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Welcome to Books in the Hall! Why do you write juvenile fiction? What draws you to it?
I work with teens and wanted to write books for them. My Finding Humanity Series was inspired by several conversations where a bunch of teens told me they couldn’t imagine a future where humans got their act together and stopped killing each other and the planet. I wanted to create a story where instead of a chosen one saving the day, it was a group of diverse people who didn’t trust each other that eventually convinced everyone else to change.
Pretend your protagonist is at school and opens his/her locker – what will we see inside?
There are five points of view in The Chasm:
Rana, a star being, would have toys and food for her cave digger pup, Digga. Star beings don’t use books, so maybe she’d also have her walking stick and fur cape.
Kahali, another star being, would have all musical instruments, but mostly percussion instruments.
Bleu Reinier, a human, would have his equipment for the hologames as well as a pictures of he and his best friend, Stamf, winning at various tournaments. He’d also have secret computer files of cold weather wilderness survival techniques.
Atsushi Collins, another human teen, would have his pass to the Records Room, where he researches ancient Earth. He’d also have his personal comm loaded with music from the old world wide web.
Commander Savas, the human expedition leader, would have his expedition clothing, cologne, and a comb.
What books were your favorite as a youth and why?
When I was a teen I mostly read adult sci-fi, fantasy, romance and spy books. But my favorite book, which will tell you what a nerd I was, was Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte D’Arthur.
What’s your favorite sweet treat?
Lindt Chocolate Peppermint White Chocolate Truffles
What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
I always wanted to be a doctor that treated people regardless of their ability to pay. I’ve always been interested in health and healing, and wanted to help others. I did get a Bachelors in Biology Pre-Med, but then became a mental health therapist instead.
What would you write in a letter to your teen self?
I would tell myself that having perfect grades and the college I choose are not nearly as important as everyone makes you believe as a teen. But more importantly, I’d try to give myself hope, because my teen years were pretty awful.
What candy do you give out at Halloween?
All the candy bars, because that’s usually what the kids want. But I also have allergy-free alternatives.
What superpower would you love to have? Why?
I’d love to be able to physically travel to book worlds. Then I could visit all my favorite characters and all the magical forests, and all the amazing planets.
What book is on your nightstand currently?
I don’t read in bed, so my own books, The Calling and The Chasm are on my nightstand. Seeing that I’ve actually brought stories from my imagination into physical form in this world is a dream come true.
Hunger Games or Twilight? Why?
Oh, this is hard. I definitely like Susan Collins’ writing better, but then…werewolves and vampires! I see this question, and my response is the meme from The Road El Dorado where the two guys look at each other and say “Both! Both is good.”
Favorite TV show from your childhood?
The old Battlestar Galactica. The newer one is also great, but the older one was out when I was a kid.
Favorite hot beverage. Why?
Coffee in all its wonderful forms. It tastes good, wake me up, fuels my writing, and has antioxidants. What’s not to love?
Ideal summer vacation.
I’m not a heat person, so I’d rather work through the summer and go to Iceland and see the Northern Lights in the winter.
Which of your characters would you most like to meet IRL? Why?
Another hard one. I’m not good at these choices, am I? I think I’d probably like to meet the Crowned Ones among the star beings, specifically Kalakanya, Luminary Vadin, and Bahujnana. The Crowned Ones are the star being version of enlightened beings, and I think we’d have great conversations. Kalakanya would be great to talk to about the nature of time and past and future lives. Luminary Vadin is really funny and kind, and Bahujnana is their healer and I’d love to talk to him about their healing techniques.
Alternatively, I’d love to meet two of the Ruined-Hakan and Mican- but if I say more about them it would be a spoiler. Also, if I were meeting them, I’d need a guarantee that they wouldn’t kill me, lol.
Favorite pizza toppings.
Hot Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions, and hot peppers
Create an ice cream flavor. What’s it called?
Butterscotch Expresso. Coffee ice cream with chocolate covered expresso beans, and butterscotch syrup.
You’ve just won a million dollars and you’re not allowed to save any of it. What do you spend it on? A small farm with a guest house for any friends that need a place to stay as well.
Favorite class in high school.
I’m going to sort of cheat with this question. I spent my senior year of high school at college, and my favorite course there, and maybe ever, was a freshman interdisciplinary class that explored what would happen if extraterrestrial intelligent life was ever discovered. It looked at the science as well as effects on our society, political stability between nations, and how religious institutions would react. It was the perfect class for a budding science fiction author.
Thank you so much for taking an interest in me and my series.
After Bleu, Rana, and their new friends narrowly prevent war between the star beings and humans, they hope the upcoming negotiation will secure the peace. Newly emerged from their subterranean haven, the Northern Haven humans are clearly not suited to Earth’s ice age, and require assistance from the enlightened star beings to survive long term on the Surface. But Commander Savas doesn’t trust the suspiciously kind star beings and their unexplainable abilities. When both sides reluctantly negotiate a joint mission to find the other Havens, Bleu must somehow cooperate with the manipulative commander to keep his friends safe.
As their team confronts unexpected dangers, Bleu and his teammates begin to suspect the star beings don’t know as much about the Surface as they claimed, while Rana is torn between remaining true to her nonviolent ways or becoming more human to survive. When an unnatural predator attacks, even the nearly all-knowing Kalakanya can’t explain it. Now the team must pull together or their new discovery will pull them apart, limb by limb.
Read an excerpt
Savas grinned. “Think of it as research. They’re a new species. You’re doing field observation.”
“I don’t think she eats at all.” Atsushi frowned. “None of the Crowned Ones seem to. They go to the gathering hall to socialize.”
“You do realize that’s impossible, right? They’re alive. They need an energy source.”
“Kalakanya said she eats air or something.”
Savas snorted. “Well, be curious. Ask Kahali when you’re alone. Later, ask the others. We’ll compare answers.”
Atsushi grimaced. “They’ll know what I’m thinking. I don’t want to upset them.”
“No, you don’t.” If he had another Medicci device to block mindreading, he’d offer it to him. There must be something the boy could do to stay safe. A tiny, guilty voice rose within him at exposing the boy to the dangers of mind-control. No kid should go through that.
“What if you keep that chant Kahali taught you running in your head? Maybe then they won’t catch on?”
“Maybe.” Atsushi was silent. “I’m supposed to be chanting that all the time, but I’m horrid at remembering.”
“Then work on that.”
Atsushi nodded and then glanced toward the fire, where the star beings suddenly sang more loudly. “You still don’t trust them, do you?”
“No, I don’t.”
“But why? They’re so nice.”
“There used to be a fish that lived in the depths of the ocean. It evolved a beautiful light that shone magnificently in the darkness. Other fish would swim close, mesmerized by the beauty, feeling completely safe. And then the light-bearing fish would tear them to pieces.”
About the Author:
Branwen OShea has a Bachelors in Biology from Colgate University, a Bachelors in Psychology, and a Masters in Social Work. She lives in Connecticut with her family and a menagerie of pets, and enjoys hiking, meditating, and star-gazing. Her published works include Silence of the Song Trees, The Calling, The Cords That Bind, and The Chasm.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/branwenoshea
The Chasm (Book 2) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09QFPHQVN
The Calling (Book 1) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735915998
The Cords That Bind (Book 1.1) on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09CSK4813
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