Sunday, 24 April 2016

Blog Tour: Ascension: The Oasis Series by Jeannie Von Rompaey

ASCENSION: The Oasis Series

By Jeannie van Rompaey
Publication Date: 12th April 2016
Publisher: Clink Street Publishing


Meet the MUTANT HUMANOIDS. They may look a little different from us, but inside they're much the same as you and me. Left on a diseased Earth, they live in windowless compounds, safe from the contaminated wilderness outside. Safe, yes, but their lives are restricted. When the mutant humanoids discover that some complete human beings, COMPLETES, have also survived and are living greatly improved lives on satellites, they determine to rectify this imbalance and claim their share of Earth's heritage. Three-headed RA rules the humanoids with ruthless precision, but others are involved in a power struggle to depose him. Who will succeed in being the next CEO of Planet Earth? Sixteen -year-old MERCURY plans to start a new life on Oasis. Will it prove the Utopia he expects it to be?
ASCENSION, the first novel in Jeannie van Rompaey's Oasis Series, explores with humour and compassion the way humans respond to change. The future worlds of Earth and Oasis mirror our contemporary society. The division between the haves and have-nots widens and the lust for power leads to corruption. But there are idealists determined to build a fairer, more egalitarian society.

Today I have something really special for you. At the end of the blog tour for Ascension: The Oasis Series, Jeannie Von Rompaey answers one very important question.

How Do You Create a Dystopia?

I have no idea how other writers set about this. I can only tell you how I tackled writing Ascension and Evolution the first two books in The Oasis Series.
A utopia is a community or society that possesses highly desirable or perfect qualities, a common literary theme especially in speculative and science fiction. Utopias are rarely completely successful. I suppose because we are flawed human beings who tend to mess up our world.
A dystopia is an unpleasant, typically repressive society. Most speculative fiction is a combination of utopian and dystopian ideas. It’s not all doom and gloom. One thing that always impresses me about this sort of book is that it celebrates the adaptability of human nature to often horrific conditions.
Inspired by other modern authors, in particular Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale, her trilogy, Oryx and Crake, The Year of the Flood and MaddAddam) and Kazuo Ishiguru (Never let Me Go) and driven by my interest in the social and political state of the contemporary world, I decided to try my hand at writing in this genre. I do not consider myself a science fiction writer, but then neither, I suspect, do the authors mentioned above. The dystopias they created make gripping, chilling stories that make us think about the world we live in and how human beings deal with its problems – surely the point of fiction. The idea of creating a new world was irresistible to me.
How to start? You might think it would involve a lot of planning to invent a world from scratch. It doesn’t. I begin the way I always start. With a blank page, a couple of characters, a setting and a situation. My work is always character-led. No plotting takes place at the initial stage. I prefer to write freely.
I look up at the wall above my desk where a three-headed portrait I painted some time before is hanging. The original model for the portrait must have come from my dreams. At any rate, he soon becomes the ruthless three-headed Ra in Ascension. As I look at him, it comes to me that I could people my world with human beings born with mutations after some disaster or other. They could have extra limbs or only one eye. I imagine these mutant humanoids living incarcerated in windowless compounds on a contaminated Earth. But who put them there? Human beings with no mutations is the answer, completes, who have escaped to Planet Oasis, a manmade satellite in the sky where they live privileged lives in what they hope will be a better world, a utopia of their own making.
How these two groups - the mutant humanoids and the completes - respond to each other will form the main thrust of my plot.
I concentrate firstly on a group of mutant humanoids living in one particular compound on Earth, Compound 55, and invent a plethora of quirky characters. I decide to call them by names from mythology or legend: Odysseus, Isis, Kali, Sati, Mercury and Heracles. I start with their physical appearances and move on to their personalities. The elderly historian Odysseus with his triangular face and one large central eye prides himself on being clear-sighted, but he’s more intellectual than street-wise; Isis, his assistant, brought up as his daughter, has an extra little arm and a moon face. She’s more interested in beauty products than history. Three-legged, square-faced Heracles, is arrogant and ambitious, the villain of the piece. Kali, the chief administrator, has blue-black skin and dreadlocks and four arms. Poisonous snakes grow out of her neck and wrists. Her ersatz son, Little Mercury, with his big ears and clipped wings, is a computer whiz kid. He becomes the protagonist of the novel when he’s offered the opportunity to go to Planet Oasis. He is the reader’s link between the two invented worlds. He really wrote himself into the role. I didn’t plan to have a sixteen-year-boy as the main character!
Various mutant humanoids share the narrative, giving their individual take on their lives. The multiple viewpoints give insights into their minds and demonstrate that whatever happens to them, they remain determined, not just to survive, but achieve their ambitions.
I hope through dystopian fiction I am presenting not just a warning as to what our world could become in the future if we don’t take care of our planet, but also an optimistic portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit. I decided at an early stage in the writing that I wanted the end of each book to end on an optimistic note. Maybe because I’m essentially an optimist.
I am now writing Book Three in the Oasis Series, Renaissance. I’m thoroughly enjoying continuing with the creation of this alternative, future world. It’s the most imaginative project I’ve undertaken. My hope is that readers will enjoy the books and ask for more.

I would like to share with you a little bit about Jeannie Von Rompaey

Award-winning author, Jeannie van Rompaey, MA in Modern Literature, has enjoyed a varied career as lecturer, theatre-director, actress and performance poet. As Jeannie Russell, she is a senior member of the Guild of Drama Adjudicators and adjudicates at drama festivals in Britain and Europe. Originally from London, she has lived in various countries including America and Spain. She now resides in Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, with her historian husband, Tony. She spends her time writing novels, short stories, plays and poems. When not writing she enjoys painting, and has had several art exhibitions on the island, and runs poetry and theatrical events at The British Club in Las Palmas. She has written eight novels including After (CreateSpace 2014) and Devil Face (Create Space 2013), as well as a number of short stories, two books of poetry -Straight Talk and On the Move- and a series of plays.

You can get your own copy of Ascension here...

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