Tuesday, August 9, 2016

FLOOR 21 by Jason Luthor Teaser, Excerpt & Interview

We're happy to be hosting Jason Luthor's FLOOR 21 blog tour today!  Please leave a comment to let him know you stopped by!

About the Book:

The last of humanity is trapped at the top of an isolated apartment tower with no memory of how they got there or why. All travel beneath Floor 21 is forbidden, and nobody can ever recall seeing the ground floor. Beneath Floor 21, a sickness known as the Creep infests that halls of the Tower. A biological mass that grows stronger in reaction to people’s fear and anger, the Creep prey’s on people by causing them to hallucinate until they’re in a state of panicking, before finally growing strong enough to lash out and consume them. Only a small team known as Scavengers are allowed to go beneath Floor 21 to pillage the lower levels in search of food and supplies.

Jackie is a brilliant young girl that lives far above the infection and who rarely has to worry about facing any harm. However, her intense curiosity drives her to investigate the bottom floors and the Creep. To deal with her own anxiety and insecurities, she documents her experiences on a personal recorder as she explores the secrets of the Tower. During the course of her investigation, Jackie will find herself at odds with Tower Authority, which safeguards what remains of humanity, as she attempts to determine what created the Creep, how humanity became trapped at the top of the Tower, and whether anyone knows if escape is even possible.

For More Information

  • Floor 21 is available at Amazon.
  • Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

Book Excerpt

When you stop and think about it, I mean, our lives don’t make sense. We couldn’t have always lived up here, right? It gets me pretty antsy thinking about it because, I mean, this is a tower, so we had to have come up the stairs at some point. Didn’t we?
I don’t know, and thinking about it gets me frustrated. When I’m in this kind of mood, I go to the rooftop and look out. You can actually see other towers rising up in the distance. Some aren’t even that far from ours. I stare at them, and I’m just like . . . is anybody over there? Is anybody looking back at me? Does anybody know or remember we’re trapped in this place?
Or are we all that’s left?
After I’ve gotten myself sufficiently depressed, I’ll stare over the edge of the roof, trying to see how far below I can look. Thing is, it’s impossible to see much. This tower just vanishes into the Darkness. Nobody, and I mean nobody, even knows why. It’s just blackness down there.
Oh, about Floor 12. Yeah, that’s where the Creep really starts. The Creep? It’s this . . . gunk. Super-disgusting stuff that you shouldn’t touch because it makes you feel weird, and the lower down the Tower you go, the more you see it. It starts to cover the walls, and it’s kinda gross. It’s really slick, like saliva, and it looks all muscle-y. Almost alive. Good thing you don’t have to worry about it when you’re higher than Floor 11. Still, I wonder what it is. We all do. I know that when you touch it, you can start hallucinating. I did once. Well, okay, I’m lying. I’ve touched it a few times when I’ve been on the lower levels, which is why my parents made the rule that I couldn’t head down there in the first place. I mean, I don’t pay attention to them, but I get why they don’t want me going that far below into the Tower. The Creep makes you see . . . things. Shadowy things. Sometimes they’re right in front of you, but most of the time, they’re in the corner of your eye. They say that by Floor 21, you don’t even have to touch the Creep to hallucinate, which is a total trip. Must suck to live down there.

About the Author

Jason Luthor has spent a long life writing for sports outlets, media companies and universities. His earliest writing years came during his coverage of the San Antonio Spurs as an affiliate with the Spurs Report and its media partner, WOAI Radio. He would later enjoy a moderate relationship with Blizzard Entertainment, writing lore and stories for potential use in future games. At the academic level he has spent several years pursuing a PhD in American History at the University of Houston, with a special emphasis on Native American history.

His inspirations include some of the obvious; The Lord of the Rings and Chronciles of Narnia are some of the most cited fantasy series in history. However, his favorite reads include the Earthsea Cycle, the Chronicles of Prydain, as well as science fiction hits such as Starship Troopers and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep?
For More Information

Where are you from?
I was originally born in the Dallas-Forth Worth Area of Texas, though I’ve lived so many places that sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint a single place I come from.

Tell us your latest news?

Book 2 of the FLOOR 21 series released in April and the hardback copy is releasing sometime in August. Other than that, I’m busy editing Book 3 for release some time next year.

When and why did you begin writing?

I started writing when I was around eleven years old, during a writing contest for middle grade children. I believe that first story had something to do with a magical frog living in a castle fountain.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

At about the age of 19, when I was trying to write my first novel. It was a total disaster, but I also learned how much time I was willing to invest in writing a story.

What inspired you to write your first book?

FLOOR 21 is my first fully published worked as contracted through Scout Press. I wrote it accidentally almost two years ago, during National Novel Writing Month. I wrote it in a week after seeing a scene from the Walking Dead of a girl being lowered to ground floor. I just thought it would be interesting if there was a story about a girl who had lived her whole life in a tower. That was the core idea, it rapidly became the book, and the feedback from people in my group was so tremendously positive that I submitted it for a contract.

Do you have a specific writing style?
I used to write in a traditional third person omniscient, but after one of my failed attempts to get published, I got valuable feedback from an agent telling me to limit my perspective a little. Now I play around in third person limited, FLOOR 21 is written in first person, and my side project, AN ENGLISHMAN FROM MEXICO, is more of a romantic comedy. I don’t have a certain style, but my books almost always focus on younger people who feel a little bit outside of society.

How did you come up with the title?

FLOOR 21 comes from the actual 21st floor of the tower Jackie lives in. In the world she lies in, the top floor is floor 1, instead of the ground floor. Floor 21 is the lowest anyone can travel without encountering a disease known as the Creep, which can cause terror and paranoia in people, which it uses to manifest physically.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Always be curious, and family is important. Also, never give up. You should always keep pushing for what you feel is important.

How much of the book is realistic?

Very little, probably. The disease itself doesn’t conform to a lot of known rules of science, although within the universe of the story, it makes sense. The setting is actually pretty fantastic, although it is grounded in some realistic elements. This is a dystopian future after all, and the people living in the tower still have material left over from before the world fell apart.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

I had a frustrating upbringing and always felt like I didn’t quite jive with the social groups around me. I think, more than anything, Jackie feels that way about the society around her. She wants to find out how they got there, but everyone else just seems content to let their leadership run things.

What books have most influenced your life most?
Lord of the Rings, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, A Wizard of Earthsea, and The Black Cauldron.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

Tolkien, because his world building was exquisite. They used to sell copies of Lord of the Rings with comparisons of different drafts at different points in the writing process. I thought that was fascinating and I learned a lot about writing and planning out my stories from that.

What book are you reading now?

None at present, unfortunately. Between running by writing/editing service and preparing the new book, I’ve had little time for leisure reading.

What are your current projects?

Floor 21: Judgement is a few months from completion, I think. It’s hard to tell sometimes, because you have to let a book sit a while and come back to it later to have a really clear head about the material.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members?

Coke Zero. It kept me awake and writing until four in the morning too many days to count.
What would you like my readers to know?
First of all, if you’re a writer, always keep working on what you love. Some people get the chance to be professional authors, a lot don’t, but if you have a passion for writing, you should always stay at it. And, if you like dystopian sci fi with a plucky female protagonist that’s pretty different from a lot that’s currently on the market, give FLOOR 21 a shot.

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