Interview (and Giveaway) with Ecosystem Author Joshua Bellin

I’m so excited to have Joshua on the blog today to celebrate the release of his new novel, Ecosystem, which sounds amazing. Don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter contest at the end of the post for your chance to win a signed copy of Ecosystem! Here is the fabulous cover:

Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.

Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.

A thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).

About Joshua:
Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the
first few were admittedly very short). A college teacher by day, he is the author of three science
fiction novels for teens and adults: the two-part Survival Colony series (Survival Colony 9 and
Scavenger of Souls) and the deep-space adventure Freefall. His new book, the YA fantasy
Ecosystem, releases on April 22, 2018 (Earth Day). Josh loves to read, watch movies, and spend
time in Nature with his kids. Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.
Joshua was kind enough to answer some questions about his newest book so I’ll let him take it away!
1) The idea of a sentient planet is fascinating and terrifying. How did you come up with the concept for Ecosystem and was it influenced at all by current events such as climate change?
I’ve always been a huge Nature geek–whether that meant playing with frogs when I was ten years old (see the photo) or, more recently, participating in environmental advocacy on issues including climate change, fracking, and so forth. Maybe this explains why, as a writer, I’ve been drawn to extreme environments–the desert setting of SURVIVAL COLONY 9 and SCAVENGER OF SOULS, the dead planet of FREEFALL, etc. So the thought popped into my head one day, “What if I set a story in a world where the environment wasn’t just threatening but was actually aware, and angry, and out to get human beings?” That led to other questions: “How would people survive in such a world? How did it come into existence?” And once I started asking those questions, I couldn’t stop until I had all the answers!
2) That’s awesome and leads right into the next question. I’m a huge research nerd, and love the research part of writing my books (sometimes to the point of procrastination), so can you talk about what research you had to do for Ecosystem and if you discovered something along the way that surprised you?
I don’t want to give too much away about the science of ECOSYSTEM, but I did do some research into the emerging field of genetically engineering natural systems. It’s kind of JURASSIC PARK territory, but not for entertainment; it’s more a matter of trying to restore ecosystems that have been critically damaged by human activities. I also had to do lots of research about existing organisms and habitats, because in the Ecosystem, lots of plants and animals that exist today have changed in ways that make them dangerous to human beings. I’d say the most surprising thing I discovered had to do with the medicinal properties of certain plants. I tweaked things for the purposes of fiction, but it was really fascinating to learn about traditional methods of healing.
3) It sounds fascinating and seems like it entailed a ton of research which takes time. I see that you also teach college classes, so how do you balance all your researching/writing time with your work without losing your mind?
Would it be safe to say that I don’t? 🙂 No, seriously, this semester is a good example of how crazy things get: I have four classes, all of which involve significant amounts of student writing, so there literally isn’t a day that I’m not grading papers. What I try to do is write during the morning before classes, because I tend to be most productive as a writer in the morning. Then, at night, when I’m less creative, I focus on the more mechanical tasks of grading and preparing for class. But even with this schedule, I don’t get much writing done until the summer, when I can look forward to three months of solid writing time!
4) I have an author friend who works in the school system and she writes a book every summer for that reason. Three months of writing time sounds heavenly! In terms of your writing, are you a plotter (who outlines ahead of time) or panster (winging it as you go), or some combination thereof?
I tend not to plot things out much, because I find that my stories feel most natural and real to me when I’m discovering things while I write them. A perfect example of this occurred in another manuscript I’m working on, where one of the characters is restrained for reasons I won’t go into right now, and he asks a character who’s watching him for some water, and as she’s rather inexperienced, she removes the restraints to let him drink. Later, when she’s out of the room for a moment, he escapes, and she feels so guilty and angry about being tricked, she pursues him. I didn’t plan that scene at all; in fact, when I was writing it, I didn’t really know what the relationships were between the characters. But the very natural action of removing the restraints so the person could take a drink led me to think, “well, maybe now he’ll try to get away,” which made me think, “why WOULD he try to get away?”, which led me to think about who he was and what he was running from. And then, when she follows him, the book veers in yet another direction I hadn’t foreseen. I guess I could have worked the other way around, planning it all out beforehand, but I don’t think I’d have come up with that particular sequence of events if I had.
5) Yeah, I tend to write minimal plot outlines and let the characters do the rest. So to end on a fun note, what is something that not many people know about you? But they will now. 😉
Like a lot of writers (and teachers), I’m pretty articulate in public speaking situations, which tends to give people the idea that I’m super-confident. But I’m not. I find it very difficult to engage in small talk, which is one reason I don’t attend a lot of conferences; I never know what to say to people whom I don’t know very well, so I duck out of receptions and other such events as soon as I can. I’m basically shy, I guess. That’s one thing that connects me to the narrator of ECOSYSTEM, who’s a teenage girl named Sarah; she’s isolated for reasons that have to do with the story, and in consequence, she’s awkward and prickly in social interactions. And I never thought about that connection until I started answering this question, so I’m glad you asked it!
That’s great, and I think a lot of writers can relate to that. Hope to see you at a conference some day, and thanks so much for the interview, Joshua!
Go here to grab a copy of Ecosystem on Amazon!
Here are some links to find out more about Joshua, and you can stop by other blogs on Joshua’s book tour here.

Finally, don’t forget to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your own signed copy!
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Spring 2018 Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (YASH)!!!!

It’s that time of the year, and I’m so excited to be part of the Young Adult Scavenger Hunt (YASH) yet again, where you can enter to win tons of books by your favorite authors. This bi-annual event was first organized by the awesome author Colleen Houck as a way to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to win some awesome prizes! At this hunt, you not only get access to exclusive content from each author, you also get a clue for the hunt. Add up the clues, and you can enter for our prize–one lucky winner will receive one book from each author on the hunt in my team! I am beyond excited to be part of #TEAM PINK and see all the books you can win below! Need help on how to play? Go here.

SCAVENGER HUNT PUZZLE
 
Directions: Below, you’ll notice that I’ve hidden my favorite number. Collect the favorite numbers of all the authors on the PINK team, and then add them up (don’t worry, you can use a calculator!).
Entry Form: Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the entry by the time noted below. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.

This spring we have one hundred twenty authors split into six teams, and each team is assigned a color. You can enter the hunt on all 6 teams if you want. The blog hop begins April 3rd at 12pm Pacific Time and runs through Sunday, April 8th at noon Pacific Time. It’s easy to play, and go to  the YASH website where you’ll find a list of all the authors participating as well as an answer sheet you can print off to gather the info you’re hunting for and to keep track of any bonus contests you may have entered.

Remember: Make sure to read all the way through this post to get the secret number, and to enter the bonus Rafflecopter contest at the end of this post where I’m giving away an extra prize–a paperback copy of my new urban fantasy, THE WING COLLECTOR.

EXCLUSIVE BONUS MATERIAL:

 

I’m thrilled to be hosting author C.M. Boers on this leg of the hunt!

About C. M. : Obscured  was C. M.’s debut novel. What began as a way to spend her free time slowly transitioned into a passion for writing. She’s currently working on releasing her fourth novel​, RETREAT, releasing this Summer! The best is yet to come! 

C. M. is a mother of three. She grew up in the sunshine state of Arizona with a love of reading and an ambition to write. But never took her writing seriously until after the birth of her first child. After that she took up writing more seriously in her spare time and hasn’t stopped since. 

​The book ​C​. M. Boers ​is featuring is
OBSCURED. 

ABOUT THE BOOK

Abby Martin thought she was an ordinary girl about to start high school. But when her mom announces that they’re moving to Arizona, vivid nightmares start plaguing Abby’s nights. As she settles into her new school and a cute guy named Pete catches her eye, she hopes that life might somehow get back to normal. To Abby’s horror, “normal” becomes a thing of the past as she’s swept up into a world of immortal protectors wielding supernatural gifts. When Abby realizes she’s a pawn in a centuries-old feud, she must figure out who she can trust before she’s caught in the crossfire.

Prepare yourself for heart-pounding suspense in the world of Obscured, where nothing is as it seems and danger lurks in unexpected places.

Exculsive ContentAn excerpt from OBSCURED.  
~ ~

“This isn’t your battle,” I whispered as I stared down at my shackled hands.

“Not my battle? You made it my battle when you and your little boyfriend made me go in front of the elders!” he shouted. “You can’t just split up friends and walk away like nothing happened! When you crossed Pete, you crossed me!”

                “Where are we going?” I asked.

                 “We are going to Colorado. When Pete is done with his meeting with the elders that’s when the real fun begins.”

                 I tried to calm myself so I didn’t upset Eli even more, but it was no use. It was happening all over again. I have been kidnapped for the second time. I braced myself on the dashboard and stuck my head between my knees in an attempt to keep my lunch down. I didn’t know what to do. If Eli were here nothing like this would have happened, and I felt guilty for even letting that thought go through my head. I should be able to take care of myself. I always have, but there was something different now. I was suddenly a walking target.

“You are going to drive me, by yourself, to Colorado?”

“That’s the plan,” he said snidely.

I sat back against the seat. I had to think quickly. Colorado was more than 15 hours away. This plan was obviously not very well thought out. How was he going to drive 15 hours without a second person to help take the load off? I wouldn’t be surprised if he fell asleep at the wheel.

Eventually I would have the opportunity to get away; at least I hoped I would. When he turned his back or stopped for gas, his guard would be down eventually, wouldn’t it?

~ ~ 

You can add OBSCURED to your To Be Read list on Goodreads!

Are you as interested in this book as I am?

Here’s how you can get your hands on it!

You can buy her book HERE!

 Check out more on her WebsiteTwitter, or Facebook

​ ​pages and sign up for her Newsletter so you’ll never miss out

on any important book news or updates.

A huge thanks to C.M. for stopping by on the hunt and giving us a sneak peak at her book, Obscured. It looks so good that it makes we want to jump for joy 11 times!

EXTRA BONUS PRIZE on this blog stop! I’m giving away a paperback copy of my new urban fantasy release, THE WING COLLECTOR. You can check out my exclusive bonus material (the music playlist that served as inspiration for The Wing Collector) over at fellow #TEAMPINK author, May Freighter.

When a pair of faerie wings fetch big bucks online, 17-yo Lila Kincade realizes her kind aren’t just oppressed; they’re hunted.

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Next blog stop on #TEAMPINK:

Now, go on to next stop on the hunt with the lovely Jaime Questell!

THE WING COLLECTOR Release Day and Prize Pack!

I’m beyond excited to announce that today is the release day for THE WING COLLECTOR!

When a pair of faerie wings fetch big bucks online, 17-yo Lila Kincade realizes her kind aren’t just oppressed; they’re hunted. Due to prejudice and hostility by humans, half-human/half-faerie Lila lives in a world where faeries are required to bind their wings in order to look like everyone else. As faerie corpses pile up around her, Lila realizes she is the prime target and must race to save herself—and all faeries—from extinction.

You can grab your copy of THE WING COLLECTOR on Amazon here (and the paperback version will be coming soon!) Also, for the next 3 days only, you can get the prequel, WINGLESS, free on Amazon. I hope you enjoy it!

To celebrate, I’m giving away this gorgeous fairy figurine and a $50 Amazon gift card. There are multiple ways to get entries and no purchase is required to win. Good luck:
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