Series: The World's End #2
Published by Authorhouse on 1-29-2014
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Landon Corbett is spiralling out of control. From the wastelands of London to an isolated mountain village; from New York City to the International Space Station, Landon Corbett's revenge knows no limits. Alec is at the heart of the war that now rages between the two factions of humanity. Caught in the middle, he no longer holds the key to peace -Alec is the key to peace. Landon Corbett wants him dead and the Alliance of Spheres on Earth is only too happy to hand him over for the chance to save the lives of everyone on Earth. But from those with corrupt morals to those with hearts of passion and gratitude, Alec and his friends are given the chance to fight one more time. And after six months, the war is reaching its climax. There is only one resolution to stopping the Board of Officials: cut the head off of the snake and kill Landon Corbett. But he remains as elusive and dangerous as ever. Alec, Jonah, Sky, Jay and Trent have suffered terrible losses, but the biggest loss is yet to come and it will leave none of them untouched.
Interview with Author J.J. Marshall
Can you talk a little about what the book is about?
…Humanity Falls… begins where When the World Ends… left off: only six months have passed but things are drastically different for the central characters. After failing in their mission at the end of the first novel, they’re in hiding, believing they’re incapable of making a difference to saving humanity from its fate with the Board, now that the two factions of humanity are at war with one another. It takes a lot – a life-changing event for all of them – to convince them otherwise and fight one more time for what they believe in. There’s a battle of epic proportions where no one is safe: the stakes are incredibly high for all the characters in this novel.
Where did you get the idea for the book?
Being part of a trilogy, this book was a natural progression from what had gone before. I wanted Alec to be an unwilling hero, which is very much his stance in the bulk of the first novel. Here he really develops, comes out of his shell and realises that he is almost destined to be the person that stands up and makes a different. The original idea for the trilogy came from a dream, though that was nothing like what the books have become. The only real concept that’s left over from that dream is Alec and Landon and the concept of humans living in space, having abandoned the Earth. Everything else that happens has been a development through writing.
What message do you want readers to get from reading the book?
I want them to realize that sci-fi as a genre is not as “out-there” or wacky or something that people struggle to connect with. I have tried to make my characters and the relationships between them the core foundation of this Trilogy – it is what drives everything that happens; the emotions and the connections between people. Sci-Fi is just the backdrop setting, it’s the people that make this story (or so I hope!).
How long did it take to write the book?
It took about 10 months to write but just over a year to perfect it to a publishable standard, which is significantly shorter than what it took to write the first book even though this one is twice as long!
Who is your favorite character, or what character was the most fun to write?
I always find this question challenging…my favorite character to write is Landon. He’s just so twisted and conflicted – not just with the people around him but within himself – and he is so complex; there are so many layers to his persona. But my favorite character of the Trilogy is Jay. He just emanates happiness and a sense of unity and peace that really stabilizes everything.
Can you talk about how you wrote it? Did you do any outlining? Did it take you in any unexpected directions?
I knew how it was going to start, and I knew how it was going to end. I also knew the vague steps that the characters were going to take and the places that they were going to go to in order to get there. The only outlining I do is jotting down ideas in my writing journal but other than that I prefer to let things flow, which definitely leads to unexpected decisions! Such as the final moments of the novel (I surprised myself!) and a death. I’ll say no more…
If you could go back and change anything in the novel, what would it be?
That death! I was so torn but I had to do it because it’s such a big catalyst but I also shot myself in the foot big time. Then again, I think if I changed that then the story wouldn’t be the same…I’m still torn about this now; imagine the anguish at the time! Moving on…
How did you come up with the cover?
The cover was designed by AuthorHouse with my ideas. I wanted to keep in line with the previous cover (the destruction of London) without making it too much of a cliché by destroying another city. I really wanted a battlefield of some kind, but what I got was much better. And that Raven is totally creepy!
When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Always. I can’t pinpoint a moment because I think it’s always been in me to write; that creative desire has always been then. Just like some people will pick up an instrument or a paintbrush, I picked up a pen at a young age and that became my thing!
What was the first story that you ever wrote?
It was a rip-off of Harry Potter after I’d read the first Harry Potter book, aged about 9. It was all about witches and wizards and I so wish I could go back and read it now! But it is lost in time somewhere.
What are you favorite books and authors?
I love the Harry Potter books; they were the first books to encourage me to create a world beyond our own. I’m a big Antony Horowitz fan and there are definitely elements of Alex Rider in my trilogy, I couldn’t help but be inspired! So I like young adult fiction most I suppose, I find it really accessible and enjoyable. I recently re-read the Hunger Games Trilogy and it thrilled me just as much as the first time; those are the books I love.
What are you working on next?
There’s a book series I wrote when I was younger that I want to revisit, kind of like a British X Files (in fact, very much like a British X Files!). But I want to go back and adapt it, change it and improve upon my 15-year-old self’s handiwork! That series has always been in the back of my mind, it’s currently 7 books long but I want to revisit it and do it justice as I put so much time into it when I was younger (I actually paused writing it to do this Trilogy).
What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Keep at it. Keep writing; don’t ever stop. If you believe in yourself and what you’ve got and others around you believe in you too – be it your family, your best friend or your cat – keep at it. I think if you stop and give up it’s like letting a little part of you die, so don’t ever stop!
How do you juggle writing with family time?
When it comes to my writing my life is pretty well balanced! I won’t say that my writing isn’t a priority, but it’s the thing I’ll come home and do after a long day at work, or at university, or seeing family. It’s the one thing I will always make time for just because there are always developments and storyline progressions going on in my head no matter what I’m doing!
Meet the Characters!
Alec is the main protagonist; he’s seventeen years old, bright and intelligent with a strong sense of what is right and wrong. It is this sense that carries him away from his normal life (or as normal as you can get living aboad a Space Station) and onto the path of liberating Humanity.
Alec is a lonely teenager – he doesn’t go to school because his father’s reputation has tarnished his own image. Instead he’s tutored, and his tutor is the only person whom he has contact with other than his father…when he’s not sneaking off, that is.
He is a rebel at heart and it is fitting that his destiny should change and bring him onto this course. Frequently, Alec sneaks down to the poorer, lower levels where he rapidly becomes best friends with Jonah Jones.
Landon is the main antagonist, although he is clearly misled by the Board of Officials. Through the novel his lust for power and control grows to overwhelming levels as he strays away from antagonising just Alec to torturing the entire Human Race.
There is something unsettling and clearly sociopathic about Landon’s mentality. His strategies for resolutions to the Board’s problems are steeped in deadly intentions and he acts without emotion or remorse, making him all-the-more dangerous.
Jonah is the same age as Alec; a mixed-race boy living with his father and a group of strangers inside the cramped and confined living quarters of their Habitation on Level1. Level1 is the ‘poorest’ level of the ISS and that status is also attached to the people that live there.
He’s quite naive in his approach and outlook to life and the world. He enjoys the finer things – the things which Alec has overlooked in his life of luxury on Level3. His naivity is a strength which he brings to his friendship with Alec and he teaches him many new things.
Jay is Jonah’s father – a big American man from the old deep-south. He’s outright loveable and someone that everyone feels safe with. He’s quick to stick up for the right person, even if he doesn’t know who they are. He has a big heart and is especially fond of Alec, demonstrating a willingness to help both him and Jonah through their tribulations without being afraid to make sacrifices along the way…
Trey is a huge guy; well over six-feet tall and this, along with his incredibly muscular physique makes him an intimidating figure. But beneath this strong exterior Trey is gentle and humble. He is older than Alec and Jonah by a few years but capable of engaging with them on their level none-the-less. His older-age also puts him on a level with Jay and he has good relations with all of the characters. His own moral compass is very much pointing in the same direction as Alec’s: he believes so much in the cause that Alec is fighting for that he is willing to do anything to make it happen. He’s the first to say if something needs to be done and the first to volunteer to do it.
Sky is very much a girl in a man’s world, but she’s strong, determined and can hold her own. She’s the same age as Alec and Jonah but you wouldn’t know it. Having lived in the slums of London for all of her life, she’s very tough and reluctant to let anyone into her life. It is with an unwilling sense of curiosity that she cautiously enters Alec’s life, and thus his mission to liberate Humanity.
In the wake of the Board of Officials’ attack on the London Sphere and the subsequent destruction of the city, Commander Lincoln of the U.S. New York Sphere openly declared war against the Board.
Almost overnight, the ISS and MoonBase1 fell under the now-fascist regime of the Board of Officials. Every initial uprising was crushed and the people fell into silent and unwilling order.
Before a counter-attack against the Board could be conducted, other Sphere Leaders called for an Alliance of Spheres on Earth and met to discuss the next steps. Whilst it was decided that they would unanimously declare war, they would not attack immediately and proceeded to gather intelligence in order to prepare.
In Space, President Cadmar Davies assembled the remainder of the Board of Officials: the disgraced Landon Corbett and last-surviving ‘loyalist’ Takeshi Sato. Together they decided they needed an army, but with the majority of the humans under their control resisting the call to arms, they concluded that compulsory conscription was needed. All men and woman over the age of eighteen were sent to MoonBase1; half of which had been converted into a training facility.
Soon after, the Board of Officials discovered that moles for Earth had been activated amongst their people. This, and much resistance from conscripted civilians, led the Board to take drastic action. Overseen by Mr. Sato, all conscripted civilians would be subjected to ‘cerebral scans’ – a process to eliminate spies in the eyes of the public. But in secret: a brainwashing programme to convert all conscripted civilians to their cause.
Presently, the programme is 45% complete with further ‘cerebral scans’ scheduled each day for the next four months. The Board of Officials decided that this would set their agenda: once their militarised, brainwashed army was ready they would go to war.As she delves deeper into their world, Sky discovers that she’s similar to Alec in many ways. She’s equally rebellious and drives him forward, giving him the confidence to take action as well as to believe in himself and his mission.