I've been lucky enough to get the chance to read two of his prior young adult books steeped in the paranormal genre, Dark Territory and Ghost Crown and enjoyed them very much. So, it's not any surprise to me that he would write such a compelling, highly intriguing, and suspenseful book such as, Blood Zero Sky. If you get the chance to read this book, I urge you to take it. You simply will NOT regret a moment of it!
I am so super excited and elated to get to be part of this tour and share this wonderfully written and entertaining guest post with you.
I always like to remind people that writing is communication, and as with any form of communication, the first step is having something to say. When I began working on the first draft of Blood Zero Sky way back in 2005, I had a lot to say: the United States was embroiled in two wars, George W. Bush, with his dubious human rights and civil liberties record, had just been reelected, and I felt as if the nation I loved was sinking in a morass of unmitigated corporate greed that reached all the way to the highest echelons of the U.S. government. So coming up with the first piece of the world building puzzle, the premise, was easy. I knew that I wanted to create a world in which all the governments of the world had been privatized, and that I wanted to tell the story of a revolution designed to overthrow the evil corporations that were ruling the future world I was going to create.
After I have my premise, I enter into second a very important phase, one that many beginning writers neglect to their detriment: gestation. Like a bird sitting on an egg, I let that seed of an idea sit in the warm, cozy nest of my mind and grow. For how long—a month? Six months? Six years? The answer is that you let it sit for as long as it takes for the idea to reach a critical mass; you can’t rush the process. During this time, I gather up little ideas and thoughts and details that I’ll use in the story, exciting pieces of the puzzle that will become the book when I begin writing it. During the gestation phase of Blood Zero Sky, I read a wonderful book called “Stone Butch Blues” by a writer named Leslie Feinberg. She tells the story of a lesbian living in the mid-twentieth century, trying to survive and find happiness in a world of crushing intolerance. As soon as I read it, I knew that May, the protagonist in Blood Zero Sky, would have much in common with the story’s main character: she would be strong, independent, soulful, lonely, and gay.
My rule of thumb on research is to do as little as possible. Seriously— I’m lazy, y’all! That’s the beauty of working in genres that are fantastical; writing historical fiction would be way too labor intensive for my taste! But alas, there are times when research is important, and for some stories, like Blood Zero Sky, some research is essential. I decided that I wanted the revolution in my story to have parallels with the first American Revolutionary War—so, I did some reading, including David McCullough’s 1776 and several books that included original texts that were written during the period of the war. From these readings, I was inspired to create the Protectorate, a secret fourth branch of the U.S. government created after the first American Revolution. Their mission: in the event that the free people of the United States were ever to lose their freedom at the hands of a tyrant, the Protectorate was to rise up and restore democracy. This research also helped to inspire the character of Ethan Greene, the revolution’s leader. I knew that I wanted Ethan to be a renaissance man, like so many of the U.S.’s great founding fathers—a warrior-philosopher with an edge of mystery. His name is even a compound derived from two Revolutionary War figures, Ethan Allen and Nathanael Greene.