Today’s guest is author J.P. Lantern to chat about his new novel, a YA sci-fi titled Up the Tower.
J.P. will be awarding a backlist e-book to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon gift card will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner during this tour. To be entered for the chances to win, use the form below. To increase your chances of winning, feel free to visit his other tour stops and enter there, too!
J.P. Lantern lives in the Midwestern US, though his heart and probably some essential parts of his liver and pancreas and whatnot live metaphorically in Texas. He writes speculative science fiction short stories, novellas, and novels which he has deemed "rugged," though he would also be fine with "roughhewn" because that is a terrific and wonderfully apt word.
Full of adventure and discovery, these stories examine complex people in situations fraught with conflict as they search for truth in increasingly violent and complicated worlds.
Welcome, J.P. Please tell us about your current release.
Up the Tower is a YA dystopian romp through a futuristic slum. Basically, six strangers end up teaming together through circumstance to escape this catastrophic earthquake that suddenly rips through the city they’re in. Each of them is suffering from some sort of loss or abandonment, and part of their escape is metaphorical, with them trying to leave behind the wreckage of their past.
What inspired you to write this book?
Oh, lots of things. I’ve said in other places that I was inspired by the simplicity of the movie Sorcerer, which is true. I also care a great deal about class and gender and feminism and police militarization and the increasing corporate control in the world, and all of that sort of bled into the story. I really love very simple stories in very complicated universes, and this book is a great example of that.
Excerpt from Up the Tower:
Samson ignored the jeer, focusing carefully on opening the box. He was twelve years old and he did not want to screw this up; being twelve was important, and people took the things you did seriously so long as you did them well.
“Smellson, hey!” The Crowboy banged his crowbar on the dusty ruins of the factory line where they had set up the six crates from their haul that morning. “Don’t blow us up, okay? I don’t want to die with your stench clogging me up, yeah?”
Again, Samson ignored the other boy, trying to concentrate as he eased his longtool through the gap in the crate before him. He very well could blow himself up; he could blow them all up. Inside the GuaranTech crate he tinkered with was a copbot.
Copbots blew up all the time. If their main processors or power source were damaged, they blew up. If they were being captured, they blew up. If they ran out of ammo and couldn’t refill within about ten minutes, they blew up. When they blew up, they incinerated everything in about a hundred foot radius. The warehouse was not big enough for the Crowboys to keep their distance and still work in the role of protection as they had been hired. So they were in the blast zone as well as Samson.
The copbots, deactivated, were precious and valuable. Strangely, they were valuable precisely because they were so hard to deactivate. A copbot was made almost entirely out of self-healing nanotech, and with enough time, it could repair from almost any wound to its metal shell. So, to keep this sort of power out of the hands of the gangster conglomerate that ran Junktown, the Five Faces, and any other sort of competitor, the copbots had a very liberal self-destruct mechanism.
This is what Samson worked against.
What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m not sure at the moment! I was sort of taking a break for a little while and refilling the well with lots of good sci-fi and history from other writers. I have some thoughts about space cannibals, but that’s about it.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I had this job one summer where I was working in landscaping, and it was just miserable. At the time, it was one of the hottest summers on record in Texas (though I think they’ve beaten that record consistently every year since). Anyway, I was breaking these bricks apart for some asinine reason, and at that time I had been writing consistently for about four years. The one thing that made me feel better was that I knew that, if nothing else, I was a writer, and that nothing could take that away from me.
Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I do and I don’t. I have a part-time job where I help other people with their writing. Thankfully, this allows a lot of time for me to work on my own writing much of the time. So, I get a lot done at that job, but I also end up having to work from home quite a bit on my writing. So I think I regularly put in a slightly-more-than-full-time schedule, but it varies from week to week and what needs getting done.
At any rate, usually my day starts with checking emails and trying to keep up with social media happenings. Then I read for a bit, refilling that well. Then I write on one given project, and then another. In between all of this, I’m doing my best not to get up and stretch often and also not spend all my time reading about Transformers or politics.
What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
Oh, gosh. I don’t know if I have too many. Usually when I sit down to write, I’m just sitting down to write. I have a lot of pain from some nefarious business in my neck and a lifetime of playing mouse-and-keyboard videogames, though, so I have to get up and stretch fairly often. My writing areas are littered with all these little rubber bands and gyroscopic balls for wrist pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, back pain. Is that a quirk or is just pathetic?
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Probably a hobbit. They seemed to have their stuff together pretty well, and they were always going on crazy adventures.
Anything additional you want to share with the readers?If you’re looking for a great, fun, fast read, pick up Up the Tower! And make sure to leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads to let others know what you think—your voice matters!