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Blog Tour: Novel Secrets for CONCENTR8 by William Sutcliffe, plus giveaway!
Jan 18th, 2016 by Liza Wiemer

Concentr8 Tour Banner

CONCENTR8

by William Sutcliffe

Published by Bloomsbury

Pub date: January 19, 2016

 

LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | iBooks | The Book Depository

ABOUT CONCENTR8:Concentr8

In a not-so-distant future London, riots have become the norm. But when the government suddenly stops distributing Concentr8–a behavioral modification “miracle” drug akin to Ritalin–the city’s residents rise up fiercer than they ever have before.

Amidst the chaos, five teens pick a man seemingly at random and chain him up as a hostage in a warehouse. Blaze is their leader, and Troy has always been his quiet sidekick–the only person he has ever trusted. But even Troy didn’t see this coming, and as their story unfolds over six tense days, one thing is clear–none of them will ever be the same again.

Told from the perspective of multiple characters in a world familiar to our own, this searing look at a group of teens who push back from the margins of society is perfect for fans of thoughtful fiction like Panic and The Program series.

 

 

NOVEL SECRETS – a behind the scenes look into CONCENTR8!

Sometimes the idea for a book takes shape slowly, with various thoughts gradually coming together. Concentr8 wasn’t like that. It came to me in a flash, during a conversation with a friend of mine who is a child psychiatrist. I asked how her work was going, and she started telling me about a problem that was troubling her. The issue was with ADHD and Ritalin.

She told me that she suspected some parents were bringing children to her who were perhaps naughty, or misbehaving in school, but essentially perfectly healthy, and pressuring her for an ADHD diagnosis. She spoke to me at length about cultural pressures to conform and succeed; about a medical orthodoxy the tends to see drugs as a quick-fix solution to all problems; and also about how some parents will get extra welfare if their child has an ADHD diagnosis. She also added that Ritalin was very similar to the amphetamines that adults take recreationally, usually referred to as “speed”.

I was horrified and outraged, but the novelist in me felt an immediate spark of excitement. Horror and outrage are the jet fuel that often get me started on a project. More than this, I felt that I had stumbled on something that sounded like the premise for a speculative sci-fi novel – a malevolent state drugging “bad” children – which was in fact happening in right here, right now.

I had just finished a novel called The Wall set in a seemingly fictional dystopia that was also a real place – The West Bank – and this premise seemed like a perfect companion to that novel. I quickly came up with the idea of Concentr8, a fictional drug similar to Ritalin, which a fictional London mayor dishes out to ever-increasing numbers of children in the wake of riots similar to those which hit the city 2011. As soon as I had Concentr8, I was on the path to Concentr8. I knew the book would be very different in tone and setting to The Wall, which preceded it, but I liked the idea of playing a similar game with readers, where as you read you learn that the seemingly fantastical setting is far closer to reality than it at first seemed. In both books, I want readers to sense the ground shifting under their feet as they progress through the book.

But I could never have written this novel if it wasn’t for one other experience, which happened to me almost ten years ago. I was in a London park, and a group of drunk people attacked me, for no reason. I was punched, pushed to the ground, and kicked in the head. The assault left me with lingering headaches but didn’t do any lasting physical damage. I was quite traumatised, though, tormented by fear and anger which circled round my head without any outlet.

Not long after this, an email from a friend arrived, asking for volunteers to mentor troubled teenagers in Camden. I decided this would be a good way to psychologically turn a corner. If my mentee was from the same world as the people who attacked me, this would be a way to confront my fears and turn them into something positive.

As it turned out my mentee was not white, like my attackers, but was a 16-year-old black kid who had been excluded from school, had a very challenging home life, no qualifications, and felt he had no career prospects whatsoever. For one year, we met more or less every week for a coffee. We slowly came to a mutual understanding and respect. In the end I don’t think I did anything to improve his life chances, but I did listen to everything he said, which seemed to be a new and empowering experience for him. I’m pretty sure, though, that I learnt more from him than he did from me.

I didn’t do it to research a novel, except in the sense that when you are a writer every experience you have is, in a sense, research. When I started writing Concentr8, almost a decade after my year of mentoring, this boy’s voice came back to me. The way he talked, the way he sat, his mannerisms and his perpetual worry about “the feds” – it all bubbled up to the surface and came out on the page. There is nothing of his direct experience in the book, but his voice is right there in the voices of the kids in the novel. Thanks to him, I also have a bedrock of understanding about how it feels to be intelligent yet failed by the education system; bright but with a feeling that society has given you no opportunities for the slightest self-advancement. Without our friendship, I wouldn’t have had the empathy or understanding to write this novel.

I no longer live in London and I’m no longer in touch with him, but, nonetheless, it is to my mentee, Darren, that I have dedicated the book.

 

ABOUT WILLIAM SUTCLIFFE:William Sutcliffe c. Maggie O'Farrell

William Sutcliffe is the author of the young adult novel The Wall, which was published in 2013 to much critical acclaim, including being short-listed for the 2014 Carnegie Medal and long-listed for the 2013 Guardian Fiction Prize. He also wrote five adult novels, including the international bestseller, Are You Experienced, and a middle-grade novel, Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom. William currently lives in Edinburgh.

Tour Schedule:

Week 1:

1/18: Who R U Blog – Guest Post

1/19: Reading Is Better With Cupcakes – Pocket Letter

1/20: A Book & A Latte – How I Write

1/21: Kelly Vision – Review

1/22: The Cover Contessa – Q&A

 

Week 2:

1/25: The Petite Book Blogger – Review

1/26: Go Read A Book – Top 10

1/27: Resch Reads & Reviews – Review

1/28: Emily Reads Everything – Q&A

1/29: Avid Reader – Review

Giveaway: (US)

2 Finished Copies of CONCENTR8

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cover reveal for ILLUSION by Martina Boone, plus awesome giveaway!
Jan 17th, 2016 by Liza Wiemer

Illusion (Heirs of Watson Island, Book 3)

Please know that I absolutely LOVE this entire series! So, I highly recommend that you get your hands on book 1—COMPULSION! 🙂

Isn't it gorgeous???

Isn’t it gorgeous???

by Martina Boone
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse 
Oct 25, 2016

Caged by secrets all around her and haunted by mistakes that have estranged her from Eight Beaufort, Barrie Watson is desperate to break the curse that puts her family in danger—without breaking the beautiful magic that protects Watson’s Landing. To do that, she must heal the rifts that have split the families of the island apart for three hundred years, unravel the mystery of the Fire Carrier and the spirits he guards, and take control of forces so deadly and awe-inspiring they threaten to overwhelm her.
 
With the spirits that cursed Watson Island centuries ago awake and more dangerous than ever, she finds an unlikely ally in the haunting and enigmatic Obadiah, whose motivations and power she still can’t read—or trust. His help comes at a price, however, plunging Barrie into a deadly maze of magic and wonder, mystery and intrigue that leads through history to places she never imagined she could go.

Add to Goodreads 

watson_island_series

Compulsion (Heirs of Watson Island, Book 1)
by Martina Boone
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse 
Oct 28, 2014

Three plantations. Two wishes. One ancient curse.

All her life, Barrie Watson has been a virtual prisoner in the house where she lives with her shut-in mother. When her mother dies, Barrie promises to put some mileage on her stiletto heels. But she finds a new kind of prison at her aunt’s South Carolina plantation instead—a prison guarded by an ancient spirit who long ago cursed one of the three founding families of Watson Island and gave the others magical gifts that became compulsions.

Stuck with the ghosts of a generations-old feud and hunted by forces she cannot see, Barrie must find a way to break free of the family legacy. With the help of sun-kissed Eight Beaufort, who knows what Barrie wants before she knows herself, the last Watson heir starts to unravel her family’s twisted secrets. What she finds is dangerous: a love she never expected, a river that turns to fire at midnight, a gorgeous cousin who isn’t what she seems, and very real enemies who want both Eight and Barrie dead.

Add to Goodreads  | Buy Now: Barnes & Noble | Amazon 

Persuasion (Heirs of Watson Island, Book 2)
by Martina Boone
Simon & Schuster, Simon Pulse 
Oct 27, 2015

Beautiful Creatures meets Gone with the Wind in the spellbinding second novel in the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy that “skillfully blends rich magic and folklore with adventure, sweeping romance, and hidden treasure” (Publishers Weekly, on Compulsion).

Grieving the death of her godfather and haunted by her cousin Cassie’s betrayal, Barrie returns from a trip to San Francisco to find the Watson plantation under siege. Ghost-hunters hope to glimpse the ancient spirit who sets the river on fire each night, and reporters chase rumors of a stolen shipment of Civil War gold that may be hidden at Colesworth Place. The chaos turns dangerous as Cassie hires a team of archeologists to excavate beneath the mansion ruins. Because more is buried there than treasure.

A stranger filled with magic arrives at Watson’s Landing claiming that the key to the Watson and Beaufort gifts—and the Colesworth curse—also lies beneath the mansion. With a mix of threats and promises, the man convinces Barrie and Cassie to cast a spell there at midnight. But what he conjures may have deadly consequences.

While Barrie struggles to make sense of the escalating peril and her growing feelings for Eight Beaufort, it’s impossible to know whom to trust and what to fight for—Eight or herself. Millions of dollars and the fate of the founding families is at stake. Now Barrie must choose between what she feels deep in her heart and what will keep Watson’s Landing safe in this stunning addition to a series filled with “decadent settings, mysterious magic, and family histories rife with debauchery” (Kirkus Reviews, on Compulsion).

Add to Goodreads

Buy Now: Barnes & Noble Amazon  

Giveaway:

illusion_reveal

 

1) Signed Hardcover Compulsion 
2) Signed HC Persuasion
3) Compulsion Charm Bracelet 
4) Dreamcatcher Earrings 
5) Oak Tree Necklace 
6) Indigo Picture Frame 
7) Magic Garden Coloring Book 
8) Magical Mason Jar Garden Light 
9) Teacup Baking Set 
10) Artist’s Sketchpad 
11) Secrets Box 
12) Shoe Notepad 
13) Flower Charms Set 
14) Summer Romance Sachet 
15) Watermark Beach Sachet 
16) Compulsion Trinket Bookmark 
17) Persuasion Trinket Bookmarks 
18) Paper Hearts

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