The Woodlands Series by Lauren Nicolle Taylor
(Young Adult Mature- Dystopian Romance)
Rosa never thought she’d make it to sixteen...
When being unique puts you in danger and speaking your mind can be punishable by death, you might find yourself fighting to survive. Rosa lives in The Woodlands, one of eight enclosed cities where the lone survivors of a devastating war have been gathered. In these circular cities everyone must abide by the law or face harsh punishment. Rosa's inability to conform and obey the rules brands her a leper and no one wants to be within two feet of her, until she meets Joseph. He's blonde, fair skinned, blue eyed and the laid back, ever-grinning, complete opposite of Rosa. She's never met anyone quite like him, and she knows that spells danger.
But differences weren't always a bad thing. People used to think being unique was one of the most treasured of traits to have. That was before the bitter race war decimated most of the planet, leaving the Russian wilderness as the only scrap of land habitable for survivors. Now, the Superiors, who ruthlessly control the concrete cities with an iron fist, are obsessed with creating a 'raceless' race. They are convinced this is the only way to avoid another war. Any anomalies must be destroyed.
The Superiors are unstoppable and can do anything they want, after all, they are considered super heroes by the general public. But not everyone see's them this way. When they continue to abuse their power by collecting young girls for use in their secret, high-tech breeding program, they have no idea that one of those girls has somehow managed to make friends even she didn't know she had. And one man will stop at nothing to save her.
She says it over and over. It’s her plea, her prayer, her mantra. But life doesn’t stop while he’s sleeping. Rosa’s been thrown into a new world, with new rules, and a philosophy that sounds too good to be true. She’s also sure they didn’t rescue her out of the goodness of their hearts.
The Survivors must want something from them… but what?
The Wall finds Rosa eagerly entering a new life, yet struggling to keep the demons and ghosts of the past from dragging her backwards.
She’s left so many people behind and isn’t sure how to start over.
There’s freedom in the Survivors’ world, more than she’d ever dreamed of, but there’s also secrets. The darkest of which pulls Rosa headfirst into a trauma, forcing her to reevaluate her past and pushing her to make a choice that may destroy the tenuous, sewn-together family she’s built on the outside.
Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?
Will Rosa make the right choice… or will she lose everything she has fought so hard for?
You think you’re in control, that you have your hands on the reins. But I’m starting to think either someone else is driving or the reins are attached to nothing. Just flapping and snapping in the breeze. What could be simple, never is.
Rosa doesn’t want to get used to being separated from Joseph, from Orry. But now she must battle her way back to her family, her future, at the same time struggling to come to terms with her father’s past, his secrets and what he means to her now.
With her best friend Rash by her side she feels blessed and cursed. He is her saving grace but will Joseph accept him, and will he forgive her for leaving? More importantly will she manage to return to him? Rosa must pull these threads together. Hold herself in as she hacks her way back to The Wall with the aid of new companions but not the one person she’d planned on saving.
Finding her way back is only the beginning. The biggest changes, the shocking outcomes are waiting. Hovering over the town like a menacing vapour.
The Wounded have waited, nursed, and been dormant for too long and now they’re coming, dragging the ghosts of their lost ones behind them.
Excerpt from The Woodlands:
The helicopters were stationed at the rim of Ring One, just inside the low, sandy-colored wall that surrounded the center podium. They were waiting, crouching like black angels ready to lift us from this place, this hell, into an unknown world. A Guardian in black uniform with gold trim walked to the front of the choppers and signaled for us to come forward. Another one threw the bags in the cargo hold as he read from his list. Three girls and eight boys. Joseph’s name was not on the list. I felt a flood of relief that was washed away by panic. I was barely holding myself together as it was, seeing him was liable to make me fall to pieces. But he was supposed to be here.
Paulo’s hand was on my back, pushing me towards the helicopter like I was an uncooperative apple on the conveyor belt. I was trying so hard to muster up some courage. Today I was leaving the only home I had ever known. I would never see my mother again. I felt the anxiety rising, the crushing pain of the separation I was about to suffer. Suddenly the grey- washed town didn’t look so horrible. It was home after all, I guess. I told myself it was fear that was making me feel this way. It didn’t help.My mother, who had been quietly following us around like a dazed puppy, pulled me to her in a tight embrace. She whispered, “Sorry,” in my ear before stepping back, fists clenched, showing the appropriate restraint. Some other mothers were crying and holding their children as the Guardian wrenched them away and led them onto the aircraft.
My mother’s face was my own, the way she moved mirrored my own movements and mannerisms, but that’s where the similarities ended. Although raised by this woman, I was nothing like her. For the first time, I saw things from her perspective. Getting into trouble all the time, never showing Paulo anything other than contempt. I must have been such a frustration to her.
They called my name. Paulo put his hands firmly on my shoulders, holding me in my place. His intense stare was impossible to look away from. “Don’t shame your family,” he spat at me. And with that, he made it easy to leave. I could feel the blades starting to move, my hair whipping around my face. I stripped away the fear and anxiety, leaving a girl that was fierce, empowered by his hatred.
“Don’t worry, Paulo, I’ll stir it up, make a little noise!” I shouted through the wind. The Guardian that let me sign up was watching me, probably regretting his decision. My mother was standing rigidly, her handmade skirt billowing as the air churned around her, her hand outstretched, pleading. I could see it in her eyes—please Rosa, don’t cause more trouble. She couldn’t stop me, no one ever could. Paulo was already walking away, his back to me. Behind my mother stood a man, one blue eye, one brown, smiling. He lifted his hand to wave. I raised my hand, confused. The chopper lurched awkwardly and I was knocked back into the cargo hold.
“Sit down!” the Guardian snapped at me. I quickly found a spot and strapped myself in. The others were staring at me, eyes wide. The Guardian tapped the pilot on the shoulder. “Wait, there’s one more.”
He bounded in, bag in hand, and casually threw it on the pile and scanned the seats. There was plenty of room on the other side but he squeezed his bulky form between me and the boy I was sitting next to.
Suddenly we were in the air. When the Guardian wasn’t looking, Joseph slipped his hand over mine. Warmth calmed the agitation I felt, like pouring gold over lead, glowing. We stayed that way the entire ride. Eyes forward. Impossibly trying to anticipate what may lie ahead.
Ten things I wish I knew about being an Author I didn’t know before:
1 The only people that really care about you being an author is you, your publisher and your fans. It’s novel at first (no pun intended) but be warned, your friends and family will get sick of hearing about the ins and outs of you publishing journey pretty quick. The best way I’ve found to deal with this is to treat writing like a job. Don’t expect a lot of well dones and congratulations. That way if you get them it’s just a nice surprise. The people whose opinions do matter, who will love your work and support it are your readers.
2 You make very, very little money.
3 Reviews can be wonderful but they can also be unforgiving. I know some authors say to take the criticism on board, and if it’s overwhelmingly negative then maybe you do need to give your MS a go over. But if you’re getting mostly positive and then the occasional nasty review, try and remember it’s them not you and end that relationship before it starts. Get pissed off, if it helps, internally that is. Don’t ever respond to negative reviews.
4 You can’t say ‘off of’.
5 If you’re an Indie author, promotion takes up three quarters of your writing time, and most of your eating, sleeping and relaxing time too.
6 Just coz it’s free doesn’t mean people won’t complain about the price.
7 Amazon is annoying!
8 Controversy is good but be prepared for a small amount of backlash.
10 Your kids don’t care if you’re going to be the next JK Rowling, you’re still acting like the computer runs your life and that drives them crazy.
About Lauren Nicolle Taylor
Lauren Nicolle Taylor is a 33-year-old mother living in the tiny, lush town of Bridgewater on the other side of the world in Australia. She married her high school sweetheart and has three very boisterous and individual children. She earned a Bachelors degree in Health Sciences with Honours in Obstetrics and Gynecology and majored in Psychology while minoring in Contemporary Australian Writing.
After a disastrous attempt to build her dream house that left her family homeless, She found herself inexplicably drawn to the computer. She started writing, not really knowing where it may lead but ended up, eight weeks later, with the rough draft of The Woodlands.
In 2013, Lauren Nicolle Taylor accepted a publishing contract with Clean Teen Publishing. Her first published novel, The Woodlands, was released on August 30, 2013. Currently, Lauren has finished her manuscript for the second and third book in the series titled: The Wall and The Wounded.