Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (May 28, 2013)
Buy the book on Amazon
Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope.
Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . .
Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .
Emmy Laybourne will be on tour in June as part of the Fierce Reads Tour.
Get all the info/dates:https://www.facebook.com/FierceReads/events
Sky on Fire is featured in our Spring 2013 Fierce Reads Book Trailer: http://youtu.be/w-F_U3TtW24
Watch the original Monument 14 Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfeyjuEMaOI
Follow Emmy Laybourne on Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmmyLaybourne
Emmy Laybourne’s Author Website: http://emmylaybourne.com/
It’s such a delight to be here on Reading Teen today. I feel honored to be having this exclusive interview with Austin Reale.
Austin: If you could rewrite the series from another character's point of view, whose would it be and why?
Emmy: Max! Max Skolnik all the way. I’d love to hear the story of the terrifying sequence of events that takes place in the novel from the perspective of a seven-year old. And Max, with his colorful tangents that give us a peek into a very seedy world, is a TON of fun to write!
A Max Skolnik retelling of MONUMENT 14 might start something like this:
“I was on the bus and I was very tired, even more tireder than usual because in the night time I heard this loud crash-banging sound and I went into the living room and there was my Uncle Buck and he had our two trash cans right in the living room! The crash bang was him emptying out our trash cans right on the floor cause we have the silver metal kind.
And he’s yelling at my mom and she’s yelling at him all on the count of lottery tickets. He’s saying she threw out the winning ticket and she’s saying nobody ever wins those things, they’s rigged. And I yell, “WAIT. Are you talking about the lottery tickets that was right on the coffee table?” And he’s surprised to see me standing there but he nods, yeah, looking kind of like a big bear with his hairy chest and his gut hanging over.
So I goed into my room and I come out with the tickets.
And they’re both goggling at me and there’s beer cans everywhere and I say, “I keep all the lottery tickets I find.”
“Why?” asks my Uncle Buck.
“So you won’t yell at my mom all the time when you lose them.”
Then they’re laughing, oh, ha ha, what a kid you got there, Maggie. And my mom’s saying, he’s precious, ain’t he? Ha Ha.
You know how hard it is to get back to sleep when grown-ups are laughing?
So anyway, I’m on the bus and I’m tired and then I hear some hail clattering up on the roof of the bus and Mrs. Wooly says, “What the hay?” and then it gets scary...
I tell you, I could write like Max forever!
Austin: Do you have any writing traditions, things you always do while writing?
Emmy: I have LOTS of traditions. When I’m working on a book, I try to start work around the same time every day - for me this is around 9 am. And then I have a little ritual to get me started - I dim the shades, and turn on my Monument 14 playlist (it features a LOT of Radiohead). Then I take off my wedding rings, put on some nice smelling hand lotion, and sometimes I light a candle and say a little prayer to my muse. It usually sounds like this, “Please help me to write truthful, exciting prose today. Help me to stay focused and to follow my gut. Help me to tell a good story.”
Sounds dorky, I know, but it really works. Try it. You’ll see...
Austin: Monument 14 is obviously set in the future, but you've always been vague on exactly when it is set. Do you plan on giving more backstory on this futuristic setting in future books?
Emmy: MONUMENT 14 is set in the year 2024. You’re right that I’m a little vague about some of the details. This is one area of the book that I didn’t handle perfectly. Before I started the series, I could have done more “World building” - really taking the time to think through the changes that we could expect to find in the next decade. Instead, I just used a couple of ideas (like the “mini-tabs” that people use instead of phones, and some of the medical advances) and avoided going into much detail. In the books to come, SKY ON FIRE, which comes out May 28, and SAVAGE DRIFT, which will be out in Spring 2014, we learn a lot more about the world these kids are in. A LOT more!
Austin: What was your inspiration to write such a series?
Emmy: At the time when I had decided to develop some ideas to pitch my Agent, I had two small children - ages 5 and 2. When you have a 2 year old you spend a lot of time in Target (or at least I did!). It seemed I was there twice a week, picking up diapers or paper towels or laundry detergent. As I walked the aisles I started daydreaming about what it would be like to live there...
Austin: And finally, do you have any advice for young YA authors?
Emmy: My advice is to write and write and write. I recently spoke with a young woman at my old high school, George School in Pennsylvania. She told me that she’d finished a short story that she thought was really, really good. She wanted to know what I thought she should do with it - submit it to contests, try to get an agent, etc.
I told her that she wasn’t going to like my answer, but that the thing to do was to write five more stories. Then give them to her friends, workshop them, revise them, live with them and make them really sing. To get them to the most concentrated version of themselves - evocative, scary, delightful, surprising - whatever the stories themselves want to be.
And that when she had those five stories finished, then to go back and do another edit of that first story and then start sending her work around.
There’s nothing like practice, my friends. The more words you write, the better you get! It’s just that simple.
I really loved discussing my work with you, Austin. Thanks for having me on your site.
Tomorrow my book tour will head over to Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf. I’ll be discussing Character Development - specifically, how to juggle multiple characters within a large cast.
Monument 14: Sky on Fire Blog Tour Schedule
Melissa’s Eclectic Bookshelf
Book Haven Extraordinaire
Chick Loves Lit
Jean Book Nerd
Adventures of a Book Junkie
One hardback of Monument 14 and one paperback of the sequel Sky On Fire