Sunday, August 5, 2012

Kristen Simmons Author Interview


Book Nerd Interview

Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband Jason and their precious greyhound Rudy in Tampa, Florida.


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Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer?

I think it was when I finished my first epic, award-worthy novel: The Adventures of Jammie. (Jammie was my hamster at the time. He was very talented - went to the Olympics, climbed Mt. Rushmore, etc.) I was very young, but remember how good it felt to put the pencil to paper and write.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?

Storytelling is how we relate to each other. It's how we make sense of our own lives - within the context of the past, and compared to the experiences of others.It's also crucial, I think, for emotional growth. We need to imagine different ways of being and different ways of thinking in order to evolve as humans.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

A very close writer friend of mine always reminds me to complicate characters, not plot. It's excellent advice I think!

In your new book; Article 5, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it and why they should read your novel?

Sure! ARTICLE 5 is the first in a trilogy. Here is a little more about it:

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials and maybe worse. People who get arrested don’t usually come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. That life in the United States used to be different.

In the three years since the war ended, Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs—like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes—and how to pass the random home inspections by the Federal Bureau of Reformation. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow. That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And what’s worse, one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.

I hope that readers think that it's entertaining, but that it also makes them think about some of the bigger issues in life - like what freedoms and liberties we take for granted, who really matters, and what issues are worth defending.

If you could introduce Ember to any character from another book, who would it be and why?

I would introduce her to Katsa from GRACELING. In ARTICLE 5, Ember is just trying to survive the system by flying under the radar, but she gets tougher as a result of surviving her circumstances. I think she needs a girlfriend like Katsa who could help her beef up her survival skills.

Why do you feel you had to tell this story?

I don't necessarily feel like I did, but that Ember did. She wanted people to know what was happening in her world - the injustice and oppression that she faced on a daily basis. She wanted to remind people that you can only take so much. The time will come for everyone to stand up and fight for what they believe in.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?

I am delighted to say that Tor Teen and I will be continuing our relationship following the ARTICLE 5 trilogy for three more books! They are all single stories, and again, young adult books. The first is entitled THE GLASS ARROW and is about a girl running from those who would auction off her reproductive rights. The second is called METALTOWN and is about a group who take on the most dangerous men in the city - their employers - for fair working rights in the midst of famine and war. The third...well that's a secret!

When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?

I will always answer how old I am, but very rarely with the correct number. :)

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style?

Read a lot, and write a lot, and once a character surfaces in your head, listen to them! Some of the toughest times I have writing are when I cease to listen to my characters and try to tell them what to do. They are the ones who live the story. They know what to do and say. Trust them!

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day?

My husband. Always. He's been my best friend since I was fourteen, and even now we chat on the phone several times a day.

When was the last time you cried?

Well, yesterday actually. I was watching the beginning of the new Star Trek movie that came out last year. You know that beginning scene where George Kirk saves all those people but has to say goodbye to his wife as she's delivering their baby on an escape pod? OMG. So. Sad. I bawl every time.

What are you most passionate about today?

I am always passionate about mental health issues and reducing the stigma associated with mental illnesses and mental health care. I would love to see us live in a world where someone just as easily is treated for Bipolar as they are for Diabetes. For more information on mental health resources, check out my website:www.kristensimmonsbooks.com.

What is the one, single food that you would never give up? 

Chocolate. In many forms. I can't remember the last day I didn't have chocolate. Popular choices for me include peanut m&m's, chocolate cookies, and on very special days, red velvet cupcakes.

Where can readers stalk you?

On my website/blog of course! www.kristensimmonsbooks.com/blog
Or on Facebook: www.facebook.com/author.kristensimmons, or on Twitter: @kris10writes



New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings…the only boy Ember has ever loved.



Article 5: Compliance is Mandatory is an amazing dystopian novel by Kristen Simmons. After a destructive war left the population without their essential rights, a new set of ethical laws control how people live with callous consequences for those who break it. Even the minor offenders are given harsh penalties. Ember attempts to somewhat sustain her new life moderately normal but has to watch out for her very free-spirited mother. Although she has managed to stay out of trouble’s radar, her mother has not and is arrested for breaking Article 5 in the Moral Statutes. Now Ember’s life is in a whirlwind and all her efforts for keeping a normal one has become disastrous.

Kristen’s development of the Ember character is refreshing and brilliant. The imperfectness of Ember showed how real the character is. Ember makes careless mistakes just like any human being but she is able to learn from them. Living is an unsettling and dreadful world, Kristen’s writing style provided an in-depth look at how one would react in such a quandary. The writing digs deep and unearths human emotions that could only be felt in a post-apocalyptic war.

Article 5 is a fast-paced and action-driven dystopian novel with a plot that thickens with each chapter. The fact that the events that occur in the book are realistic makes Ember’s world very frightening. Backed with Kristen’s amazing writing talent, readers will enjoy every page. Brilliant writing with excellent characters living in a unique world, even nonfans of dystopian will find something enjoyable.


You can purchase Article 5 at the following Retailers:
    


And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you Kristen for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a copy of Article 5 by Kristen Simmons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

17 comments:

  1. Thank you for the giveaway. :)

    https://www.facebook.com/author.kristensimmons/posts/510544802304375

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  2. So excited to read this and review on multiple sites. Thank you for the opportunity! Great interview.

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  3. Awesome review and interview. This book sounds like one I would really get into. Thanks for sharing and for the great giveaway. :)

    ~Jess

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  4. Another awesome giveaway! Thank you so much :)

    Yvonne L

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  5. https://www.facebook.com/author.kristensimmons/posts/511804632178392

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  6. Thanks so much for the Interview and Giveaway!

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  7. Thanks for the giveaway! I'm dying to read this one. Heard many great things about it! :)

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  8. Thank you for the giveaway!!! :D

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  9. Awesome interview! Thank you for the giveaway! :)

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  10. Gah!! I cannot wait for this, it's in my TBR pile.

    Awesome giveaway!!

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