The Seeker Series
by David Litwick
Publisher: Evolved Publishing LLC
Publication Date: June 20, 2015
Genre: Sci-Fi, Dystopian
The Stuff of Stars
This second book in The Seekers dystopian series continues the story started in the critically-acclaimed The Children of Darkness.
Against all odds, Orah and Nathaniel have found the keep and revealed the truth about the darkness, initiating what they hoped would be a new age of enlightenment. But the people were more set in their ways than anticipated, and a faction of vicars whispered in their ears, urging a return to traditional ways.
Desperate to keep their movement alive, Orah and Nathaniel cross the ocean to seek the living descendants of the keepmasters’ kin. Those they find on the distant shore are both more and less advanced than expected.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
I started writing when I was sixteen and took writing courses in college. Throughout my twenties, I religiously wrote five pages a day. Then I basically gave up, frustrated with my lack of progress. For the next thirty years, I focused on my family, and on building several successful software companies. When I retired, with career done and family grown, I had no intention of writing again. But once I had time to daydream, the ideas started to flow. That’s why I call myself “the once and future writer.”
Where and when did your writing journey begin?
The urge to write first struck me at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. The next day, I had a column published under my byline, and I was hooked.
Who are your favorite authors and how have they influenced your writing?
There are so many I love that have influenced my writing. I have always read cross genre. When I became an avid reader in my teens, I devoured fantasy and science fiction, but also literary fiction. I loved the works of Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov, and of course, Tolkien, but also of Hemingway and Steinbeck.
If you forced me to name a book I wish I wrote, I think it would be a composite of Clarke’s The City and the Stars and Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls—a story beautifully written, with a fantastic alternate world, lofty themes, and intense characters who believe passionately in their cause.
What does a typical day in your life look like? And how does your writing routine fit into your day?
I aim for two writing sessions a day of two hours each, but it varies with the stage of a novel. First drafts are hard, and I might go days without writing, and then get inspired and do three sessions in a day. Editing is different. I’ll sometimes edit ten hours a day, especially in later drafts and when a deadline is looming.
I always manage to take a break for exercise or long walks, and to find time to spend with friends and family. Balance is important.
How did you come up with the idea for your novel?
The seed of an idea is a curious thing. I went for a walk along one of my favorite places on Cape Cod. On one side was Vineyard Sound, with Martha’s Vineyard rising from the fog, and on the other a series of inlets of increasing size. The first is called Little Pond and the next Great Pond. For some reason, I imagined young people growing up in Little Pond and envying those of Great Pond, wanting to find more from life than they had in their small village. From there, the story expanded. What if their limitation was not their small village, but a repressive authority that limited their potential to think and grow?
At the same time as I was developing this plot, the real world was changing. Increasingly, I saw on the news stories of oppression and rigid limits placed on freedom of thought: modifying school curriculum to restrict the sciences; rewriting history; destroying evidence from the past; restrictions on dress and diet; banning music and the arts; and severe punishments like stoning for daring to think differently.
Over time (several years), all these thoughts evolved in the Seekers dystopian trilogy.
What do you think sets your novel apart from others currently on the shelves?
The Seekers trilogy is a thoughtful dystopian that relies more on the conflict of ideas than the conflict of arms (although the corruption of those in power is also key). A lot of popular dystopian fiction today relies on violence with high body counts, but many classic dystopians do not. Examples include 1984, Brave New World, and The Giver. The threat of violence is certainly present, but the plot does not depend heavily on battle scenes. Another great example would be Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars, where an idyllic future society has lost that curious something that makes us human. In these types of stories, the villains are not power hungry Doctor Evil types, but those with good intentions gone awry.
Dystopia comes from ‘dysfunctional utopia’, a society designed by those who aspired to make a better world, but caused great harm instead. I believe such villains are scarier because they mean well (I was taught that a villain should be the hero of his own story, misguided though that may be).
The Seekers is about a society forcibly brought back to the middle ages following a cataclysm caused by the overreach of technology. In many ways, it’s not a terrible place to live, but it’s a world of limits. Three friends bristle under those limits, and go off to seek ways to reach their potential,
Which character in your book is your favorite and how much of yourself is reflected in that character?
I used to say that my favorite was Kailani from The Daughter of the Sea and the Sky. She’s so mysterious, but at the same time wise, naïve and vulnerable. Now that I’m nearly done with the Seekers trilogy, I think I’d say Orah. She smart and passionate in her beliefs, and a natural leader, yet she always doubts herself and questions her decisions—a trait that would be a good thing in some of our real world leaders.
Which scenes in your book did you have the most fun writing?
There are three kinds of scenes: those which move the plot forward toward a crisis, or climax; the crisis of climax itself; and the quieter scenes following those more intense scenes, where the characters catch their breath and the reader gets the chance to relish what just happened.
I enjoy writing the third type of scene the most. It’s in those scenes where I can get deep into the minds and hearts of the characters.
What do you hope for your readers to take away after reading your book? What are your hopes for this novel?
Each and every reader is a partner in the story. I use my craft, and you use your imagination to flesh out your own unique version of the story. If I’ve caused you to re-experience some of the most intense moments of your life, or if I’d made you see the world in a new light, then I’ve succeeded as an author.
To quote Maya Angelou: “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
What do you have in store next for your readers?
The Children of Darkness is Book one of the Seekers dystopian trilogy. The second book, The Stuff of Stars, has just published.
I’m hard at work on the finale of the Seekers series, to be titled The Light of Reason. If all goes as planned, it will come out in November 2016.
The urge to write first struck at age sixteen when working on a newsletter at a youth encampment in the woods of northern Maine. It may have been the wild night when lightning flashed at sunset followed by the northern lights rippling after dark. Or maybe it was the newsletter’s editor, a girl with eyes the color of the ocean. But he was inspired to write about the blurry line between reality and the fantastic.Using two fingers and lots of white-out, he religiously typed five pages a day throughout college and well into his twenties. Then life intervened. He paused to raise two sons and pursue a career, in the process — and without prior plan — becoming a well-known entrepreneur in the software industry, founding several successful companies. When he found time again to daydream, the urge to write returned.
$25 Amazon Gift Card (INT)
+ a second winner wins paperback copies of The Children of Darkness and The Stuff of Stars (US)
Ends Feb. 10
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.