Published by Simon Pulse
Published on January 19th 2016
Genres: LGBTQ, Science Fiction, Young Adult
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There are a few things Henry Denton knows, and a few things he doesn’t.
Henry knows that his mom is struggling to keep the family together, and coping by chain-smoking cigarettes. He knows that his older brother is a college dropout with a pregnant girlfriend. He knows that he is slowly losing his grandmother to Alzheimer’s. And he knows that his boyfriend committed suicide last year.
What Henry doesn’t know is why the aliens chose to abduct him when he was thirteen, and he doesn’t know why they continue to steal him from his bed and take him aboard their ship. He doesn’t know why the world is going to end or why the aliens have offered him the opportunity to avert the impending disaster by pressing a big red button.
But they have. And they’ve only given him 144 days to make up his mind.
The question is whether Henry thinks the world is worth saving. That is, until he meets Diego Vega, an artist with a secret past who forces Henry to question his beliefs, his place in the universe, and whether any of it really matters. But before Henry can save the world, he’s got to figure out how to save himself, and the aliens haven’t given him a button for that.
We are so excited to be taking part of the blog tour for We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson!
Check out our review with Shaun below, and be sure to enter the giveaway for a chance to WIN! :)
Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novels? Why?
Both? When I start writing, the beginning and end are usually the only things I truly know. The first line is difficult because it’s got to be good. No…it’s got to be amazing. The first line sets the tone for the rest of the book. What’s the focus? What’s the style? Does it grab the reader? So I obsesses over that first line for ages to make sure I get it right. And the last line is difficult because by the time I reach it, I don’t want to let the story go. It’s bittersweet and painful.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
I think it’s about 50/50. Though the manuscripts where I come up with the title first rarely wind up being very good.
If I don’t have a title when I start, I usually come up with a working title around the half-way mark of the writing process. Something that crystalizes what I think the book is about. My working title for THE FIVE STAGES OF ANDREW BRAWLEY was THE WALLS pretty much until my agent sent the book on submission. My working title for WE ARE THE ANTS was THE HOUSE ON SHADY LANE…mostly because the book began its life as a haunted house story before morphing into something completely different.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
When it comes to names, I really like names that are sort of timeless. Sometimes they have significance, sometimes not. The character Shane from THE DEATHDAY LETTER was named after both a childhood friend and my older brother, who died before I was born. Henry’s name isn’t significant, but his last name, Denton, is one of my older brother’s middle name (fun fact: the date the aliens give Henry for the end of the world in WE ARE THE ANTS is also that same brother’s birthday). Sometimes I just troll baby name boards looking for names that jump out at me. Diego, in WE ARE THE ANTS is an example of that. Though his last name, Vega, I chose because of the star with the same name.
How do you plot your books, do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc, or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
I’m a total pantser. I usually know the beginning, the end, and nothing else. It’s a terrible system, but the one that works for me. When I finish a first draft, I then outline it, create a revision outline, and rewrite the entire thing.
My plots definitely change. WE ARE THE ANTS began life as a haunted house story. Then it morphed into a murder mystery and a wild sci-fi set on a space station, before finding its final form. Writing, for me, is all about exploration. I get bored easily, so discovering the story along with my characters is what keeps me going.
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
I used to live on coffee, but I’m down to one cup a day now. Really, all I need is my laptop and a quiet place to work. Sometimes I listen to music, but it really depends on my mood.
Do you have a favorite place to write? Tell us about it!
My office? Which sounds pretty boring. I’ve made it an inspirational space, surrounding myself with pictures and toys and books that light a fire in my mind. However, I can pretty much work anywhere. I’ve conditioned myself to just sit down and do it because, while I can’t always find the conditions I want, I still have to get the writing done.
If you could use 3 words to describe your books, what would they be?
Weird, intense, and honest.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
This is so hard! I would do just about anything to go into space. I want to spend the night in the White House. And…I’d love to have lunch with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
What is something you never leave home without?
Something to read.
What are the last 3 books you enjoyed reading?
Only three? This has been such a great year for books!
Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab
When I Was the Greatest by Jason Reynolds
What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself?
Silly, shy, and liminal.
Do you have a favorite hobby/pastime?
Reading? I tend to burn through hobbies like mad. This year I learned how to do some woodworking so I could build a steampunk inspired mechanical keyboard. I’ve also been playing a lot of Star Trek Online.
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
I love to sing, though I’m not sure I’m all that talented at it.
This or That?
Sunrise or Sunset?
Sunrise. There’s something beautiful about the beginning of a new day.
Coffee or Tea?
Hot coffee and iced tea.
Hot or Cold?
PC or Mac?
Definitely a Mac, though I’m pretty good with both.
By Land, or by sea?
Definitely land. I get seasick.
Half-empty or Half-full?
Autumn or Spring?
I live in Florida…we don’t really get either.
Summer or Winter?
Definitely winter. Though what I consider winter in Florida probably feels like summer to everyone else.
E-book or Print Book? (Preferred reading)
Print book. Though I do carry my E-reader with me when I travel. It’s so very convenient. The problem with E-books for me is that I spend so much time staring at screens throughout my day that when I want to settle down and read, the last thing I want to do is stare at another screen. Physical books have a way of transporting me that E-books don’t.
FOLLOW THE TOUR!
1/19: Bookish Antics – Review
1/22: Read Write Love – Q&A
1/28: No BS Book Reviews – Q&A