Saturday, February 15, 2020

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Wrath of Leviathan by T. C. Weber @savethereefs @RABTBookTours

BetterWorld, Book 2
Science Fiction (Cyberpunk) / Thriller
Date Published: September 1, 2018
Publisher: See Sharp Press

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In Wrath of Leviathan, the second book of the BetterWorld trilogy, Waylee faces life in prison for daring to expose MediaCorp's schemes to control the world. Exiled in São Paulo, her sister Kiyoko and their hacker friends continue the fight, seeking to end the conglomerate's stranglehold on virtual reality, information, and politics. But MediaCorp and their government allies may quash the rebellion before it takes off. And unknown to Kiyoko and her friends, a team of ruthless mercenaries is after them and is closing in fast.

Interview with T. C. Weber

For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?
If you haven’t read the first book of the trilogy, Sleep State Interrupt, that would help explain the situation and characters in Wrath of Leviathan. There is also a free prequel, The Story, and other prequel material, at . You can win a free copy of Sleep State Interrupt by entering the raffle.

How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
In Sleep State Interrupt and Wrath of Leviathan, a giant media corporation has taken over the Internet, created an addictive virtual reality called BetterWorld, and controls nearly all information. Politicians do their bidding and a brainwashed humanity serves a privileged few.

I've always been worried about the concentration of media and the decline of journalism, and the threats those trends pose to independent, critical thought and democracy. I am a huge cyberpunk fan, so I wove these concerns into a techno-thriller plot, developed outcast characters who feel compelled to take action, and added details of a near-future world.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?  
My main goal was to create a fast-paced, entertaining story. From the feedback I’ve received, I think this succeeded. I also wanted to expose readers to the dangers of media concentration and corrupt politicians, and problems with the U.S. justice system.

Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Thanks for reading, and tell your friends about the books! Reviews are also greatly appreciated!

What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I like delving into interesting characters and seeing how they deal with the predicaments they’re stuck in. I also learn a lot every time I write a new book. I research everything to make the story as realistic as possible. In this case, I learned a lot about the U.S. and Brazilian legal systems and procedures.

I enjoyed writing about Brazil also—it’s a fascinating place. I wrote this book before Jair Bolsonaro was elected, and did not predict Brazil to turn back toward the dark days of right-wing dictatorship. I sincerely hope Bolsonaro is not re-elected, not just for the future of Brazil, but because he is encouraging the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, which are the lungs of the planet.

Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?
The final book of the BetterWorld cyberpunk trilogy, Zero-Day Rising, is coming out Sep. 1 (also on See Sharp Press). In Zero-Day Rising, Kiyoko resolves to free her sister and bring down President Rand and MediaCorp. However, MediaCorp unleashes its ultimate plan: direct mind control with cerebral implants. Can Kiyoko and Waylee’s team stop them? Can they penetrate MediaCorp’s networks and end the company’s grip over humanity? All while eluding the biggest manhunt in history, in a country where everyone and everything is under surveillance?

I also have an alternate history novel, Born in Salt, coming out this year (hopefully). Fifty years after a coup replaced President Roosevelt with a fascist dictatorship, America is a land of hopelessness. Ben Adamson, a 19-year-old farm boy in southern Illinois, wants only to spend his time fishing and hunting, but when his brother is killed in combat—a story more suspicious than factual—he and Rachel, his brother’s fiancée, are drawn into an underground revolutionary movement. After staging a rally against the war, Ben and Rachel are arrested by the ruthless Internal Security Service. Ben is given a choice: betray the rebels, including his best friend from childhood, or Rachel will be lobotomized. Unwilling to doom anyone he cares about, and seeking justice for his brother, Ben decides on a third option: to frame corrupt officials to trade for Rachel, and in the process, turn the dictatorship’s factions against each other. But he must dodge the suspicions of police and rebels alike. And when Internal Security sends agents to verify his stories, all may be lost.

How long have you been writing?
I’ve pursued writing since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. I transformed those interests into novel writing while trapped at home during the "Snowmageddon" of 2010. I’ve been writing nearly every day since then.

Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in The Wrath of Leviathan?
Most of the characters in Wrath of Leviathan were also in Sleep State Interrupt. Their profiles and pictures are viewable at Life on the run and fighting MediaCorp has changed the characters since then.

Kiyoko is the main character in Wrath of Leviathan. She is a 19-year-old Asian-American from Baltimore, now living in a Japanese neighborhood in São Paulo. Until recently, she was a celebrity in BetterWorld, MediaCorp’s photo-realistic virtual reality with over a billion subscribers. Kiyoko worships a pantheon of gods, and prays to them for luck and success. She is determined to help her sister, restore her virtual realm of Yumekuni, and lead a happy, successful life in São Paulo. Unfortunately for her, MediaCorp and their mercenaries have other plans…

Gabriel is a former sergeant in the Brazilian special forces, now working for a private security company. He and another employee are being paid to guard Kiyoko’s friends Pel and Charles, who were offered asylum by the Brazilian government, but have bounties on their heads. Gabriel is open, outgoing, spontaneous, and friendly by nature, but his chosen profession demands duty, discipline, organization, and obedience. He tries to be both.

Waylee is Kiyoko’s older sister. Waylee is outgoing and charismatic, and is extremely creative and resourceful. But she seethes with inner anger, which arose from a violent childhood, poverty, and a hatred of bullies. She also struggles with bipolar disorder. She embraces her hypomanic phase, which increases her creativity and energy. But when depressed, she fears her life is pointless and the world is hopeless. She led a team of hackers to unearth incriminating information about MediaCorp and their ties to a corrupt government, then infiltrated a highly secure facility to broadcast the truth during the SuperBowl. Now, she faces life in prison unless she can find a way out.

Charles is a teenage hacker, incredibly talented at penetrating networks and bypassing BetterWorld’s rules. He grew up in a run-down neighborhood in Baltimore and joined Waylee’s cause after she freed him from confinement. He now lives with Kiyoko and Pel in Brazil. He has had a massive crush on Kiyoko since the moment they met, but she is not interested.

Pel is Waylee’s boyfriend, now hiding with Charles in São Paulo. He is also a hacker, but his specialty is hardware—building specialized devices, antennae, etc. Like Kiyoko, he wants to help Waylee any way he can.

Dalton is the story’s main villain. He works as a "field manager" for Ares International, a huge private security company based out of ships cruising international waters. He is professional and extremely capable, but his sense of morality is limited only to his estranged children. Ares sends Dalton to retrieve Charles and Pel from São Paulo, on a $4M contract. He works with a corrupt detective and a local gang that specializes in kidnapping.

If you could spend the day with one of the characters from Wrath of Leviathan who would it be? Please tell us why you chose this particular character, where you would go and what you would do.
I find all the characters interesting, but would probably pick Gabriel, since he has the most freedom of movement. I’d ask to visit his company’s base at Congonhas Airport, fly around São Paulo by helicopter, and join one of their special ops teams on a mission to rescue hostages or take out a vicious gang (they’d probably say no to that). Then we would hit the bars and down shots of cachaça (preferably top shelf instead of paint thinner like 51 or Pitu).

About the Author

T. C. Weber has pursued writing and music since childhood, and learned filmmaking and screenwriting in college, along with a little bit of physics. Trapped at home during the "Snowmageddon" of 2010, he transformed those interests into novel writing. His first published book, Sleep State Interrupt, was a Compton Crook Finalist for best debut speculative fiction novel. By day, Mr. Weber works as an ecologist and has had a number of scientific papers and book chapters published. He lives in Annapolis, Maryland with his wife Karen. He enjoys traveling and has visited all seven continents.

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