By Lance Erlick
What is your favorite hobby?
My favorite hobby is to read illegal print books from before the Federation, which is part of my motivation to stay in school. My teacher knows where to find more books. I’ve helped her salvage thousands of banned books from the depths. These stories tell of a time of plenty, back before abrupt climate change and rising seas destroyed most of that world, and point to lies told by the Federation. I also like to salvage the depths, though over the past three centuries, most of the great treasures have been looted, and the Federation sets traps to make it harder to find anything of value.
What is the challenge you’re trying to overcome during the story?
A hurricane blows through our area, destroying my home and school. During the storm, my mom leaves. Then I get separated from my younger sister. During all this, Federation agents take my blood and determined that me, a Federation outcast, has the DNA they needed to avoid extinction. During the first book in the series (Resilience), my struggle is to stay alive and try to find my family while avoiding agents trying to capture me. Two years later, in the second book (Vigilance), I make it over the wall to look for my sister, but the Federation is a strange caste society where everyone spies on their neighbors. I don’t know if I can avoid the many traps laid out for me. In the third book (Defiance), I have to set out across a barren landscape from Virginia through deserts to Alaska to hunt a treasure big enough to barter for freedom for my sister and me with roadblocks everywhere.