INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY
When the World Ends…
by J. J. Marshall
When the World Ends… is J. J. Marshall’s debut novel. The paperback is currently ON SALE for 10% off. You can read my interview with the author below. In addition, J. J. has generously donated three ebooks for our giveaway. Make sure you enter!
At the dawn of the 22nd Century, the Earth is dead.
A lethal alien organism has rendered the planet uninhabitable and a small fraction of humanity has retreated to Space and the Moon.
Those that remain on Earth are trapped in huge Spheres that encompass entire cities, tinted to defend against the deadly UV radiation from which the atmosphere no longer protects Humanity.
17-year-old Alec Corbett lives aboard the adapted International Space Station. One ordinary day in his mundane life he transforms his potential when he discovers information that could expose the corruption of the Board of Officials that now controls Humanity. Armed with nothing but knowledge and his friend Jonah Jones by his side, Alec’s righteous judgment leads them on a merciless and unforgiving path.
For there is one key problem – the information comes from his father Landon Corbett; a member of the Board. Pitted against his own flesh and blood, Alec finds himself in a unique position to end the Board of Officials’ dictatorship over Humanity. However, all is not as it seems and as the stakes grow increasingly higher, Humanity reaches the brink of all-out-war.
Only Alec and his group of friends can peacefully negate the situation, but it all depends on whether or not anyone will listen to a 17-year-old boy.
‘They’re running out of space across the human empire’ Andrew said. His voice was deep and thick and Alec imagined that if he were to shout the sound would reverberate well. ‘Which is ironic considering we’re surrounded by it’.
‘It’s like they’re giving up on Earth’ Lola said. Her voice was laced with heavy traces of a Spanish accent and Alec wondered if she spoke the language. He hadn’t heard another language other than English…ever, he realised.
‘They are’ Alec confirmed. ‘They’re leaving them to it. As far as the Board of Official’s see it, people left on Earth have their Spheres and there’s just no room left’.
‘But the Spheres were never a long term solution’ Riley said. ‘In fact, they were never a solution at all. They were only supposed to be a temporary measure until more Moon bases were constructed. The Spheres aren’t sustainable; they’ll burnout after another ten years or so’.
‘By the sounds of it, it’s a sacrifice that the Board is willing to make’ Jay sighed heavily.
Their conversation was interrupted by a loud, metallic ringing. Alec looked around bewildered whilst everyone else turned to the handset that was fixed to the wall in the kitchen.
‘No one ever calls’ Andrew frowned, causing his glasses to slip down his nose slightly. ‘Not since we discovered that calls were always monitored’.
‘Must be important then’ Jay said, stepping from the carpet to the linoleum and picking up the receiver that hung from the wall. Alec recognized the attachment as something which he had once seen in an old-Earth film but he couldn’t recall the name of the device. ‘Hello?’ Jay said, taking the oblong-shaped gadget and holding it against the side of his head. One end reached towards his mouth whilst the other end was pressed against his ear.
Jay remained silent and listened, nodding to himself and saying ‘yes’ or ‘okay’ on the odd occasion. After a few minutes he thanked the caller and placed the device back on the wall.
‘Who was it?’ Riley asked unable to contain her anticipation.
‘Apparently this habitation just won a lottery which we were entered into on our last food order’ Jay said, his eyes dull and his voice flat. ‘Our reward is a place on MoonBase1’.
Everyone’s expression fell slack and they stared in disbelief.
‘It’s begun’ Alec realised. ‘They’ve already started the scheme!’
Jonah turned around and opened the front door. Out in the corridor people were already chatting excitedly, the hot words on everyone’s lips being ‘lottery’ and ‘MoonBase1’.
‘They’ve already called the people they’re going to transport’ Jonah said, unable to bring himself to state their true destiny.
‘We have to stop this’ Alec said adamantly. Every muscle in his body was clenched and everyone else had also tensed in anger against what the Board was planning on doing. ‘We can’t allow this to happen’.
When the world ends is the debut novel from exciting new author, J. J Marshall. Set 100 years in the future, the 21st century earth as we know it now, is slowly being burned up by the sun and the story follows 17 year old Alec Corbett’s struggle to proper in the new harsh environment of space. Not only that, but there are more sinister forces at work beneath the surface, who pose a threat to all of humanity. And somehow Alec gets right in the middle of trying to stop it!
Being drawn into this futuristic world is quite an experience. The twisty turny plot will keep you captivated from beginning to end and Marshall will completely absorb you into this make believe world that he has created. Through detailed description, he leaves no stone unturned and it is a credit to the depth of his imagination that translates every aspect of this new version of earth on to the page.
The main protagonist, Alec is likeable and well explored. His character sees the biggest progression as the novel continues and he has been given a sufficient amount of emotional depth to allow the reader to care about what happens to him. His dialogues with other characters are well thought out and help to continuously move the plot forward in a gripping way. The introduction of a main character reasonably late in the novel was an unexpected and exciting occurrence and I look forward to seeing her develop further in the remaining two books of the trilogy.
This book is a well written, gripping, plot driven adventure and Marshall’s easily readable style makes it effortless to read. Within its pages there something for everyone – from action to romance and everything in between. The author skilfully keeps you enthralled with shock revelations and a fast pace that makes it addictively entertaining. I am definitely looking forward to see how the story continues so make sure you don’t miss out on this thrilling new summer read.
Interview With the Author
Hi J.J., thanks for joining me today to discuss your new book, When the World Ends…
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Definitely J.K. Rowling; it was her first book that made me start writing in the first place. Since the age of 10/11 I’ve written because I was inspired by J. K. to try and create worlds beyond our own.
What age group do you recommend your book for?
My book is aimed at young adults, or 12+. Although many of the readers so far have been in their late teens/early twenties (and some older!) and all feedback has been overwhelmingly positive; they’ve all really enjoyed it.
What sparked the idea for this book?
The idea of this novel came from a dream. I dreamt of a man looking down on an uninhabitable Earth, with his son beside him, both wondering about the fate of his wife. It spiralled from there really, although it turned into something completely different and became this post-apocalyptic, revolution story.
Which comes first? The character’s story or the idea for the novel?
The two main characters (protagonist Alec, the son, and antagonist Landon, the father) were there from the very start. Interestingly, Landon was going to be the main character initially, but that changed before I’d even started writing.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
I think trying to do justice to the finale was difficult. I’d had this image in my head of what it was going to be like for so long that when I came to put it on the page, I struggled because I just wanted to get it all in and I wanted it to be perfect.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope that they’re able to engage with characters on an emotional level, whether it be empathising with them, loving them or hating them. Because once you’re hooked on good characters then the plot is automatically interesting because you care for these people. It’s a sci-fi novel and I hope that it can change people’s opinion of such genre novels and show them that it’s not what they think.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It took me two and a half years to write. I took a break of roughly five months because I came to university and just put it on the back-burner because of all the new stuff I had going on.
What is your writing routine?
I don’t have a routine, I just write when I can find the time which is often either late at night or early morning. For some reason, even though I’m tired, I’m at my most creative then. I think because I dream so much about my novels and the characters, night time is a really good time for me. I have to be sitting at a desk or table too, I can’t just sit on the sofa or a bed.
How did you get your book published?
I published my book through AuthorHouse, which is a self-publishing agency. Initially I just wanted to be able to say that I’d published a book, so I worked hard to make sure that When the World Ends… was the best it could possibly be. The reception to the novel is what is spurring me to pursue it further in terms of a writing career. I never thought about it until the first reviews started coming in and people genuinely loved the book.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Believe in yourself. It is so difficult to get an agent and to get a publisher to take on your novel (hence why I went down the self-publishing route – I didn’t have the time to pursue these people). But if you believe in your work and you genuinely believe that it will work, then go for it. J. K. Rowling was turned down by twelve publishers. Imagine that – twelve publishing houses turning down Harry Potter!
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I don’t get a lot of free time, between doing my degree at the University of Reading and part-time work. I like to just hang out with friends, catch up and socialize because writing and the two aforementioned things take up a lot of time where I don’t get to see friends.
What does your family think of your writing?
I think they’re surprised, because none of them particularly read that much and none of them write. So they don’t know where I get it from! But they’re very supportive. My nan has bought the book both in paperback and a Kindle version!
That’s so sweet. Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I was born and raised in south London and I went to a Roman Catholic secondary school. I lived with my mum for a time and then with my dad, whom I lived with until I went to university.
Did you enjoy school?
Most of the time, yes. I enjoyed most of my subjects (except for maths and the sciences which involved maths!). My favourite subjects were geography (which I now study at university), English and Spanish. I was fortunate to go to a really great secondary school.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
I loved reading!! I still do. I used to read all the time, when I’d come home from school and especially through the summer holidays. My family used to go on two week holidays and I could read anything between 5 and 10 books in that time. The rate at which I read has sadly dwindled the older I’ve become, being an adult is rubbish!
You can say that again! When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
When I published When the World Ends… and received such positive feedback. Obviously I had dreamed about it before then, but it only became a reality when I realized that people actually enjoyed my work.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Definitely. I loved reading so much and it was such a big part of my life. It taught me about escapism; getting away from reality for a bit and losing yourself in a book, and I thought it would be fantastic if I could create something like that: my own little world!
What was your favorite book as a child?
I think it would be wrong for me to say anything other than Harry Potter. All of them! When Order of the Phoenix was released my mum bought it for me and I’m pretty sure I read it in a day. I just loved the whole world and the characters and, like many other people my age I’m sure, I just wanted to go to Hogwarts! I genuinely hoped that on the night of my 11th birthday I would get a visit from Hagrid. Can you imagine my disappointment?!
Who were your favorite authors as a child (as if I can’t guess)?
J. K. Rowling. But I’ve said enough about her! Anthony Horowitz played a big part of my mid-teens when I discovered Alex Rider. When I realized I wasn’t a wizard I decided I wanted to be him, which seemed more realistic! I also loved his Power of Five. That was such an incredibly fantasy/supernatural series.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I hear a little, I’m still expanding my readership at the moment. Many people enjoy the pace of the book and they say they find it hard to put down. Which is good because I did that on purpose! I deliberately ended each chapter with a cliff-hanger or something that would make you want to keep reading. I love books like that, so I’m glad that I was able to do that for my own novel.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
There’s the rest of the trilogy!! This is just the first book. The second book, …Humanity Falls… is hopefully going to be released at Christmas time, once all the editing and read-throughs have been done! Then the third book will probably be released Christmas 2014 – I’ve barely started writing that yet so it’s in the very early stages. After the trilogy I have a novel lined up about two reality-hopping brothers (another dream I had!), which I’m really looking forward to writing because this trilogy has taken up all my creativity over the past few years!
It’s been a pleasure chatting with you today. Thanks for contributing the prizes for our giveaway. I wish you the best for future writing projects.
From the Author
I am currently studying a BSc Physical Geography Degree at the University of Reading in Berkshire, England, with the intention of pursuing a career in teaching secondary school pupils. I was born and raised in England and am presently twenty years old. When the World Ends… is my first publication and I’m incredibly excited to be working with the people at AuthorHouse in bringing my story to real, tangible pages!
Writing has always been a hobby and a passion of mine from a very young age; I can recall writing a novel on my first family computer which was inspired (as well as a being blatant rip-off!) of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. It was really this book; the first full novel I had ever read by myself, that inspired me to write for myself and to create worlds beyond our own and fictions that can redefine the past or give suppositions about the future.
I would list J. K. Rowling as one of my top inspirations, as well as the likes of Anthony Horowitz, Iain Banks, Charlaine Harris, and Suzanne Collins. I also draw inspiration from TV shows and scriptwriters, such as Joss Whedon, J. J. Abrams, Maurissa Tancharoen, Steven Moffat, and Jane Espenson. Their work and the way that they construct characters and stories spur and challenge me to create my own little realities.
So welcome to one of my little realities! I hope you enjoy it.
The author has kindly donated three ebook copies of When the World Ends… for our giveaway. Please show your appreciation by entering.