by Matthew S. Cox
Publication date: February 6th, 2018
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Under the watchful eye of the Mother Shrine, twelve-year-old Wisp ekes out a simple, but challenging life with Dad, foraging for food and losing herself in old books from the world that came before. She loves the Endless Forest ― except when the Tree Walkers come for her.
In ages past, the great rain of fire and ash destroyed the Earth, wiping out the ancients and everything they had made. Nature has reclaimed much since then, spreading out in a vast forest full of wonder and dread. Ever in fear of being taken away, she follows Dad’s rules without question while learning to survive off the land.
No longer a small child, she accompanies Dad on one of his treks, her first time more than a few steps away from the cabin. A day exploring with him is the happiest time of her life, but joy is short-lived.
A monster follows them home.
Safe in her Haven, she hides while Dad goes outside to confront the beast. She wakes alone the next morning, and waits. Alas, her hope of his return fades with the daylight. Desperate, she breaks his strictest rule and goes outside alone. Not far from the cabin, she discovers his rifle abandoned next to the monster’s strange footprints.
Afraid but determined, Wisp sets off on her own into the Endless Forest to find Dad ― before the Tree Walkers catch her.
~AUTHOR INTERVIEW with Matthew S. Cox~
1) What inspired you to become a writer?
For many years, I dabbled at writing. Mostly, what I wrote went toward developing sourcebooks for roleplaying games. In 2013, I worked a day job responding to emails and the supervisor I had at the time (who was also an author) noticed something in the way I wrote emails and asked me if I had ever considered writing books. (At the time I had written one, an enormous monstrosity that has not seen the light of day. I think all writers have their Godzilla 400k word book that they keep in a trunk somewhere under lock and key.) Anyway, Chris prodded me to try “getting serious” about writing. It took a few months after that for me to wean myself away from World of Warcraft (which had gotten kinda boring and felt more like a job than entertainment). Once I did that, I wound up with this enormous block of free time… and started writing.
2) What was the hardest part of writing this book?
Not writing it. What I mean by that is, during the initial draft, I was so into this story that I wanted to throw every spare minute at it. When I was obligated to do other things, it drove me nuts. All I wanted to do was finish this manuscript.
3) Did you learn anything from writing the book that you weren’t expecting?
Yes. I did a bit of research on woodland survival, edible plants (and bugs) and that sort of thing.
4) Who is your favorite author and what it is that you enjoy about their work?
Toss up between William Gibson and Philip K. Dick. Despite trying to tell myself that I’m an optimist, I love their cynical portrayal of a detached future. Already, some aspects of the “corporations vs. the people” typified in their settings is manifesting in reality.
5) If you could have any three literary characters over to your place for game night, who would you invite, what would you play, and why?
I think it would be pretty meta to have the characters from Lord of the Rings over and then play D&D with them.
6) How many books would you say that you own?
Somewhere between 100 and 200.
Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.
Hobbies and Interests: Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems, and a fan of anime, British humour and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it. He is also fond of cats.
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