Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Blitz :Spark Rising

Spark Rising by Kate Corcino 

Publication date: December 15th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction
Purchase: Amazon
All that’s required to ignite a revolution is a single spark rising.
Two hundred years after the cataclysm that annihilated fossil fuels, Sparks keep electricity flowing through their control of energy-giving Dust. The Council of Nine rebuilt civilization on the backs of Sparks, offering citizens a comfortable life in a relo-city in exchange for power, particularly over the children able to fuel the future. The strongest of the boys are taken as Wards and raised to become elite agents, the Council’s enforcers and spies. Strong girls—those who could advance the rapidly-evolving matrilineal power—don’t exist. Not according to the Council.
Lena Gracey died as a child, mourned publicly by parents desperate to keep her from the Council. She was raised in hiding until she fled the relo-city for solitary freedom in the desert. Lena lives off the grid, selling her power on the black market.
Agent Alex Reyes was honed into a calculating weapon at the Ward School to do the Council’s dirty work. But Alex lives a double life. He’s leading the next generation of agents in a secret revolution to destroy those in power from within.
The life Lena built to escape her past ends the day Alex arrives looking for a renegade Spark.
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In Spark Rising, Agent Alejandro Reyes discovers Magdalena Gracey living deep in the desert of what was New Mexico. In this scene, written from Alex’s point of view, Alex reports back to his best friend and partner in revolution, Thomas, that he’s found a very strong rogue Spark…and Thomas has been waiting for the moment for a very long time.

“You found one?”
“Oh, yeah.”
Thomas’s quirked lips grew into a smile. “How strong is he?”
Alex waited a beat, drawing out the moment. He’d only get to do this once. “She is the brightest thing I’ve ever seen. Her bloom was so bright it hurt to look at it, and she was still fully functional.”
His friend stilled, one hand poised for a blow that didn’t fall. “She?” 
Alex could almost hear the click as the final piece of Thomas’s grand plan fell neatly into place, making the largest, most theoretical of his ideas a reality. 
His arms fell to his sides.  He turned to Alex. “Tell me.”
“Do you remember Three’s Senior Councilor Aide, name of Gracey?” Alex asked. “Caught being curious about things he had no need to know? She’s his daughter.”
Thomas frowned his disagreement with a slight shake of his head. “Gracey had a daughter and a son. The daughter’s just a mid-level. Like all girls.” His voice was disappointed.
 “He had another daughter. He faked her death and hid her away.” Alex took a breath. “After his death, as soon as she was old enough, she left the city. She’s been living on the edge of tribal lands and working as a black market Spark. We put ourselves on her schedule. And when we pulled up she had a corona around her like the sun at full eclipse. Like I said, it hurt to look at her.
“It was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” he said. Emotion tightened his throat, and he swallowed to clear it. It had been beautiful, but still. 
Thomas was still now, utterly focused on his friend. “One of the disappeared girls,” he said. “How old?” 
“Twenty-four. Young enough, and old enough. Tiny thing. Big green eyes. Coated in freckles. Not pretty, exactly, not that it matters, but stunning in her own way.” He frowned. What did that have to do with anything? He barked a laugh as he focused on what mattered—the personality they’d have to work around to get her to join them. Just because he admired her ballsiness didn’t mean he couldn’t recognize that her strength would make things harder. “She’s a tough little pain in the ass.”
Thomas took a deep breath. “Please tell me you’ve brought her here?”
He shook his head. “She got away—”
“Dammit, Alex! This is important!” His gloved hands shot up to frame his head in anger and disbelief.
“I damn well know how important it is! She took us out. Took. Us. Out.” 
They had hoped to find a Spark evolved to a dangerous, exquisite extreme. They’d found her, and that presented a danger all its own. 
Alex ran his hands through his hair. “She took us out long enough to get out through her escape tunnel. She made it to the tribe. I couldn’t do anything at that point.”
“You know where she is?”
Alex nodded.
“Then we’ll go get her. Tonight.”
Alex closed his eyes for a moment. Shit. He’d figured Thomas’s reaction would be strong. But this was on the extreme end. 
“No, Thom.”
“Yes! She cannot get away. She belongs with us.”
“We’re not ready to go to war. And that’s what it would be. We have to do this the way we do things. We have to be smart.” Alex stared down into Thomas’s pale eyes, holding onto his calm. One of them had to. 
Thomas took two quick steps to stand inches from Alex. “We cannot allow her to disappear. She is—she’s our Eve.”
“I know. And I’m working on it. As soon as the Council gets wind of this girl, they will scramble everything to ensure she is taken into custody.”
“Then you get to her first, Alex. Because if they get to her first and they can’t figure out how to harness her, they will kill her. And either way, they win. You get to her first. You bring her home to us. I don’t care what you have to do.”
Alex took a long breath. “We are so close,” he reminded his friend. “Zone Three is primed. I’m not willing to undo that for a girl you didn’t know existed five minutes ago.” 
He wasn’t. Was he?
“I knew she should exist. And now that I know she’s real, we will do whatever we have to do to bring her home.”
Arguing would be pointless. Thomas had anticipated this moment for too long.  Alex nodded, his mind working angles. 
Like this reaction wasn’t exactly what you wanted: an excuse to do whatever it takes to bring in the perfect Spark. The perfect weapon.
“We can have both. I can make it happen.”
“Then do it. But remember, she’s our priority now. Once we have her, we have the future.”


Tell us about Spark Rising.

Spark Rising is a post-apocalyptic adventure set in the southwestern United States of the future. It’s the story of Magdalena Gracey, a young woman with the power to create and manipulate the only form of electricity left in the world, and Agent Alejandro Reyes, a man trained from childhood to be an elite soldier for the ruling government. He’s sent to investigate a report of an illegal Spark living in the desert. But Alex has his own agenda. And if the two of them can learn to work together instead of killing each other, they might have a chance at sparking a revolution…and love.

What inspired Spark Rising? 

In the days before the story came, I’d seen two sets of photos online. The first was an abandoned town in the desert that was being buried by sand. The second was a series of various city skylines from around the world showing what the night sky would look like if there were no lights, no electricity. I was blown away. Because yes, they’re both gorgeous. But the devastation of that loss of civilization…wow. Even in devastation, there would be beauty so long as we are the kind of people who have the capacity to see it. That’s the big "what if?” What kind of people are able to see the beauty?

Do you see yourself in any of the characters of Spark Rising? 

Hmm. Not much, no. I think Lena has some of my negative qualities—the bossiness, the tendency to jump to conclusions. As her story moves on through the greater arc of the series, I think she’ll reflect a little more of me, as she discovers and fights with her maternal instinct. Alex has my extreme pragmatism and love of profanity, also not necessarily good qualities. Jackson? He has too much light in him to be a reflection of me!

What made you decide to end Spark Rising the way you did? 

*laugh* It originally had a very different ending. By the time I'd made other changes that really were very necessary, the ending I wrote originally didn’t work. The ending it has now is actually the third ending written, I think. Those last two chapters changed A LOT.

What inspired the character of Lena? 

Lena came to me fully formed, just a damaged, tough, ballsy, tiny little redhead. I think she’s rooted in my desire to explore life’s complications from that New Adult period of transition and upheaval. Who we love. Why we love. How we choose to express and live with that, even through the dark times. How do we carve out something that is entirely our own, or even believe we’re worthy of it, through all of the demands of society and family? And what is family, anyway?
I also really love exploring issues of perspective—what is the right choice for one person isn’t the same for another, and that’s okay—in womanhood, in relationships, in faith. I like the big, complicated, meaty issues that often cause darkness and angst. They’re the root of so many misunderstandings, but I like mistakes. I believe in second chances. Lena’s damaged heart provides a wonderful way of exploring those themes.

Do you have any thoughts on Alex's behavior throughout Spark Rising? 

Ohh, Alex. *laugh* He’s a badass, broken man. He’s just as damaged as Lena, but he’s dedicated himself to one idea, to one cause, and is willing to do absolutely anything to further it. His love for Lena takes him by surprise. It’ll be really interesting to see how the battle between his sense of responsibility to the revolution that he founded and his feelings for Lena will play out. I think the battle will be as fascinating as his motives.

Were you aware of how Spark Rising would end when you started it? 

Not when I started writing, no. The first chapter came to me and I wrote that in a mad flurry, then I stopped and created a skeleton outline to guide me. So I didn’t know the end when I started, but I had it very soon afterward. I plotted the end of the book and of the series, too.

Do you listen to music as you write, and if so what music? 

I don’t. I have to have general background buzz—the TV going or coffeeshop business—but I can’t deal with songs and lyrics. They distract me. There are too many story ideas embedded in them.

If I’m struggling with a scene, I’ll listen to music when I’m driving and the ideas will flow. I go for a drive and blast the music. The choice of music is really eclectic and depends on character and scene that I’m trying to get into—Lena is all hard rock and R&B, women artists with attitude. Alex is sexy jams. If you think of a song that brings to mind a dark, sexy, confident man smirking and growling at you, I may have used it, or I need it. E-mail me!

Can you tell us about your writing process? 

When I start a new project, I write the first chapter. That gives me a sense of who the people are and what’s at stake. Then I stop and write a bare-bones bulleted outline, including the ending. Then I feed that skeleton outline into my own story diagram that I hand-draw onto a huge sheet of construction paper—all of this has to be by hand. The diagram is where details start to appear, and they're separated by character point of view. Then I can use the diagram to go to Scrivener and create my chapter folders and parse out the details into something resembling a novel outline. They're short, because I need the story arc, but I fill in the details by the seat of my pants.

And then I can write. *grin*

Did you always want to write books when you were a child? 

Yes. I've always been telling stories. Family legend has it that I was kicked out of a denominational preschool because of a story that was particularly upsetting. So, not only was I telling stories, but they were always controversial! I've been writing the stories down since I was able to write.

What book are you reading now? 

I’m reading two books—I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does that! I’m reading When Dark Falls by Pippa Jay, which is an awesome superhero deco-punk story, and I’ve just started Maven, a New Adult scifi novel by S.A. Huchton that seems amazing.

How about advice for readers?

Oh, gosh…I don’t know. Readers are awesome. They’re the reason I do this, and I have such huge anxiety about their experiences with the book. I know I’m not alone in that. So maybe that would be my advice: remember that authors are people, too, and try to remember to be patient and kind. That’s not to say you can’t have an honest, visceral reaction to something, even if it’s bad. I’ve thrown books across the room, too, and I’ve given honest reviews that were less than ideal. Just perhaps keep in mind that we’re doing this for you, even when we get it wrong.

Do you think you’ll ever kill off some characters? Which characters would you find hardest to part with?

Ohhh, boy. So, it’s a complicated, post-apocalyptic world. And it’s in a state of revolution. I have to assume that not everyone will make it. And it’s going to be extremely hard to part with anyone. I love my characters—all of them. Even the characters that others hate, I try to offer excuses: “Well, you see, he has all of these issues that fuel his decisions…” *laugh*

What genre do you consider your book(s)? 

They are clearly post-apocalyptic/dystopian. I prefer to call them futuristic fantasy. Yes, they’re rooted in scifi, but there is an element of the fantastic that works into them. As far as categories, Ignition Point, the collection of related short stories, straddles the line between YA and NA. I consider Spark Rising to be NA. The series itself will sit on the border of NA and Adult fiction. Lena has a lot to work her way through, but the series will see her grow through her struggles with her identity, fear of failure, and first love.

Kate Corcino is a reformed shy girl who found her voice (and uses it…a lot). She believes in magic, coffee, Starburst candies, genre fiction, descriptive profanity, and cackling over wine with good friends. A recovering Dr. Pepper addict, she knows the only addiction worth feeding is the one that follows the “click-whooooosh” of a new story settling into her brain.

She also believes in the transformative power of screwing up and second chances. Cheers to works-in-progress of the literary and lifelong variety!

She is currently gearing up for publication of Ignition Point and Spark Rising , the first books in the Progenitor Saga, a near future dystopian adventure series with romantic elements, science, magic, and plenty of action.

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for featuring the book blitz for Spark Rising. I appreciate the time and space!


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