Monday, September 5, 2016

un/FAIR & Author Steven Harper

Exploring the joys, confusion, and questions of middle school is always an adventure. And this next story is no exception. I really love this main character. Please welcome Author Steven Harper, his book baby, and his main drive for this story - Ryan November. 

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by Steven Harper

Publisher: Month9Books
Release date: September 6, 2016

Description: It's difficult enough to live in the neighborhood "freakazoid" house.  It's even more difficult when you're autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you.  So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the unexpected ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble.  But even his newfound power doesn't anticipate that the fair folk--undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs--want him dead, dead, dead.  Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history--and himself.  Except as Ryan's power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos, power and family.  And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.

Hi Steven! So glad you could stop by. Firstly, Happy early Book Birthday!!! This is so exciting. Let's start with my personal fascination - Ryan November, your main character. 

Ryan has some thrilling challenges facing him. He also has a few personal ones, like being autistic. How did you go about incorporating this characteristic into the story? 
Ryan's autism is like him having two legs or being able to hear.  It permeates everything he sees and does. Ryan doesn't get cured or inspired to "give up" being autistic as part of the story.  He learns more about himself and he gains personal strength, but by the end of the story, he's still autistic.  However, in the fairy realm, Ryan's autism--and his reliance on patterns--turns out to be an advantage, while his neuro-typical friend Alison discovers she's at a disadvantage.  The tables are turned. 

Your explanation is so perfect. It really touched my heart. Although my youngest son doesn't have autism, he does have a common component of autism - apraxia of speech. So I totally understand this. Love that you've shared it! 

What moved you and inspired you to write a story about a fairy realm? 
I've also long felt that the original fairies from folklore have been too long ignored by fantasy.  Elves have become tall, majestic people.  Smaller fairies are cute or funny.  In the original stories, though, the fae were frightening creatures with rules of their own. They preyed on humans--stole their sheep, made the cows run dry, poisoned the well, kidnapped children, drove travelers into quicksand.  You didn't want to meet one.  I wanted to write a book that explored this.

You know, that's a great point! #fairiesrule

How did your own experience with reading (as a child, as an adult) influence the creation of this tale? 
That's a difficult question to answer.  Everything I've ever read ultimately has an impact on everything I write.  One of the reasons I started writing as a kid, though, was because there weren't enough books of the kind I wanted to read.  Edward Eager wrote only seven fantasy novels, and so did C.S. Lewis. When you read a book in a day like I did, and when the local library had an anti-fantasy bent, there was a definite lack of books to read.  So I started writing them. 

How many times have we heard "Write what you want to read."? Very true...

What is the most important message you send through Ryan to your readers? 
Autism might make someone different, but different isn't bad or wrong.  People who are different have lots to offer, even if it's not what we expect.

I wish I had an emoji thumbs-up, right now. :)

What can your readers expect from you next?
My YA fantasy novel Bone War just came out.  I'm also working on a YA contemporary novel about a teenaged boy who auditions for a summer theater program, falls for the lead, and finds himself tangled in a difficult murder.  We'll see what happens!

It has been a pleasure having you here, Steven. Thank you so much for leaving your signature in the Alleyway! All the best to you always...

And Readers, want more of Steven and his work? Check this out: Steven Harper/Piziks is the author of multiple fantasy and science fiction novels written for adults, notably the Clockwork Empire and Silent Empire series for Roc as Steven Harper and movie novelizations and tie ins for Pocket Books as Steven Piziks (IDENTITY, THE EXORCIST: THE BEGINNING, GHOST WHISPERER: THE PLAUGE ROOM).  He’s also the father of an autistic son. 


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Please share this book. I think it's that special. TY! 
Have you read a book where the main character has a disability? What was it? How did it affect you?
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  1. Great to meet Stephen. I can't think of any book like that at the moment but autism is something that's often misunderstood and I think having a hero like this is really interesting, especially for younger readers. Congrats!

  2. This book sounds amazing! Congrats to Stephen.


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