If you know me, you know I love to read dystopian books. I’m not sure what it is about them. I think perhaps it’s seeing how rules meant in the best interest of the community can go so horribly wrong. (Can you say Obamacare?) Those big “what if?” questions. And because all societies are dystopian – some more than others.
Me: Hi, Katie! It’s so great for you to take the time out to answer some questions about you and your books.
The first question I always ask is this: do you consider yourself a Christian author or author of Christian fiction? What do you think the difference is?
KC: I consider myself an author of Christian fiction (but I’m also a Christian author!). I write books mainly for the Christian market. I grew up in a strict, Christian home. Christian books were the books I read in high school, and it’s those teens I’m looking to reach out to in my own stories. I want to encourage them to keep going for God, and remind them that there are others who believe, as well.
Me: Vanquished is the first book in your dystopian series. Have you always been a dystopian fan? How have other dystopian books influenced your writing for the Enslaved series?
KC: I have NOT always been a dystopian fan. The truth is, I didn’t even know what dystopian was until the Hunger Games trilogy. I actually had the idea for the Enslaved series BEFORE I ever read the Hunger Games. I hadn’t written it yet, because I didn’t understand it. I didn’t “get” what kind of story this was that was percolating in my head. And then, I read HG and I realized THIS was the genre Vanquished belonged in. I was able to move forward at that point.
Me: One thing that sets Vanquished apart from other dystopian fiction is its faith focus. Did you model the society of Vanquished after any contemporary country/culture?
I did not model it off any place in particular. My basis for the world was “a world where there was no Bible.” How would that world be different? How would they control the people? Where would they put their focus?
Me: Can you tell us something about Vanquished that you know but isn’t in the book? Perhaps share something about Lilith?
KC: Lilith! Let’s see…Lilith isn’t just a spoiled brat. She’s a highly neglected individual. Her parents don’t “see” her, and they never have. She hates Hana, but only because she has actual, real relationships with people—versus the fake interactions Lilith has had all her life. I never disliked Lilith. I saw her more as “broken”, and I’ve always felt a little sorry for her.
Me: I felt sorry for her as well. I’m drawn to flawed characters that are misunderstood. I think it’s their complexity that intrigues me. 🙂
What are you working on now?
KC: I’m working on a new series (book 1 is already finished, and under contract)! Each book will be about a different set of characters, but they will all focus on a particular supernatural element (I’m working on book 2 now, and it has a time travel element). I’m very excited about these books!
Me: I love time travel — so many possibilities!
And before you go, what is one thing you’d like your readers to know?
KC: That God is REAL. And he cares about YOU..
And now, for a sneak peek at Vanquished, the first book in Katie Clark’s Enslaved series. Available in paperback, ebook coming soon.
The old hospital looms in front of me like some ancient castle from the Early Days. This is where they keep people with the mutation. My heart races at the thought of going inside.
I’ve never been in a hospital before. In fact, I’ve never been in a building that big at all. I wish I’d taken Jamie’s offer to come with me or had come with Dad last night. I wish that Mom hadn’t gotten the mutation at all.
I take a deep breath and push through the double doors.
The quiet lobby area is dim, lit by a few small windows and a couple of glowing lamps. I knew the hospital gets extra electricity allowance, but I’ve almost never seen anyone use manufactured lighting during the day. I’m awed by the sight. In front of me is an abandoned office area, and to my right is an old cafeteria. A sign dangles over the counter by one chain. It seems like someone would have taken it down by now.
I make a split decision and yank it down. Chains clatter as they plunge to the floor. It stays on the ground, and I turn back to the main lobby. My heartbeat calms at regaining this tiny bit of control.
Beyond the cafeteria, several signs hang on the wall. One points me to the stairs.
My dad said Mom was on the third floor. Back in the Early Days, they fought the mutation with chemotherapy drugs and something called radiation. We don’t have those things anymore, so we fight it with fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Sometimes it works, but most of the time it doesn’t. I don’t want to think about what this means for Mom.
The door to the stairs is beside the old elevator shafts. I reach out and feel the cool metal doors. They reflect my image back to me, but I don’t pay attention to that. I’ve seen enough of my short blond hair and not-so-tall stature, but I’ve never actually seen elevators before. I wish the doors would open, and I could peek inside. Riding up to the third floor would be even better, but no one has enough electricity allowance to run elevators, not even the hospital I guess.
I make the climb to the third floor without even getting winded, and more manufactured lighting greets me. Long bulbs line the ceiling. These lights are brighter than the lamps downstairs, and they make an odd buzzing noise. I stumbled into a beehive once, and the angry bees buzzed a lot like the lights.
There are so many rooms down the long hallway, I can’t imagine there would ever be enough sick people to fill them all, but then I remember what they tell us about the Early Days. There were a lot more people back then. Now there are so few people I think we could all fit in this hospital together. How would it feel to be around so many people, all the time? Would it feel crowded? I don’t think so. I think it would feel safe.
The hallway is empty, but a faint beeping comes from down the hall. I pass an old desk on my way toward the beeping. A dumpy computer sits on the desk. People still have those?
I pass one door, two doors, and then an irritated voice stops me in my tracks.
‚We could give her chemo at the onset to slow things down a bit, and then start the natural healing. The least we can do is to give her a fighting chance. She’s a Middle, after all.‛ It’s a woman’s voice, coming from the room with the faint beeping. Her tone is hushed and angry.
I look at the piece of paper that’s been tacked to the wall outside the room.
I suck in a tight breath. They’re talking about Mom? What do they mean by ‘a fighting chance’? My heart picks up speed, and I step closer to the room, careful to stay out of view.
‚It takes time to get approval for chemo drugs, and what if she talks? Everyone who gets the mutation will start demanding them. What’s her occupation?‛ It’s a man’s voice, and he sounds just as angry.
Papers shuffle and the woman says, ‚Professor at the military academy. I say we do it. She knows how to keep secrets if she’s worked in the military. What chance does she have otherwise?‛
The pause in conversation is excruciating as Mom’s life hangs in the balance. Meanwhile my mind spins. Chemo drugs? They’re not even supposed to exist. How can they be talking about this so casually? Have the rest of us been lied to all this time?
“Do you need some help?”
I jerk around, my heart thumping like the rain during a torrential downpour. A boy stands in front of me. He doesn’t look much older than my seventeen years, but definitely old enough to have taken the Test….
AND NOW, DEAR FRIENDS, WHAT ARE YOU READING?