I’m happy today to be part of the blog tour for author Rosanne Rivers, whose YA dystopian novel AFTER THE FEAR is now available.
Rosanne lives in Birmingham, UK and considers it one of her favourite cities, second only to Rome. She delights in writing for children and young adults and hopes to bring readers to an unfamiliar yet alluring setting. Rosanne was inspired to write when she read the Harry Potter books, and at age fourteen, she wrote romance fanfiction on just about every pairing you could dream up from the HP series. She currently lives with her partner and two bunny rabbits and is working on a fantasy YA with a twist.
ANTHONY: What was the inspiration for AFTER THE FEAR?
ROSANNE: In After the Fear, everyone is born with a personal debt to the government. This was inspired by the huge deficit the UK, and quite a few other countries, have at the moment. I wondered how we would pay this off, and whether our grandchildren will still be paying for our mistakes in years to come. The new world came quite naturally after this; I have always wondered how there was so much money in live, public spectacles such as music gigs and football matches, and so I created a world in which the new government pays our country’s debt by providing huge ‘shows’. These shows revert back to the oldest forms of entertainment – public executions.
ANTHONY: How did you develop the world that Sola lives in? Is it an extrapolation from where we are now as a society?
ROSANNE: Definitely. Every aspect of the world is either a more extreme version of where we are now, or taken from patterns which have occurred in the past. For example, from seeing where Facebook was heading (tagging you into locations, recognising your face in pictures, tagging other people in your statuses etc), I knew I wanted to explore a society in which social networking was mandatory, and everyone, everywhere knew where you were ALL the time. This social networking site became ‘Debtbook’ in After the Fear. The ‘trigger cameras’ are a version of CCTV cameras here in the UK which activate upon hearing certain words. Even the Demonstrations could be seen as an extreme form of the way certain criminals are sensationalised in the media. Yet aside from all the politics, it’s a fun read too!
ANTHONY: What is the significance of the book’s title?
ROSANNE: ‘The Fear’ could be interpreted as the fear Sola feels in the Stadium, which compels her to kill others for her own safety. After that fear has gone, she can no longer justify her actions, so in a way she revels in it. It’s also about the fear which forces the cities to stay away from each other and the hidden fear of the Shepherds. So the title gives some hope for the future, because when all that fear is gone, Sola may live in a better world!
ANTHONY: The YA speculative fiction market has exploded over the past few years, and it’s hard now to say that teen fiction is “not about anything meaningful.” Some of the things you touch on in ATF were once the province of preachy memoirs like GO ASK ALICE, but now are almost an expected part of YA spec fic. Any thoughts on why this shift has occurred?
ROSANNE: I think teen fiction was always about something meaningful, whether it was tackling more personal issues such as bullying or not fitting in, to more widespread issues like where the world is heading, poverty and corruption. Spec fic might have exploded recently because of the way technology is becoming so readily integrated into our lives. Some see it as a time of change, and whenever the world shifts, people begin to speculate about the future. What better way to do that than with fiction?
AFTER THE FEAR
ANTHONY: With a plethora of dystopian YA fiction out there, what should prospective readers know about AFTER THE FEAR that sets it apart or makes it something they should move to the top of their reading queues?
ROSANNE: I guess what sets it apart is that it isn’t about a society which is on the cusp of a revolution or some huge change; it’s exploring how life continues for those everyday people who are ruled by tyrannical governments or leaders. It’s about how you would really react in that situation, and how when you’re trying desperately to survive you ignore the bigger questions you should be asking. I think After the Fearcan be read and interpreted in so many different ways, and hopefully that’s what readers will enjoy!
ANTHONY: What’s your writing process like?
ROSANNE: It’s very mixed! I usually spend about a year with an idea in my head, mulling it over and adding notes to a word document every now and then. Then I jot down a semi-coherent plot totally full of holes and with only about 4 characters. I usually write the first chapter at this point, although this is likely to be scrapped later on! I’ll sketch out some of the faces of my characters and stick them on my wall too so they’re looking down at me, telling me I MUST write about them. After all this, once I’ve written the first 5000 words that I’m happy with, I’ll probably write around 1000 words a day until the first draft is finished. Then I rejoice before the editing process begins…
ANTHONY: What’s next for you?
ROSANNE: I’m currently writing a YA fantasy novel centred around an all-female organised crime gang. Think Game of Thrones meets Sons of Anarchy. During this time I’ll also be adding notes to the ‘After the Fear -possible sequel’ document on my comp…
ANTHONY: And my usual closing question: What is your favorite book, and what would you say to someone who hasn’t read it to convince them that they should?
ROSANNE: My favourite book is probably Poison Study by Maria V Snyder. It’s fast paced, has a fantastic heroine and a seriously cool love interest (who I kind of have a massive crush on).
ALSO, you can enter to win a free copy of AFTER THE FEAR through the Rafflecopter Giveaway. Don’t miss out on a chance to win stuff!