It's Saturday and we have an exciting line-up of tours for today and tomorrow. First off, we're thrilled to feature The Hallowed Ones series again. Now it's time to spotlight the second book, The Outside. We loved the first book in this YA paranormal series, The Hallowed Ones, and our review can be found here. I'm reading this book now and expect to post my review soon.
The Outside (The Hallowed Ones Book Two) by Laura Bickle
Genre: paranormal YA
Paperback/eBook, 325 pages
Date of Publication: September 3, 2013
One girl. One road. One chance to save what remains…
After a plague of vampires is unleashed in the world, Katie is kicked out of her Amish community for her refusal to adhere to the new rules of survival. Now in exile, she enters an outside world of unspeakable violence with only her two “English” friends and a horse by her side. Together they seek answers and other survivors—but each sunset brings the threat of vampire attack, and each sunrise the threat of starvation.
And yet through this darkness come the shining ones: luminescent men and women with the power to deflect vampires and survive the night. But can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all?
In this edge-of-your-seat thriller, it’s up to one Amish girl to save her family, her community, and the boy she loves . . . but what will she be asked to leave behind in return?
Vampires, the Amish, and the New World:
Writing the Second Book in a Series
By Laura Bickle
Writing the second book in a series is always something of a nail-biter for me. I want to remain true to the world that I build in the first story, but I also want to expand it and test the limits in the second installment. I want to really push my characters, to find their breaking points and show the pieces to the reader.
When I left my heroine, Katie, at the end of THE HALLOWED ONES, she was facing a long road. She’d been exiled from her Amish community for defying the Amish Elders, booted into the outside world where bloodthirsty vampires have ravaged civilization. She had only the company of her two outsider friends, Alex and Ginger, and a horse.
It seemed like a certain death sentence. Yet, in a lot of ways, this is what she wished for. Katie always longed to see the world beyond her settlement, and she gets what she wanted…in a terrible way. She yearned to see the lights of a city…but only finds abandoned, burnt-out buildings. Katie had wanted to try to drive a car…but all the usable cars have been siphoned or wrecked. She’d been curious about “English” dress. But she finds comfort in the Amish identity of her tattered dress, reluctant to give it up even for winter. Most of all, she wanted to meet new people. The people she meets are only shells of humans, vampires who want nothing more than to devour flesh.
Katie’s journey in THE OUTSIDE is very much the Hero’s Journey. She faces the threats of starvation and vampire attack while searching for survivors. She struggles with her faith, as her community and her God seem to have abandoned her. She feels that her morality is slipping away, as she’s forced to commit many terrible acts in order to survive, things that she would not have considered possible in her safe Amish home.
And she encounters people beyond her imagining, glowing people who seem to be able to deflect the vampires. At first, she thinks they are angels, come to save the remains of humanity from darkness. Can these new people be trusted, and are they even people at all? If Katie joins them, will she become less than human…or more than human? And if she brings this secret cure for vampirism back to her community…will they let her in? Will they accept the gift she offers? Is there even any home left to return to?
Katie’s journey comes full circle in THE OUTSIDE. She’s forced to stand up for those she loves, resolve her own values, and grow into a powerful woman. Her quest is a crushing one, but she shines through in a way that I hadn’t expected. She rebels, but still yearns for home. She comes to terms with her role as an individual and her role as a member of a community.
It’s a big journey, but one that I’m happy to have been a part of.
Advance Praise for The Outside:
“Top-notch. . . . A horror story with heart and soul.”
—Kirkus, starred review
“At once horrifying, hopeful, and hauntingly beautiful, this gorgeous read with its rich textures and spine-tingling suspense kept me glued to the pages in utter fascination. Laura Bickle is a master storyteller.”
-Darynda Jones, NY Times Bestselling author of The Darklight Series
Praise for The Hallowed Ones
"This is a book to make you fear the shadows--a horrifying and gruesome tale of faith, and things that blink red eyes in the night. I began reading in the daylight, and read on into the late hours, leaning close, biting my lip. I could not look away; I was obsessed. Katie is an unbreakable soul."
—Lauren DeStefano, New York Times Bestselling author of the Chemical Garden Trilogy
"What an eerily believable, unique story! I can't stop thinking about it--or shivering."
—Melissa Marr, New York Times bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely Books
"Tight pacing, suspenseful scenes, Wow! moments of tension, and exposure into a world I knew little about, The Hallowed Ones is an exciting, terse read. . . . Laura Bickle's debut novel for young adults has quickly become my favorite dystopian novel of 2012. . . . It left me wanting more, so much more."
"Readers will find it hard to put down this suspenseful, scary, compulsively readable adventure."
"Katie's an original character, and her thoughtful rebellion makes her an interesting addition to supernatural fictions's gallery of strong heroines."
About the Author:
Laura Bickle’s professional background is in criminal justice and library science, and when she’s not patrolling the stacks at the public library she’s dreaming up stories about the monsters under the stairs (she also writes contemporary fantasy novels under the name Alayna Williams).
Laura lives in Ohio with her husband and six mostly-reformed feral cats.