You know the drill by now, and the cool prizes you could win during the hunt, so let’s get right to an interview with Evan Angler:
(Missed one of stops, or ended up on my blog first? Go HERE to get all the details on the Scavenger Hunt. If not, let’s get to Evan. And make sure you read to the end of the interview for your chance to win my two latest novels.)
Nice to have you as part of the Author Scavenger Hunt, Evan!
It’s great being here. Thank you for including me!
Can you give us a brief description of your Swipe Seires, Evan?
Well, by the time anyone reads this, the Swipe Series will most likely be banned throughout the Global Union. But for those intrepid Unmarked among you, for those of you determined to find it no matter the cost, here is what you should know:
The Swipe Series is about you. It is about the ones who question. Who think for themselves. Who analyze. Who doubt…
Because under a government that swipes its own children for showing the faintest signs of what might someday become defiance…you are the ones in danger.
These books are the biographical chronicles of Logan Langly, Erin Arbitor, Ali Without a Name, and a global resistance known as the Dust. Theirs is a story about conviction, and these are books about consequences. About drawing lines in the sand—and about taking back the swiped.
What was your inspiration for the Swipe Series?
Well, for years I’ve been involved in Beacon City’s Unmarked River system, sneaking Markless in and out of the city, and meeting all sorts of folks from across the Global Union as a result. But while I suppose you could say this made me something of an activist, the truth was that I mostly kept my head down and wanted not to rock the boat. The last thing I wanted was DOME’s (the Department of Marked Emergencies) attention, and my Markless life in the city’s alleyways was suiting me well.
But then a little over a year ago the raids started. DOME got mad enough that it began rounding us Markless up for no reason at all, whether or not we’d committed any crime. The whole situation had reached a boiling point. And during all of this, through the grapevine of the River, I learned that the start of it all was just this…well, this kid, Logan Langly. I learned that this average 13 year-old boy from halfway across the country—in Spokie, some town I’d never even heard of—that he’d somehow broken DOME’s nerve. He’d started a movement.
And I could see that very few people outside the Unmarked River had ever heard of this guy, despite the trouble he was causing, despite his tremendous influence…so I decided that his was a story that needed to be told. I’d always wanted to be a writer. Suddenly I had a reason to write. A purpose.
I decided to chronicle Logan’s adventure, piecing his story together through rumors I’d heard and research I’d gathered. So I wrote SWIPE over that first year, and followed it quickly with SNEAK and STORM as the news of Logan’s ongoing adventure continued to unfold. Those books are all banned by DOME now, of course, and unfortunately I fear that the attention I’ve brought upon Logan and his friends in the Dust has caused them more harm than good. He’s trapped now, as am I, in DOME’s prison. I write to you know though hacked Ultranet channels.
But there is still hope for us. Just before I was captured by DOME, I was able to finish SPARK, the fourth book in the Swipe Series. It takes a look at the Dark Lands, the area outside of DOME’s reach, and it focuses particularly on the Dust’s newest great spark of hope—a young beggar girl named Ali who’s found a way to control old vestige technology from the time before our global collapse. That book released just this fall, and I look forward to getting it into the hands of Unmarked hopefuls all across the Global Union—before it’s too late.
If you could sit down with your main character, Logan, what would you tell him? Any advice? Warnings?
I’m more interested in what advice he has for me. He knows a lot more than I do, at this point—right now I’m just struggling to catch up. But if I could tell him any one thing, I’d tell him not to lose sight of what’s important, and not to get bogged down by his daily battles, tiring as they are.
The thing that’s gotten Logan through the many crises of the Swipe books so far is his strength of character—that’s what allowed him to make and to stand by his difficult choices, even in the face of intense consequences. But Logan and his friends in the Dust now find themselves thrust into a much more complicated world—one in which everything they took for granted has vanished, and one in which society’s moral and ethical compass has lost True North. So they’re left to navigate on their own. And that’s difficult, I know. But the longer they stay the course, and the longer they insist on doing right by themselves and by their friends—no matter the cost—the farther they’ll get.
Has any of the research you’ve done for the Swipe Series struck you as particularly interesting? Anything that didn’t make it into the books?
I did a lot of research for the second Swipe book, SNEAK, to make sure I was getting the science right behind foxhole and shortwave radios. And while I ended up cutting the more in-depth, nitty-gritty explanations of how they work within the book, what remains is all accurate, believe it or not. You really can make a working radio out of some old wire, a rusty razor blade, and a clothespin. Nothing high-tech is required—not even batteries.
What’s the hardest part about writing a series like this?
The scope, and staying truthful throughout. There are a lot of people in these books, they travel a lot and cover a large area, and they have a variety of goals, interests, and psychologies that are rarely in line. So the tricky part—but also the fun part—is to take this wide scope, this satellite view of things, and to slowly zoom in over the course of each book, so that by the end of each, you’ve gone from this 10,000 feet flyover perspective all the way down to this one claustrophobic corner that you’ve backed yourself into, and all of a sudden you realize that every disparate piece has all slowly been coming together, this whole time, without anyone even noticing, in order for each book’s climax to happen just so. You’d be amazed how much brain-time it takes to get that convergence right. Even when, as the biographer, I know what’s going to happen, it’s still a puzzle to fit the pieces together.
What message do you want readers to take away from your books?
I don’t set out to write these books with any agenda other than to tell Logan and the Dust’s story as truthfully as possible. From there, many ideas and themes may emerge, but I really feel it’s up to the reader to decide which of them is most important.
One of my readers, Tyler L., whom I have never met, described SWIPE in a review of his that was highlighted by the School Library Journal. In it, he said that “[Swipe] moves at a very fast pace, and shows a number of things, but most of all friendship. A lot of people protect others in this book, even if the one they’re protecting doesn’t know it. … Sometimes people think someone is really evil and bad and that person turns out to be good.”
I love that. I think Tyler nailed it. As soon as I read his words, I thought—Yes! That’s it! That’s the message! I couldn’t have said it better myself! But this was Tyler’s insight, not mine. I thank him for it.
Will there be more Swipe books to come? Can you tell us a little bit about them? (Without giving too much away…wouldn’t want DOME to find anything out.)
I’ve conceived of the Swipe Series as having six books total, so that leaves me with two left. The first two books in the series, Swipe and Sneak, worked to set up the world and our characters—our dominoes, as it were. In the third and fourth books, Storm and Spark, we’ve watched all those dominoes fall spectacularly. From here on out, it’s all end game. Every secret will be revealed, every mystery solved, every story tied up. I’m excited.
It’s going to be quite a ride.
Thanks again for hosting me on your wonderful website, James! Keep low, stay out of DOME’s sights, and let’s make sure to chat again soon.
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