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Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?
Actually, I didn’t set out write juvenile fiction, young adult, new adult, whatever label people give it. Age of Order was born out of the raw frustration I encountered trying to get my children into school in my adopted home of New York City. I began writing dialogue, things I wanted to say, and the characters formed around those words. I didn’t write any differently than I would have for an “adult” novel—it just so happened that the characters in Age of Order were in high school, and therefore had to face certain issues typical for young adults of their age
Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?
Easy—because it happens in the book! Daniela’s locker has a Tuck “skin,” which is the school uniform. Of course, Tuck being the elite highborn school that it is, their uniforms only look traditional. A skin can grow or shrink to fit anyone and it can regulate the temperature of the wearer. It can also change colors… if you hack the school network that controls it. She’s also got a Tuck track outfit, and a digiBook, which is essentially the best of both words—a paperback that can change its pages.
What books were your favorite as a youth and why?
I had a lot of favorites, since I generally preferred books to people. Sometimes I still do… One of the first books I remember reading was Privateers by Ben Bova. Looking back, it was a bit of a clunky, cold-war era adventure, but it made science-fiction seem very real to me. I also loved Shogun by James Cavell. I remember how thick that book was. I couldn’t even hold it property. But I ate it up in one weekend. It was like living in a different world. That one started my love of Asia. What else? Bridge to Terabethia—I was in sixth grade when I read it and it was the first book that made me cry, although I certainly denied that ever happened at the time!
What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I wanted to be an author! I loved creating worlds—being an author is a bit like being a god. But I didn’t get a chance. Like Daniela in Age of Order, I had responsibilities. My family’s situation simply wasn’t one where I could pursue a career with such uncertain prospects. But I promised that one day I’d write a book. It took me a while, but I never gave up the dream.
What book is on your nightstand currently?
The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, which I recently finished. It was recommended by one of my beta readers. Actually, he insisted. Told me I need to learn to use Spanish like a real person, use the language to covey atmosphere, character, and personality. Diaz such did that. I’m no Junot Diaz though.
Ideal summer vacation.
Anyplace where my wife and I can spend a couple of days without our kids. Not too long. And we want to know where they are, what they are doing, and that they are happy. But, yeah, a couple of days without our kids would be great. If they served alcohol too, I wouldn’t complain…
Favorite class in high school. Why?
European History taught by Phillip Beasley. I am a nerd, and I love history. But that class was special, because the teacher was special. Mr. Beasley was one of those rare teachers who made the subject come alive. History became a story, but one that spoke about something grand—about the growth of civilization, of culture, of humanity. Like many authors, many of my best plots are really just rips offs of events that have actually happened.
In this world, inequality is a science. Giant machines maintain order. And all people are not created equal.
Daniela Machado is offered a chance to escape the deprivation of Bronx City through a coveted slot at the elite Tuck School. There, among the highborn of Manhattan, she discovers an unimaginable world of splendor and greed. But her opportunity is part of a darker plan, and Daniela soon learns that those at society’s apex will stop at nothing to keep power for themselves. She may have a chance to change the world, if it doesn’t change her first.
Age of Order is a novel that explores the meaning of merit and inequality. Fans of the Hunger Games, Red Rising, and Divergent will enjoy this world of deception and intrigue, where the downtrodden must fight for a better future.
Read an Excerpt:
The scene around the Tuck School reminded me of an anthill consisting entirely of the best-fed ants in the world. Students ranging from five to eighteen years old streamed towards the opposing entrances of the illustrious school—my school—in a navy and white parade of controlled chaos. The kids compensated for the monotony of their clothing with a dazzling array of hair colors: gold, platinum, silver, copper, chrome, and several I couldn’t guess. You could’ve mined their skulls for precious metals, but not much else. Younger students clustered on the south side of the street, upper-school students stayed on the north side, while hulking vehicles, their exteriors colored in hostile shades of black, human drivers at the wheel, traversed the street to deposit their pampered cargo at Tuck’s doorstep. Familiars ruled the skies like air cover for an invasion.
I turned onto the street atop humble feet, the only school-aged person not attired in a standard uniform, although I had chosen dark colors. Not that I expected to blend in. In addition to not being in uniform, I lacked the obligatory mechanized crown floating above my head. There was also the matter of my skin color. And I walked alone.
About the Author: I’ve been writing since I could grab a pencil (remember those?). Then I had kids. Not much time for writing anymore. Until they started school… in New York City. I’m not from here, and the tumult of that experience inspired me. AGE OF ORDER grew from a diary of injustice. Now I write what I’m feeling, and let the rest flow from there. I hope you enjoy it.
Please visit my website at www.juliannorth.com and join my book club to receive a free short story set in the same world as AGE OF ORDER.
The book is on sale for only $0.99 at Amazon.
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