Guest Post by B.T. Lyons- (Character Interview)
Today we are very lucky to be able to sit down with Adain and his “Heart”, Fenjine, of the book Heartkeeper by B.T. Lyons … not an easy arrangement considering the story takes place several hundred years in Earth's future! To begin with, perhaps we should help our readers understand exactly what a Heart is and how it factors into people's lives in your culture.
Adain: Well, it's-
Fenjine: Don't you think I should take this one? I'm the Heart, after all.
Adain: (sighs) Fine, go ahead.
Fenjine: Thank you. (clears throat) Hearts are the spirits of animals that have passed on and remain on Earth. To humans, we appear as balls of light until one of us binds with a particular person. Once we bind with a human, our human sees us as the animal we were when we were alive. So Adain sees me as the mouse that I once was, though I'm still just a light to everyone else.
And does every person in your society have a Heart companion?
Adain: Yes. When we turn thirteen years old, we are required to go on what is called a Heart Chase, where we capture the Heart that will stay with us for the rest of our lives.
Fenjine: Or so you hope.
Adain: Exactly. If our Heart leaves us, we're cast out from our Villages and … well, we're done for if that happens. Anyway, that is what the book Heartkeeper is about: my Heart Chase, meeting Fenjine, and the year that follows where we have to go through several Trials to see if we are fit to remain with the People.
You're cast out if the Heart you are supposed to befriend leaves you? That sounds like a pretty hefty consequence.
Adain: It's part of an arrangement called the Covenant, which was an agreement made between humans and animal spirits several hundred years ago in our time. It guarantees that people do their best to be good not only to each other and all the other living things on the planet, but also to the planet itself. You see, in our past – your future – humans almost died out because Earth simply could not support them and their way of living any more. A very drastic change was needed so that we could all survive.
Fenjine: Humans gave up all their technology and all that rigamarole that was poisoning the planet, and once they learned to live with the Earth again, they could see us animal spirits again like they used to be able to long ago. Keeping it fairly simple, because it really is much more involved than this, we animal spirits now make sure that the human we pair up with doesn't do anything stupid, like kill animals for fun, steal, lie, wear tacky clothing …
Adain: Fenjine …
Fenjine: … let their toenails grow too long, eat their deserts before dinner …
Fenjine: … or go through life without a decent sense of humor!
So this Covenant, then, sort of guarantees then that everyone in your time is a good person?
Adain: That's correct.
Fenjine: Except sometimes it goes wrong.
Adain: What? No it doesn't!
Fenjine: Oh really? What about that Maro guy? You know, that bullying, arrogant, stuck-up jerk? You can't tell me he's actually 'good'.
Adain: All right, all right, we don't know why Maro gets away with acting the way he does. It's actually really weird because I'd have thought his Heart would have left him by now ….
Fenjine: He smells bad, too.
Adain: Knock it off, Fen!
We do have to wrap this up, so could each of you please tell our good readers why they should read Heartkeeper?
Adain: I think people will find it a fascinating story about Earth's future, where people have learned to live in peace with the environment and human culture has evolved in conjunction with the spirit world.
Fenjine: You always make things sound so boring, you know that?
Adain: Fine, you try it.
Fenjine: People should read 'Heartkeeper' because I am very, very funny. I'm a legend in my own time!
Adain: More like in your own mind!
Fenjine: Shush, you. Everyone should also read the book because it's a good read for all ages! Apparently these Clean Teen Publishing people who have put it out have this thing called a “rating system” that they use in all their books, and 'Heartkeeper' is rated as 'Young Adult – Everyone'. Mostly because I would be such a good influence for younger generations, of course.
Adain: (covering Fenjine up with both hands to silence him) It's just a really good story. People should check it out.
Thank you both very much for your time!
Adain: Thanks for having us!
Fenjine: Mmmmfff mmmrrffurrfff!
Book One in the Heartkeeper Saga
Release Date: July 6, 2013
Heartkeeper should reflect free on AMAZON soon!
“People of the Field, of the Cave, of the Forest, and of the Mountain, and all the places and habitats in between, our race is able to gather here tonight because in time past we found that we were not the warden of the Earth, but the Earth was our warden, our sustainer, our parent...”
Mankind has survived the near-collapse of life as they knew it, now living in harmony with the world around them. Adain, a young Tenderfoot of this Future Earth, is about to take part in his Heart Chase – the search for a companion animal spirit that will act as his companion and conscience for the rest of his life. Success in the Heart Chase and surviving the subsequent Trials over the year ensures his place amongst the People as an adult, but failure means his certain death...
...and his whole future lies on the Heart of a mouse.
Heartkeeper is the first book in the “Heartkeeper Saga”, an epic adventure of friendship, challenges, and danger as humans struggle to regain their foothold in a new world that is no longer theirs to control. Can they survive in balance with the Earth, or will the Earth decide they no longer belong?
Book Two in the Heartkeeper Saga
(Middle Grade- YA everyone)
Release Date: July 12, 2013
It's a new year, a new batch of Tenderfeet, and a new Heart Chase... but it is not the joyous occasion it has been for generations.
Shan, a Tenderfoot from devastated Sunperch Village, wants nothing to do with Hearts, the Heart Chase, or the Trials. All he wants is for the surviving children of his home to be safe... and he's willing to do anything to protect them.
Cill, now the youngest Heartsworn ever chosen by the People, is thrust headlong into a side of his People's culture that is changing daily, where the answers to life's challenges are never easy and what is “right” is not as obvious as it once seemed.
New alliances will be forged, an entire way of living will be questioned, and the mystery of the Hearts and the Guardians deepens in Heartbound, Book Two of the Heartkeeper Saga.
One thing that makes this cover extremely exciting is that the artwork was created by the author herself! (To see more of her art, check out her art page on her website.)
The novella of Heartkeeper was featured in Clean Teen Publishing's break through anthology, Wonderstruck and has received numerous outstanding reviews. When B.T. Lyons accepted our invitation to submit a full length novel for this fantastical story, we were so pleased. All of us at CTP are super excited to have such a talented artist and writer on our team!
B.T. Lyons was born in 1973, growing up in Boylston, Massachusetts, and lived her early life working on the family goat farm and learning wilderness survival skills in the surrounding woodlands. She is a jack-of-all-trades, having worked as everything from a zookeeper to bookstore manager, to a horror theme park actress, to a radio personality, to a builder of utility trucks. In a current fit of happy mid-life crisis, she is a history major at South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD.
She shares her home with her husband and her thirteen-year-old daughter, as well as a rat terrier, a Pomeranian, a ball python, and a rotating guest list of foster animals from the local humane society. B.T. is a rabid video game addict, and also enjoys drawing and creating various Neolithic-style handcrafts as her other hobbies. Her role models include Jim Henson, Jackie Chan, Hiyao Miyazaki, and Bill Cosby, and she is inspired by authors such as Richard Adams, Tad Williams, and Ray Bradbury.
Connect with B.T. Lyons:
Find More from Clean Teen Publishing:
Coming SOON: Heartkeeper and Heartbound by B.T. Lyons. (Middle Grade- Young Adult Series)