BLOG TOUR and GIVEAWAY: Sandy Nathan author of The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy
by Sandy Nathan
Vilasa Press, 2011
YA Science Fiction
ABOUT THE BOOK
Tomorrow morning, a nuclear holocaust will destroy the planet. Two people carry the keys to survival: A teenage boy and an intergalactic traveler.
By the late 22nd century, the Great Recession of the early 2000s has lead to a worldwide police state. A ruined United States barely functions. Government control masks chaos, dissenters are sent to camps, and technology is outlawed. War rages while the authorities proclaim the Great Peace.
Finally it all breaks down. We’re in New York City on the eve of nuclear Armageddon. In the morning, ultimate destructive forces will wipe out all life on earth. Only Jeremy Edgarton, a 16-year-old, tech genius and revolutionary; and Eliana, the angelic, off-world traveler sent to Earth on a mission to prevent her planet’s death, can save the world. Join Eliana and Jeremy as they begin a quest to save two doomed planets … and find each other.
Winner of Four National Awards:
● 2011 IPPY (Independent Press) Award Gold Medal in Visionary Fiction.
● 2011 Indie Excellence Award in Visionary Fiction (Winner of Catergory)
● Best Books of 2011, USA Book News:
- Winner, New Age Fiction
- Finalist Fantasy/Sci-Fi
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandy Nathan writes to amaze and delight, uplift and inspire, as well as thrill and occasionally terrify. She is known for creating unforgettable characters and putting them in do or die situations. She writes in genres ranging from science fiction, fantasy, and visionary fiction to juvenile nonfiction to spirituality and memoir.
“I write for people who like challenging, original work. My reader isn’t satisfied by a worn-out story or predictable plot. I do my best to give my readers what they want.”
Mrs. Nathan’s books have won twenty-two national awards, including multiple awards from oldest, largest, and most prestigious contests for independent publishers. Her books have earned rave critical reviews and customer reviews of close to five-star averages on Amazon. Most are Amazon bestsellers.
Sandy was born in San Francisco, California. She grew up in the hard-driving, achievement orientated corporate culture of Silicon Valley. Sandy holds Master’s Degrees in Economics and Marriage, Family, and Child Counseling. She was a doctoral student at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and has been an economic analyst, businesswoman, and negotiation coach, as well as author.
Mrs. Nathan lives with her husband on their California ranch. They bred Peruvian Paso horses for almost twenty years. She has three grown children and two grandchildren.
Her latest books are The Angel & the Brown-Eyed Boy, Lady Grace: A Thrilling Adventure Wrapped in the Embrace of Epic Love and Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground, which are all part of the Tales from Earth’s End series.
You can visit her website.
Visit her blogs: http://sandranathan.net and http://yourshelflife.com (blog for writers) http://talesfromearthsend.com (series blog)
Follow her on Twitter.
Friend her on Facebook.
To purchase a paperback copy of Sandy Nathan’s The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy at Amazon:
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Q: Thanks for this Interview, Sandy. Can you tell us how you came up with your title?
The book’s main characters, the angelic extraterrestrial, Eliana, and the sixteen-year-old genius/revolutionary, Jeremy, are the angel and the brown-eyed boy, respectively. Eliana has such a strikingly beneficent and luminous presence that it’s hard to think of her as anything but an angel.
Jeremy is African-American, a tech genius who may be able to save the planet, and a sweet, but very disturbed person. When I think about Jeremy, his warm, very dark brown eyes grab my attention.
There they are: The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy.
Q: Can you tell us a little about your cover and who designed it?
Lewis Agrell designs my books and covers. I’ve done four books with him. He’s an artist and designer and master of all things related to printing.
My cover designs have been my idea, pretty much. I’m very visual and get brilliant mental images of what my cover should look like. The ecstatic dancer against the sunburst wouldn't let me alone.
I combed the stock photo sites and came up with three images that became the cover. They were: 1) The angel/dancer. 2) The background of clouds and a sunburst. 3) The explosion of light coming from the angel’s midsection is a free image from the Hubble Telescope. Lewis did a masterful job in putting it all together.
Q: Can you tell us what is unique about your book?
The Angel is beautiful—the cover mirrors the interior. The book is beautiful, horrifying, violent, touching, scary, and moving. The romance between Jeremy and Eliana could go down with Romeo and Juliet as one of humanity’s great love stories.
In addition to portraying a civilization in its death throes, The Angel shows us music and dance and love and loyalty and just how terrific people can be. The passages where Ellie dances leave me breathless.
The Angel is a story about a world dying, and love being born.
* * *
There are other things about the book you should know. You should know about Sam Baahuhd, for one. Sam’s the village headman and a total hunk. A bit scruffy—well, a lot scruffy—in The Angel but with great potential. (Which is explained in the book. I don’t want to create spoilers.) I had such a crush on him by the time I finished writing The Angel that I ended up writing Sam & Emily: A Love Story from the Underground for Sam. Now there’s a love story.
If you read The Angel, you’re all set for Lady Grace and Sam & Emily. You’ll have lots of reading ahead of you.
Q: Are there any messages in this book that you want the reader to know about?
All of my writing carries a message, and The Angel is more loaded with it than anything else. I write about aliens and space travel and a lot of pretty silly stuff, but I am a serious writer talking about serious stuff. What’s more serious than the end of the world?
My career and education before I was an author has something to do with that. I hold bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Economics and was a doctoral student in Economics at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford. I earned my living as an economist for many years.
With that background, not caring about our current dreadful economic situation is impossible. While I was grieving for my brother, the economist in me was tearing her hair and trying not to scream. A torrent of thoughts and feelings was all balled up and needed to be expressed. The result was the world of The Angel.
The Angel takes place in a very nasty police state that isn’t so implausible. “A world just heartbeats from our own,” said one of The Angel’s reviewers. That was why it was so scary to him.
Not everyone’s a history buff, but here’s a short history of the Western world post-WWI.
Germany lost WWI. The Treaty of Versailles demanded reparations from Germany. The world wanted Germany to pay for the cost of the war. Sounds fair, maybe, except that Germany was already flattened economically. They couldn’t pay the reparations. Trying to do so would make people starve. As it was, an estimated 250,000 Germans did starve. European society was in turmoil; four empires had dissolved during the war years. Zippo political stability existed. Read this article to see how bad it was.
The treaty of Versailles ended the war, but set up the Great Depression. The worldwide economic collapse of the 1930s and the desperation it created in Germany allowed Adolf Hitler and the Nazi Party to ascend to power and try to take over the world. The Nazis were very close to world domination when their movement fell apart and WWII ended. A few battles going the other way and we could all be goose-stepping.
What does this have to do with my book? It could happen again. The police state in which the book is set is a possibility if we do not work together, like grown-ups, and solve the economic problems before us.
As an economist, I think that we could slide into another Great Depression in the next four years if we don’t get our economic and cultural houses in order. People need to learn economics so they’ll know when a politician is feeding them a line of bull.
In the 1930’s, we had the Great Depression, which allowed the rise of Hitler. In The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy, the current Great Recession doesn’t go away. It gets worse and becomes a Depression, which so demoralizes everyone that by 2097—not too many years into the future—the fictitious Yuri Sokolov can take over Russia. In The Angel, Tsar Yuri pulls together the old Russian Empire and does take over the world. This resonates with real history after WWI.
What about what goes on in The Angel’s police state? The torture and disappearances and electronic surveillance? Stuff like that is happening now. People disappear off the streets around the globe. Read the news. Torture is rampant in dictatorships now. The USA is not free of such activities. Our CIA in its covert ops could come straight out of The Angel. Ever want a peek in Guantanamo? I don’t. Electronic sleuthing is so prevalent that it’s not a source of news for more than ten minutes. The collapse of Rupert Murdoch’s news empire due to phone hacking is yesterday’s story. Does knowing that make you feel safe?
Do I think what happens in The Angel could literally come to be? No. It’s exaggerated. But something similar could happen if we don’t get back to peace and prosperity worldwide.
* * *
Another element exists in the message of The Angel. It’s set on the last day and night of the world. Everything is going to blow up tomorrow morning. What would you do if you were in that situation?
A lot of people would get loaded and party all night. Some would search frantically for a way out. Others might feel the unresolved conflicts in their lives so powerfully that they had to confront what they’ve been running from.
Jeremy Edgarton, sixteen-year-old hero of The Angel, is the latter type of person. Or rather, his feelings reach such a pitch that he must confront what his parents have done to him and resolve his inner torment.
Jeremy had the worst parents in the world. He’s the rich kid that everyone envied, not knowing what his life was like. If they knew, no one would want it.
What better time to make peace with your life than the night before Armageddon?
I wrote The Angel and all my other books from my passionate desire to see people happy and free of pain. I wrote my books in the hope that they should stimulate readers to take the good road, the moral road. The road of love.
I have an MA in Marriage, Child, and Family counseling in addition to my credentials in economics. Both sides of my brain have been to school!
My interest in counseling stems from my own pain and what I’ve seen in others. I’m committed to “cleaning up the mess.”
Q: Why did you feel you had to write this book?
Sad to say, the ideas for my books come to me through personal disasters. The idea for my first series, the Bloodsong Series, came to me in a mystical experience as I was recovering from a personal tragedy. An entire book was injected into my brain very dramatically after a meditation retreat. My first novel, Numenon: A Tale of Mysticism & Money, came from that experience. The book is about a great Native American shaman meeting the richest man in the world. I’ve got drafts of a half-dozen sequels on my hard drive.
The Angel & the Brown-eyed Boy came to me in a similar fashion. I was happily, but not very productively, working on the sequel to Numenon, when my brother died tragically. He was my adored little brother and only sibling. Outwardly, I looked calm and collected, but inside I was screaming with grief.
About three months after my brother died, I had a dream in which a shimmering golden light floated above me as I slept. That light was totally conscious, totally alive and good in every way. It radiated peace and good will. As I slept, I felt it lower itself upon me. And then it became me, merging with me fully. I got to feel the inner state on an angel. (Did I tell you I like meditation and spiritual practice and have big spiritual experiences? I do. Always have.)
The intensity of the experiences around the birth of the book drove me to write it.
Q: Are there any members in your family who also like to write?
My daughter is a wonderful writer. She majored in creative writing at the College (now University) of Santa Fe. Her work is mystical, moving, and reads like music would if it were words.
My father-in-law was also a writer. He wrote advertising copy for one of the biggest national PR firms. (No, it wasn’t like Mad Men.) He also did PR for various federal agencies, like the President’s Council for People with Intellectual Disabilities.
Oh, yes. I am allegedly related to Mark Twain through my great-grandmother, Adele Clemons.
Q: Do you have anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
It’s been great sharing with you. I hope to get to know you from your comments. For me, sharing my work with my readers and hearing from them is the most rewarding part of being an author. So comment!
I’m sure you’ve noticed a very strong spiritual theme in this interview. Yep. That’s what I’m about. But I’m not preachy. I don’t think one way of seeing the world is better than another. I don’t feel any compulsion to make you think the way I do.
What I write can be described as Visionary Fiction, fiction with a strong moral core that assumes that at least some of us will make the world a better place. I was surprised when reviews and awards for my first novel, Numenon, started coming back. People called it Science Fiction, or Fantasy. I thought it was a write up of what came to me in meditation. Almost nonfiction by my reckoning.
You can call my working anything you want to. I treat themes that are darker than some visionary writers—the end of the world is pretty dark. My work contains strong language, violent situations, and sexual behavior. I also include many exciting situations, and love. Lots of that. (Not romance. I don’t like or do the explicit sexuality portrayed in romance novels.) My characters pray and talk to God, as God appears to them. One religion isn’t favored, though I do have my own tradition.
I write visionary fiction with a bite. If that sounds good, I’d love it if you became one of my readers.
I look forward to having you in my world.
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