September 6, 2016
Hello readers! Welcome to our Tour Stop for
un/FAIR by Steven Harper
presented by Tantrum Books / Month9books!
We are so excited to have Steven on the blog today for a quick Q&A.
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and be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
It’s difficult enough to live in the neighborhood “freakazoid” house. It’s even more difficult when you’re autistic and neither your family nor best friend really understands you. So when Ryan November wakes up on his eleventh birthday with the unexpected ability to see the future, he braces himself for trouble. But even his newfound power doesn’t anticipate that the fair folk–undines, salamanders, gnomes, and sylphs–want him dead, dead, dead. Ryan races to defend himself and his family against unrelenting danger from the fairy realm so he can uncover the truth about his family history–and himself. Except as Ryan’s power grows, the more enticing the fairy realm becomes, forcing him to choose between order and chaos, power and family. And for an autistic boy, such choices are never cut and dry.
un/Fair by Steven Harper
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!
Thanks for having me. Is there caffeine? I can’t write without caffeine.
Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)
Can an autistic boy stop the fairy queen from destroying time itself? (Seriously–caffeine?)
What was your inspiration for writing this book? Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?
My son Aran is autistic. I started writing this book when he was eleven, the same age as Ryan is in the book, because I was hoping he would be interested in reading a book about someone like himself. (Aran isn’t often interested in reading.) But what with one thing and another, I didn’t finish the book for a long time. Aran is now a young man, in fact!
I’ve also long felt that the original fairies from folklore have been too long ignored by fantasy. Elves have become tall, majestic people. Smaller fairies are cute or funny. In the original stories, though, the fae were frightening creatures with rules of their own. They preyed on humans–stole their sheep, made the cows run dry, poisoned the well, kidnapped children, drove travelers into quicksand. You didn’t want to meet one. I wanted to write a book that explored this.
Now about that caffeine . . .
Tell us about the main character(s).
Ryan November. Blue eyes. A lot of red-blond hair. Wakes up on his eleventh birthday and realizes that he’ll have the power to see the future by breakfast. Autistic, and can recite the Fibonacci sequence to a hundred places. Lives with his mother and her two identical sisters–triplets–in a house that has no iron in it.
I write in short, punchy bursts without caffeine.
Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?
Ryan draws flow charts in his head to help bring order to a chaotic world. Whenever he doesn’t know what to do, he makes a flow chart that shows all possible outcomes. Then he chooses which path is best. This is based on the way my son Aran learned to talk. When he was little, Aran had a set number of stock phrases he used for all occasions, like a computer drop-down menu. I adapted this concept into Ryan’s flow charts. Some of them are very funny! Even without caffeine.
Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing? If so, why?
The scenes in the fairy realm were extremely difficult to write. Ryan, who loves order, understands fairy in a way neuro-typical person can’t, and it was difficult to make it clear to the reader how this worked. It took forever!
What sort of projects do you have going on right now. Any new books coming out?
My YA fantasy novel Bone War just came out. I’m also working on a YA contemporary novel about a teenaged boy who auditions for a summer theater program, falls for the lead, and finds himself tangled in a difficult murder. We’ll see what happens!
It was great having you on the blog today! We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!
Thank you! Delighted to be here. With or without caffeine.
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