Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Blog Tour | Guest Post: Blight by Alexandra Duncan


Title: BLIGHT
Author: Alexandra Duncan
Pub. Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 400
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Find it:  AmazonBarnes&NobleiBooksTBDGoodreads

When an agribusiness facility producing genetically engineered food releases a deadly toxin into the environment, seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres races to deliver the cure before time runs out.
From the author of the acclaimed American Booksellers Association’s Indies Introduce pick Salvage, which was called “Brilliant, feminist science fiction” by Stephanie Perkins, the internationally bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss. This stand-alone action-adventure story is perfect for fans of Oryx and Crake and The House of the Scorpion.Seventeen-year-old Tempest Torres has lived on the AgraStar farm north of Atlanta, Georgia, since she was found outside its gates at the age of five. Now she’s part of the security force guarding the fence and watching for scavengers—people who would rather steal genetically engineered food from the Company than work for it. When a group of such rebels accidentally sets off an explosion in the research compound, it releases into the air a blight that kills every living thing in its path—including humans. With blight-resistant seeds in her pocket, Tempest teams up with a scavenger boy named Alder and runs for help. But when they finally arrive at AgraStar headquarters, they discover that there’s an even bigger plot behind the blight—and it’s up to them to stop it from happening again.Inspired by current environmental issues, specifically the genetic adjustment of seeds to resist blight and the risks of not allowing natural seed diversity, this is an action-adventure story that is Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake meets Nancy Farmer’s House of the Scorpion.
Guest Post
Blight exists because of a dare. In 2011, two writer friends and I challenged each other to write a novel over the course of the summer. Two of us lived in the same town, and the third would be visiting near the middle of August, so we made her arrival our deadline. All of us had sold short stories before, but none of us had sold a novel. It was our very own mini-NaNoWriMo but spread over two and a half months.
I was nervous, because my two co-conspirators were more accomplished and experienced than I was. Did I even belong in the same “writer” category as the two of them? My first novel, Salvage, was in the hands of an agent who had requested a full manuscript read, and I was both incredibly excited and full of anxiety about this turn of events. I might have an agent soon! And having an agent would mean being one step closer to my book being published, i.e achieving one of my lifelong goals. I needed a distraction.
Writing something that isn’t under contract and has no expectations attached is a special pleasure. The book is entirely yours at that point - a playground for your brain. That summer, I put anything I wanted down on the page. I could tweak it, align it, and improve it later. Throughout the summer, we checked in regularly with each other, but we also blogged about the challenge. It would be one thing to let down two friends at the end of the project, but for the whole internet to know your shame was far, far worse, and therefore far, far more motivating.
In mid-August, we met at one friend’s apartment to critique each other’s work, talk about our envy of Neil Gaiman, and eat ice cream. None of us had quite finished a novel, but we each had significant chunks of one. I had the first 20,000 words of Blight, and because I tend to discover my character and the nuances of my plot during the writing process (a nicer way of saying I’m a pantser), I had a much better idea of what I was writing. My friends gave encouragement and suggestions, which ultimately changed the trajectory of the book and made it more focused on the Southeastern US as a setting. I did the same, and discovered that I didn’t need to be worried about whether or not I was a “real writer.” Writers are defined by what they do - write - not how many books or stories they’ve sold. I was fully engaged in that process - writing, applying criticism, and trying to improve my craft. That alone meant I was a real writer.
Six years later, I have three published novels, including Blight. I have a fourth in the works. One of my friends who took part in that summer’s challenge also had the book she began come out this year. It’s The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter, by Theodora Goss. It joins her novella, The Thorn and the Blossom, her collection of short stories, In the Forest of Forgetting, and dozens of poems and short stories. The third in our trio, Nathan Ballingrud, won the Shirley Jackson Award for his 2013 short story collection, North American Lake Monsters, and is working on his second collection.

The challenge that ended with Blight is one of the most helpful, productive exercises I’ve engaged in as a writer. Writing sometimes seems like an individual endeavour, but I’ve found I wouldn’t be anywhere without friends and colleagues like these.

About Alexandra Duncan

Alexandra Duncan is a writer and librarian. Her first novel, Salvage, was published April 1, 2014, by Greenwillow Books. Her short fiction has appeared in several Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy anthologies and The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. She loves anything that gets her hands dirty – pie-baking, leatherworking, gardening, drawing, and rolling sushi. She lives with her husband and two monstrous, furry cats in the mountains of Western North Carolina.
You can visit her online at http://alexandra-duncan.com/

Giveaway Details:
1 winner will receive a signed hardcover of BLIGHT, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Tour Schedule:
Week One:
7/24/2017- Savings in SecondsReview
7/25/2017- The Autumn BookshelfInterview
7/26/2017- Wandering Bark BooksExcerpt
7/27/2017- A Dream Within A DreamReview
7/28/2017- Two Chicks on Books- Interview

Week Two:
7/31/2017- Buried Under BooksReview
8/1/2017- The Bewitched ReaderGuest Post
8/2/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
8/4/2017- YABooksCentralReview

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