Immurement by Norma Hinkens {Excerpt, Interview + Giveaway}

 

 

 

The earth’s core overheats. The sovereign leader vanishes. A young girl is the survivors’ only hope …

What little land is habitable is patrolled by cutthroat gangs of escaped subversives, but that’s not the greatest threat facing sixteen-year-old Derry Connelly, her brother Owen, and a ragged band of Preppers holed up in a bunker in the Sawtooth Mountains. Mysterious hoverships operated by clones are targeting adolescents for extraction.

Owen, is one of the first to disappear. To save him, Derry must strike a deal with the murderous subversives, and risk a daring raid to infiltrate the heart of the extraction operation.

But will the rookie leader falter when forced to choose between her brother and a clone who ignites something inside her she didn’t know was possible?

 

 

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“What do you think he meant about saving Owen?” Trout looks at me curiously. “I thought he was dead.”
“He is,” I say, too sharply.
The room falls silent. My brain screams a million thoughts at me. I clench my trembling fingers into fists. It all seems unreal—the kind of heart-stopping nightmare you wake up from, gasping for air, soaked in sweat.
After what Won said, I’m questioning everything. What if I’ve made a terrible mistake? What if Owen's still breathing when Lyong finds him? What if they take him to Sektor Sieben and hardwire some kind of circuit board into his brain? I jam my hands into my hair and blow a few listless puffs of air over my face. I’m suddenly burning up in the bunker. I turn around and walk unevenly back to my seat, legs bending like reeds.
Big Ed scratches the back of his neck, throws me an uneasy look. The Council members look at me expectantly, but I avert my gaze and sink back in my chair, undone and disconnecting. I have nothing to offer them. All I ever wanted was the chance to step up and be somebody, but that dream’s become my burden. Do they think I can just take over where Owen left off? Lead a teenage flash mob to take on the Schutz Clones.
And now that the Sweepers know we have some kind of resistance movement going, they’ll be ready for us when we go back. I groan and bury my face in my hands. When we go back. It’s like I have a subliminal death wish.
I save your brother. Won’s words sear my brain. Even more agonizing because the lie preys on my tattered emotions. There’s nothing Won can do that will bring Owen back, but I can’t stop speculating about what he meant. I know what Won’s idea of saving brain-dead participants entails, and the thought of Owen being subjected to anything like that makes me want to put Won’s head on a spike.
I rub my hands vigorously over my face as if to scrub the grisly images of Sektor Sieben from my mind. It may be too late to save Owen, but there are others. I owe it to Mason to try and free the rest of the clones. And then there’s the deviations—I felt their silent pleas. The Sweepers have to be stopped.
But how?

 

Interview with the Author​

 

What is the hardest part about being a writer?

Treating it like a real job where you have to show up at a certain time and put in your hours on a daily basis. It’s all too easy to  throw in a load of laundry, start answering emails and jump on Facebook, and before you know it half the morning has been swallowed up with trivial pursuits. Once you commit to the discipline of treating your writing time as sacred, you can make real progress in terms of the quality of your craft, and the quantity of writing you produce.

What inspired you to write this book?

I've always been fascinated by regimes and resistance movements, and the heroes who emerge from atrocities. I grew up reading every concentration camp escape story I could get my hands on. As an author, I find it intriguing to place characters in dystopian, post-apocalyptic or sci-fi settings and watch what unfurls inside them as they go head to head with staggering odds. After spending several summers in Idaho, and learning more about Preppers and survivalists, the idea to plant Derry Connolly in a bunker community of homesteaders and mountain men took seed and The Undergrounders Series was born.

How many hours per day do you spend writing?

I aim for about three hours of writing time, five days a week. I sometimes do some editing later in the day if I have extra time, but with three kids heading in different directions most days, it gets frantic!

Have you always enjoyed writing?

I grew up among rich storytelling traditions in my native Ireland and it was a natural transition for me to try my hand at writing. Irish legends are full of action, adventure, impossible missions, and unlikely heroes, and to this day nothing captivates me more than an epic story. Anything along the lines of The Hunger Games or The Divergent Series is always a must read for me, only because I’m endlessly fascinated by the capacity of heroic individuals to rise above tyranny and change the course of history. As a child, I was always reading or scribbling something, and I have a stack of poems, stories and half-finished projects that document some of the big picture ideas I was wrestling with even back then.

How did you choose the title?

There are three books in the series and the titles track the internal growth of the main protagonist Derry Connolly. 

Immurement is the state of being entombed or confined in an enclosed space. At the outset of book one Derry is trapped in her own self-doubt and insecurity. The bunker symbolizes the prison she yearns to break out of in order to find her place and calling in a world with no rule book.

Embattlement is the state of being engaged in battle or conflict. As well as describing the obvious physical struggle against the Sweepers, the title symbolizes the “civil war” of sorts that wages inside Derry as she rises up against everything that has held her back.

Judgement is the act of imposing judgement. Derry discovers a lot of harsh truths about leadership during her journey, not the least of which is that every great leader must discern when to seek reconciliation and when to pursue retribution. Internally, Derry must evaluate her own moral imperfections and the darkness lurking in her own heart.

Best piece of advice for writers trying to break in?

If you are certain writing is where your passion and strengths intersect, don’t take your eyes off the goal. Put your shoulder to the wheel and throw your whole heart into mastering the craft, and taking incremental steps toward publication. Dogged persistence will get you there in the end, and the talent you have honed along the way will be your staying power.

 

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Norma grew up among vibrant storytelling traditions in her native Ireland. She's a legend-loving author who takes a fiendish delight in pushing reluctant characters over cliffs to find out what they’re made of. Epic odds, seemingly impossible missions, pasts that haunt, intrigue and misadventure. She’s happiest when wrangling provocative big picture ideas that are never black and white when you turn them inside out. It’s all about the tension in the journey.

She currently resides in California with her husband, three children and Chihuahua extraordinaire. She is the author of the YA post-apocalyptic Undergrounders Series: Immurement, Embattlement and Adjudgement.

 

 

 

  

 

 

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