What Tomorrow May Bring is on tour! Today is my stop for a dystopia-themed post and I’ll be back in July with an in-depth interview. Every author in the box set is participating, so keep up with the posts as they go up on the Facebook page!
I’ve always been drawn to dystopian settings. Not surprisingly, The Giver, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 were some of my favorite books as a kid. But there’s one thing about my beloved dystopian books which has always driven me nuts, and it’s this: no one ever explains how the world came about.
You know what I’m talking about. There’s always some vague backstory about a war or a catastrophe a hundred-plus years ago that brought our current world to its knees, and then out of the ashes rose this wonderful new society where everything was neat and tidy and everyone accepted these crazy new rules just as they were.
But how does that really work? At what point in history have we ever seen one civilization transition into the next without some sort of fight? For the sake of enjoying the story, I always swallow this jagged little pill and accept that the society stands, but there’s forever a tiny voice in the back of my head saying, “Wait – how does any of this make sense? Why would these people allow this to happen? Why would they submit themselves to this kind of control when they knew freedom before? And who put these crazy leaders in charge, anyway?”
When I decided to write Stitch, I wanted to do things differently. I wanted to explore a society in transition – not one where the rules were in place, but one where the people in charge were still trying to figure them out. I wanted to try to understand how we could go from the world we live in today to something totally different, and who could have made that happen and, most importantly, why they would go to the trouble. (And I freely admit that it was impossible to address all of these questions in the first book – but this is what a trilogy is for, right?)
In the Stitch Trilogy, the characters are the first generation to rise from the rubble and start fresh in a new society. They’re young – only teenagers when everything happens – and you get to watch from their eyes how our world came tumbling down, to be replaced with something different, something which was shiny on the surface but quickly turned sinister underneath. In fact, for most of the first book – a blend of paranormal romance, new adult contemporary, and of course, dystopian sci-fi – the characters don’t even realize that they’re living in a world where nothing is as it seems. And you’ll be by their side as they uncover the truth and try to figure out what they can do to set things right.
Because, in the end, I think this is really the crux of the whole dystopian genre: when the world ends, and everything is terrible, and you’re forced to do things you don’t even want to think about just to keep on living, what do you have left? Hope. Only hope.
And it’s that inner optimism – the ability to remind ourselves that there’s something out there worth living for even when our world crumbles beyond our wildest nightmares – that best characterizes us as human beings. Dystopian fiction by its very nature asks us how we can solve our collective problems. How would you structure society to make things better? What could you change that would create a different outcome? After all, every dystopia is just a failed utopia – someone’s unsuccessful attempt at making the world a better place.
So with the Stitch trilogy, we’ll get to play “What If?” through the protagonist Alessa’s eyes – to see how she answers these questions, how far she’s willing to go, and what factors will push her to bend her own rules. And as we watch Alessa struggle to find her place in a transitioning society, we get to ask ourselves: what would I do?
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