Thursday, May 17, 2012

Debut Author Interview: Kristen Simmons, Article 5

It is an absolute honor to be hosting Kristen Simmons on the blog today with an interview! Her debut dystopian novel is a 2012 release, Article 5, and it is a phenomenal read! A great read for anyone who is a fan of the genre!

Kristen Simmons is the author of young adult fiction. Her debut novel, ARTICLE 5, the first installment of a dystopian trilogy, was published by Tor Teen in January 2012. Words cannot describe how happy this makes her. Kristen Simmons has a master’s degree in social work and is an advocate for mental health. She lives with her husband Jason and their precious greyhound Rudy in Tampa, Florida.

1. Can you sum up your book in 5 words or less? Oh boy, I'm notoriously bad at summing things up, but how about this: Teens hunted by moral regime! (That sounds sort of newspaper headline-ish, doesn't it?)

2. Article 5 has a setting in Kentucky and surrounding areas. As a Lexingtonian, I flailed and squeed as I don't get to experience knowing the setting like that often. Of all the places, what was it about Lousiville and Lexington that landed a special place in your book?
I LOVE that area. We lived there for about 6 years - during that time I wrote ARTICLE 5 and the sequel BREAKING POINT. It's this great, community-driven place - a clash of new, progressive ideals and traditional values. The people are friendly and welcoming, and yet there is such diversity of opinion in everything. It the was perfect place to stage a story about a girl who is learning what is really important to her.

3. Can you build up any expectations for us to live us desperate for Breaking Point? Well...I can tell you that the resistance is becoming more active, there's a daring rescue scene, and things are heating up between Chase and Ember.

4. Do you find your characters can upset you at times with their decisions or outlooks? Absolutely. Sometimes they drive me crazy. There were times I wanted to scream at them just to talk to each other! Communicate! It's not that hard! But it was for them. In ARTICLE 5, Chase and Ember struggle with things that have happened in their pasts. This doesn't make it easy to always make the right decisions. But, they live and learn, like we all do I hope!

5. How does it feel having your debut finally released? It feels like, last.

6. People usually share the best advice they have ever been given about life, writing, etc. Have you ever been given terrible advice? Someone several years (yes, years) into the querying process told me to forget about it. If it (publication) hadn't happened yet, it probably wasn't going to. A couple years after that I wrote ARTICLE 5 and hey, it DID happen. So here's my advice to anyone working toward a goal: NEVER GIVE UP. It may take a long time, it may be painful, but in the end it will be that much sweeter when you get it.

7. What is your favorite book to movie adaptation? I think Hunger Games did a pretty good job! That and Harry Potter 3. For some reason, that movie stands out as a really nice adaptation of the book.

The Book: Article 5

New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.

The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.

There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don't come back.

Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren't always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it's hard for her to forget that people weren't always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It's hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.

Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.

That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.

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