My guest today is Katie Barger, author of the YA dystopian novel, Fortune’s Fall. Katie, thank you for joining me today. Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I’m a lawyer-turned-writer living an exhausting, but awesome, life with two little kids, a high-maintenance cat and a high-energy dog. My husband helps keep me sane. We’ve moved around a lot with the military and have finally settled (hopefully for a while) in Mississippi, where I’ve seen more storms in six weeks than I did in seven years living in California. I’ve been writing stories since I was a little girl and am so excited about my first published novel: Fortune’s Fall.
What is your book about?
While her classmates prepare for elite careers across America, Nyssa Ardelone trains for her secret job as the president’s dream interpreter. But when her mentor lies to the president about the prophecy in his latest dream, Nyssa must figure out why before the lie unravels. What she learns could destroy her own future.
Fearful of a rumored rebellion, the president has launched a gas attack on Nyssa’s hometown, and her mentor lied about the dream to protect the survivors from more harm. When Nyssa learns her parents were injured in the attack, she flees with a stranger sent to steal the antidote—a stranger who claims to know her.
Together, they race to deliver the cure as well as an interpretation of another prophetic dream only Nyssa can provide. But a devastating loss dulls her caution, and she learns too late that not everyone is trustworthy. To survive the president’s deadly pursuit, Nyssa must break every rule she’s ever followed, learning along the way that faith is the only thing that can save her.
What is the inspiration behind your story?
FORTUNE’S FALL is loosely inspired by the lives of Daniel and Nehemiah. They lived during a time in which the Jews were in exile in Babylon and longed to be able to return to Jerusalem. Daniel also interpreted dreams for the king. As I studied these stories, my imagination began to whirl, and eventually, FORTUNE’S FALL was born: a dystopian story about a dream interpreter to the president who lives during a time when a group of people have been forced to live in a place they don’t belong.
Do you have a day job?
My day job consists of homeschooling our oldest daughter and doing all the things stay-at-home moms do. How do I find the time to write? Great question, haha! I get up really, really early and hammer out as much as possible before my two year old (a very early riser) comes into the kitchen to demand Cheerios. Then, I find little chunks of time during the rest of the day to write, too.
Were there any surprises that came up as you wrote your story?
The faith element. I think about it now and have to smile at how awesome God is. I didn’t set out to write an overtly Christian novel, but then God showed up. Nyssa’s personal journey to faith became an intricate and necessary part of the overall story, and it just sort of fell into place as I was writing.
How did you come up with the names of your hero and/or heroine?
All of my characters (for the most part) have Greek or Hebrew names with meanings that reflect their personalities. Nyssa, for example, is Greek and means “goal” or “beginning.” I chose it because it reflects her journey away from her old life and into a new one.
If you didn’t write books, what would you do for a living?
I’d like to think I’d get back into law. I loved being an immigration attorney. Life had dealt my clients some incredibly tragic and horrifying experiences, but they were stronger because of it and I loved working with them. They were inspiring.
What book or author has inspired you the most?
Madeleine L’Engle is my favorite author. I love that she wasn’t afraid of tough issues in her books, and she managed to weave Bible verses and faith messages into each of her stories without getting preachy.
What’s next for you as an author?
I’m working on the second book in The Exiled Trilogy right now!
Excerpt from Fortune’s Fall:
What are my chances of actually making it to Fortune’s Fall? Not high. Then again, according to Pallas, there’s a network helping people get there. True, some people have been caught. But what if I’m not?
“Can I really do this?” I say aloud to my empty room. I scan the furniture. The walls. My messy bed. It’s all so familiar to me after seven years that I usually overlook the paisley on the quilt and the stain on the rug where an exhausted Ethelind tripped and dropped an entire pan of accidentally undercooked brownies one night. We ate them anyway. A mud puddle laced with carpet fibers, scooped up with spoons and laughed about later. I blink, and the memory is gone.
“I’m going to do this.” I turn toward my closet, grab a shirt, and pull it over my head.
“I have to do this for my family.” I zip my jeans.
“For Pallas.” I tie my shoes.
I’m a robot. Don’t think. Just act.
“I’m going to do this,” I repeat.
If I stop talking, if I stop moving, the likelihood of failure will paralyze me. I pull my hair into a ponytail and open the door, tiptoe across the common room and into the hall. The door closes behind me without a sound.
Where can readers find you online?
Twitter and Instagram: kbargerauthor
Fortune’s Fall will be released from Anaiah Press on November 3, 2020.