Friday, November 29, 2013

Meet Adam Oster!

Right, Adam Oster. I kind of bumped into him by recommendation. I blame Mr. Chris Bostic, who said something along the lines of 'this guy's cool'. Not that I'll blindly believe everything Mr. Bostic says, but generally he has a very good instinct, you'll have to grant him that. So when Adam asked whether anyone would care to beta read his latest book, I raised my hand. Boy, am I happy that I did that. And now it's available, and you can read it, too. You'll like it. Promise.

That's Adam. Kinda cute, isn't he? 
Sorry. I have a soft spot for a lop-sided smile.

I tortured the poor guy with my usual set of boring questions. He was kind enough to answer them without yawning too much.

Who are you?
I am the author formerly known as, as well as still known as, Adam Oster. Too much? I just felt like I should fill the void here with as many words as possible.

So you are afraid of the void. Interesting. 
Which brings us to our next question: Where are you?
I am currently sitting at my desk, which just so happens to be located within a rather small room on the second floor of my home, which is located on a hill called the East Side Hill, which presides over the downtown area of a city called Eau Claire, that happens to be situated on the western part of a state known as Wisconsin that... okay, I think even the Germans know where I’m at now, right?

At least those Germans who know how to read a map. 
How are you?
I’m doing rather amazingly at the moment, as well as feeling quite chatty about absolutely nothing. It probably has something to do with the fact that I’m feeling quite procrastinatory toward work at the moment.

Which book do you want to talk about? Tell us briefly what it is about.
Oooh, promotion time already! The Agora Files is the book I’m here to speak with all of you lovely people about. It’s my new book, it’s young adult, it’s action-packed, and, if Angelika is putting this up on her blog on 11/29/2013, it comes out today!
I’m really bad at summing up my books, but in a nutshell, it tells the story about a boy who, while just doing his job, winds up being in the middle of a battle for power in the United States, while also having quite possibly the most awkward romantic entanglement ever put into prose. As far as a few additional details, it’s set in the near future, with a slight shift in history, and really just based upon the idea of running from something for a long time. Here’s the jacket info which does a whole lot better of a job explaining what I just failed at:

Cyrus must run for his life, but can he run from love?

When dying alone on the hot sands of the Mohave Desert, Cyrus has no regrets. He loves a challenge. Being tasked with running from San Francisco to Boston in fifteen days, while the United States government and a host of bounty hunters hunt for him, sounds like fun. Being at death's door only a day into his trip doesn't faze him either. It's when he's joined by fellow runner Eve, bringing new emotions to the surface, his confidence cracks.”

Why did you write it?
There’s a few things that come into play as to why I wrote it. First, I had just realized that my first novel, THE LEGEND OF BUDDY HERO, had/has absolutely no mainstream appeal due to its subject matter (superheroes, although they are huge in every other medium, apparently no one wants to read about them) and the fact that it was technically written for adults (although I didn’t really have an audience in mind when writing it).
While thinking about what I could write that would fall in line with something that might be more appealing to the world at large, I had another dream in a series of dreams that I have had for ages, which basically involved me and someone else running from some unknown group that wanted to capture us for some unknown reason.
I had always liked these dreams because of the fact that they involved such varied locales. They would take place all over the world, both real world and fictional, as well as including some locations one could only find within cartoons. After waking, the thought of how to make this simple idea of running into a story kept running (see what I did there?) through my head. Finally I was in the shower and it all just fit together. In fact, I developed almost the entirety of the book within that not-too-long of a shower and was so inspired that I had the first draft completed within a month (which was not something I was trying to do, but just happened because of how much I was enjoying the act of writing it).

Tell us about your main character. What does he/she look like, love, hate, dream of? What qualities/flaws/principles does he/she have?
My main character, Cyrus, is my favorite of my own created characters. Since he’s technically a smuggler, one of the images I used early on to develop how his mind worked was Han Solo (from the Star Wars films, for those who are somehow uninitiated). The idea of having this character who, although technically motivated by money, really did everything he did based on emotion, just felt right for the story I was telling.
As far as more specific details about the character...He’s on the verge of his 18th, has red hair and is almost never seen without a hooded sweatshirt and a pair of Chuck Taylor shoes. He loves excitement, hates tunnels, water, and help; and dreams of a world where things never have to change. He’s a very selfish individual at a first look, but as you look deeper, you’ll see that more often than not, he’s ready at the drop of a hat to help others, even if he is absolutely resistant to receiving assistance in return. He’s a loner at heart, but has an amazing support system behind him, mostly in the shape of his brother, a 12-year old boy who calls himself The Geek.

Is there a song you'd associate with your book?
This is a hard question to answer for this book as it comes complete with it’s own soundtrack. Since the book really revolves around the topic of running, I tried to incorporate as many aspects of the running culture as possible. Those familiar with the culture should recognize terminology cropping up throughout the text. One of the things I realized would be important was the need to incorporate music to the story telling. I know very few runners who do so without music in their ear. This also felt important as it would be an easy way to create a mood during long periods of time where characters would be running in silence, without getting bogged down in detailing the experience.
However, if I were forced to choose one song that I feel really captures the feel of the book as a whole, I’d go with The Who’s Teenage Wasteland, even if there are parts of it in which The Proclaimers‘ I’m Gonna Be would be a better fit, not to mention a much better ear worm.  :-)

Sorry to interrupt at this point. I only do it because I feel the need to correct you. You know, the one song that really haunted me after reading your book, was this one: Jack and Diane. Actually, it is still haunting me. My poor family, forced to listen to it over and over again...
Anyway, back to our questions.
If you could have a superpower, which one would you choose?
Since I’m the author of a book about superheroes, I‘m asked this question often, and I have to admit that I still haven’t quite gotten to the point where I have just one power I could settle on. I find myself leaning toward telekinesis more often than others simply, but that usually comes up when I find the television remote or my kindle is just out of reach. I think teleportation or time-travel are the two that really stand out for me. I love exploring and these two powers seem to be the epitome of that idea. If I had to choose just one, I’d probably have to go with teleportation, as time-travel would feel rather pointless if I were stuck just exploring the future and history of one single area.

Anything else to say?
I just wanted to say thanks to Angelika for giving me the opportunity to come on here and let you all know about my new book. I’m so incredibly excited about it finally getting released. I am proud of the story that is hiding within those covers and I can’t wait for all of you to get to read it!

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