The Birth of POSSESSION and SURRENDER
A Guest Post by Elana Johnson
Okay, so when I was ready to begin my third book, I wasn’t quite sure what it would be. But I had just finished UGLIES by Scott Westerfeld, and I knew I wanted to write a book “like that.”
I had no idea what “that” was. I hadn’t yet discovered the dystopian genre. So I cracked my knuckles and performed some Google-fu, and the next thing I knew, a whole new world had opened up to me—literally.
I learned as much as I could about the post-apocalyptic and dystopian genres, reading as many YA books as I could find.
At the time, in early 2008, there weren’t very many. THE HUNGER GAMES would be out that fall, but I’d never heard of it. THE MAZE RUNNER would follow a year later, but again, I’d never heard of it.
And me being shallow, I hadn’t read 1984, or THE HANDMAID’S TALE (I still haven’t…).
So I crafted a book based on the limited literature that was available and what I’d learned online.
Thus, POSSESSION was born.
I think the book fits quite well in the dystopian genre. It takes place in the far future, where there’s a government that has done what they deem best to ensure the survival of the human race.
I think POSSESSION – and thus SURRENDER – are a bit different, because the method of control is supernatural. There’re paranormal abilities at play here, and so it’s a combination of the paranormal and dystopian elements that give the series its flair.
In SURRENDER, we learn a lot more about the progression from our world today in 2012 to the world readers experience on the page. It’s a form of mutation, actually, something that I’m sure sneaked its way into my stories because of my love of X-Men.
Certain people are gifted with certain abilities like mind control, voice power, and the ability to control and adapt to technology. The variety of gifts is endless, but those who can read and implant thoughts are the most powerful. They’re the people who can keep the general population under wraps and they’re the ones who dictate how society runs.
In POSSESSION, we learned that this “great” society wasn’t so great. Now that we know that, SURRENDER is the story of “what are we going to do now that we know our society isn’t so great?”
We see people working behind the scenes as Insiders, playing their dictated roles during the day, and sabotaging the government at night.
I like books like this, because I think we all play many parts in our real lives. We might not like it, but sometimes we go along with things because it makes us feel safe, or we benefit from it somehow. Those kinds of situations allow for a broad exploration of emotions, something else I really like to do in my books.
So there you go! A little bit more about the birth of POSSESSION and SURRENDER, not only the world on the page, but how they came to be in my mind.
About the author:
Elana's work including POSSESSION, REGRET, and SURRENDER is available from Simon & Schuster wherever books are sold. She is the author of From the Query to the Call, an ebook that every writer needs to read before they query, which can be downloaded for free on her website. She runs a personal blog on publishing and is a founding author of the QueryTracker blog. She blogs regularly at The League of Extraordinary Writers, co-organizes WriteOnCon, and is a member of SCBWI, ANWA and LDStorymakers.
She wishes she could experience her first kiss again, tell the mean girl where to shove it, and have cool superpowers like reading minds and controlling fire. To fulfill her desires, she writes young adult science fiction and fantasy.
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Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
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Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….
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