Monday 25 January 2016

The Union Series by T.H. Hernandez Blog Tour and Giveaway!

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Book 1 – The Union by T.H. Hernandez 
Genre: Young Adult/Speculative 
Published: November 18th, 2014 

The Union
After global warming and a second civil war devastated the former United States, two different societies rose from the ashes – the Union, a towering high-tech utopia, hugging the perimeter of the continent, and the devastated, untamed midsection known as the Ruins. Seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor has an easy, privileged life in the Union. What she doesn’t have is any idea what to do with the rest of her life. She only knows she wants to do something meaningful, to make a difference in the lives of others. When she’s kidnapped and taken into the Ruins as a pawn in a dispute involving her boyfriend, Bryce, her ideal world is turned upside down. What she learns while in the Ruins shakes her faith in everything she’s ever known, from Bryce, to her family, and even the Union itself. Now Evan must choose whether to stay with Cyrus, the sexy, resourceful survivor who believes she’s in the Ruins for a reason, or return to the only life she’s ever known. But when she stumbles upon a dangerous plot that threatens both worlds, her decision could tear her apart. The Union is a futuristic young adult romantic adventure

Book Depository:
Read the first 3 chapters for free! 

The Union - Teaser 2
Read below for an excerpt from The Union:

Once the sun rises, I can make out trees in the distance. Real trees with leaves, which means there must be water nearby. I’m not sure Ruins water is safe to drink, but I do know I’ll die if I don’t drink something. Even though I’ve been walking for hours, the trees don’t seem to be getting any closer. My legs have taken on a sponge-like quality and I stumble, but manage to stay upright. If I fall, I may never get up again.
I’m almost to the trees. They’re only a little farther now. There’s no water here. How can there be trees without water? Despair overtakes me and I drop down, pounding my fists on the barren ground. I stuff a soft green leaf in my mouth, seeking moisture, but my mouth is so dry, I gag on the pieces, tearing my throat like shards of broken glass. My head spins as I lie on my back and struggle to form coherent thoughts. I take a deep breath and tell myself to think. Think is such a strange word.Think, think, think. It doesn’t even sound English. Shaking my head to clear my mind, I try to pull myself together, remembering where I am and forcing myself to focus on my immediate situation. What do the Buddhists call it? Being mindful. My brain works to form rational thoughts, but there’s nothing rational about this. I left home to find my place in the world, is this really where my search was supposed to lead me? It’s more like a cruel joke. If I was on a date with destiny, it just took a bizarre turn into a twisted ending I never saw coming. God, if only I hadn’t gone to the park that night, none of this would’ve happened. I begin to cry. For my family and friends who will never know what happened to me, and for me. I’m not ready to die, I’m only 17. I can’t help wondering if I would have spent so much time agonizing over my future if I’d known I’d be dead so soon. If I’d known, maybe I’d have done everything differently. Now I know my future. My life ends here. Alone. In the Ruins.

Book 2 – The Ruins by T.H. Hernandez 
Young Adult/Speculative 
Published: June 16th, 2015

The Ruins
Heartbroken, grief-stricken, and wracked with guilt, seventeen-year-old Evan Taylor returned to the Union, leaving behind the boy she loved. Now, she and her friends must find a way to do the impossible – warn the citizens of the Union about an impending rebel attack without alerting the government and risking retaliation against her friends in the Ruins. When every move Evan makes is thwarted, it soon becomes clear she’s being watched. Faced with a daily fight to stay one step ahead of her pursuers, she returns to the Ruins. But life in the Ruins has its own dangers, and soon she’s fighting a different battle – to stay alive long enough to discover the truth.
Read the first 3 chapters for free!

The Ruins - Teaser 2

Read below for an excerpt from The Ruins:

Lisa opens the door still in her pajama pants and a tank top. Jack’s behind her in nothing but a pair of sweatpants. I raise an eyebrow in silent judgment. How could she have Jack spend the night with Colin here? “Where’s Colin?” she asks, looking past me. “What do you mean, where’s Colin? Isn’t he here?” “No. He never came home last night. I thought he was with you.” “You were with me.” “No, I mean after we separated. I figured he showed up at your place.” Her cheeks turn bright red. “You’ve got to be kidding me.” My hands ball into fists of anger at my sides. “You can’t really be that…” I bite off the words. It’s not my place to share how Colin feels about her. “He probably left with one of those girls we saw him with,” she says. I push into her apartment and find Colin’s duffel bag on the floor where it’s been since he began camping out on her couch last week. “So, he just blew off his train?” “Maybe,” she shrugs. “Not likely,” I say, stalking back outside, unease gnawing through my stomach. If all this other shit wasn’t going on, I could chalk it up to Colin getting laid, but I can’t shake the feeling something isn’t right. I’m halfway to Bryce’s before I realize that’s where I’m headed. Hopefully he takes me seriously. My fast walk turns into a jog as I cover the remaining three blocks and two flights of stairs down to the apartment he shares with Jack. I’ve only been here once before, but I think I remember which one it is. I lift my hand and knock on the pale blue door then pace the small empty concrete porch. Thirty seconds pass before I knock again, louder and longer this time. Still no answer. I’m beginning to think he’s not here when the lock clicks and the door cracks open. Bryce swings the door wider, and my eyes zero in on a bare chest. My gaze drifts from his firm abs and pecs up to meet a pair of gray eyes, squinted against the morning light. Confusion fills his features as he stares at me. “Colin didn’t come home last night,” I blurt out, my voice breaking. His gaze rests on my face for a moment before circling the room, reminding me we’re being monitored. “I’m sure he’s fine, but let me get dressed, and we’ll look for him.” Stepping inside, I close the door and bounce on the balls of my feet while I wait for him. The place is decorated in neo-classic guy. A fireplace and hearth runs the length of the front of the apartment, and opposite that is a solid glass wall overlooking a weedy, overgrown garden. The limited furniture is a jumble of chairs, a couch, and a couple of mismatched tables littered with empty beer bottles. Bryce dresses in record time and takes my hand, pulling me outside. He leads the way to the depot to catch a train back to the nightclub. “I want to retrace his steps after we left,” he says. “He might’ve just found some company for the evening.” “That’s what Lisa said, but I think there’s more to it.” “It’s no secret how he feels about Lisa. He might’ve just wanted to get away for the night.” “But his bag is still at her place. He would’ve had to come get it before catching his train.” The nightclub is deserted with the exception of a handful of staff still cleaning up. Bryce walks up to a lanky guy pushing a broom. “Can I talk to the manager?” A woman in her mid-thirties approaches us a few minutes later, wiping her hands on an apron. She sweeps a chunk of blond hair out of her face with the back of her wrist. “Can I help you?” “Yeah, I’m Detective Cooper,” Bryce says, flashing his credentials. “We’re looking for a friend. He was here with us last night, but we’re not sure what happened to him.” She glances between me and Bryce. “Did something happen to him?” “That’s what we’re trying to find out. Can we take a look at the security feed from last night?” “Sure,” she says, inclining her head. “Come on back.” We follow her past the bar and into a small office beyond the kitchen. “Here,” she says, indicating a chair in front of a display screen. Bryce sits and she shows him how to move through the video files. Bryce locates the one time-stamped from when we were here and forwards through frame-by-frame. I see us leaving for the night and Colin dancing with the girls, getting another drink, dancing some more, then about an hour later, Colin walks toward the exit alone. A guy in a sweatshirt, hood pulled up, hands shoved into his jeans pockets, approaches Colin. They appear to exchange words. Colin nods before following the guy out the front door. “What the hell?” I ask. “Who was that guy?” Terror sweeps through me, turning my blood to ice. “And where the hell is Colin?” “I don’t know,” Bryce says, reaching over to squeeze my hand. “But we’ll find him, I promise.”

Book 3 - The Uprising by T.H. Hernandez 
Young Adult/Speculative 
Published: December, 2015 

The Uprising

Recovering from a near-fatal gunshot wound, eighteen-year-old Evan Taylor must find a way to stop the Uprising, an underground movement committed to destroying the Union, before her homeland is attacked. After spending the last four months in the Ruins trying to get back to the only girl he’s ever loved, nineteen-year-old Cyrus needs to get past his jealousy over Evan’s involvement with Bryce or risk losing her again. Together, Evan and Cyrus join with their friends to devise a plan to save both the Ruins and the Union, but when the pressure’s on, bickering and infighting threaten to undermine their goals. New information revealing a weakness in the Uprising is uncovered, forcing them to act quickly or risk losing everything. With the help of old friends and new allies they set out to make history, but it might just take a miracle for everyone to make it out alive. THE UPRISING is the third book in THE UNION series, a young adult romantic adventure set in the near future.


Author Interview:

Where do your ideas come from? 
I’ve always had an overactive imagination. The kind that kept me from paying attention in class. My mind would always wander to the great what if. Ideas just come to me in the wierdest places. For instance, we head down to Comic-Con every year, even though we never get passes. We just like to hang out outside the convention center where there is still so much to do. Two years ago, we found out afterward, Daniel Radcliffe was walking around outside the venue, too, dressed as Spider-man. I saw a lot of Spider-men that day, one of them could have been him. I started thinking, what if superheroes were real and went to Comic-Con to make fun of all the crazy fans, but they dressed up as other characters. And that led me on a long and winding road that led to the current book I’m writing, Superhero High.

How do you develop your writing ideas? 
By spending a lot of time inside my head. I take an idea and I explore it, making notes when my brain hits on something that absolutely needs to be incorporated. Then I start trying to figure out who the main character should be who will tell the story, what they want more than anything and what is standing in their way. It just sort of goes from there.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters? 
Everywhere. I have a Pinterest board where I pin faces or images that suggest a character. But that’s only what they look like. I will look at that image and try to imagine who they are, what they want and why. Although my stories tend to be more character driven, I still start with plot first, then figure out what kind of characters will best tell that story.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? 
I have no idea. And I know that sounds strange, but I originally wanted to be an artist. I took private art classes as a kid and took art all through high school and into college, but I think at some point, like many kids in college, I realized art wasn’t the best way to make a living and I needed to want to create art more than I wanted to make a decent living. I dropped out of school until I could figure it out. Fast forward a dozen years and I was writing proposals for a high-tech company and from there I did other business writing and realized I was good at it, but it wasn’t artistically satisfying. So five years ago, I decided to try writing fiction.

What makes you unique as a writer? 
I don’t know, that’s tough. I think it is probably a little unusual in my genre of dystopian to have character-driven stories instead of plot-driven, but I’m not sure it’s unique. 

What writers inspire/d you? 
John Marsden. I devoured his Tomorrow When the War Began series and I knew when I finished the last book, I wanted to write books like he did, but different. But every book I read now is inspiration. When I get thoroughly engrossed, I go back and reread sections to figure out what the author did. How did they suck me in in that spot? I study the craft of other writers. Gillian Flynn’s prose is beautifully inspiring even if her story, Gone Girl, is dark and twisted.

How has your writing career changed since you started? 
I’ve learned a lot more about the art of writing, how to tell a story, how to increase tension and conflict. I think every book I write is better than the previous one.

What does your writing process look like? 
I’m always anxious to get going, but I need to know where I’m going. So I start with some initial planning, like the story arc and character sketches, then I write my first draft. I never read anything I write until I’m done, unless I need to reference something, making notes as I go of things that need to change based on how the story evolves. Then I go back and create a detailed outline and scene-by-scene index cards. After that, I try to figure out how much of my first draft is salvageable, and plug what I’ve written into my new outline, writing new scenes as necessary. After that it’s revisions, seeking input from alpha and beta readers, more revisions, and finally the final draft that goes off to my copy editor.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk? 
I can’t write in silence. I have to be listening to music, the television, something.

What are your writing goals for the next year? 
To publish the fourth book in The Union series, get Superhero High ready to query, and draft the fifth book in The Union series.

Name the five biggest distractions from your writing. Email, Facebook, reading, Facebook, oh and Facebook.

What character would you most like to be stuck in an elevator with? Cyrus. Totally.

Do you hear from your readers much? 
What kinds of things do they say? I do. They usually ask when the next book is coming out, or tweet me with their favorite line from one of the books. Occasionally they’ll let me know about something in the book that upset them or made them happy.

Some Get to know me Questions

What’s the best vacation you ever had? 
Three years ago we went to Flagstaff, Arizona for Thanksgiving. We packed the week with trips to the Grand Canyon, an underground lava cave, the great meteor crater, the cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon. It was just a great family vacation.

What’s your favourite rainy day movie? 
Blazing Saddles.

If you could be any age again for a week, which would you choose and why? 
Probably 22. I was old enough to drink and everything on my body was firm and tone. I’d miss my kids, but since it’s only a week, I’d enjoy the heck out of that week.

If you could have personally witnessed one event in history, what would it be? 
I would love to  have been in Times Square for V-J Day when the end of WWII was announced. The excitement must have been overwhelming.

What's you favourite place to read? 
On the couch, feet up on the ottoman, fire going, kids watching a movie next to me. 

When you walk into a book store, where do you head first? 
New releases.

If you had a million dollars, what would be the first thing you would buy? 
My dream home with room for a writing shed in the backyard.

theresaAbout the Author: 
T.H. Hernandez is the author of the young adult futuristic/dystopian series, The Union. The first book, The Union, was a finalist in the 2015 San Diego book awards in the Young Adult Fiction category. When not writing, you can usually find her reading, finishing more than 200 books over the past two years. She loves pumpkin spice lattes, Comic-Con, Star Wars, Doctor Who marathons, Bad Lip Reading videos, and all things young adult, especially the three young adults who share her home. When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside her head, T.H. Hernandez lives in usually sunny San Diego, California with her husband and three children, a couple of cats and a dog who thinks he’s a cat, often referred to as “the puppycat.”   

Twitter: @TheresaHernandz

The Giveaway: 
 (1) $25 Amazon GC, 
 (2) $10 Amazon GC, 
 (5) $5 Amazon GCs

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