Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Measure of Disorder by Alan Tucker: Interview and Excerpt

Join Jenni Kershaw and her classmates as they are whisked away to a world full of life, adventure, and danger. One which reshapes each of them by its vision of their soul. Some accept it, some fight it, all wonder: will that vision control their destiny? The class find themselves pitted against a powerful evil — and each other — all while trying to discover who, and what, they really are.
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Twilight gave way to darkness and stars filled the sky. Unfamiliar stars. Jenni had received a small telescope one Christmas when she was younger and had spent many evenings in her back yard with it pointed at the sky. She had learned the names of some of the stars and several constellations — the Big Dipper, Orion’s belt, the distinct “W” shape of Cassiopeia — all had been replaced by a much brighter assortment of strange twinkling lights.


“Well, that tears it,” Mr. Kain said, also looking at the stars. “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”


Kansas?” Todd interjected. “We live in Idaho.”


Sara snorted. “Wizard of Oz, you dork.”


Several kids snickered and Todd opened his mouth to retort when Ms. Pap held up a hand. “All right. Enough.” Todd scowled but remained quiet. “We have some decisions to make and I think we should discuss our options, such as they are.“We have no idea how it happened, but we’re obviously very far from home with no apparent means to get back. We haven’t seen any signs of civilization and the land around us has changed. We need information.”



What was the inspiration for your books?


I've always believed that there is a kernel of truth within every story. Thinking back to popular fables and fairy tales, I wondered what that bit of truth might be within them. Maybe those creatures, like fairies and goblins, really did exist in some way and, if so, where would they have come from and where did they go? Those ideas became the basis for Mother and how it interacts with the Earth we are familiar with.


My younger daughter was in middle school when I started the series, so it was natural for me to write a story with characters that same age. The story has a great deal to do with growing up and how we deal with the changes and difficulties that process presents.

Which is your favorite character from your book? 

I get asked this a lot and I can't really give you an answer! Part of the reason I wrote these books from different viewpoints was so I could explore the different characters a little deeper as individuals. I have different favorites on different days, depending on my mood I guess. 

What would you consider to be the best book you have ever read? 

Tough question. Single book I'd say Icerigger by Alan Dean Foster. Scifi adventure and all a teen boy could ever want! Series would be the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. I love these books and can't get enough of them. 

Plotter or Pantser? Why?

A great deal of my writing goes on in my head before I ever sit down at the keyboard, or with a notebook and pen. I generally start out with a rough outline, but I don't go into a lot of detail with it. To me, the characters are much more important to get to know and understand. Once I have them established, I can throw any number of obstacles in their way, then figure out through the characters how to overcome them. So, in the industry, I'd be referred to as a "pantser" I suppose. :-) After the first draft is finished, it goes out to a handful of alpha readers for their feedback. I then revise and edit, and it goes out to another group of readers as well as my editor.


Do you have any suggestions for beginning writers? If so, what are they?


Read. Write. Then read some more. Try different styles. Take a story you’ve written and try it from another character’s perspective. Or write it third person if it was in first. Or take an existing story you enjoy from another author and write it a different way. Just experiment. But always be reading to find things you like and don’t like so you can eventually develop your own voice. And make sure you have your work edited thoroughly before you publish. There will always be the odd typo here and there, but don’t present your work to the world without having someone who isn’t your mom or best friend read it. Make sure you take any suggestions or criticism and look at them honestly before you cry or get angry! :-)


Do you have a favorite quote, quip, or saying? What is it?


If it was easy, everyone would do it.


Tell us about your books and what you might have coming up in the future.


The first book, A Measure of Disorder, was published in 2010. A Cure for Chaos followed in 2011, and early this year, Mother's Heart completed the Mother-Earth series — for the time being at least! The stories chronicle the adventures of Jenni Kershaw and her classmates as they get sent to a magical world called Mother, and eventually transform into different beings that are native to their new home. Elements such as the environment and  discrimination are touched on within the text, but mainly, the stories are about growing up and all the changes we go through to become who we are. All three are available in paperback and ebook at the usual online retailers. In addition, the ebook version of A Measure of Disorder is free for any type of ereader. The books are also available as a single download in the Mother-Earth Series Omnibus if you prefer one-stop shopping!


I'm currently working on a new series called Tales of Uncertainty about a nineteen-year-old high school dropout named Darius Arthur Heisenberg, who gets recruited to work for a group of beings who are the self appointed custodians of Time. His unpredictable adventures through time and space should begin sometime late this year if all goes as planned. The first volume is tentatively titled Knot in Time and I'm very excited about these stories!

Alan Tucker, author of A Measure of Disorder, A Cure for Chaos, and newly released Mother’s Heart, is a dad, a graphic designer, and a soccer coach. Mostly in that order. He’s had a lifelong adoration of books, beginning with Encyclopedia Brown, progressing through Alan Dean Foster’s Flinx, and continuing on with the likes of Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine and Naomi Novik, to name a few.

“I wanted to write books that I’d enjoy reading. Books that I hoped my kids would enjoy too!”


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Cryscringle said...

I'm always fascinated with books like these. I'm so glad that I was introduced to this series. Thank you. :)

Brandy Corona said...

Looks like a great series!!

Karen Arrowood said...

This sounds like a great book, and I could probably get my 11yo interested in this series.