Monday, May 4, 2015

The Harvest by N.W. Harris Blog Tour (Interview + Giveaway)

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Title:  The Harvest
Series:  The Last Orphans Series, Book 2
Author:  N.W. Harris
Published:  April 14th, 2015
Publisher:  Clean Teen Publishing
Genre:  YA Action, Adventure, Dystopian
Content Warning:  Violence, adult content, minor language
Recommended Age:  16+
Synopsis:
In the wake of the apocalypse, nobody is safe.
Shane Tucker and his friends thought they managed to save the world from the destructive machine that killed off most of its adult population. Unfortunately, a war nobody was prepared for has only just begun. Now they find themselves joining ranks with a secret organization that will train them to fight for the right to survive. Taking refuge alongside other teenage survivors in a hidden base set deep within the mountains, they will learn how to repel an imminent attack by an ancient race of aliens.

Determined to safeguard the children under their charge, Shane and his friends compete for the ultimate prize—a suicide mission against the flagship of the alien fleet. While Shane’s feelings for Kelly deepen, along with his need to protect her, he finds emotions clouding his judgment. He’ll gladly die for her. But he refuses to die with her. No amount of training can prepare them for what is to come. Everything the brave teenagers have endured thus far will be eclipsed, with the freedom of humanity hanging in the balance.

The Harvest is the heart-pumping sequel to The Last Orphans by N.W. Harris.

Exclusive Interview with N.W. Harris

1. The Last Orphans, book one in this series, introduced the readers to a horrifying dystopian setting where the world as we know it is coming to an end. What was your inspiration for such a unique plot?

My inspiration is really twofold. Firstly, I grew up in the South, and I love science fiction. I’ve always wanted to write a story that merges the two—that takes small-town kids and puts them in an extraordinary situation. I wanted to show the tenacity and strength of those polite people who live in the backwoods of America, and I wanted to use the setting in which I was raised in a novel. 

Also, I studied anthropology in college and have a great interest in the origin of our species. I love any subject and theory on how we came about, and I love it when educated people look at ancient artifacts and make convincing conclusion based on what they see. The Last Orphans Series is based on one of those theories of our origin and evolution called the Ancient Alien Theory. Proponents of this theory believe that humans may have been created by aliens, and that our evolution as a species my still be guided by more advanced creatures from other worlds. The Harvest and the books in the series to come are hinged deeply in the idea that aliens have been involved in human existence from is inception. Otherwise, I wanted to write a story about small town teenagers who survive the impossible only to find out the fate of the world depends upon them. 

2. This series deals with some extremely mature themes such as murder and sexual assault, how difficult was it to write about these, very real, issues? What themes do you hope the readers take away from this series?

It is extremely difficult to write those scenes. Even thinking about it now makes my gut tighten. I think most writers want to be good to their characters, to protect them and create this happy world for them in the novel. In sharping our craft, we learn this is the worst thing we can do. Writers learn to put our characters to the test that the reality of our story creates. In other words, I felt it was important to show one very likely reality if our world suddenly went down the drain like it does in The Last Orphans Series. 

As far as what I hope readers take away from the series, of that I haven’t given much thought. I love to write fiction because I simply want to entertain people. I hope that I make them think a bit along the way too because the best forms of entertainment make us think. 

3. Your series places a lot of responsibility on the Young Adult population. Do you really believe that the YA age group could perform such heroic and necessary acts to save what was left of their race? 

I think they could. Teens today face trivial conflicts and challenges compared to the characters in The Last Orphans Series, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who don’t believe kids are as tough as they used to be. But it is important to remember, humans are an exceptionally successful and resilient species. I think there is a survivor and a hero hiding inside many people, regardless of their age. If the crap hits the fan, there are teens out there who will not only fight and survive, they’ll thrive and rebuild.

4. While The Last Orphans was much more rooted in horror, The Harvest gives off a more sci-fi dystopian vibe. Was that your intention? Also, writing horror is a very difficult task in the YA market, how did you prepare for that style of writing?

Funny thing, I didn’t think of horror at all when I wrote The Last Orphans. For the series design, I wanted to show the apocalypse as it happened in The Last Orphans, and then give the reason and head towards a solution starting with The Harvest. I showed some of the adults getting killed and wrote some descriptive scenes that became horror just because I was trying to paint as realistic a picture as possible. In hindsight, it’s easy to see that any scenario involving the death of two thirds of the world’s population is going to be horrifying as will be the chaos that ensues afterwards. 

I was surprised when book one was first described as horror, and when many more readers said the same thing it made me think. I never set out to be a horror fiction writer, but now you can bet you’ll see a straight up horror story from me sometime in the future! 

5. These novels do so much more than invoke thoughts on us as readers, they also rewrite history. While theories about extraterrestrials have existed since the dawn of time, you’ve taken the lore behind the Anunnaki race and turned it on its’ head, giving readers a fresh new spin on history they may not be familiar with. How have your views on human history changed as a result of your research and writings?

They haven’t changed much. Having majored in anthropology in college, I’ve been a student of human evolution for a long time. I love any and all theories on the origin of life and of humans, and I give them all equal credence. We can’t know what happened in the past because history is a murky pond. We can see what’s near the surface, but as we look deeper—further back in time, history becomes vague. I think somewhere in the future, science and religion will realize that they’ve been saying the same thing all along, and then we will come closer to the truth. 

6. Today’s current YA market has a very small male author population. What have been some of the highlights of writing as a male author in the genre? As a male reader and blogger, I have seen firsthand the lack of male representation in our corner of the literary world. What is your take? What advice do you have for male readers or potential male authors? (I can tell you in my year of blogging, I’ve only worked with four male authors previously!) 

I was partly inspired to write YA partly because I wanted to write for YA male readers. I love YA lit and was exceeding frustrated at how rare it was for me to find a book written from a male perspective. It seemed like a niche that needed filling. However, I honestly approached it with a lot of trepidation. I worried that there weren’t many male writers in the YA genre because there weren’t enough male readers to support them. I think I had a lot of trouble getting publishers and agents to notice me early on because they didn’t want to risk working with a male writer in a genre so heavily dominated by females. For a while it almost seemed like they were thinking, “Males can’t write YA,” and tossing my queries in the circular file cabinet. 

The high points have been coming since The Last Orphans was published. Male readers who like YA have read my books have thanked me for writing something they wanted to read. Where I used to be concerned that there weren’t enough male readers, now I wonder if their just wasn’t enough for them to read. I think there are a lot of people out there who don’t read, but would if they could find books they like. Hopefully, my books will get more people reading. That would be the ultimate highlight! 

7. What can we expect next from the mind of NW Harris? Any info on book three?

Book three is well underway. I’m hoping to have it out by Fall of 2015. So far, I’ve named it Enslaved, but that could change. Book two was a chance to take a breath and learn more about the situation that caused the adults’ deaths, and to get to know more about the characters. It was also an opportunity for the characters to grow stronger, both physically and mentally, so they can survive the hell to come. My goal with book three is to make your heart racing from cover to cover. I can’t wait for you to read it, Ethan! 

*****

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About the Author:
Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, N.W. Harris’s imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books.
N.W. Harris published his first novel—Joshua’s Tree—in 2013. It was no wonder that with his wild imagination and passion for all things word related, that N.W. Harris was named a quarter finalist in Amazon’s Break Through Novel Award Contest. In early 2014, N.W. Harris joined the ranks with Clean Teen Publishing when they signed his new young adult apocalyptic adventure series—The Last Orphans.
In addition to writing, N.W. Harris has been a submarine sailor, nurse, and business owner. His studies have included biology, anthropology, and medicine at UCSB and SUNY Buffalo. He is an active member of SCBWI and lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children. He writes like he reads, constantly.

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Clean Teen Publishing Links:
Giveaway Details:
There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:
  • A bookmark swag pack, winner’s choice of any Clean Teen Publishing eBook and a $15 Amazon Gift Card.
Giveaway is International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

See my 5-star review for either of the novels in this series by clicking the covers below!

     


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This series has quickly become a favorite of mine so I am beyond honored to host this spot on the blog tour. Huge thanks to Mr. Harris for agreeing to this interview and for the awesome team at Juniper Grove Book Solutions for setting this up! Until next time, Happy Reading!

-Ethan

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