Monday, August 25, 2014

Book Tour: Up the Tower By J. P. Lantern @jplantern @GoddessFish #Giveaway

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Up the Tower
by J. P. Lantern


Disaster brings everybody together. A cloned corporate assassin; a boy genius and his new robot; a tech-modified gangster with nothing to lose; a beautiful, damaged woman and her unbalanced stalker-these folks couldn't be more different, but somehow they must work together to save their own skin. Stranded in the epicenter of a monumental earthquake in the dystopian slum, Junktown, there is only one way to survive. These unlikely teammates must go...UP THE TOWER.



"This kid comes in, okay? Starts doing all this stuff with Wallop's tech fists. Powering them up and such. You know, they can bend steel, they can punch a man so far a distance, all of that. At first, I think the kid's pretty young, but then I see his eyes-they're old enough. I seen his eyes, they're about my age, those eyes. And it's important, okay, how old he is. Because this kid? He looks a hell of a lot like me."

"So what? Lots of kids look like you."

"Yeah. So do Georgeson. So do Jonesboy. So do Figueroa."

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying…" he palmed the side of his head. "I'm saying, it ain't no secret that you got yourself a certain type of person that you pick up. A type of boy. I sort of thought I knew why. Last night I found out for certain."

Konnor was right. Ore was angry.

"The hell are you saying to me? Just say it."

"You said you had a brother. His name was Samson. He was good with tech, you said. Well this kid? The one tailoring Wallop's new fists? Samson. That's what Wallop called him. 'Samson, touch here.' 'Samson, look at that, is that right.'"

Ore didn't say anything.

"He's alive. Your brother. In The Tower. He's maybe been alive this whole time."

Silence, then. Even the eyebots outside seemed to get quiet.

That goddamn Wallop. Her job, her Haulers, and her eye. Now he had her brother, or near enough. Everything. Would he take everything from her?

Konnor stood up and headed to the door. The shack squeaked beneath him.

"If it was any other sort of job…if it was a job that maybe wouldn't have gone against the Faces…"

"Shut up, Konnor. It's all against the Faces. It's under 'em or it's with 'em. You know that."

"All right. All right." He opened the door. An argument had started down the street; someone lit a fire in a barrel on the balcony above her shack; an eyebot stopped, scanned the two, and then zipped away. "It's a hell of a plan, though, Ore. A hell of a plan. And maybe I won't get around to telling Wallop what's what for a little while."

Author Interview:

What inspired you to write UP THE TOWER?

Lots of things! If you read the book, right away you'll notice that it is just crammed full of influences and fun stuff I find completely fascinating-clones, assassins, robots, mech suits, nanotechnology, surveillance drones, crazy heroic actions, insane earthquakes, class warfare, gender roles-all kinds of stuff. That's the kind of thing that, as a writer, you're just absorbing all the time and gnashing at the bit to let loose into a story that really captivates you.

The specific inspiration for the story came from the movie Sorcerer, which is a brilliant 1977 film by William Friedkin, the same guy who directed The Exorcist. Long story short, it's about a small group of individuals in a basically hopeless situation, trying to do whatever they can to escape the catastrophe their lives have become. I took that idea and made it a vertical journey (up the tower, after all) rather than a horizontal one (they go through a jungle in the movie), and made the catastrophe very literal in the form of an earthquake.

When or at what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I was always telling stories. I was a huge Lego fan growing up (still am, as a matter of fact), and I would be making this big, elaborate epic tales with all the spaceships and rocket dragons that I put together. I started writing when I was a teenager after I became a little more confident in my abilities as a writer.

As far as being a writer-as in a professional writer-that was fairly recent. I earned my MFA knowing that I wanted to write and publish novels, but on the back end of that idea was always that I would be teaching writing workshops and English classes at universities while I did it. But, the thing is, I don't really want to go back to the writing workshop environment very much, and teaching English in a university environment these days is an even bigger gamble than trying to write a bestseller (the move from part-time adjunct to full-time professor is an almost mythical achievement with the way the system is set up). So over the last few years, I understood that all I'd really like to be doing is writing professionally, so that's what I'm working for.

What is the earliest age you remember reading your first book?

I was in the first grade when I read my first Goosebumps book; it was Don't Go Into the Basement. The one with the big planty, green hand on the cover. I loved it! My mom was horrified once she figured out it was horror, of course. In the second grade, I started reading The Hobbit, and I was just sold on fantasy and science fiction ever since.

What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

I love mostly science fiction and speculative fiction. I'm also lately been an enormous fan of history, I think mostly because I've been listening to so much of Hardcore History (a podcast by Dan Carlin). If it's got robots and spaceships or weird theories about ancient militaries, I'm all over it.

What is your favorite book?

Of course, UP THE TOWER is my favorite book at the moment; I think it's really great and I think everyone should read it!

To really answer the question, though, my favorite book by someone else is actually a tetralogy-The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe. It's this amazing saga of a torturer named Severian who has perfect recall and is exiled by his guild. As a writer, it's a wonder to read because it's this fantastic exploration of unreliable narration (Severian lies constantly) and how point-of-view can shape a story.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

For reasons above, Gene Wolfe. He's the sort of author that I hide in my to-read list. If I saw his name on top, I wouldn't ever go back to other stuff. He makes the kinds of stories that I love to get lost in for days, and encourages the sort of reading that I really dig into. I love to be able to deconstruct pieces of text for all sorts of different meaning, and his material is just fantastic for that.

If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?

I'd travel back in time to yesterday and punch myself in the mouth, I think. And then I would laugh and go, "Oh, me. That's just what I would do."

But then, if I did that, then I wouldn't be writing this. But then if I DIDN'T write this, then I would go back in time and punch myself in the face. But if I did that, then I wouldn't write this. But if I didn't write this, then I would go back in time...

Oh dear. I'll need a pair of (physics) docs to figure out this paradox.

When writing a book, do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?

It sort of depends. The last draft is always very easy for me, which is a good thing. At that point, everything that's wrong about a novel is sort of like a photo-negative that you can hold up to the light and say, "Oh, that's how everything shouldn't be," which makes it much easier to write the stuff that should be.

But everything before that? Some days are easy, and some are hard. I've stopped freaking out so much about having to put words down. I write, usually, at a regular time every day for about three-to-four thousand words on different projects. I've learned to force words out even when I don't feel like I'm writing anything particularly good. Often, when I go back to edit something, I can't tell the difference between the stuff that I thought was sparkling with insane goodness and the stuff that I thought was drizzling over with craptitude.

Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?

Oh my goodness, yes. I have a cat named Ripley and a dog named Molly. I've had Molly for four years now, and Ripley for about nine months. I did all the stuff you're supposed to do when introducing cats and dogs in the same home: partitioning them off between doors, letting them smell each other, putting out treats, etc. They didn't care. They were just like, "What's the big deal?" and were friends immediately. Ripley is constantly jumping on Molly, and Molly is always chasing Ripley around.

What is your "to die for", favorite food/foods to eat?

There's a pub near where I live called Dressel's. They make excellent food; my favorite of theirs is their lamb burger, though. They put this incredible sauce on it. I make a point of going there every birthday (so, I'll be going there this Friday!).

In the meantime, I think my high intake of caffeine is probably killing me in some way or another, so coffee is probably the food that I literally will die for.

Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?

If you want to be a professional writer, there are a few things you must do:
- Read everything that fascinates you. Don't read stuff to feel impressive or complete.
- Write every day, at least three hundred words (preferably more, though). That's about a page.
- Grow tough skin, and then grow some more. Your dream dies when your motivation does, so this can't be about receiving praise, because indubitably a percentage of people just will not be impressed with you and they'll make sure you know.
- Learn the market you want to write in and write to that market.
- Pay attention to the industry. When Amazon and Hachette are fighting it out, you should pay attention. Publishing battles affect writers in the way policy battles affect government employees. It's literally your business.

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About the Author:

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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.

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J. P. Lantern will be awarding a backlist ebook copy to a randomly drawn winner at every stop during the tour and a Grand Prize of a $25 Amazon GC will be awarded to one randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during this tour.

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.

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Mary Preston said...

A great interview. Helpful advice for would-be-writers.

Suus said...

Great interview and I loved the good advice for aspiring writers!

Unknown said...

Thanks very much for having me on your site, and thanks for the comments, Mary and Lavender! I'll be around all day to answer any new questions from anybody.

Just so you know, the book is FREE right now at Amazon for just a limited time, so make sure you pick it up:

Unknown said...

I like reading the interview, Thank you! said...

Enjoyed interview.

bn100 said...

nice interview

Serena S. said...

Interesting cover... And thanks for the interview and excerpt, I enjoyed them both.

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