This week our featured author is from Michigan (my home state). I’m especially excited to feature her YA dystopian novel. If you have a teen or young adult, this book will take them on an fascinating adventure. Or maybe you’d like to read it yourself…
Inspiration for Soul Hacker came from real life experience at an international border crossing into a country with extreme security check points and high level community monitoring. I had also recently seen a news story about an environmental disaster that caused an entire town to permanently evacuate due to ongoing toxic fumes seeping from the ground. After reading an article about biohacking with nootropic drugs to increase mental capacity, the story elements of Soul Hacker came together. An environmental disaster leading to tightly regulated human habitation within high-rise structures where intelligence is valued above all else.
About the book:
When environmental disaster leaves the world ruined, humanity must survive within seven cities of interconnected high-rises. Students must study rigorously for a final exam which irrevocably places them within a social caste.
Recent graduate, Anna, has earned an esteemed position working in genetic science, but risks her coveted placement when caught smuggling restricted goods to her lower-level sister. Troy, the militant border guard, blackmails her into stealing classified lab materials for his underground team of biohacking revolutionaries. When the lead lab technician, Darion, discovers Anna’s theft from the lab, he is sure to use his government rank to coerce her into marriage. Becoming a high-riser’s wife is the last thing Anna wants when her heart is yearning for freedom, but marriage to a man of influence could work in her favor if she can convince him to help her stop the government from culling a percentage of the population she’s grown to love.
Anna cheats, steals, and smuggles to receive a better placement within the high-rise, however she hadn’t counted on finding redemption and risking everything for the love that finally captures her heart.
Anna straightened, still clutching the pack. Even though she expected him, his sudden nearness filled her with a rush of new anxiety. She steadied herself, keeping her gaze set out the window on the sinking sun. “Is this going to be the end of your demands?”
Troy sighed and followed her gaze out over the foggy landscape.
There were few people in the terrarium. Anna shifted and rubbed a palm on her thigh. Someone would notice them talking here. She wanted to leave, but she still had so many questions. “What are you doing with these?”
Her gaze was drawn to the pack. If he wanted the slides for some biohacking experiment, it would be a serious offense if he were exposed. They’d imprison him, beat him, or banish him, unless they thought Level 1 would be a worse punishment. Then that’s where they’d put him. There was no way she would make that kind of accusation against him without firsthand witness. No one deserved that suffering.
Troy didn’t answer right away. He put his arm over the back of the bench and leaned closer to her. “I’m looking for answers. Thank you.”
“Thank you? I didn’t do this out of the goodness of my heart.”
“I don’t believe that.” He almost allowed a smile.
Anna’s eyes narrowed. She shifted on the hard bench. “I didn’t have a choice.”
“Sure you did. You care about your sister. You want her to get better. That’s why you bring those puny oranges through the border, risking your credentials each time you pass through security.”
Anna’s internal alarm fired. Heat ran up through her insides. She needed to get away from Troy, the sooner the better.
“I’ve noticed you coming through the checkpoint now for three months. Every time you entered with a full pack, you sped through the area, focused—determined…and then you’d leave empty handed,” Troy said.
Anna’s lips parted. “You’ve known all along and never stopped me?”
He shrugged. “You dropped your pass this time. I had to get it back to you.”
“So breaking the law is irrelevant to you?” She glanced around the terrarium again, still not enough traffic to cover their conversation.
“Some people break the law for their own benefit. Some break them for the greater good.”
“And this law?” She tightened her grip on the pack.
He leaned forward, his forearms resting on his knees. “People are suffering. You are your sister’s hope. Hope that life is still worth living, or will be someday.”
“And if she doesn’t get better, then what will her hope be?” Anna said cynically.
Troy glanced to the pack and back to her. “That’s where I come in.”
About the author:
Sarah lives in Northern Michigan where she enjoys hiking, kayaking, and meandering the gorgeous Lake Michigan beaches. Her interest in writing grew from reading The Chronicles of Narnia, and Anne of Green Gables novels as a young girl, and reignited after discovering Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series.
Sarah writes romantic speculative fiction for modern readers who enjoy a fast-paced, character-driven story set in extraordinary worlds. Current works in progress include a time-travel and an urban fantasy.
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