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The Story Took Off From There

Jeff O’Handley Author Interview

Powerless follows a man that must adapt to a post-apocalyptic world and keep his family alive and safe as resources become scarce. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The first glimmer of an idea for Powerless struck when I was driving through a hurricane to pick up my daughter at her friend’s house. The road crossed a small stream, and as I saw the water boiling through the culvert beneath the road, an image flashed in my head of the road flooded and impassable. I thought, “What if I couldn’t pick up my daughter?” This thought was followed by two in rapid succession that will be familiar to anyone who writes. The first was, “Oh, that would be horrible!” The second was, “Oh, that would make a great story!”

So, for a while, the broad idea was ‘Man moves heaven and earth to get his daughter back amidst a great natural disaster.’ That interested me, but it didn’t thrill me–it just looked like some sort of generic action movie in my head. One day I was mulling it over yet again, and I was thinking about this family that was one kid short in a crisis and picturing husband and wife at the dinner table with an empty chair where their daughter would be. And I sort of idly wondered, “What’s it like in the other house? The one with the extra kid?” That was my “Ah, ha!” moment, and the story took off from there.

Kevin must learn to adapt to a new way of life that he was unprepared for. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

Kevin is a nice guy, and while he certainly hasn’t finished last in life, he definitely gets walked on and over a bit. I was interested in exploring what would push him to finally say “no”, what situation and circumstance would help him find the power within to stand up for himself, and to stand up for what is right.

He’s also someone who is rather optimistic by nature, as well as resourceful and forward-thinking.
As the situation in Powerless unfolds he proves to be surprisingly good at doing things that he’s never done before. But his optimism and basic faith in others leads to some blind spots where he is unable to see some of the threats to his family lie.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The biggest theme in Powerless is family, and how we define it. While the antagonist in the story is Eli Sobchuck, the real conflict is ultimately between Kevin and his wife, Monica, and it’s over how to define family. Kevin wants to draw the family circle as wide as possible to include not only his daughter’s friend, who has been stranded at their home during this event, but also neighbors and the people of the town. He sees the wider community as part of his responsibility. Monica, meanwhile, is trying to keep that circle as tight as possible, is trying to protect herself and the people closest to her. This resulting conflict is not only with her husband, but with herself.

The book also looks at the dynamics between people with power and those without, and the use of power for personal gain versus community good.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have a completed manuscript of what I think of as ‘economic fiction’ about a woman who finds herself trying to work off debt in a compulsory, government sponsored volunteer program. It’s pretty much good to go but it doesn’t yet have a home. I’m hoping to rectify that. I’m also in the early stages of a project that is too new to really talk about right now. It has some characters and some situations that are interesting, but I haven’t quite found the story just yet and I’m sort of trying to write my way into it.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website | GoodReads

Sunspots, Al-Qaeda, North Korea—no one knows why the power goes out in sleepy little Harpursville, how much of the world is affected, or how long it will last. In one instant virtually every modern convenience stops working, leaving the townspeople scrambling.

For Kevin Barton, the problem is compounded by the presence of his sixteen-year-old daughter’s best friend, Dina, who’s been stranded at the house after yet another sleepover. When Kevin’s attempt to escort Dina home ends in robbery and humiliation, their “second daughter’s” overnight visit becomes a permanent stay. Kevin doesn’t really mind. Dina helps with everything from hauling water to digging a garden, and she does it with a smile. But with food scarce and hunger eating away at reason, her large appetite and constant presence sets the household on edge, causing a rift between Kevin and his wife, Monica.

Help is offered by the man who stops Harpursville from sliding into everyone-for-themselves chaos but then he gives Kevin an unthinkable ultimatum. With the peace of the town and Kevin’s own family hanging in the balance, he faces a two-front war. Can Kevin find the power in himself to protect everything he holds dear?

An Unavoidable Cataclysmic Event

Author Interview
Mike Ross Author Interview

Time’s Up follows the political leaders of Earth as they determine if an alien warning about the apocalypse is real, and if so, who will be saved to carry on mankind? What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I wanted an alien presence that was benevolent not bent on destroying us. Using CME’s (which actually exist on the sun) as the humanity killer, allowed the aliens to play a positive role. I wanted to speculate as to how the world leaders might deal with an unavoidable cataclysmic event along with an offer of help from an completely unverified source. I wanted to examine how normal human and especially conventional political forces might affect our behaviors.

What was your approach to writing the interactions between characters?

The primary interactions are between the protagonist (Yaz) and two old friends. Yaz had very close, though never sexual, relations with both men. With one friend she needed his help. With the other he needed her help. And eventually both friends, who were complete strangers, helped each other. I placed all the conflict between Yaz and world leaders who generally could not change their ingrained behaviors even knowing they would be futile. Friends, on the other hand, only helped each other without expectation of reward or benefit.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

That humans may be their own worst enemy. Politics makes people into monsters who cannot recapture their humanity even in the most dire of situations. That friendships/love last forever and are our only hope of salvation.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Working on a sequel to TIME’S UP. It will pick up where TU ends. If it takes as long as TU did (I hope not), maybe 2025 (if I live that long)?

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

TIME’s UP: A Cynical, Misanthropic Look at the End of Life on Earth

An unidentified being makes a prediction to the world. Over a period of several months the sun will experience a series of eruptions that will allow intense solar radiation to reach the earth. This radiation will eventually destroy all life and make the planet uninhabitable. The unidentified entity also offers to save a small group of young people by transporting them to a place that can support human life. However, successful colonization of the new location is not assured. Most people do not believe the prediction or the offer of help. One woman does believe and takes on the task of accepting the rescue offer and preparing the colonists. She must do battle with hostile politicians (‘carpols’), inept bureaucrats and skeptical populations (“genpop’) to save the human race from extinction.

Utopia? 

Utopia is a city in which everything is based on a system-created hierarchy, where the higher your level, the more luxury and opportunity you would have. George Mason is hell-bent on rising through the ranks while being disgusted by those below him and intensely envious of those above him. Utopia is now ripe for the taking, with the city’s leader on the verge of retiring. Whoever has the most power gains control.

Using their hidden and enormous network of control, the smoking man and the pixelated man are contending for the rule over the city. But unfortunately, George Mason becomes caught in the crossfire and is forced to go undercover to infiltrate the Commune, a settlement outside of Utopia’s boundaries. As he is exposed to ludicrous and foreign ideals, he is drawn deeper into the chasm caused by people seeking control of Utopia.

R.A. Rowlingson’s book Utopia? transports readers to a gloomy universe that is all too familiar. In this terrifying piece of fantasy fiction, horrible forces are developing within the city of Utopia. Many themes of this story resonate with our current reality, particularly the recent global political issues. The author subtly injects bits and pieces of truth into his craft that readers will surely indulge in.

The plot moves along at a steady pace, never dragging and never going too fast. My favorite aspect of Rowlingson’s writing has to be his meticulous attention to detail in character development and world-building. Readers will get to know the characters’ minds, learning their motives and inner struggles. The descriptions of the city and the Commune will have readers feeling like they are in the middle of everything and experiencing the conditions of the dwellers as they follow George.

Utopia? is a sinister and dark reflection of our reality as a whole. This dystopian novel will give readers a look into what could be their own post-apocalyptic world. Science fiction and fantasy readers will find this novel to be engaging, with plenty of unique characters and situations to explore.

Pages: 263 | ASIN : B09HQ43QV9

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Challenges That They Must Face

Y.C. Leung Author Interview

Spark follows a group of young adults that must make a journey inland in order to survive amidst an apocalyptic world that throws obstacles at each turn. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

I was reading several books in a series and thought I could try to write a series as well. However, it soon became apparent that just writing one book is tough (laugh!). I decided to write my book as a standalone at that point. There are things that I care about, such as global warming and mental health, and I wanted to incorporate these things into the book. As Spark is my first novel, I want to make it straight forward for me to write, so I decided that my characters shall go from point A to point B with challenges that they must face along the way.

With so much drama and disasters striking the characters, how did you balance the action scenes with the story elements and still keep a fast pace in the story?

There were as many external obstacles and misfortunes as internal struggles that the main character, Becky experienced. Simply put, as the characters need to go from point A to point B as soon as possible, the story is always moving along. I tried to have characters that are relatable to keep the story grounded. Becky, the mean character, is by no means perfect. Some of her decisions are even questionable, but I think readers can understand her. Tommy, her brother, is a drug addict. He uses sarcasm to cope with his depression and pain. The siblings don’t get along but they are close and care about each other. Their friend, Connor, who tags along with the siblings, is levelheaded and rational. He provides stability amid all the crises.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Some of the themes that are important for me to explore in this book include effects of climate change, survival after disasters, personal growth, dysfunctional families, self-harm, and drug addiction.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Although I mentioned Spark is a standalone book, there is potential for a sequel (laugh!). It’s not the book I’m currently working on though. I’m currently working on another young adult / new adult book that involves the main character being convinced she’s haunted by a ghost. It will explore the themes of science vs. superstition, expectations from others vs. self-fulfillment, and the courage of letting go so change can happen.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook | Website

Eighteen-year-old Becky and her best friend, Meghan, can’t wait to join the army and start their basic training in September. Becky especially yearns to leave her rundown neighbourhood in Langley, British Columbia, as it will soon become flooded by rising sea levels. But when they head to Reunion Square to meet their friends, Connor and Robert, disaster strikes and their lives are changed forever.

A massive earthquake ignites widespread panic, and people start to run in fear of a tsunami. Becky and Connor are separated from Meghan and Robert. Forced to leave the area, Becky and Connor find her brother, Tommy, and they make their way back to the siblings’ home in hopes that Meghan and Robert are going there too. But as they wait for their friends, Langley goes up in flames and the trio must flee by car.

With nowhere else to go, they decide to head to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where Becky’s parents are staying. En route, they learn that a deadly new virus, with horrific symptoms, is tearing through British Columbia. They will have to make it to Manitoba before the borders close. Meanwhile, Tommy suffers severe drug withdrawal and shares a devastating confession with Becky. Tension rises as fear grips the country and more disasters impede their way. How will they possibly survive?

Wrath of Justice

Wrath of Justice by author Denna Holm dives into a bleak future where many people sacrifice nearly everything they have just to survive. It’s a world where food is limited, and raising a family isn’t an option for most people in a global wasteland. As a result, many parents make the difficult decision to sell one or more children, or make a deal with demons, to secure a better chance in life. For some, an adventurous, dangerous path is the ticket to salvation.

If you’re looking for an exciting indulgence, Wrath of Justice will keep you engaged from the very start. The story centers around Justice, who finds himself sold to a run-down brothel, where he’s destined to exist among the most brutal layer of society. His only chance of escape is an offer from a hunter, where he faces a new level of darkness. However, he finds a glimmer of hope and love throughout his journey between demons and debauchery.

This story weaves through the layers of a futuristic, post-apocalyptic world that offers more beneath the surface, with more significant risks, facing demons, and a thirst for basic survival. Justice learns more than he bargains for, and his life takes unexpected turns when he joins forces with Michael Santos. The characters are well developed and captivating, weaving a thrilling narrative through a dark future with a few plots twists. I enjoyed the pace and vibrant contrast of witches, demons, and brave characters weaving through a dreary landscape with lots of surprises.

Wrath of Justice is a thrilling novel that combines paranormal romance with action and suspense. This engaging book moves along quickly, with lots of steamy tension and unexpected turns, so readers will want to keep going to see what happens next. Overall this is a well-crafted and exciting story.

Pages: 379 | ASIN : B09PWLCMC8

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About Real People, Not Heroes

Helen Daniels
Helen Daniels Author Interview

We’re Not Heroes follows survivors of the apocalypses on their journey to reach loved ones in a world where everything they knew is changed or gone. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

Honestly, I’m a ‘what if’ kind of thinker. I love the post-apocalyptic genre, but was always disheartened by the need for authors to use a ‘hero’ – you know, the ex-SAS Soldier or retired Navy Seal. (Talk about coincidence that one might be on hand for every post-apocalyptical story). Anyway, I got tired of it, and decided to tell a story that I would want to read. About real people, not heroes.

One of the highlights of your novel is how detailed the scenes were, it was easy for readers to visualize the action. What was your favorite scene in this story?

Thank you, I’m so pleased that I was about to conjure the imagery. I enjoyed writing the scene where Maree and Leon come across the young mother with her children. I wanted to detail the horrific acts that some people will commit in a state of lawlessness, and yet others still will be compelled to hang on to their morals and humanity. In saying that, Luca intrigues me and I thoroughly enjoyed creating his character. His broken English made it difficult for him to fully express himself. I would love to find the time to explore his past.

Was there a reason why you chose The Great Southern region of Western Australia as the backdrops for your story?

Yes! I live here. The area is the backdrop to my life. I can see and feel the characters in and around where I live. The Great Southern is semi-isolated from the most isolated city in the world (Perth)! It is majestic and powerful and holds me captivated.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I am hoping to intertwine other sets of characters with Jon and Maree’s story, exploring the hardships after taking many things in life for granted. Ideally, this book is probably around 12 months away.

Author Links: Amazon | GoodReads

A friendly barbecue turns to panic when what appears to be an earthquake shatters the lives of a group of friends. Deep in the heart of the Great Southern of Western Australia, the mountains are ablaze and with little to no communication with the world outside the farm gates, the need to grasp onto something comfortable and familiar is quickly overshadowed with the need to survive.
Struggling with a deep sense of foreboding, Maree struggles with the desperate need to find her family hundreds of kilometres away. A fight for survival and family she can’t live without.
Their world has changed. It’s time to survive.

Literary Titan Book Awards January 2022

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Award Winners

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

Storm Front 8 by Steven Paul Germane

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information.

We’re Not Heroes

We’re Not Heroes, by Helen Daniels, is the story of a group of friends that are stuck at a farmhouse after what they originally thought was an earthquake hits Australia. They have suspicions on what actually has happened after their electricity goes out, cars stop working, and the mountains are on fire. Maree and her husband Jon are worried for their children so they set off on a journey to find them.

The author, Helen Daniels, transports readers to the Great Southern region of Western Australia. The level of detail describing the scenery and people in her story transports the readers right into the action. Following along side Jon and Maree as they are fighting for survival will have readers turning pages quickly to see if they can make it to their children and survive this changing world’s destruction.

The characters are well developed and relatable. Readers will want to keep reading because they get invested in the personal emotions and stories of the characters. You begin to understand why certain characters in the story make the choices that they do in a time of crisis. The story builds slow before catapulting into the action. With a strong balance of narrative and action readers will feel like they are part of the story, racing to find their loved ones.

We’re Not Heroes by Helen Daniels is a riveting, captivating and suspenseful post-apocalyptic novel that will have you hooked to the very last page. Readers of action, adventure, suspense and post-apocalyptic science fiction will enjoy this relentlessly entertaining survival story.

Pages: 330 | ASIN : B09K4V6FH8

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