It is my pleasure to welcome fellow Pelican Author Katie Clark to my blog. Katie is here to share her new book VANQUISHED.
When Hana’s mom is diagnosed with the mutation, she is denied the medication that might save her life. Fischer, a medic at the hospital, implies there are people who can help—except Hana’s not sure she can trust him; Fischer is involved in a religious group, and religion has been outlawed for the last hundred years. Hana embarks on a dangerous journey, seeking the answers Fischer insists are available. When the truth is uncovered does Hana stick to what she knows? Or does she join the rebellion, taking a stand against an untrustworthy society?
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Here's an excerpt from VANQUISHED:
The old hospital looms in front of me like some ancient castle from the Early Days. This is where they keep people with the mutation. My heart races at the thought of going inside.
I’ve never been in a hospital before. In fact, I’ve never been in a building that big at all. I wish I’d taken Jamie’s offer to come with me or had come with Dad last night. I wish that Mom hadn’t gotten the mutation at all.
I take a deep breath and push through the double doors.
The quiet lobby area is dim, lit by a few small windows and a couple of glowing lamps. I knew the hospital gets extra electricity allowance, but I’ve almost never seen anyone use manufactured lighting during the day. I’m awed by the sight. In front of me is an abandoned office area, and to my right is an old cafeteria. A sign dangles over the counter by one chain. It seems like someone would have taken it down by now.
I make a split decision and yank it down. Chains clatter as they plunge to the floor. It stays on the ground, and I turn back to the main lobby. My heartbeat calms at regaining this tiny bit of control.
Beyond the cafeteria several signs hang on the wall. One points me to the stairs.
My dad said Mom was on the third floor. Back in the Early Days they fought the mutation with chemotherapy drugs and something called radiation. We don’t have those things anymore, so we fight it with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. I don’t want to think about what this means for Mom.
The door to the stairs is beside the old elevator shafts. I reach out and feel the cool metal doors. They reflect my image back to me, but I don’t pay attention to that. I’ve seen enough of my short blond hair and not-so-tall stature, but I’ve never actually seen elevators before. I wish the doors would open, and I could peek inside. Riding up to the third floor would be even better, but no one has enough electricity allowance to run elevators, not even the hospital I guess.
I make the climb to the third floor without even getting winded, and more manufactured lighting greets me. Long bulbs line the ceiling. These lights are brighter than the lamps downstairs, and they make an odd buzzing noise. I stumbled into a beehive once, and the angry bees buzzed a lot like the lights.
There are so many rooms down the long hallway, I can’t imagine there would ever be enough sick people to fill them all, but then I remember what they tell us about the Early Days. There were a lot more people back then. Now there are so few people I think we could all fit in this hospital together. How would it feel to be around so many people, all the time? Would it feel crowded? I don’t think so. I think it would feel safe.
The hallway is empty, but a faint beeping comes from down the hall. I pass an old desk on my way toward the beeping. A dumpy computer sits on the desk. People still have those?
I pass one door, two doors, and then an irritated voice stops me in my tracks.
“We could give her chemo at the onset to slow things down a bit, and then start the natural healing. The least we can do is to give her a fighting chance. She’s a Middle, after all.” It’s a woman’s voice, coming from the room with the faint beeping. Her tone is hushed and angry.
I look at the piece of paper that’s been tacked to the wall outside the room.
I suck in a tight breath. They’re talking about Mom? What do they mean by ‘a fighting chance’? My heart picks up speed, and I step closer to the room, careful to stay out of view.
“It takes time to get approval for chemo drugs, and what if she talks? Everyone who gets the mutation will start demanding them. What’s her occupation?” It’s a man’s voice, and he sounds just as angry.
Papers shuffle and the woman says, “Professor at the military academy. I say we do it. She knows how to keep secrets if she’s worked in the military. What chance does she have otherwise?”
The pause in conversation is excruciating as Mom’s life hangs in the balance. Meanwhile my mind spins. Chemo drugs? They’re not even supposed to exist. How can they be talking about this so casually? Have the rest of us have been lied to all this time?
“Do you need some help?”
I jerk around, my heart thumping like the rain during a torrential downpour. A boy stands in front of me. He doesn’t look much older than my 17 years, but definitely old enough to have taken the Test.
“I was looking for my mom’s room,” I say quickly. “I’ve never been here before.” I hope that sounded innocent and confused, and not like I’m scared to be caught eavesdropping.
Katie, When did you first discover that you were a writer?
The first stories I remember writing on my own were scribbled out on notebook paper at the age of seven. I never stopped through high school, and as an adult I eagerly studied the writing craft and dove into publishing.
How much of yourself do you write into your characters?
I don’t ever set out to write characters like myself, but I think it happens inevitably. It’s probably a 30/70 mix, with 30% being myself.
How do you keep your sanity in this crazy fast paced world of ours?
I start EVERY morning out with Bible reading and prayer. It’s something I began at the age of 15, and never stopped. It grounds me. Sets a calm pace for the day. Strengthens me, and reminds me of the path I want to be on in life.
Besides when you came to know the Lord, what is the happiest day in your life?
OK, this is going to sound a bit strange, but here goes. The day I was told my 4 year old daughter was in remission was the happiest day of my life. I cannot describe the enormous weight that lifted from me. Joy unspeakable filled me, and while we knew she would have to continue chemotherapy treatments for another two and a half years, knowing that the cancer was gone was immeasurable in happiness.
Of all the current technological marvels, which is your favorite and why?
I know there is a lot of hate for e-readers, but I adore them. Absolutely adore them. I can take dozens (hundreds!) of books with me wherever I go, and I can read whatever I’m in the mood for. I will read any genre of book, because what I love most is a good story. My e-reader lets me gather books of any genre, and have them at my fingertips for whatever mood I’m in.
What do you hope readers will take away from this book?
I hope they take away the belief that they can make a difference. No matter what God has put in your heart to accomplish, you can do it. One person can make a difference, and does make a difference. Be that difference!
What three things about you would surprise readers?
I consider myself one of the most boring people in the world (no lie!). I don’t like music (except Christmas music, no lie!). I could eat Chinese food every day of my life (and ice cream).
What can you tell us about your current project?
I have a second series under contract with Pelican Book Group, and that is what I’m working on at the time. Unlike the Enslaved Series, which is a continuing story for all three books, this new series will feature stand-alone books with separate characters. What will link the stories is a common theme—lost Biblical treasures! The first book is Shadowed Eden and comes out next year (I describe it as the TV show “Lost” meets Christian YA!).
Katie will be giving away a print copy of VANQUISHED at the end of the week. To qualify please answer this question in your comment.
What is your favorite type of book to read?Please, please, please leave your email address in your comment so that we can contact you. If you are a follower of the blog, remind me and I'll enter you twice. Tell me that you signed up for my news letter and I'll enter you three times. That's a deal you can't beat anywhere. Print book giveaways are limited to US addresses.
KATIE CLARK writes young adult speculative fiction, including her dystopian Enslaved Series, made up of Vanquished, Deliverance, and Redeemer. You can connect with her at her website, on Facebook, or on Twitter.
There you have it, two authors, two giveaways, two interviews for the price of one! Don't forget to click over to the AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT ppage and meet Kimberly Rose Johnson while you're here.