Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko @JustinJoschko @chapterxchapter @Month9Books

Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Publisher: Month9Books

Selena Flood is a fighter of preternatural talent. But not even her quick fists and nimble feet could save her parents from the forces of New Canaan, the most ruthless and powerful of the despotic kingdoms populating America-that-was.

Forced to flee the tyrannical state with her younger brother Simon in tow, Selena is now the last chance for peace in a continent on the verge of complete destruction.

In her pocket is a data stick, the contents of which cost her parents their lives. Selena must now ensure it reaches the Republic of California—a lone beacon of liberty shining across a vast and barren wasteland—before it’s too late.

Between New Canaan and California stretch the Middle Wastes: thousands of desolate miles home to murderers, thieves, and a virulent strain of grass called yellow locust that has made growing food all but impossible. So when Selena and Simon stagger into Fallowfield, an oasis of prosperity amidst the poisoned plains, everything seems too good to be true—including the warm welcome they receive from the town’s leader, a peculiar man known only as The Mayor.

As Selena delves deeper into the sinister secrets of this seemingly harmless refuge, she soon learns there is a much darker side to Fallowfield and the man who runs it. Before long, she must call upon the skills she honed in the fighting pits of New Canaan to ensure not only her own survival, but that of her brother, in whom the Mayor has taken far too keen an interest.

And she’d better act fast, for an all-out war inches ever closer, and New Canaan is never as far away as it seems.

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Interview with Justin Joschko

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in Yellow Locust?

Selena and Simon Flood are a sister and brother from the despotic state of New Canaan. Though raised in relative luxury, they nevertheless lived precarious lives by grace of their parents’ role as dissidents helping the enemy Republic of California, a democratic state on the other side of the continent. Their parents uncovered key information that will allow the Republic to avoid destruction in the coming war, but are captured and executed before they can escape. It remains up to Selena and Simon to sneak the data out of the country and across the Middle Wastes, a vast swath of death and famine that stands between them and the Republic of California.

Selena is the older of the two. A seasoned street-brawler, she prides herself on her toughness and recoils from the sadness and doubt that plague her at her weaker moments. She feels a responsibility to protect her younger brother above all else, a role she cherishes and resents in equal measure. Simon, the younger sibling, is a shy boy with technical know-how a talent for drawing. He looks up to his older sister but bristles when she dismisses him as just a kid. 

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

The sequel to Yellow Locust is almost written, though it’ll be a while before it sees the light of day. I wrote two other books between YL 1 and 2, and I’d like to see them published as well if possible. One is a horror/crime book set in a fictionalized version of my hometown, Niagara Falls. The other is a fantasy about a young girl who goes out for a walk and returns to find her house has vanished.

How long would you say it takes you to write a book?

It depends on the book. Yellow Locust took a year, with another six months for revisions, and its sequel is on track to take about the same. However, I’ve written other books in only a few months that felt equally polished, so a lot has to do with how easy the story transitions from my head to the page.

What is your favorite childhood book?

I loved the Wayside School books by Louis Sachar as a kid. The stories always had a slightly surreal bent that appealed to me.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Yellow Locust who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.

Probably Simon. The poor kid seems like he could use a day out. I’d take him to an art gallery then get him some drawing supplies.

What was the hardest scene from Yellow Locust to write?

There is a flashback scene near the beginning of the novel that illustrates the depths of depravity found in New Canaan’s leadership. It’s an event that the main characters witness rather than experience, but the cruelty it displays was unpleasant to write. I was tempted to remove it but ultimately found it true to the story, so instead I chose to glance at it indirectly through the prose rather than wallow in gory details. 

What made you want to become a writer?

Reading. I’ve always liked books, but I really became an avid reader around 13, when I discovered Stephen King. My most vivid memories of high school are actually the bus rides to and from, with a Pink Floyd album on my portable CD player and a Stephen King book open on my lap. I read a few other authors regularly at that time—Tolkien, Asimov, and Vonnegut were the main ones—but King was my guy. 

Just for fun

(a Favorite song: oh, geez. Hard to pick. Probably Under the Big Black Sun by X or The Great Curve by Talking Heads.

(b Favorite book: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole 

(c Favorite movie: Stop Making Sense; or, if it has to be a movie with a plot, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

(d Favorite tv show: Seinfeld

(e Favorite Food: Toss-up between butter chicken from Host India here in Ottawa, or pepperoni pizza from La Hacienda in Niagara Falls, New York.

(f Favorite drink: Mad Tom IPA

(g Favorite website: I don’t know if I have one. When I did, it was probably homestarrunner.com

Thanks so much for visiting with us today!

About the Author

Justin Joschko is an author from Niagara Falls, Ontario. His writing has appeared in newspapers and literary journals across Canada. Yellow Locust is his first novel. He currently lives in Ottawa with his wife and two children.


·        One (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a digital copy of Yellow Locust by Justin Joschko (INT)


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