Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Book Review/Author Interview: The War Inside by M. Kircher

The War Inside, by M. Kircher
2013, 362p, YA Dystopia
Rating=5 Stars
Source: Received a copy from author for an honest review

The end of the world is only just the beginning. So eighteen-year-old Thea discovers when her solitary life on a dying Earth is shattered by a mysterious dream, a devastating choice, and a strange gift that propels her on a journey towards the restoration of all mankind.

Thea is bitter and alone; a perfect embodiment of the sunless, cloud-covered Earth she inhabits. A terrifying dream convinces her to save the life of an injured girl, and despite her misgivings, Thea decides to rescue sixteen-year old Viviana. She soon learns that gentle Viv has a life-threatening infection, as well as a freakish patch of glowing skin over her heart. When this light spreads to Thea, she is forced to trust Caden, an arrogant, lazy, and annoyingly handsome boy she despises. Caden has a map to the last city on Earth, and the only place that might have a cure for both Viv’s infection and the strange light on Thea’s hands. As the trio embark on a journey through the barren wilderness, Thea and Caden try to fight their mounting attraction and discover that the light is not a curse, but a powerful gift meant to heal the polluted Earth and reconnect the remnants of humanity. What they don't know is that deadly shadows watch them, waiting for the chance to make sure that humans stay in the darkness forever. 

Dystopia is one of my favorite genres and this one sounded intriguing. This time, the world is in darkness because humans became so involved in technology and their own self-interests that they ignored other people and the earth and are now selfish and living under a dark canopy or dense cloud cover (caused by pollution) all the time. At first, they tried to band together, but the damage had been done and people are now enemies. There is no love for parents, siblings or others.

Thea is 18 and has a dream about a young girl. She ignores the dream the first time and is told she needs to save the girl to save herself so she returns and rescues her. She learns her name is Viv and she's dying. She has a patch of glowing skin over her heart and when Thea touches it, her palms start to glow. Not wanting to be labeled a freak, she covers them up. Caden, a handsome boy who Thea doesn't like, tells her he has noticed her nursing Viv back to health and has a map to the Stronghold, which they believe will have medicine to help Viv and Thea (although Thea hasn't let on yet what's going on with her). Thea's plan is to help Viv get better and to get rid of her glowing skin so life can return to normal. Little does she realize that her life has already been changed forever.

I liked Thea. She starts out completely selfish but as she listens to the dreams and follows them, her heart starts to change. She doesn't trust anyone or want anything to do with them but realizes that she can't complete this mission alone. Thea, Caden and Viv come across two other people at different times who join them in their journey (Rain and Naomi). I enjoyed her relationship with each one of them. Caden is also a character that starts out extremely selfish, seems to change and then slips back into selfishness. I wanted to smack him at one point. He does redeem himself somewhat and I'm cheering for him to become even better as the series progresses.

As the story unfolds, there are many layers that are uncovered and I was interested the entire time but then I got to the point where I just couldn't put it down. The characters develop and grow throughout the book. They aren't perfect and as they learned more about what they were supposed to do, I felt overwhelmed with them. I liked how she showed the difference one person can make and the importance of second chances. I also enjoyed the light vs. dark and good vs. evil aspect and how the title fits in with the story. There's a lot to love about this book, so you need to pick it up and discover it yourself!

Content: Mild swearing; some kissing. Clean!

I was fortunate to interview M. Kircher and get to know her better!

Author Interview

1. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Honestly, I think most writers have a hard time considering themselves writers. Unless you have a New York Times Bestseller success story, it’s hard to quantify when you’ve really “arrived.” There is a great ebook by the author Jeff Goins called, You Are a Writer: So Start Acting Like One (http://youareawriter.com/). There’s some fantastic advice for writers inside. It’s also super encouraging. He says, “If you’ve written anything—published, unpublished, self-published, blogged, or hidden under your mattress…then you’re a writer.” So I try to stick to that rule of thumb. I’ve written stuff; therefore I am a writer!

2. What inspired you to write The Horizons Trilogy?
I was inspired to write this trilogy by all the brilliant, epic stories I grew reading: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, Anne McCaffrey’s books and many more. I love reading and I love stories, whether they be written or on the big screen. Any story that gives me tingles and makes me want to be the hero or heroine is one that gets the creative juices flowing. So when it came to this trilogy I focused on things I was passionate about like human connection, good vs. evil, taking care of our planet, love, and all things sci-fi and fantasy. I think The Horizons Trilogy is a combination of all those elements, woven into an engaging dystopian adventure.

3. When is your third and final book in this series scheduled to be released?
The Rising Sun is the final book in the trilogy. Right now it’s in the outlining stages, with no set release date. But I’m averaging about two books a year. So my guess is that it will come out about a year from now, summer 2015! I have my work cut out for me.

4. Who is your favorite character to write and why?
You know, that’s really hard for me to pinpoint, only because I tried to change things up a bit and write each of the three books from a different main character’s point of view. I think I love each of them more as their individual perspectives on the overarching story unfold. So, Thea, Caden and Viv would have to be my favorites. I think they each have an element of discovering who they are amidst trying circumstances. They’re each tested by seeing the world in a whole new way and challenged to become something better. And I like that they’re all flawed, even perfect little Viv, as you will see in book three.

5. What are some of your favorite books and what book are you reading now?
I have so many. I was one of those kids whose parents used to beg to have friends over, because all I ever wanted to do was stay in my room and read. (And I’m still that way today. Nothing is better then a quiet afternoon curled up with a great story.)

Just a few of my childhood favorites are: The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Harry Potter, Pride & Prejudice, all the dragon books by Anne McCaffrey, A Wrinkle in Time, Harriet the Spy, The Chronicles of Narnia. And right now I’m reading the Cinder trilogy (fantastic!), The Wells End, Sunrise by Mike Mullen, and this book about Feng Shui, because it fascinates me.

6. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I have two wee gremlins (aka children) that are one and two-years-old, so they pretty much eat up all my free time. But when I do get a spare moment, I love to read, go to the movies, take a hike, swim, or just be outdoors. And food. My husband and I love to eat, and we try to find new restaurants all the time with different types of food. Ethiopian food is the best. They give you a piece of flatbread the size of the table and dump all the dishes on the bread. Then everyone sits around and eats together on one big, giant bread plate.

7. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Don’t quit.

Whether you’re a writer, painter, entrepreneur, small business owner, dancer, web designer, or any type of person trying to follow your gut and do work you’re passionate about, I guarantee you’ll hit a point where things aren’t going according to plan. But if you give up, you’ll never know what amazing opportunity or success could be just around the next corner.

Bestselling author Ray Bradbury once said, “You fail only if you stop writing.” When I hit those hard days, I gulp this advice down like a runner gulping Gatorade at the end of a marathon—Bradbury’s words keep me energized and working when I feel like I have nothing left to give. So many times we define failure in terms of the micro stuff. Like, if your novel is turned down by a literary agent, it’s easy to call that a failure. But who knows? Perhaps there’s an even better agent out there who’s going to say “yes” to your project fifteen “no’s” down the line. The real failure is if you give up, not all the disappointments and smaller failures you’ll experience along the way.

8. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thank you! Thank you, Melanie, for hosting me and for being in my writer’s corner! I so appreciate you, and all of the wonderful readers out there who have helped make these novels a reality. I’m very grateful to everyone who has beta read my books, read through an ARC, posted a review, shared buy links or hosted me on their blog. Thank you, I could not do it without you and I hope to keep writing stories that you will all enjoy!

You're welcome! Thanks for letting all of us get to know you better. The second book, The Gray Horizon, is also out. I have read that and will share my thoughts on it on September 12th so be sure to stop by and check that one out as well.

I believe that stories can change the world. I also believe that teens and young adults have eyes that are open and ears that are awake to the thrumming life hidden deep within great books. I write YA fiction because I'm in love with stories and because I want generations of young people to hold tight to the vastness of their potential—the potential that lies waiting in all of us. The world is ours for the making.

No matter who you are, you have the power to do great things.

Happy reading! — M. Kircher


M. Kircher said...

Hi Melanie! Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. It was great being interviewed by you :) -M.

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