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Monday, August 12, 2013

N.W. Harris and Joshua's Tree

Check out the GoodReads “most anticipated” Summer Reads list. Second as of today!

Tell us about yourself.
I've been an artist for most of my life and had dabbled in writing for many years. When my son was born, I decided to take the craft more seriously. I wrote the rough draft for my debut novel, Joshua’s Tree, and joined the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators where I met a critique group and found the help I needed to take my book to the next level. Fast-forward six years and stumbling into Query Con on the Unicorn Bell website (last fall). Query Con helped me to polish my query and put it in front of acquisition editors from several publishers. Lucky for me, I got requests for manuscript submissions, resulting in my book being published! 

Tell us about your book.
Joshua’s Tree is a young adult science fiction novel. When I started writing it, I noticed a void in the YA genre for books that would have a strong appeal for boys as well as girls. I wanted to address some of the emotions and issues teen boys experience, and my education and love of biology gave me a wealth of information to draw upon for the science fiction side of things. Joshua’s Tree is set in a future where a genetic engineering genius and megalomaniac has driven most of the life on the planet to extinction. The protagonist, Joshua, must team up with an overbearing warrior princess who believes he has come to save her people from annihilation, and kill the madman if he ever hopes to get home.  

If you could only have one superpower what would it be?
Ha, good question . . . Um, I suppose I’d want to be super fast like the Flash Gordon. Being the father of two young children, running my own business, and being a writer—I never feel like there is enough time in the day to get everything done. If I could move at the speed of light—maybe I’d clear my to-do lists a little more often.  

Who is your favorite character from one of your books and why?
Nadia, the overbearing warrior, from Joshua’s Tree is my favorite character so far. Despite her constant internal struggles, she presents as a strong and confident girl who never backs down from a fight. In her tribe, males are usually the warriors, and she manages to prove she is as good as any of them time and time again, yet she is still feminine when it counts. My daughter, a real live super-girl in every way, was the inspiration for creating Nadia.

What are you working on now?
I’m currently finishing edits for The Father, Joshua’s Tree Book 2, which will be published in December 2013, and I am writing The Truth, Joshua’s Tree Book 3, the final book in the series, slated to come out June 2014. I've written several other novels over the years that I like to pull out and tweak from time to time, though I’m not quite ready to reveal any of those.

What’s your favorite movie?
Tough question. I like lots of movies and books, new and old. I love picking apart the components of a story and figuring out what works. If I had to select one movie, I’d say ET (you know, Extra Terrestrial, that movie with Drew Barrymore from the early eighties). I think Spielberg was at the top of his game with that one, and I’ve watched it like a million times.

What’s your favorite quote?
“Keep away from people who belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can be come great.” Mark Twain

What genre do you write and why?
So far, I write Young Adult (action adventure, science fiction, fantasy, etc.). My teenage years were a bit turbulent, though loads of fun as well. To me, there is no other time in life where the changes, both physically and mentally, are so dramatic. I enjoy reliving some of those days through my characters and addressing issues that I think other works in this genre fall short of doing.

Name five things that are on your desk right now?
Cold cup of coffee, MacBook Air (my baby), crayons, book of Tae Kwon Do forms (I’m a purple belt), and a big freak’n mess of papers that should be recycled

Chocolate cake, strawberry shortcake, apple pie, or pecan pie?
Chocolate cake please!!! (followed by pecan pie then the apple pie—you can have the strawberry shortcake, can’t stand the stuff)

How can readers find you?
The best way to find me is to go to my website/blog at www.nwharrisbooks.com. From there you can find links to my book, Facebook, etc.

Also, Joshua’s Tree by N.W. Harris is number 2 on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List, and I love to get a few more votes to push it to number 1.

If you have the time please click this link and vote.

Joshua’s Tree Blurb:
When a skateboarding accident hurls 17-year-old Joshua Tyler into a dismal future overrun by flesh-eating mutants, he taps into the strength and courage hidden within him and manages to stay alive, only to discover his horrifying relationship to the scientific genius who brought all life on Earth to the brink of annihilation.

Aided by Nadia, a beautiful warrior student who believes he may be the prophesized savior sent to rescue her people, Josh learns to fight for survival. Terrified by the constant threat of a violent death, Josh wants nothing more than to get back to his own life. But the longer he survives in this strange place, the more he learns about its creation. Charged with the job of assassinating the enemy’s leader, Josh begins to uncover his connection to the army of cannibalistic monsters—a nightmarish truth that could prevent him from ever finding his way home.


Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

A big negatory on the strange dislike of strawberry shortcake.
You need an intervention:D

This is on my TBR list, a definite winner. Speaking of which, VOTE! It is so cool that one of our Query Con participants hit it big time. *so proud. sniffle*

I can almost forgive your aversion to strawberry shortcake. Almost.

Suzanne's Thoughts for the Day said...

Yes, I met Nancy at a writer's conference too. She's the best.

nwharrisbooks said...

Thanks for hosting me Huntress! Drizzle that strawberry shortcake in chocolate syrup an you might make me into a fan ;-) Can't wait for Query Con 2103!!!

Nancy M Bell said...

Great interview, Neil. So happy to see you having so much success. A great story with strong well drawn characters and a superb job of world building.

Congrats. Looking forward to working with you on book three.


Nancy M Bell said...

Hi Suzanne! Are you going to SIWC this year? I'll be there again so please let's get together for a bit if you're coming. I think Sara Durham is planning to come as well.


Crystal Collier said...

I'm betting my oldest would love this book. Going to have to check it out.

Heather said...

Great interview- you are right about a need for good kid books, especially boys.
I'll fight you for the chocolate cake, but the apple pie had better be made from real apples, not canned or whatever.
Congrats on number 2 with goodreads, summer reads. I'm rooting for you! You are spitting distance to number 1.

Heather G - Natasha's Dream

Liz said...

So many good books out there...

nwharrisbooks said...

Nancy--thanks for you kind words! If Joshua's Tree is a success, you share the blame. Yes ma'am, working diligently on book three.

Crystal--I would be honored to hear that your oldest is reading my book, let me know what they think.

Heather--Yes, I think we need more boy authors and boy books. Seems like males are leaving the writing craft and academics in general in droves these days. Lets bring the boys back to books!!! Warning, if you want to fight for the chocolate--I'm not a big dude, but I've been studying Tae Kwon Do for a while now. Brace yourself girl--I love my chocolate!!! ;-) And if you are ever in San Diego, try Julian Apple Pies. Made with fresh apples, they kick butt!

Liz--Yes, so many good books out there. But also, so many new readers everyday. Don't get intimidated by the numbers, voracious readers still read more than good writers can write. Some of these readers can read my book in less than a day, and I sure as heck can't write them as fast. Write for the love of writing, success will surely follow.

mshatch said...

I remember this query from last year! I am thrilled it found a home :)

Charity Bradford said...

I want to be super quick for the same reasons! I wonder if my son would like your book? *wanders off to see*

nwharrisbooks said...

Thanks Charity! I hope your son will like it. Update--Joshua's Tree by N.W. Harris is now #1 on the GoodReads 2013 Summer Reads List! Thanks for all the support everyone!

Tara Tyler said...

And go Mark Twain!
great interview! love sci fi and need more ya for boys is right!