Monday, October 22, 2012

Waning Moon Blog Tour: excerpt, interview, review + giveaway

On this Monday we bring you a YA dystopian that takes place about ninety minutes from where we live in the Hudson Valley, in Albany, New York. Reading Waning Moon by P.J. Sharon was quite a trip (a very enjoyable one) and our review is below. Right now we are thrilled to host the Waning Moon Blog Tour presented by Goddess Fish Promotions. We have an exciting excerpt to share and our interview with the author. Welcome!

Waning Moon (The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael, #1) by P.J. Sharon
YA dystopian*e-book, 260 pages*self-published September 25, 2012
Purchase: Kindle | B&N paperback & Nook

In the year 2057, in a post-apocalyptic world where a global shift threatens the remainder of the population with extinction, sixteen-year-old genetically enhanced Lily Charmichael has more immediate problems. Her uncle is dying of cancer and her healing abilities are ineffective against the blood ties that bind them. In order to find a cure, Lily must leave the protection of her quiet town and journey into the trading city of Albany, all while avoiding the Industry, an agency that would like nothing better than to study and exploit her abilities. 

Seventeen-year-old Will Callahan has been searching for his father since severe storms blasted through the Midwest, killing his mother and sister. When he learns that his father may be in the city, he catches a ride with Lily, a girl who has come to his rescue more than once. As the two embark on a dangerous journey, the attraction between them grows. But the secrets Will’s keeping could put her in far more danger than traveling to the city with him, and if he was any kind of man, he would have told her to run the minute she found him.

An excerpt:
We both groaned as we lifted the heavy iron cover. I dropped down into the icy churning water, sucking in a breath while Will climbed down the ladder. He paused, grunting as he pulled the heavy cover in place behind him.

Just in time. We heard rushing footsteps overhead, voices loud and angry. Will and I exchanged a look and then turned toward the dark tunnel. I felt Will’s hand slip into mine as he took the lead. “Stay with me. Don’t let go, okay?”

I let him pull me forward. The water deepened as we dragged ourselves along. The sound of rushing water ahead had me backing up against the current. “This is not a good idea.”

Will tugged me by the hand, wincing in pain. “It’s the only way out. Trust me. It’ll be alright.”

“Trust you? That’s a joke, right?”

“Can we fight about this later?”

Before I could argue, a wave of turbulent water rushed in from a connecting pipe, and swept us off our feet. Will’s hand tightened around mine and we dropped abruptly downward. As the slope steepened, the water picked up speed. Darkness and the stench of sewage overwhelmed my senses. I prayed a quick prayer that the end of the tunnel was near. What I worried for next was how far of a fall it would be to the murky waters of the Hudson below when we reached it. 

Another rapid decent shot my stomach to my throat and Will’s hand pulled free. “Noooo!” 

But the thunderous roar of the cascading waterfall swallowed the sound of my scream. It launched us into the darkening horizon like a torpedo and then dumped us thirty feet into the icy roiling waters of the Hudson River.

with P.J. Sharon
1) What was the inspiration for Waning Moon? How would you classify it?
WANING MOON is Book One in The Chronicles of Lily Carmichael trilogy. It fits into the YA Dystopian category with a slight bent toward the sci-fi with genetically altered teens. I was inspired by conversations with friends and neighbors about where we thought the world might be in fifty years. We came up with many scenarios that are completely plausible—none of them very rosy. Once I had those ideas planted in my head, the story unfolded and I knew I had to write it down.

2) Can you share some of Lily's history of how she came into creation? What is it to be genetically enhanced?
Lily is a sixteen-year-old girl living in 2057. She is the first generation of genetically engineered children who were bred to survive the plagues that wipe out three quarters of the Earth’s population. Her genetic modification not only makes her resistant to the plague, but gives her the ability to heal quickly and an intuitive ability to heal others. Her thirteen-year-old brother, Zephron, has the opposite capability, which is to take life with just a touch.

Their mother, a geneticist, died during Zeph’s birth and their father was killed by a government agency called the Industry, an organization trying to capture these EVO (evolutionary) kids to use them for their own purposes. Lily and Zeph live with their uncle in the Northeast Sector, trying to remain hidden from the Industry. But when a young drifter named Will is caught in a trap on their property and Lily decides to heal him, their secret is bound to get out.

3) The trading city of Albany sounds like an intriguing place. What is it like?
Albany is located on the Hudson River, and with access to the Great Lakes and the Eerie Canal, made sense as the best location in the Northeast for people to gather for trade in the event of economic collapse. In my Dystopian world, Albany is a bustling city with a combination of old and new construction. It is one of the cities that has not been entirely taken over by the new government, so people can still come and go as they please and come together to trade goods. It’s a huge melting pot of diversity, but is also a dangerous place for Lily and Will because there are Industry agents and robotic Guardians that are searching for EVO kids like Lily.

4) What is the world like in 2057? How do you go about your world-building? The main characters--Lily, Will--have normal sounding names, why did you choose regular names in a futuristic setting?
Lily and Will named themselves, as is the norm for most of my characters. The story takes place forty-five years in the future. That’s only one or two generations forward so I imagine names won’t have changed too much, although I’m sure there will be some interesting variations, such as her brother Zephron, and Lily’s friend Garnet.

My world building came about through that classic writer’s question, “what if?” What would happen if a virus wiped out three quarters of the population before scientists could find a solution? Without three quarters of the work force, the economy would surely collapse. Infrastructure would be unsustainable, and there would be a period of grief and chaos before the people left behind would be able to regroup and start rebuilding.

If a new government took over, appointed leaders, and did away with the constitution in an effort to gain control, you would have small groups of rebels who would want to restore democracy, and you would have others who would follow whatever government existed in hopes of having the protection and provision that the new leaders would offer.

Add the effects of climate change after a slight global shift that completely changes the landscape of our world, and you have some pretty big challenges for our heroine. Canada and points north are in a new ice age, the south is a swamp, and everything from the Midwest to the west coast is desert. The Northeast has brutal seasonal changes, but at least they have clean water and resources.

Lest you think it’s all gloom and doom, Lily is a healer for a reason. You’ll have to follow her and Will’s journey to see how they adapt, improvise, and overcome in this new world, and how, with the help of the new generation, find a way to survive.

5) What was the most difficult part of writing this novel? The easiest?

The most difficult part was getting all the details of the dystopian world worked out. Once you create a world that does not yet exist, you’re locked into the physical limitations of that world. With a trilogy, that means I have to keep those details consistent for three books.

The easiest part was understanding Lily and her conflict. Her main goal from the very beginning of the trilogy is to protect her younger brother, an impossible goal since he is on his own journey of self-discovery and is faced with a dark side he can’t control. There are other challenges that Lily faces through each story, but that central conflict will carry through all three books.

6) Is Lily like Katniss or Bella or somewhere in-between?
Maybe somewhere in-between. She’s definitely not broody like Bella, a quality that doesn’t impress me in that character. She’s also not quite as ruthless as Katniss. Being a healer, Lily strives to overcome the darkness she finds in the world. All of my stories have elements of real life teen difficulties, but I like to take my characters on a journey that ends with a hopefully ever after—one that involves romance, adventure, and personal growth.

7) What can readers expect to see in the remainder of the series (hints? clues?)?
Book Two will chronicle Lily and Will’s journey to the WESTERN DESERT, where they will try to rescue other genetically engineered kids known as EVO’s, who are being held by the Industry. Readers will get to see what the rest of the US looks like in fifty years or so, at least in my future world. Book Three, called WINTER’S SUN will be the culmination of Will and Lily’s effort to restore democracy and save the planet. When I put it that way, boy have I got my work cut out for me.

8) Who would you choose to play the main characters for the movie version?
I could totally see Emma Watson playing Lily, although she’s a little too old for the part now. And I like Chord Overstreet (Sam from Glee), as Will. John Stamos could play Lily’s Uncle Sam, and her brother Zephron would have to be played by some unknown creepy thirteen-year-old boy with dark, curly hair, who would totally steal the show.

About the author:
PJ Sharon

I knew I would be a writer someday when I was a little girl sitting on my grandpa’s knee and telling him stories that he would help me put on paper. By the time I entered kindergarten I could already read and write, and I couldn’t wait to look up new words every morning in the ginormous Webster’s Dictionary that sat in the book case at the bottom of our stairs. I would get on the bus and ask my friends, “Do you know what pulchritudinous means?” Between that and challenging the boys to push-up contests at the bus stop, I mostly sat alone on those bus rides to school. But that just meant I had more time to make up stories. 

I went on to many other endeavors in life, including the world of figure skating, and later, earning a black belt in martial arts. Though I was a mom at seventeen, I did manage to finish school and somehow made it through college, earning a degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant. After nineteen years, two sons, a divorce, and some fairly lean years, I found that it’s true what they say about life beginning at forty. It was about that time when I reunited with the love of my life and worked my way to owning my own business as a Massage Therapist, Personal Trainer, and Yoga Instructor—all of my favorite things. To make my bliss complete, I moved out to the Berkshires and found my muse waiting for me there amongst the lilacs and humming birds. 

I now write Extraordinary Stories of an Average Teenage Life in order to share hope with others, especially teens, that no matter how tough life gets, there is always a bright spot waiting just around the corner. My published books include the award winning YA Novels, HEAVEN IS FOR HEROES, ON THIN ICE, and SAVAGE CINDERELLA, available through Amazon and B&N Booksellers.

I fell into reading Waning Moon with the quick ease of a cold person entering a warm room, given a cup of hot tea and a comfortable blanket. P.J. Sharon's writing has that perfect mix of 'the essentials' a reader needs: just the right amount of emotion, reaction, action, plot and backstory. The steady pacing, interesting characters and increasingly intense story made me forget where I was. Lily is a strong young woman, a healer, a caregiver to her younger brother and Uncle Sam, loving and still vulnerable. At sixteen, she notices the good looking drifter she helps rescue from one of her uncle's traps in the ground. She knows Sam won't be happy to have a stranger inside their house, but he understands her need to help a wounded person. This drifter, Will, has his own baggage and is searching for someone. Meeting him will impact Lily's world.

In 2057, the world has changed after a virus decimated a sizable chunk of the population and a global shift forces people to create housing and gear to protect themselves from the sun's rays and drastic changes in temperatures.. Food is scarce, trading goods and services is popular, and the government has a secretive organization, the Industry, searching for genetically altered kids who were part of an experiment. Lily and her younger brother, Zephron, are two such kids. When Lily embarks on her trip to Albany to trade, Will accompanies her. Both are on a journey to search for those they love but secrets may put the two in more danger than they know.

Waning Moon is an excellent, entertaining read and I can honestly say I loved it! I really liked Lily and the mysterious Will. Even the secondary characters were likable and what can I say about those two wolves? The futuristic world was unique and easily believable.  Lily and Will's growing attraction only added to the intensity of their situations. The actions scenes played out like a movie and I hated for the first part of the series to end. I was just up in Albany two weeks ago and thought about Lily traveling the area in the future. P.J. Sharon has created a story fans of dystopian, futuristic, and general good storytelling can get excited about. Recommended.

Rating: 4.5 Loved it!

Favorite excerpt:

“Don’t look so worried, Lily. We have it under control. Nobody is going to know what happened and it’ll be a while before the Industry people come this way again.”

“What do we do then?” I searched Sam’s face and then turned to Zeph who was slurping gravy from his bowl like it was any other day. “What happens when they send someone else?” I demanded.

Sam set down his fork and rested his elbows on the table. “I’ve got a plan; trust me. But for today, you and your brother are safe. We can’t go worrying about what-ifs. Your mom used to say, ‘Let’s not borrow trouble’.” He picked up his fork and stabbed another piece of meat.

I sighed. At least we all had the same philosophy about not looking too far forward into the future. If I was charged with murder, falling into the hands of the Industry would be the least of our worries. I plunked into a chair, exhausted from the tension that had my shoulders strung tight.

Sam had Mom’s warm brown eyes, and it was clear he had loved his younger sister. He’d taken us in and treated us as if we were his own. Having him smile the same way she did helped fill that deep well of sorrow I still felt when I thought of my parents. I had only foggy memories and mother’s medical journals to keep me connected to them.

“We have to keep the faith, Lily.” Sam’s voice drew me back from my gloomy reminiscing. He cleaned the bottom of his bowl with the last of his bread and looked at me hard. “You can’t let fear get the better of you. I’ve taught you everything you need to know about surviving in this world. You and your brother have learned well.” He looked from one to the other of us and sat back in his chair. “What you did today was save your brother and probably me, too. I owe you my thanks for being brave and doing what had to be done.”

I pushed away from the table, stacked the bowls, and carried them to the sink as I blinked back tears and swallowed hard. Even with all of Sam’s training, I’d hoped I would never have to use it. “I don’t want or deserve your thanks,” I said softly. “I killed a man today, and I can’t ever take that back. I ran hot water in the sink and stared into the rising bubbles, wishing I could wash the guilt of that action away as easy as I could clean the dishes, and wondering what my parents would think of me now."

Cover comment: I think it all works well for a cover.

Book source: Received a promotional e-book from the author in exchange for my honest review during a book tour.

PJ will be awarding an eBook copy of "Thin Ice" to one commenter at each stop and a $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. Follow the tour and comment to better your chances of winning. 

The remaining tour dates:
October 29: Night Owl Reads
October 31: Rogues Angels

The entire list of tour dates can be found here.


  1. This was such a fun interview. I, too, live about 90 minutes from Albany which allowed me to make a few road trips on back country roads required for my research. I went during the tulip festival last spring and Washington park was beautiful. I found the people diverse, interesting, and friendly. It made the story really come to life for me.

    Thanks for having me here today, I look forward to responding to your guests.

  2. PJ, I can't wait to read Wanning Moon. I read your other two books Heaven is for Hereoes and On Thin Ice and loved both of them. I enjoyed the excerpt.

    1. Thanks, Marian. You're book, If I fail, is next up on my TBR list:-) Can't wait to read it with all those great reviews.

  3. This sounds like such a fascinating and fun read. A real girl heroine and all YA will enjoy it and we adults too.

  4. Hi MomJane, That is my hope...that adults will enjoy the trilogy as much as teens. Dystopian seems to be of universal interest these days. Thanks for stopping in!

    1. I can attest as the mom over here that Waning Moon can be enjoyed by many ages, including adults! I really enjoyed it:)


  5. Great interview, I enjoyed reading it.


  6. I enjoyed this interview and how the story came about with global change and shift. I like the idea of genetically-engineered children...not "like" so much as find it interesting since we seem to be going down that road for food.

    You live near my writer step-daughter, Shannon Delany, who wrote the 13 to Life werewolf series.

    I'm definitely getting the book, PJ.

  7. Thanks, Mitzi. I hope you enjoy Lily and Will's journey.

  8. Awesome interview!! I'm very excited about this series and just wish I had more time for reading to I can get to it on my list sooner. But maybe the next books will be available and I can devour them all at once. :)

    1. LOL, Stacey! Thanks for stopping in. I hear you on the never-enough-time-to-read and the monster TBR pile calling out for attention. I appreciate the support. The next book won't be out until next summer, so you have time to clear your book reading schedule:-)

  9. I think what scares me is that 2057 is not that far away. Who knows???


    1. If you think of where we were forty-five years ago, the changes are amazing. I'd bet the next forty-five will hold some very big surprises.

  10. We thank everyone who stopped by and commented. We hope you get to read Waning Moon.

    1. Thank you so much for having me today, Laurie, Caitlin, and Meg. It was a fun interview!

  11. Great interview PJ! Have a marvelous "tour" and I hope the book is a smash!

    1. Thank you so much for the well-wishes, Donna. Your support means a lot.

  12. This books sounds really great. I always love imagining the future. I'll definitely add it to my "to read" list.
    steph 0828 at hotmail dot com