Today we have fellow Astraea Press author, J. Andersen, with us talking about a couple of her favorite books and how they led to her own writing:
Picking a favorite book is like choosing which of your own children you like best. However, there are a few that stand above the rest for me.
The first would be 1984, by George Orwell. I can remember reading this in high school thinking the concept was so freaky and ahead of its time. This was after 1984, so we talked about the parts of the book that had come true and the parts that were off base. I think what I liked about it was the possibility of reality, the ‘what if this really happened’? It made me think about how I’d respond in a society built upon such ideals. Little did I know, this was the beginning of my dive into a deep love for dystopian literature.
The second book at the top of my list would be THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry. I was first introduced to this book in college when I was taking a young adult literature class. I can remember discussions and the connections to books like 1984. The biggest difference from this book as compared to 1984, at least in my opinion, was that the society set up in The Giver was at least trying to create something better for its people. How often do we try to do that? Create something good and it turns on its head?
It wasn’t very many years later that I was able to teach THE GIVER to middle schoolers. It quickly became a crowd favorite. This was at a time when Young Adult Literature was just beginning to come into its own. It was not a defined genre, much less the dystopian genre. Over the years of teaching and the development of YA and dystopian literature, I kept thinking that I’d love to be able to write a dystopian story, but I never had a good, original idea until The Breeding Tree popped into my head several years later. Hopefully one day kids will read my story and will think, “I wonder how I’d react in a society like this.”
BLURB for The Breeding Tree:
Is the opportunity to create the next generation of life a dream come true or a deadly nightmare?
When seventeen year old Katherine Dennard is selected to become a “Creation Specialist” in Sector 4, the opportunity sounds like a dream come true. But Kate soon discovers the darker side of her profession – the disposal of fetal organs and destruction of human life. It makes sense, really. In a society where disease and malformations don t exist, human perfection demands that no genetic “mutants” be allowed to live. For Sector 4, “survival of the fittest” is not just a theory – it’s The Institute’s main mission.
When Kate discovers that The Institute is using her DNA to create new life, her work gets personal. In order to save her unviable son, she’ll have to trust Micah and his band of underground Natural Born Rebels. The problem is, if The Institute discovers her betrayal, the next body being disposed of could be hers.
A little about J. Andersen:
There’s not much to do growing up in a small town in Western, NY, so J. Andersen wrote stories and won high school writing contests. But in college her writing was limited to term papers. While teaching middle school she began to read young adult books and got serious about writing. She now writes full time, volunteers at the town library, helps to run a School of the Arts at her church, and sings in the church band. She enjoys good coffee—read: home roasted by her husband—crafts, baking, running a small essential oil business, and chasing after her children. You’ll rarely see J. without a book in her hands, and that’s the way she’d like to keep it.
You can find J. Andersen all over the web:
Snapchat ID: jvdlandersen
Thanks for sharing with us today J. Andersen!