International Giveaway | The Ark by Laura Liddell Nolen

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The Ark

by Laura Liddell Nolen

Published by: HarperVoyager
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult

There’s a meteor headed for Earth, and there is only one way to survive.

With her criminal record, sixteen-year-old Char is never going to get a place on an Ark, one of the five massive bioships designed to protect Earth’s survivors. The Arks are reserved for the real goody-goodies, like Char’s mom, dad, and brother, all of whom have long since turned their backs on her.

With Earth on the brink of destruction, Char must use all her tricks of the trade to swindle her way into outer space, where she hopes to reunite with her family, regardless of whether they want to see her or not.

Once she arrives on the North American Ark, Char discovers that the remnants of humanity haven’t achieved the egalitarian utopia they’d planned for. For starters, the “Officers of the Peace” are anything but peaceful, especially since stealing a spot on an Ark is a crime punishable by death…

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Interview with Laura Liddell Nolen

1. Why did you decide to write The Ark?

I was pregnant with my first child, a girl, and I thought, here’s this person I’ve never met, and I love her so much it hurts. I would do anything for her. What if that’s not enough? What if she can’t find her way in the world despite my dead-level best efforts?

So I created Char, another girl I fell in love with, and gave her all the “flaws” I’m most afraid of. She doesn’t see the world in black and white. She doesn’t follow rules she can’t make sense of. She’s fiercely independent, but not as independent as she believes herself to be. Her understanding of good and bad are much more complex than mine, a quality I find inspiring in others and terrifying in a daughter. And I gave her friends and enemies who bring out those attributes in her, as well as a mother who really, truly loves her. 

In real life, I’m more like Eren. He’s happy to follow the rules. His life has given him no reason to question authority. But if you think about it, in some ways, that’s way more screwed up than Char’s point of view. 

2. Who's your favorite character from The Ark and why?

My favorite character is Isaiah. He and Char are on similar journeys, but he handles things so differently than she does.

3. Can you tell us what kind of research went behind The Ark?

More than I expected to, for sure. The book is set fifty years in the future, just after World War III, so I thought I’d have more leeway in coming up with technology. After all, the sky is the limit- future tech hasn’t even been invented yet! But the more I wrote, the more I felt the need to ground Char’s universe in realistic, nearly-current technology. I also found myself double-checking little details about stuff I thought I knew. Handcuffs, Braille, motor boats, Kevlar, so-called “assault rifles,” you name it, I looked it up!

4. Tell us about some of the biggest challenges or learning experiences you faced throughout the writing and publishing process.

That’s a great question. My biggest challenges are always internal: finding the motivation to push through a difficult scene and the time and dedication necessary to finish the story. Other than that, I would say that writing has an extremely steep learning curve. It’s way harder than I expected, but also more rewarding.

5. What is your favorite place to jot down your ideas or write your manuscripts? 

To jot down ideas, it’s right before I fall asleep, so maybe the nightstand next to the bed. They generally don’t make any sense once I’m awake, though! For example, my latest one is illegible, except for a paragraph in the middle that says, “Bicycle Thief in SPACE! But no bicycles.” Take from that what you will.

For writing and revising, I like to be in a public place. The energy of everyone around me helps me stay on task.

6. Tell us something personal about you that your readers may be surprised to know.

Hmm… I cannot decorate anything. Not even if Pinterest itself were standing over me with a knife and a wall of inspirational images. It’s not happening. I once painted a bathroom the ugliest shade of blue on the planet. I didn’t even know there were ugly shades of blue until the entire thing was three coats deep. You really shouldn’t trust me to pick furniture, either, but we do have a red couch I really like. 

7. What do you do when you are not writing or reading?

I love hanging out. Low-pressure chill time with other people is always at the top of my list of priorities.

8. What's next?

Right now, I’m finishing writing The Ark Trilogy. Char has a long way to go before she finds what she’s after. Then, I’ll start work on a new action/adventure series about a boy who takes himself a little too seriously. I can’t share any details about that one yet, but I’m extremely excited about it. 

9. Lastly, any special thoughts for your readers who are reading this interview on DDE?

No, but thank you for reading, and congrats on being miles ahead of me technologically!

About the author

Laura grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where she spent an excellent childhood playing make-believe with her two younger brothers. The Ark is the direct result of those stories and a lifelong devotion to space-themed television. It received a Work in Progress Grant from the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Laura has a degree in French and a license to practice law, but both are frozen in carbonite at present. She lives in Texas with her family.


One ebook copy of The Ark
Ends 2 Oct. 2015
Open internationally!

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