Blog Tour: Day Moon by Brett Armstrong

Title: DAY MOON (Tomorrow’s Edge Book 1)
Author: Brett Armstrong
Publisher: Clean Reads
Pages: 389
Genre: Christian/Scifi/Dystopian
In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global software initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare's complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled "Day Moon". When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Prologue: Inheritance

The drizzle tapped on the coffin with an increasing intensity. A steady rain soon began, its great droplets gently touching the mourners with icy insistence. None of it seemed real to Elliott. He looked at the mounded soil, the great wound in the earth where the coffin was positioned, ready to be lowered at any time. Rain was sliding off its slick grey surface, as though nature wished to wash all of this away.

Arranged in a semi-circle around the casket were all those who cared enough about Elliott’s grandfather to make the trip out to this relatively obscure plot of land. No one gave it much attention throughout the year. Buried deep in the woods atop a steep, Appalachian hill, the cemetery had no road. Even the paths were overgrown. Every one of the attendees had been forced to make the trek in their uncomfortable finery. Like shadows dancing from a flame, they had made the journey, full of complaints.

Elliott glanced at those gathered: aunts and uncles, cousins, and a variety of other relatives whom he couldn’t identify. His parents were somewhere, speaking with the attendees, trying to hold the family together in light of the sudden affair. No one had expected the accident. There wasn’t even an opportunity to look at the body; so charred and mangled had his grandfather’s body become as his vehicle careened off the road.

Everything about the accident felt so impossible. Nothing more so than this moment. With the rain’s persistence, they were already beginning to lower his grandfather into the gaping, muddy maw.
Soon the arguments over who got what would begin. His grandfather had a will, but no one cared what it said, so long as they got their fair share. Elliott had already overheard grumbles that he was getting a rare item, one of the few enduring volumes of Shakespeare’s works. It had been a favorite of his grandfather. Even for its rarity, it wasn’t worth anything. The global initiative his grandfather had been working on, Project Alexandria, required all print materials to be recycled as soon as their contents were added to the system. A single repository of human knowledge, from the beginning of recorded history to the present. Whoever had the book would simply have to part with it sooner or later. It didn’t matter.

A tear tried to fight its way through Elliott’s rigid guard. Clenching his hands into fists, he took a shallow breath, and blinked it back. There was only one other person who could have felt close to what he did. Shortly, all of the others wandered away, seeking cover. In their absence, Elliott could clearly see his cousin stood by the hole, planted like the many stone fixtures around them. John was twenty-seven, almost ten years older than Elliott, and had already lost his father, Elliott’s uncle, some years earlier. John’s attention was fully on the descending form of their grandfather’s casket. The thought of this forced Elliott’s head round, briefly, to look in the direction of his uncle’s tombstone. It was in danger of being overtaken by honeysuckle vines. Even in the strengthening shower, the scent of the buttery hued blooms filled the air.

Elliott was tempted to walk over to the small granite block and push away the encroaching plant. Try as he might, he couldn’t bring his legs to move in that direction. If no one acted soon, the messages on the stone would be obscured:


“Pursued Greatness.”

“Born: September 30, 1982.”

“Died: June 18, 2035.”

Uncle Al had died four years ago, to the day, of some exotic respiratory disease that had spread from central or southeast Asia; a mini-pandemic. If he hadn’t been overseas on business, he might never have contracted it. Now, all that would be remembered of him was that in his fifty-two years of life, he pursued greatness, to say nothing of ever laying hold of it.

Rubbing his arms, to bring warmth to them, Elliott turned back around and finished his journey to John’s side. The brawny man was still looking down into the hole to where the casket had finished its descent. John’s blue eyes never wavered from their hold on the burial pit. Slowly, John reached out his large, work-worn hand, gripped a handful of the dirt in the mound beside him, and stared at it a few seconds, before gently lofting it into the grave.

Let's start with how are you, and do you have any big plans for the summer?
I'm doing very well. God is good. It's a pleasure to be speaking with you as well.  I always have very grandiose plans, some of them actually see fruition to degrees.  In particular it’s my objective to get the first installment of a fantasy series I've been working on for ten years now ready to find a publishing home for it. Of course, that is if the sequel to my most recent novel, Day Moon, will allow me to focus on it. Right now they're pretty much battling each other for my attention. Toss in some gardening and a family vacation and I've got quite the schedule this summer.

What age were you when you first discovered reading?
That is a question for my mom I'd suppose. Because reading seems like it has always been a part of my life. From the earliest memories I have, my mom was taking me to our local library and I was in the aisles grabbing books to read there while she looked for some and then grabbing still more to take home to read. When we would go on family trips a few books would always come along. So pegging a time frame is a bit difficult, but I do remember my first book I really liked: Wobbles the Witchcat by Mary Calhoun. I checked it out of the library so often as a little kid that when my local library was going to remove it from circulation, they gave me it to keep.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a writer? 
I have been writing my own stories since I was nine, but it was always just a hobby. I never really saw it as something to take seriously. When it came time to pick a major in college, I went with computer engineering and computer science, because that should lead to a stable career. It wasn’t until halfway through my undergraduate college years that I got to take some writing courses, because of a gap in my schedule. During that year, I wrote the short story that became my first published novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio. My peers raved about it and even offered to help me turn the short story into a novel (though I waited till years later to do so). That feedback and the general sense of ease and enjoyment that came with writing really struck me not long after. I remember, I was going to my car one evening after class and I had to stop in midstride. Every step from the classroom to that point, which was quite a distance, my thoughts had been on writing and the next story I wanted to explore and how I was dreading having to let it all go again. And I’m not sure how to explain it other than a realization overcame me. Writing wasn’t like everything else I’d done. It felt like something more, something I was made to do. Later on I found someone else had put the sensation to words, ironically far better than I could. Eric Liddell, a 1924 Olympic gold medalist, is credited as saying, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.” Writing is that for me and though there have been many days I’ve been in doubt about it, I’ve always felt the Lord has kept drawing me to it. Unexpected words of encouragement will suddenly come when I need them most. Though wild success as most would term it has not befallen me, I have experienced incredible moments of validation. Like when a couple readers of my first novel approached me to say they were asking loved ones to read the book because they felt like it would help them through some dark times. Honestly, I think if you never have to work through doubts as a writer then you aren’t going to have the same fervency and determination in it.

What was the first story you wrote?
My first original story came when I was nine. I had been reading about the Aztec Empire and decided to write a story about a slave from a rival tribe that was captured and slated to be offered as a sacrifice. He escapes and blends into Aztec society and gradually rises through the ranks until he is in a position to get revenge. He eventually kills the Aztec Emperor and asserts his own claim to the throne. I enjoyed writing it so I extended it with two follow up stories about the true Emperor's son coming back for vengeance and overthrowing the usurper and then it happened that Emperor's son was Montezuma II, and the last installment followed Cortes's conquest of the Aztecs. I remember I took all three parts and put them in a folder with a three ring binding and drew cover art for it. I even put an imaginary publishing house logo on the back.

How do you build your stories? Do you map it out, or go with the flow?
Usually a story begins with a very strong image that develops into a key scene of a book. From there a series of questions about that initial image and scene begin to form the framework of the story until I have a general outline of the book and its themes and essence. Once I have a strong sense of the story, I begin fleshing out the events of the story and from that point forward I try to let the events flow as much as possible. Writing a novel for me is very much like being an explorer of sorts and being from a state filled with mountains, it’s easy to relate the notion of travelling on the mountaintops to those parts of the story I know well at the outset. They typically are the beats of the story and like the view from the mountaintops, are easy to spot. It’s what lies in the valleys that can only be discovered as you move from peak to peak—rivers, forests, and clearings—that I as a writer discover along the way and am writing to connect the beats. Which I think makes it a more exciting process for me and hopefully a more engaging and natural flow for readers.   

Did you base any of your characters on real life people? Friends/family?
I think it's impossible for any writer to not pull at least some of their characters/characterization from those they have met. For one they are subconsciously there, but also you just know them better. It enriches the character development process to have a starting point that is familiar to you. Usually I take attributes, attitudes, and mannerisms from people I know. I try to not base a character solely on one person I know. I prefer to do composites or just nuance a character with attributes familiar to me. As the story progresses I like seeing how the plot shapes the characters into very different people. How it makes them their own people and stand out so distinctly from the contributing sources is fascinating for me.
Did you ever get writers block or lose interest in a story? If so how did you fight it? 
Most often if I get tripped up in a story it isn’t so much because I can’t think of anything to write, but rather what I have to write seems difficult to phrase or isn’t clearly defined in my imagination. I also usually have more than one novel going at a time, sometimes several, and a more crisp sense of another story will strike me and I have to take a break from a manuscript. After such a break though, I often find I can write the passage I left behind and perhaps even improve on other passages already written. If that doesn’t happen another approach I take is to skip ahead and write the story beats I know about. Those points in the plot where I already had in mind what was going to happen and then I write out in both directions from that point, both back and forward until I can connect everything up. Though I haven’t tried it yet, I kind of had the idea that it might also help to set aside the manuscript and do some tangential exercises. Define things about the characters and world that aren’t immediately relevant to the story at hand. Do some backstory. Ultimately the goal is the same in every case, to renew the fascination and enthusiasm you have for the story. Reconnect with its characters and get swept away again to the very end.

If you could meet anyone of your characters, who would it be a why? 
There is one character that I have based heavily on a family member. An uncle I lost almost five years ago. It's the only character I've ever copied so faithfully from someone and over the years I've tried to pare back the similarities, make the character more of his own person, but my uncle still shines through. I would very much like to meet that character, and in that way have a glimpse of my uncle again, even if it isn't a perfect replica.


Brett Armstrong, author of the award-winning novel, Destitutio Quod Remissio, started writing stories at age nine, penning a tale of revenge and ambition set in the last days of the Aztec Empire.  Twenty years later, he is still telling stories though admittedly his philosophy has deepened with his Christian faith and a master’s degree in creative writing.  His goal with every work is to be like a brush in the Master artist’s hand and his hope is the finished composition always reflects the design God had in mind.  He feels writing should be engaging, immersive, entertaining, and always purposeful.  Continually busy at work with one or more new novels to come, he also enjoys drawing, gardening, and playing with his beautiful wife and son.

His latest book is Day Moon (Tomorrow’s Edge Book 1).


No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful, all comments are moderated. Please reframe from comment fights, everyone has a right to their own opinion, if you don't like it, to bad.

I love to hear your thoughts, and crazy idea's. I'll make very effort to replay to your comment and views. :)