

3. What compelled you to keep going?

My husband read the first 30 pages and told me he would divorce me if I didn't finish it. I’m not sure if he was kidding or not.

4. Are you afraid the book will get banned because it features creatures who don't reproduce, um, traditionally?

Of course! I urge you to send it to any knee-jerk zealots in your address book. They may find the prospect of creatures who reproduce through an intricate system of pollination to be repugnant and anti-American, and will get my book featured on talk shows. In reality, the way the Trilings carry on their species is about as asexual as it can get. The Trilings include Wents (flower-like creatures who bear the young), Efts (pollen generators who seed the young), and Ells (pollen carriers who distribute the pollen from Eft to Went). Pretty dirty, eh?

4. Why is the book so durned long? Don't young readers have short attention spans?

People underestimate the ability of kids, tweens, and teens (and adults, for that matter) to read and digest books that are not only long but complex. And The Hundred is challenging. It asks the reader to pay attention and to really think. Young adults who read it said that they liked how it made them ponder some serious questions. Kids are smart. I loved that TV show Lost, which made me ponder and wonder what was going on and what would happen next. Having questions is a good thing. Books like your own Splintered aren’t short, simple reads. People love to dive deep. And kids do and can, and they love it!

5. Will there be more after The Hundred?

My nine-year-old, an avid reader who read the book two years ago, used to ask me that question every night. I was at the time working on two other books concurrently, so I told him "soon." Soon is now "now." I have plans for a first book in the series which takes place, in time, before the events in The Hundred. A third book will take place after the events in The Hundred and will bring back Tully,  Aarvord, Copernicus, and other familiar characters. Completing the trilogy is a daunting task but, in a way, I feel as if all the books have already been written by my subconscious and are just waiting to hit the paper.

6. Why did you choose independent publishing?

I wanted to do things my own way, after much soul-searching. The book may have flaws, and I expect readers to point them out, but I put my whole heart into every page. Because in this marvelous age, no one has to ask permission from anyone to share their heart with the world. I am lucky to have wonderful and talented friends who designed the cover, edited and read, and typeset the book for me. I do know, however, the enormous effort that goes into producing a book. Traditional publishers earn their due! And I have many friends who chose the traditional route and have seen enormous success.

7. What authors inspired you?

Every author I've ever read, even the so-called claptrap ones. Everyone offers a piece from which you can learn. But my heroes are Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and Philip Pullman. Even these brilliant writers aren't perfect. I was reading The Hobbit aloud to my three young boys and I thought, "Man, some parts of this are really repetitive and boring, but the language is so beautiful!" And they were mesmerized all the same. I don't always read YA and middle grade. My favorite writer of all time is Annie Dillard, who writes nonfiction—much about the natural world. I think everything informs you as a writer, especially the genres that are not your own.
Okay, now let's get to know Jennifer better!

***5 for Fun!***
1. How many hats do you have in your home?
I have an astounding amount of hats. I seem to collect them! I dislike having a cold head in the winter, and a jaunty hat can perk up one’s mood. I would estimate we have 56 hats within the house.

2.   What’s your favorite breakfast?
I don’t like traditional breakfast foods as things like pancakes and cereal don’t hold me at all; I crash from eating things like that. I would love a nice filet mignon as my ideal breakfast.

3.   Are you Team Dog or Team Cat?

I am Team Squirrel. They are so fecund that there are hundreds of them scampering about my lawn.

4.  What video games do you play?

My boys play incessant Minecraft, but I don’t play many video games myself. I do love a game called Fire Boy and Water Girl. You really have to think strategically in order to get both characters to safety. It’s like a game of Chess.

5.   When would you go to if you had a time machine, and why?

I think I’d have to choose millions of years in the Earth’s future, just to see if any of my sentient creations from The Hundred were there waiting for me!

Thank you, Jennifer! If you have any questions for our debut author, please feel free to leave a comment below. I know her pretty well (considering she's one of my fave peeps in this world) and I know she'd love to chat with you about her writing journey and this incredibly imagined book!

Want to stalk Jennifer online? Here's her haunts:

Unhinged Virtual Tour and some Frabjously Wonderful Prizes!

The Official Unhinged virtual book tour, coordinated by the fabulous ladies at Rockstar Book Tours, is underway for 12 days!

Here are the dates and links to the stops:

10/21/2013--Excerpt of The Moth in the Mirror: Pages From My Thoughts  (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)          

10/22/2013--Alyssa's & Morpheus's twitter threads: Fiction Freak  (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)              

10/23/2013--Excerpt of Unhinged: The White Unicorn (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)          

10/24/2013--Halloween tea party ideas: Icey Books  (Contest: Have a character in book 3 named after you  INTL)          

10/25/2013--Thomas & Alison's fave romantic/scary reads: The Cover Contessa (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)                 

10/26/2013--Graveyards: Book Hounds (Extra Giveaway INTL)

10/28/2013--Sound effects of Unhinged:  Reading Teen (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)            

10/29/2013--Scariest Monster, Jeb vs Morpheus: Book Haven Extraordaire (Extra Giveaway INTL)

10/30/2013--Jenara and Alyssa talk scary movies: The Lifelong Bookworm (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)                         

10/31/2013: Jenara, Al, & Jeb's Halloween memories: Two Chicks on Books (Extra Giveaway INTL)

11/1/2013--Morpheus's tips on entertaining netherlings: Fiktshun (Domestic 12 ARC giveaway)                        

11/2/2013--Tattoos: I am a Reader  (Extra Giveaway INTL)

Thank you to all my wonderful hosts!

As you can see, there are lots of giveaways and prizes to be had (some domestic, some INTL), including 12 Unhinged ARCs and a chance to have a character in book 3 named after you!

Feel free to grab our button if you'd like to post it on your blog's sidebar and help us get the word out:

 Official Unhinged Tour

I hope you'll join us!