Sunday, January 6, 2013

As They Slip Away: A Free Novella!

All this week, I'm doing a blog tour to celebrate the launch of my third and final novel in the Across the Universe trilogy: SHADES OF EARTH!

Guys, I'm so excited about this one. It's really a work of love, and a great big thank you letter to everyone who's supported me and read my work.

But I wanted to do something else to thank you all. So...I wrote a novella. And I'm giving it to you. For free. No strings. I just want you to have it.

The novella is called "As They Slip Away" (note the Beatles reference!), and all this week, Monday through Friday, a different chapter will be posted on a different blog in this unique blog tour. Additionally, you'll have a chance each day to win one of five sets of books--all three books in the trilogy, all signed by me.

The short version: all this week, you get to download another chapter of "As They Slip Away" and enter to win a set of signed books.

You can read the full description of "As They Slip Away" on GoodReads--and by the end of the week, you'll be able to download the full version of the story on your e-reader of choice (available free through Scribd from PenguinTeen).

But I want to get personal for a moment, and tell you about how this novella came to be.

"As They Slip Away" features a new character--Selene. Although she's not really new. If you've read ACROSS THE UNIVERSE or A MILLION SUNS, you've seen Selene before. In ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, Selene was the "rabbit girl," the girl Amy meets who's giving "inoculations" to rabbits. And she showed up again, in A MILLION SUNS. As a victim.

I knew for a long time that I wanted to write a novella telling this girl's story. I like to have backgrounds for my background characters, and from the moment she landed on the page--as a late addition, barely making the cut--I was curious about what her story might be.

I also wanted to write more about the most-hated character of my books: Luthor, or Luthe, as he was known in the first book. In a lot of ways, he's the real villain of my stories, not Eldest or Orion. Both Eldest and Orion have very real reasons for doing what they do. I'm not saying they're right--I'm just saying they are acting with what they feel to be the best way.

Luthe, on the other hand, is evil.

I wanted to do two things with the bad characters in my books. I wanted to show that many times, the person we think is evil, has perfectly valid reasons for his actions. Most "bad guys" aren't bad--they're just working under different motivations or goals or methodology. That's why I wanted to show who Eldest and Orion were, and why they did what they did.

But I also wanted to make it clear that there is evil in the world. And that is Luthe. He is evil. He is bad. He is unredeemable. He is perfectly, 100% conscious of his actions, and the consequences, and he doesn't care. He takes what he wants.

In some ways, "As They Slip Away" is Luthe's story. He is evil--but he's also sick. Sick in the same way serial killers are sick, but sick, nonetheless.

But really, this is Selene's story. The girl who had no voice--not in the novels, not even in part of this story.

I wanted "As They Slip Away" to be a story about a victim. If you read A MILLION SUNS, you already know how Selene's story ends--and it doesn't end well. "As They Slip Away" is a tragedy. But despite that--despite what's happened to Selene, she doesn't let that change her. So, while it is a tragedy, I want you to know also that it's a story of strength.

And I hope you like it. <3 p="p">
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