Author Guest Post with J.R. Stewart
Hello YABCers! It’s a pleasure to “meet” you.
Last week, my publisher sent me an email inquiring if I would write a guest post for YA Books Central and promote my new YA/dystopian book, Nirvana.
One problem: I hate promoting stuff so I’m going to get that out of the way first so I can talk about what’s really on my mind:
The Hunger Games.
I’m also supposed to let you know that I will be doing an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Friday, December 4, 2015, from 2‐4 pm on the r/books subreddit. So, if you have any questions on topics related to the consequences of virtual reality, the decline of the bee population, or anything I write about in Nirvana, please join me there.
Okay, let's get back to The Hunger Games.
Yes, that’s right. Despite all of my corporate and government projects that keep me quite busy, the only thing I'm thinking about lately is The Hunger Games. Is it because the final film, Mockingjay Part II, came out last Friday?
With Nirvana receiving four and five star reviews, some reviewers have compared it to
George Orwell’s 1984 (I'm flattered!)
The Matrix (great films),
and, perhaps most quizzically, The Hunger Games.
I get it. There's a dystopian element to The Hunger Games and Nirvana.
Now, I’ll admit my knowledge of The Hunger Games isn't as extensive as yours might be. I have never read the books, nor seen the movies. I spend a lot of time in front of my computer! However, it is my understanding that the books and films depict a world run by a monarchical government that requires each “district” to choose a female and male youth to fight to the death in the annual Hunger Games event. The last person standing is crowned the victor (and gets to live).
Could events described in The Hunger Games happen in our lifetime? I hope not. The majority of us live in a modern society, where violence isn't the only answer. In Nirvana, however, I write about very real issues ‐ ones that we will need to confront in our lifetime. The Hunger Games is completely fictional while Nirvana, through a fictional cast of characters, is grounded in modern day truths.
How do I know this? Well, I research these "modern truths" every day. The technology described in Nirvana does exist. I've seen it and I've used it ‐ that "floating sensation" didn't just come from anywhere! And, most importantly, I've seen the damage that it can cause, both psychologically and socially. Hexagon, the government institution featured in Nirvana, is intended to shed light on what may happen once this virtual reality technology falls into the wrong hands.
The second modern truth I touch on in Nirvana is the decline of the bee population. It's very likely that this epidemic could lead to an Extinction event in our lifetime. Bees and other pollinating insects have an essential role in our ecosystem. In fact, at least a third of our food depends on their pollination. A world without these wonderful little creatures would simply be devastating for food production.
The best thing that we can do right now is be aware of the issues. If more of us are informed, and we're spreading the word, maybe we can protect ourselves. For this reason, I invite you to pick up a copy
of Nirvana and tell people about it.
Do you believe in these "modern truths" like I do? Comment below ‐ I'll read every single one.
Your Friend, J.R.
PS ‐ My publisher would also be very happy if you entered the Nirvana GIVEAWAY attached to this blog. Now, if you win, you have to promise to tell people about these issues. Okay?
By: J.R. Stewart
About: When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?
Animal activist and punk rock star Larissa Kenders lives in a dystopian world where the real and the virtual intermingle. After the disappearance of her soulmate, Andrew, Kenders finds solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world controlled by Hexagon. In Nirvana, anyone’s deepest desires may be realized ‐ even visits with Andrew.
Although Kenders knows that this version of Andrew is virtual, when he asks for her assistance revealing Hexagon’s dark secret, she cannot help but comply. Soon after, Kenders and her closest allies find themselves in a battle with Hexagon, the very institution they have been taught to trust. After uncovering much more than she expected, Kenders’ biggest challenge is determining what is real – and what is virtual.
Nirvana is a fast‐paced, page‐turning young adult novel combining elements of science fiction, mystery, and romance. Part of a trilogy, this book introduces readers to a young woman who refuses to give up on the man she loves, even if it means taking on an entire government to do so.
Release Date: November 10, 2015
One winner will receive a copy of Nirvana, US and Canada only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, J.R. Stewart has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win his book! "What colour is the dress on the Nirvana cover?"
*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*
has worked on many corporate projects throughout a prolific IT academic and consulting career, and is involved with many confidential virtual reality projects. After working on advanced "VR" technologies for over a decade, Stewart grew concerned about the implications of this work and the possible psychological effects that it may have on its users.
Is that a trick question? I think that the dress is green. ...Am I right?
Just curious, what is a "modern truth"?
This book sounds really clever, and this post by the author was totally charming. I'd read it regardless, but the cover is indeed quite evocative. The dress appears green; it contrasts much of the surrounding space, which occupies various bluer shades of the color spectrum. At the same time, the woman's dress does not really separate for her surroundings but suggests a relation without boundaries -- only relative variations and divergences from a particular color type. It suggests all sorts of blending that can happen between people and the world around them, to generalize. Thanks for this opportunity, Kara S
I think the cover is supposed to be like the colors of the earth, so the dress would b green with all the blue around it.