Release Date: December 3rd 2016
Published by: The Writers Coffee Shop
Genre: Fiction, Dystopian
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A generation has passed since the pandemic known only as the Infection ended the world as we know it. In a little town in the Appalachian Mountains, Taylor has known only a harsh and brutal struggle for survival in a land littered with the rusted-out remnants of a lost world. By day, she labors in a coal mine. In the evenings, she tends a secret collection of beehives, and uses the honey to pay for lessons in survival skills, such as hunting, fishing and collecting herbs. Her home is a single room in a crumbling old motel, and her only companion is a pet box tortoise named Go she’s had since she was a child.
When her town is destroyed by a vicious gang of raiders known as the Nine, Taylor escapes with Dylan, the son of the mayor. Their only plan is to head south and escape the Nine’s vast territory, avoiding areas contaminated by meltdowns and industrial pollution where mysterious illnesses plague the residents.
Dylan has never known hunger or hardship and struggles to learn survival skills. He’s never known a woman like Taylor either. He tries to pay her back by teaching her to read and telling her the stories passed down from the world of Before.
They certainly didn’t plan on falling in love. Taylor fights it every step of the way, because in her world, any emotional attachment is dangerous. She’s been taught since childhood that love slows you down, makes you weak. But the feelings growing between them cannot be denied.
Taylor finds herself slowly breaking every one of her hard-learned rules of survival. She discovers that perhaps some of those things she’s always fought to avoid are the very things that make life worth living.
. . . And death shall have no dominion . . .”
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Hey, Sis. It’s been one busy year. I can hardly believe Dominion is coming out.
Me, either. It’s been a tumultuous year, but it’s finally here.
I love the cover. Tell us about the art and artist.
I can take no credit for this cover. It was all the creation of the amazing T.M. Franklin.
Covers are always one of the most difficult parts of the process for me, because I’m not really a visual kind of girl, and finding appropriate images to use as a basis is… well, it’s a struggle.
I finally found some things I thought might work, and T.M. valiantly tried to make the ideas work, but they just never panned out. Neither of us were really satisfied with them. Then, one day, T.M. said, “How about we try something like this,” and presented her vision of the cover to me. I was just totally blown away. Not only was it terrific art, but it captured the mood perfectly.
It’s great that the model representing Taylor on the cover isn’t wearing ridiculous clothing. Did you have to commission the cover in order not to have the heroine wearing barely-there disco bondage gear and stilettos?
Oh, lord… If you look through the available “post-apocalyptic” images out there, you’d get the impression that girls are going to be running around after the end of the world dressed like they’re headed to the club. T.M. had to do a bit of “paint work” on the model she used for this image because she was originally wearing a tank top. We also had to crop her hair. A woman wouldn’t have much time to tend long, flowing tresses in the Wasteland.
A bit of advice for anyone who’s survived the end of the world – wear sturdy pants and a sensible shirt. Scratches get infected, after all, and how do you expect to outrun the roving hordes of bandits in heels?
As a fan of Dylan Thomas, I’m intrigued by your title. How did you choose it?
Dylan is named after Dylan Thomas, and his sister, Emily is named for Emily Dickinson. Dylan recites Death Shall Have No Dominion to Taylor, and if you look closely through the book, you’ll see allusions to some of the lines stirred in here and there.
The book is about Taylor deciding her fears will have no dominion over her, just as much as she won’t let the Nine have dominion.
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How did you end up writing a post-apocalyptic series?
I’ve always loved post-apocalyptic stories because they get down to the essence of what humanity is about. Stripped of our luxuries, our daily worries, and even the laws of our society, what kind of people will we be? Is it really like Yeats said, that the center does not hold? What about the people who refuse to give up on that “center?”
You’ve said before that you see the world in your story before your characters show up. How did this post-apocalyptic world generate?
Justin and Carly had been clamoring in my mind for a long time. I think I mentioned to you in our first conversation that I was thinking about writing a post-apocalyptic fic. That was this story. But Carly and Justin weren’t people I could change into fic characters comfortably. Justin, in particular, had a very strong voice in my head, and Carly —well, you know how stubborn she can be.
Taylor’s story developed out of this, as I thought about what Justin said in the first End of All Things book about feudalism becoming the order of the day. I thought about how society would struggle to rebuild itself without a centralized government. Towns would be their own city-states. Criminals would start banding together, too. Justin and Carly encountered one of these kinds of groups in the second book, but the Nine is the evolution of that. What happens when the criminals start truly organizing their own society? What would be their guiding principle? Strength, of course – but how would they keep any kind of order? Even bandits have to have a system of order for their group to function.
I was also thinking of the panem et circenses philosophy of Juvenal. The lower ranks have to have entertainment, and more importantly, hope that they can climb the ladder themselves. Hence, the Gatherings where there’s gladiatorial-style battles for membership and rank. Taylor and Dylan see one of these from a distance.
The people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions, and all else, now concerns itself no more, and longs eagerly for just two things – bread and circuses!
– Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis (Juvenal) 55 – 127 AD
Jean-Léon Gérôme’s painting of The Christian Martyrs Last Prayer. Photo: WIKI
But like Rome, the Nine have a critical weakness when they get spread out too much…
Who’s your favorite well-known dystopian fiction writer? Mine is Ursula K. LeGuin, although Margaret Atwood runs a close second.
There are so many, it’s hard to make a choice. I’ve read three copies of The Stand to tatters, and will soon have to replace the copy I have. The pages are literally falling out. (I need to start buying library editions of my favorites for durability.) Oryx and Crake, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Orwell’s 1984, A Canticle for Lebowitz, Octavia Butler’s Parable series, Brave New World by Huxley, Dies the Fire, I Am Legend, On the Beach… Oh! A new favorite – World War Z. There are just so many!
Tell us an insider secret about the story.
Go the tortoise is really an Animagus. Okay, just kidding. But wouldn’t that be cool? To give them their own shape-shifting wizard who could conjure up food and repair shoes with a wave of his wand?
Okay, maybe some people figured this one out—Taylor is named after Taylor Swift. I gave her an ability I’ve always wanted to have – to be able to sing.
You’re an eclectic writer. Is there a new story percolating in that busy brain of yours, and if so, what’s the genre?
Right now, the one I’m writing in my head is about a woman with supernatural healing powers. She works as a midwife, and is famous because none of her laboring women have ever died. Queen Mary calls for her during her first “pregnancy.”
Ooh, another Historical-Paranormal! Always love chatting with you. Is it time for us to take over the world yet, Brain?
I think now would be a good time, honestly. I solemnly swear, I will be a benevolent Ruler of the Entire World. Well, maybe. I’m still considering tarring and feathering for those who dog-ear books.
~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~
Lissa Bryan is an astronaut, renowned Kabuki actress, Olympic pole vault gold medalist, Iron Chef champion, and scientist who recently discovered the cure for athlete’s foot . . . though only in her head. Real life isn’t so interesting, which is why she spends most of her time writing.
She is the author of five other novels, Ghostwriter, The End of All Things, its sequels, The Land of the Shadows and Shadows Have Gone, and Under These Restless Skies.
~~CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR~~
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Praise for The End of All Things Series
Hope, love, and the strength of the human spirit are the backbone of this surprisingly uplifting offering from Lissa Bryan. ~ CBL Book Reviews
The End of All Things is more about hope and second chances, and I very much enjoyed the tale …. highly recommended for all fans of apocalyptic fiction. It’s a well-written book with excellent pace, plot, and best, it has real soul. ~ Jade Kerrion, Goodreads