Release Date: November 18, 2014
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Adventure
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Cover design by local San Diego graphic artist, Mark Sgarbossa. Go check him out!
Read the first three chapters for free on Wattpad.
Wiki Page created by my teen daughter.
Once the sun rises, I can make out trees in the distance. Real trees with leaves, which means there must be water nearby. I’m not sure Ruins water is safe to drink, but I do know I’ll die if I don’t drink something.
Even though I’ve been walking for hours, the trees don’t seem to be getting any closer. My legs have taken on a sponge-like quality and I stumble, but manage to stay upright. If I fall, I may never get up again.
I’m almost to the trees. They’re only a little farther now.
There’s no water here. How can there be trees without water?
Despair overtakes me and I drop down, pounding my fists on the barren ground. I stuff a soft green leaf in my mouth, seeking moisture, but my mouth is so dry, I gag on the pieces, tearing my throat like shards of broken glass.
My head spins as I lie on my back and struggle to form coherent thoughts. I take a deep breath and tell myself to think. Think is such a strange word.Think, think, think. It doesn’t even sound English.
Shaking my head to clear my mind, I try to pull myself together, remembering where I am and forcing myself to focus on my immediate situation. What do the Buddhists call it? Being mindful.
My brain works to form rational thoughts, but there’s nothing rational about this. I left home to find my place in the world, is this really where my search was supposed to lead me? It’s more like a cruel joke. If I was on a date with destiny, it just took a bizarre turn into a twisted ending I never saw coming.
God, if only I hadn’t gone to the park that night, none of this would’ve happened. I begin to cry. For my family and friends who will never know what happened to me, and for me. I’m not ready to die, I’m only 17.
I can’t help wondering if I would have spent so much time agonizing over my future if I’d known I’d be dead so soon. If I’d known, maybe I’d have done everything differently. Now I know my future. My life ends here. Alone. In the Ruins.
Building the Utopia of the Future
Setting, or milieu, is the foundation upon which a story is told. It sets the stage for everything else from characters to plot, so getting the setting right is one of the most important aspect of storytelling. Sometimes the setting is easy. It’s current day in the town in which you live. Other times, it’s set in a kingdom hundreds of years in the past, or in a galaxy far, far away.
The Union takes place nearly a hundred and fifty years from now. The setting definitely came to me before the story or the characters. With the constant talk of climate change and the political landscape in the United States, it wasn’t hard to imagine a world where severe climate change created a scarcity of safe drinking water which led to government regulations, resulting in unrest and ultimately a second civil war.
Getting to the darkness was easy, but crawling back out into the light took more time. What kind of society would be rebuilt? Would everyone agree on how to live? What would happen if there was still a divide in beliefs after the war? What kind of technology would they have and how advanced would it be if they had to completely rebuild a society from scratch?
All of those questions required a lot of thought, a lot of diagrams, hours of research, and pages and pages of notes about building construction, the social hierarchy, commerce, politics, and even philosophy. Only a fraction of that ever makes it into the book, but hopefully the details are evident as the story unfolds on the canvas of the Union.