It’s great to have you with us for Coffee Talk today, Lyndi. This is my blog’s first YA book and I have to admit, I’m excited and curious. I can’t wait to hear more about your new release, WINDMILLS.
Let me begin by saying, the cover is fascinating. Who designed it for you?
My publisher, Liz Burton, got Brad Fraunfelter (http://www.bradfraunfelterillustration.com/) to create it, based on a quick read of the story—I think it’s amazing!
Will you be publishing it yourself or traditionally?
Zumaya Publications is a small press publisher that prints books in a number of genres. http://www.zumayapublications.com/
I know you write under another name and in other genres. What inspired you to write for the younger crowd?
I didn’t set out to write it for YA—the story really came to me first. A “what-if” apocalypse that wipes out a specific segment of the population. But as I was writing, the characters who spoke to me were the young people, those who could deal with the changes the best. I then built the story on them, not only Kwan and Xi San, but Valery Paz, Eddie, Hang and so many more.
What age group do you expect to be most attracted to WINDMILLS?
I believe it will catch the eye of teens first, but I read it through at my Pennwriters critique group, who are all adults, and it appealed to every one of them. I think it can absolutely crossover, like TWILIGHT and THE HUNGER GAMES.
Does the story target a particular gender?
I think young women will be proud to follow the adventure Kwan leads, for she is a strong young woman indeed. But San’s story is told through his own eyes, too, and he is a wonderful example of a young man thrown into a situation he never expected. As the story progresses, other narrators appear, any of which might appeal to readers and make it their own. The same will be true for books two and three, which will be released in 2014 and 2015.
Let’s have a look at the blurb ~
Terrorists launch a plague in the United States that spreads to kill most of the world’s Caucasian population. As the deadly bioweapon mutates, Tzu Lin Kwan’s father, a renowned medical doctor and biologist, defects from China to
help develop a cure. His only daughter, Lin Kwan, is left behind in Hong Kong with her aunt.
Then Kwan’s father summons her from across the sea to bring him Chinese medicinal herbs. Lonely and missing her parents, she accepts the challenge, traveling with her sensei Li Zhong to the New World.
But a Chinese spy is on her trail, determined to kill her and Li Zhong, and when Kwan discovers her father has disappeared, she sets out on a journey to find him and deliver her precious cargo, a quest that she may not survive.
The story begins in Hong Kong. What research or experience did you have for that?
I did extensive online research on the city and its population, especially with its changing history of politics. I wish I could have gone there in person, but that wasn’t in the cards this time around. J
Are there many other destinations for your characters?
Yes. Even the seemingly-impossible goal of crossing the Pacific Ocean doesn’t stop them. Once in America, they must survive the changed landscape and cross a very dangerous country fraught with enemies they can hardly imagine. Not everyone is pleased that terrorists have attempted genocide in America—though some are.
Your main character is Tzu Lin Kwan. Tell us a little about her.
Before the Second Holocaust occurs, she’s a girl in a privileged family in China. Her father is a renowned geneticist and researcher, and her home is filled with interesting guests. Once the terrorist scourge strikes the world, however, her father and mother flee the country, leaving her in the Hong Kong tenements with her aunt and small cousin. She has to give up everything she’s known. The only thing that helps her keep focused in Hong Kong is her martial arts study. She applies her whole energy to this work, with her sensei, Li Zhong, stepping into the shoes of mentor and “father”.
When her father sends for her with his desperate plea, she must again give up the life she’s used to for the unknown. She succeeds, but not without a few scars. It’s a fast track from teenager with hairbows to adult with a knife in her boot, fending for herself in the new world she finds.
Her Sensei, Li Zhong, plays an important role. I have a feeling he’s harboring a few secrets. Am I right?
Zhong has many secrets, and a tattered past. But he wholeheartedly believes in honor.
No more teasing. Here’s an excerpt ~
(as Kwan and sensei Zhong get ready to leave Hong Kong)
Li Zhong surveyed the docks out of habit, checking for possible threat. He’d worried that his inquiries had triggered some alarm on behalf of his former masters, even though no one had approached him openly. Then, he chided himself for being too paranoid. Even in a crowd this size, no one seemed to be particularly interested in them. Why should they be? An old man and a boy taking the ferry across the harbor. Hardly remarkable. Which is just how I want it.
They boarded the ferry without difficulty, Kwan rushing onto the upper level that provided a better view, taking a seat close to the rail, her pack next to her feet. He hurried to keep up with her puppy-like enthusiasm. The wind blew warm across the water, ripe with the smell of salt air. It felt good to be going somewhere for a purpose.
He wiped his brow on his sleeve and counted the beats of his racing heart, willing it to slow down. You’re getting to be an old man, my friend. His lips clamped together, he stared at the steel-and-glass buildings of the city as the ferry crossed the harbor, using that concentration to calm himself. Kwan needed him.
He had let that thought drive him though the last two months as the details of this grand mission came together. Determined to make this voyage, she would have gone by herself if he had not accompanied her. The idealism of the young—How long had it been since he’d believed that right would succeed in this life, just because it should? Reality was often quite different. What was moral, or right, often surrendered to a less-noble imperative. Sometimes, it was a financial cause, but more often a political agenda. Like the intent of those misguided souls who’d launched the SH.
While anti-American proponents around the world celebrated the initial attack, the terrorists had not only killed their chosen target but themselves and a major percentage of the non-white population of the world. Sloppy work. That’s what happened when you let amateurs run the show.
Another reason why his presence here was necessary. He could only pray that his aging heart would allow him to continue until the journey’s end. The doctors, both Western and Eastern, had warned him of his limited life expectancy. An old stab wound had never quite healed, the legacy of an assassination attempt years before. But Kwan didn’t know this. And he wouldn’t tell her.
I have granddaughters who will love this. Where can we find WINDMILLS?
It will be available any day now on the Zumaya site as well as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and all the usual online places. Or order it in paperback from your favorite local bookseller!
Author Bio ~
Lyndi Alexander dreamed for many years of being a spaceship captain, but settled instead for inspired excursions into fictional places with fascinating companions from her imagination that she likes to share with others. She has been a published writer for over thirty years, including seven years as a reporter and editor at a newspaper in Homestead, Florida. Her list of publications is eclectic, from science fiction to romance to horror, from tech reporting to television reviews. Lyndi is married to an absent-minded computer geek. Together, they have a dozen computers, seven children and a full house in northwestern Pennsylvania.
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/lyndialexander13