Rare glimpses of birds are the only reminder of the freedoms Rain Hawkins once had. Now segregated into a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, under tyrannical rule of President Nicks, Rain is forced to endure the bleak conditions set upon her. The possibility of a way out arises when Rain discovers an organized resistance called The Freedom Front, and learns that she, along with many other multi-racial people, has special abilities. Determined to overcome her situation, Rain sets out on a mission with the resistance that will fill her life with wonder, romance, and the undying hope for a better world.
Still enslaved in a mixed-race zone within the United Zones of the Authority, Rain Hawkins is part of a secret resistance preparing to take on the tyrannical President Nicks before plans to kill the mixed zones across UZTA are executed. When unsettling dreams and a mysterious voice begin to haunt the dark nights, Rain fears someone more powerful than she has discovered the resistance and their secret abilities. With a known Authority spy on her heels, and her boyfriend, Jabari, suddenly acting strange, Rain doesn't know who to trust and if the voices calling to her are friend or foe. As conditions across all of the zones get worse and the stakes rise, Rain embarks on a quest for answers that will put the people she cares about most in more danger or take them one step closer to the truth and their eventual freedom.
In the wake of an interrogation led by the UZTA's dictator, President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends must deal with the consequences of their defiance as the countdown continues towards the execution of the mixed-zone citizens across the United Zones of The Authority. The Freedom Front faces new challenges as Rain's cousin, Calista, prepares for her impending relocation to the pure zone, and Rain sets out to solve the mystery surrounding her mother's torment while being followed by an officer of the Elizabeth Guard. As she uses her abilities to dodge The Authority and follows the strange clues from her dreams, Rain is determined to persevere, to secure the future she and Jabari have been fighting for, and to earn The Freedom Front's ultimate goal of liberation.
After two members of The Freedom Front are arrested and interrogated by the UZTA’s tyrannical President Nicks, Rain Hawkins and her friends face the alarming reality that their plans to liberate the mixed zones across the United Zones of The Authority might not come to fruition. While the resistance movement is growing outside the walls of the zones, the president’s forces are strengthening and putting citizens everywhere in more peril than ever. When Rain receives warnings that her cousin, Calista, has agreed to support plans to kill the mixed zones, and that her life could be on the line at the upcoming pure zone initiation ceremony, she must decide where her loyalties lie and if all of her allies can be trusted. As The Freedom Front use their abilities to unravel the mystery of the ceremony, The Authority captures some of their friends, forcing TFF to either go into hiding, or plan a rescue mission that could jeopardize everything they’ve been fighting for.
Hello Rain, thank you for having this interview with me today. I know time isn’t always on our sides, so having you today is amazing.
How are you today?
I’m better than I’ve been in a long time. Still, I’m always watching…looking for any threats to our freedom. It’s my job now.
Are you right- or left-handed?
What is your earliest memory?
I remember being outside with Grandma Julia. There were trees everywhere towering over me, and their branches were swaying gently with the wind. It was so peaceful.
What do you consider the most important event of your life so far?
Well, that would definitely have to be joining and fighting with The Freedom Front.
What is the most evil thing you have ever done?
I can’t really tell you the details. I’m not proud of some of the decisions I’ve had to make, but I know that I didn’t have a choice. I will tell you that the things that make me feel the most guilt, were things I did after being relocated to the Indy Mixed Zone. It was a matter of survival.
When was the time you were the most frightened?
Just one time? Nicks used fear to control us from the moment we were shipped to the mixed zone. Even though we fought through the fear, there were too many terrifying moments to count. I was extremely frightened, more than I can express, the day I was shoved into an interrogation hole below Metro Prison. I have a hard time breathing now just thinking about it. Still, that wasn’t the most frightened I’ve been. Facing Nicks alone was probably the time I was most afraid.
What is the most embarrassing thing ever to happen to you?
I really think it comes back to the moment I saw Jabari talking to Aleela for the first time, and I actually panicked and thought I’d been so naïve. I thought that maybe I’d been wrong about how he felt towards me, and it was humilitating. Daktari and Zi saw the same thing I did. It looked bad. Looking back, the whole thing is embarrasing, even though I understand the reasoning he had now.
What is your most treasured possession?
Hands down, the bracelet Jabari made for me. It is the most thoughtful gift anyone has ever given me. And he made it himself. I have a habit of twirling it around my wrist. It’s become sort of a self-soothing thing. It calms me down.
What makes you laugh?
My friends…especially Zi.
What is your greatest strength as a person?
I will stand up for people who are too weak to stand up for themselves. This worries Jabari, by the way…He says I’m always getting myself into trouble by looking out for others. The fact that he does the exact same thing doesn’t make him any less concerned about me.
What is your greatest weakness?
My family. Anyone close to me. I’ll do anything to keep them safe. And though I wouldn’t admit it to Daktari, Jabari, or Zi, they are right…I have a tendency to run towards the conflict to try to resolve it, without necessarily coming up with a rational plan first.
Again thank you for being here today, all the best.
Thanks for having me. Here’s to harmony…
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Sarah Elle Emm is the author of the HARMONY RUN SERIES, a young-adult fantasy and dystopian series, released in May 2012 by Winter Goose Publishing. (PRISMATIC, May 2012, OPALESCENT, February 2013, CHATOYANT, September 2014, NACREOUS, August 2015) Her debut fiction novel, MARRYING MISSY, was published by Bird Brain Publishing in October 2011. Sarah is a graduate of The University of Evansville, she has lived and worked in Mexico, Germany, England, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and has traveled extensively beyond. Sarah lives in Naples, Florida with her family. When she’s not walking the plank of her daughters’ imaginary pirate ship or snapping photos of Southwest Florida scenery, she is writing.
From The Author
People occasionally ask me why I write dystopian fiction. I like writing dystopian because it is a release of all of the crazy things running through my mind. Dystopian allows you to explore questions like…What if the government became a dictatorship? What if people weren’t allowed to go to school? What if teenagers could save the world because their parents have lost hope? What if?
I admit I have an overactive imagination. (I’ve seen every episode of The Walking Dead, and even though I know zombies aren’t real, I still check my closets and look under the bed for zombies after each and every episode). Anyhow, I think my parents had a lot to do with how I write today. One of their favorite dinner table conversations growing up was deciding which of their children, (there are three of us), they’d pick to be stranded on the infamous deserted island with, if they had to be stuck there with only one. They usually chose my sister because of her internal GPS system and leadership skills. They often decided on my brother because he has MacGyver-like qualities, and they were sure he could build a hut out of sand or something. And they never chose me. Though they often laughed and said they’d take me if they were interested in being entertained.
Another usual at our dinner table was Dad asking if the “bad guys” were to enter our house at that exact moment, what item in the room around us could be turned into a weapon. My siblings were very talented at this. Surprise, surprise. Me, not so much. I usually panicked. (I’d think of a hiding place so they could do the fighting).
Another family favorite? Dad’s strategy talks about how when you enter a room, you should look around immediately, assessing the situation and room for possible exits, windows included, were any emergency to occur.
I think my parents came by it honestly. My mom’s dad was a WWII vet who fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He’d rush his family to the basement when it thunder stormed, never having recovered from the war or the memories of bombs and explosions. My dad’s parents took us on a family vacation to the Caribbean every year, and they’d try to split up flights between my aunt and my dad’s side, just in case there was a crash. They wanted some of the family to survive to take care of the family business. That always freaked me out. I’d worry the entire flight. (About not only crashing, but trying to figure out what was wrong with my family).
My family always had movie night growing up. Every Sunday. We would either go see one at the theater or rent one and watch it in our basement. The genre of choice was always action, usually a thriller. I remember watching scenes where someone would go outside to investigate the “strange noise” in the night, and my family would be yelling at the screen. (If we were home. They were well behaved in theaters. Mostly). They’d yell for the character to go back inside. Of course, the character never would. My brother would always be the first to point out the girl character who was going to get killed by not reacting rationally. He’d yell at the screen as she tried to start her car but couldn’t even get the keys into the ignition because her hands couldn’t stop shaking from fear.
I was sitting in my driveway last week, trying to start my car. I couldn’t get the key in properly, and I started to panic. The more I panicked, the more my fingers fumbled and I couldn’t get my key in. I could hear my brother’s voice in my head saying, “Hurry up, Sarah. You’re gonna die. The bad guys are going to get you. Start the car!” After a moment, I started laughing at myself. Eventually, I pulled it together and managed to insert the key properly to start the car.
Anyhow…Why do I write dystopian? I think you get the point. I guess never getting chosen for Survival Island, never quite figuring out what to make a weapon out of, and just those what if conversations in general really stayed with me. I promise you right now, that if you were to go to either one of my parents’ houses or my siblings’, you’d find emergency supplies in their basements complete with water, food, and back up power supplies in case of an emergency. I barely have my fridge stocked right now by the way. My plan is to head to one of their houses when the world ends. I just hope I make it there in time…I guess it makes sense that I never was picked for that island.
I smile affectionately when I think of my childhood and when I think of my family. True, they may have scarred this introvert for life, ha, ha, ha, but they have to be credited for inspiring me to write some of the dystopian stories I write today. Thanks so much for stopping by the blog tour. If you’d like to risk getting inside of this head a little bit, all four books are on sale right now for only $1.99 each on Kindle. If you read any of the books, I’d be flattered if you left a review and connected with my page on Facebook, where I’ll keep you updated on future books. You just never know what this dystopian writer will come up with next. ~Sarah