Friday, 19 April 2013

BLOG TOUR - Otherborn by Anna Silver (Author Interview & Review)

Title: Otherborn
Author: Anna Silver
Series: Otherborn #1
Published by: Sapphire Star Publishing
Published: April 4th 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-fi
Links: Goodreads / Amazon (paperback) / Amazon (ebook) / B&N (ebook) 
London and her teenage friends live in a reprocessed world.
Confined within Capital City’s concrete walls, London has done the impossible and the illegal. She’s created something New- a song. But her mentor, club owner Pauly, is not impressed. Since the historic Energy Crisis forced everyone behind walls generations ago, the Tycoons have ensured there is truly nothing new allowed under the sun. Pauly warns London to keep her song to herself, if she knows what’s good for her. 
What he doesn’t know is that London is keeping an even bigger secret: she dreams. And she’s not alone. London’s band-mates and friends have begun dreaming as well, seeing themselves in “night pictures” as beings from another world. As Otherborn, they must piece together the story of their astral avatars, the Others, in order to save their world from a dreamless, hopeless future. 
When Pauly is murdered and an Otherborn goes missing, London realizes someone is hunting them down. Escaping along the Outroads, they brave the deserted Houselands with only their dreams to guide them. Can they find their friend before the assassin finds them? Will being Otherborn save their lives, or destroy them?

1. How did you come to write a book?
I’ve been writing for almost as long as I can remember. As soon as I fell in love with books and reading, I had the desire to write. I pretty much decided I was going to be an author around eight-years-old and I started several novels in spiral notebooks as a kid. I attended a writing program in college but life took some unexpected turns and I put my writing on hold indefinitely for family. I was approaching thirty when I picked up it again and it took me a few more years to get serious about it. OTHERBORN is my third novel, but the first to be published. 

2. What was the inspiration behind OTHERBORN?
Two main things fed into creating OTHERBORN. The first was an article I read on the Otherkin subculture. More or less, Otherkin identify with something other than human inwardly. This can be anything from vampires to faeries to wild animals. Some of them claim to have experienced past life memories where they were another being and many describe feelings of not belonging in our culture. I was mesmerized by the idea because it creates so much instant conflict. 

The other big influence was my personal research into dreaming. I’ve been fascinated by dreams for a long time and my own dreams have played an important role in my life. I’ve experienced many precognitive dreams and dreams that have helped me heal. I was reading a favorite author on the subject, Robert Moss, who talked about shamans being able to meet in their dreams to share information and help one another, regardless of the place and time they live in. It just screamed STORY to me.

3. How did you arrive at creating London’s world? The Astral planes?
I wanted to amp up the natural conflict for my characters, so I decided to set them in a world that would be even more inhospitable to them than ours. I imagined a dystopia where no one dreams, and along with that, creativity and imagination have basically died. I figured people in that world would be easy to control because they can’t envision anything better for themselves. And I wanted to create this element of fear and suspicion around dreams and creativity, so that my characters would not only be uncomfortable, but in danger.

The Astral in book one is loosely based on the three shamanic planes: the Underworld, our world, and the Upperworld. I wanted it to be very fluid, rich and vibrant, so that it would contrast highly with London’s bleak and rigid reality. I wanted it to feel almost like a character itself, interactive, and not just a setting. In book two, London and her friends will learn that there’s a lot more to the Astral than they realized.

4. What was your favorite character to write in OTHERBORN and why?
I think Si’dah was my favorite character to write, because she was such a welcome break from the angst of London and her world. Also, I really loved playing up the contrast between her and London and using them to grow one another. 

5. OTHERBORN plays with issues facing our world today, like renewable energy and recycling. Why did you decide to address those in your book? 
I didn’t find the dystopia of London’s world to be too far from where we are now. I wanted the setting to read almost like our current world. I wanted readers to be able to identify with that world and the characters in it. I figured it wasn’t much of a stretch of the imagination to picture a dystopia based on energy hoarding and the ever-widening gap between the 2% and everybody else. I also liked the notion of a ruling class playing up on our fears about the planet and energy needs in order to take over. That just seems so plausible to me. The easiest way to overpower us is by creating the problem and the solution— in such a way that we feel left with no other choice and willingly submit.

6. What advice would you give to aspiring authors out there?
First, you have to be writing. Those brilliant ideas? Those wonderful stories? They’ll never happen if you don’t actually write them. I don’t tell people how to pace themselves, you can decide what your preferred pace is, but it must be steady and progressive.

Second, get out there! Go to conferences, meet people, take a class, try and better your craft. I was very reluctant about this step, but I would not be where I am without having done it. This is part of taking yourself and your work seriously so that others will too.

Third, brace yourself for the long haul. Overnight successes are never actually overnight successes. If you are serious about this, if you truly love writing and storytelling enough to pursue it as a career, then you must commit with everything you have and be prepared to keep writing and keep submitting no matter how long it takes. That doesn’t mean your first novel is crap. Lots of first novels do wonderfully, but not all. And it may be your second, or your third, or your tenth before you hit that sweet spot. Hang in there.

7. If you had to attribute your success as a writer to one thing, what would it be? 
PERSISTENCE. This was key for me. I had a lot of grand fantasies about everything gliding easily into place like butter. And it just didn’t happen that way. But I kept going no matter how bummed or dejected I felt. Sometimes I’d sit down for a spell and feel sorry for myself, but I always got up again and carried on down my path. I think, no matter how talented you may be, this industry will try you. And refusing to quit is a big part of being a writer. I mean, just think about how few people actually manage to get all the way through writing a novel, much less trying to submit and publish one. Every leg of this journey demands persistence.

8. Name three books that impacted your love of reading or style of writing in a big way.
So many books have impacted me, and these three are by no means the only three, but I’m throwing them out there as some of my favorites.

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. This was maybe the first dystopian I ever read. I was in high school it was one of those books that changed the way I look at the world and writing forever.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle and its sequels. These books were a science fiction wonderland to me when I was growing up and I still adore them. 

 Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood. This is a brand new find for me and I have just fallen in love with everything about this book. I know I’ll be a Spotswood fangirl for life.

9. What can you tell us about the sequel to OTHERBORN?
The working title for the second book in the series is ASTRAL TIDE, though that may change. You can expect London and her friends to learn a lot more about their powers as Otherborn and about the Astral in general. All things they’ll need to put to good use in their fight against the Tycoons. Of course, they’ll also be learning about the consequences that go along with using their power. 

Alliances will shift and some new characters come into play, while old ones find they are irrevocably changed by all that’s happened. London’s love for Rye is challenged in a big way, and she’s forced to face some powerful emotions for more than just one guy. 

The Tycoons still have the upper hand in book two, and they have the Otherborn on the run. But London and the gang can only run for so long. Eventually, they’ll have to face what waits when the road runs out. Eventually, all their fates will catch up with them.

10. Where can people find more info about you and your books online?
Well, I have a whole host of social media and online sites where you can catch up with me. Most importantly, you can visit my website, which is where you’ll find excerpts of my work, video trailers, and other book candy, as well as my blog. Next to that, I’m always on facebook, twitter, and goodreads. I’m also an avid pinner and you can always check my publisher’s site as well. All the url’s are listed below. 


This was a unique and very different take on the regular dystopian genre. Ms Silver has created something quite fascinating which I know a lot of people will really enjoy. She has taken the regular themes of starvation, energy crisis, and government overlords and added a new element in the form of these Otherborns. I thought the concept of people not dreaming was really interesting and baffling. You would think to yourself, "How could someone not dream??" So I was more than curious has to find out about this world where nothing New is created, everything is reprocessed over and over again, and where dreaming is a crime.
Silver did a excellent job in building up the world in which London and her friends live. She describes the environment so well that you can really get a feel for the harshness and cruelty of it. In contrast to that you have the beautiful and captivating astral world that the Others reside in. This however is where I started getting  confused and my brain got a bit fuzzled. When Silver starts to explain the Other's and what there purpose is and all the different layers of the astral I couldn't really keep up. This is why I don't really read Sci-fi books because I don't really have the head for em :P I know some people will really like this aspect of the story but for me I thought it was just a bit too much. I feel like it could have been made a whole lot simpler. Even though a lot of the book is spent explaining the astral realm and the Other's and everything I was still left not fully understanding everything. I think Silver made it more complicated than it should have been.

London I thought was a good protagonist. For most of the book she was the voice of reason and had a good head on her. Other times though she did get a bit over-reactive and whiny. Basically a teenager starting to show signs of maturity. And her relationship with Rye I didn't get. I understood that they were friends but I didn't really see how she was in love with him. They have been friends their entire life so it's not insta-love or anything but I just didn't see what she was attracted too. I felt that Rye was a bit self-centered and even though he claims to love her too I just didn't see it. 

The overall story was fast-paced and engaging. Not keep you on the edge of your seat or anything but still have you wondering what was gonna happen next. The ending will leave you with many questions and have you waiting for the next one. I recommend this one for sci-fi and dystopian lovers who are looking for something original. 

~ About the Author ~
Anna Silver grew up with a passion for words, books, and storytelling. She began writing as a child and eventually landed at St. Edward’s University in Austin where she studied English Writing & Rhetoric. She has always nurtured a vivid imagination and a love for art, expression, and fantasy. Currently she resides in the greater Houston area with her family and pets where she continues to read, write, and dream. Otherborn is her first published novel.

~ Giveaway ~

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