Saturday, April 5, 2014

Book Blitz ~ The Only Boy by Jordan Locke ~ GIVEAWAY!




The Only Boy
by Jordan Locke 
Publication date: December 17th 2013
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

 Synopsis

Mary is stuck in Section One, living with three hundred women in a crumbling hospital. She wonders what life was like two centuries ago, before the Cleansing wiped out all the men. But the rules—the Matriarch's senseless rules—prevent her from exploring the vacant city to find out.

Taylor's got a dangerous secret: he's a boy. His compound's been destroyed, and he's been relocated to Section One. Living under the Matriarch means giving up possessions, eating canned food and avoiding all physical contact. Baggy clothes hide his flat chest and skinny legs, but if anyone discovers what lies beneath, he'll be exiled. Maybe even executed.

Mary's never seen a boy—the Matriarch cut the pictures of men from the textbooks—and she doesn't suspect Taylor's secret. If she knew, she might understand the need to stop the girls from teasing him. If she knew, she might realize why she breaks the rules, just to be near him. Then again, she might be frightened to death of him.

Taylor should go. The Matriarch is watching his every move. But running means leaving Mary—and braving the land beyond the compound's boundaries.


Expert: From Taylor’s Point of View

The pit is dark and musty. Dirt walls line two sides, and bars surround the rest. Every so often, footsteps tap overhead, but other than that, silence.

No one told me how long I’ll be here. I think the rulebook says three weeks for fighting, but the Matriarch might have added destroying property. I touch my chin, and stubble prickles my fingers. Before long, the beard will be impossible to hide.

I should never have come to Section One. I could have run—disappeared—after the Earthers bombed my compound. Even when the Matriarch sent a carrier pigeon, I didn’t leave. I waited for someone to come. My hair was long, and I figured I could pass for a girl.

I should have realized it was a mistake.

I have no idea how long I’m here—maybe hours, maybe days—before a shaft of light shines across the room. Footsteps approach, hinges squeak, and metal slams shut. Someone is breathing in the cell next to mine. I imagine Katherine sitting inside. It could be weeks of only her and me. I’ll go insane. I crawl away, push my back against the cold wall.

A calm clear voice says, “Taylor?”

I let myself smile. It’s Mary.



Excerpt: From Mary’s Point of View

I hoped a new arrival—someone who hadn’t spent every day locked inside—might bring a sense of adventure, or at least have interesting stories. But Taylor doesn’t even want to talk to me. What a letdown.

After lunch, I go back to class. When I see who’s sitting at the desk next to mine, my face grows hot. It’s bad enough I have to suffer through another of the Matriarch’s lectures, but to have Taylor beside me the whole time, that’s going to be torture. I sit at my desk and face the front wall—painted black, with lines of chalk dust ground into the cracks.

Taylor speaks in a faint mumble. “Sorry.”

When I can no longer stop myself from looking, I turn my head. Taylor’s eyes catch mine. Blue eyes. Haunting eyes. I open my mouth to speak, to accept the apology, but can’t even breathe.

The Matriarch steps inside the room and flashes one of her fake smiles. “Taylor, would you come to the front of the class?”

The girls whisper as Taylor inches forward. Hanging above is an Emergency Room sign. A piece has broken off, and some of the letters have peeled away. Now, the sign reads EMERGE.



Guest Post

Not Your Typical Love Story

My books tend to have intricate plots and a lot of complications. Oftentimes the characters are put in uncomfortable situations, such as being forced to relocate, grieving a loss or being pursued by the protagonist, which can make romance problematic. This may be their first real relationship, even their first kiss. Jumping full speed into a love scene makes little sense.

I’ll use The Hunger Games for example. The relationship between Katniss and Peeta is complicated, to say the least. They are fighting for their lives, and on camera to boot. It makes perfect sense that their kissing scene is awkward and their relationship strained.

In my novel The Only Boy, Taylor is hiding his identity. He’s lost his family and friends. He’s been thrown into an unfamiliar and potentially hostile environment. Add to this the fact that he’s never really had a girlfriend, and I’m sure you can see how new relationships would be difficult.

Mary, his love interest, is strong-willed. With only women living in her compound and with a constant fear of disease, interactions are discouraged, even forbidden. She has never even met a boy and is confused by her feelings for Taylor. This often leads to misunderstandings and, at times, distrust.

Mary and Taylor’s relationship is far from perfect. They have different upbringings and conflicting desires. They aren’t always nice to each other. Oftentimes, they act in ways that may come off as cold or even mean. In my opinion, this makes them more real.

If you’re looking for a breezy romance, where everything is flowers and fireworks from the start, The Only Boy may not be right for you. If you enjoy complicated stories, however, books in which the characters have to work through their problems and fight for their right to be together, maybe you should give The Only Boy a look.



Interview:

Were you always good at English?
Honestly, English was not my best subject in school. When I was younger, I never, ever thought I would someday be writing novels.

When did you decide to become a writer?
I had an idea for a scene for a book or movie, wrote a few pages and stuck it in a drawer. Four years later, while listening to a radio show about books, the ideas started coming, and I HAD to write them down. In a couple of weeks, I wrote the entire plot.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write at night and on the weekends. Most of us writers have day jobs.

Do you work to an outline or plot, or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I have a very rough idea of a plot and characters and just start writing.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
About a year—a few months for a first draft, and then six to nine months of editing.

Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I’m a graphic designer in my day job, so I designed the cover myself. The idea, a graphic depiction of rows of females and only one male, came to me while I was writing the book. When I designed the cover, I added the teenage boy holding the page to give it a human touch.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely. It’s a potential reader’s first impression. Of course, it’s the writing that’s going to convince them whether or not to buy the book.

How are you publishing this book and why?
My agent was unable to sell The Only Boy to major publishers (many of them had overfilled their quotas for dystopian novels), so I decided to publish it myself.

What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing versus being traditionally published?
Advantages: You have more control when you self-publish, and you can get your book out really quickly. Disadvantages: You have to do everything yourself (design, edit, market, etc.), and your chance of success is much, much lower.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Persistence is key. Keep reading, keep writing and keep learning the craft.


About the Author
Jordan Locke lives in Connecticut with his wife, two lively daughters and a well-behaved whippet. A graphic designer by trade, his creativity spilled over into the literary world. After years of writing, reading and learning the craft, his fifth novel, The Only Boy, brought him offers of representation from two well-known agents. Now, after the dog is fed and the kids are in bed, you will find him tapping away at the keyboard.






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