In a post-apocalyptic world, where the earth is buried by asteroid dust that’s mutated the DNA of some humans, orphaned, sixteen-year-old Glory must hide and protect her younger brother. If their Deviant abilities are discovered, they’ll be expunged—kicked out of the dome to be tortured and killed by the Shredders.
Glory would give anything to get rid of her unique ability to kill with her emotions, especially when Cal, the boy she’s always liked, becomes a spy for the authorities. But when her brother is discovered, and she learns their father, who was expunged for killing their mother, is still alive, she must escape the domed city that’s been her entire world.
Outside in the ruins, they’re pursued by the authorities and by sadistic, scab-covered Shredders who are addicted to the lethal-to-humans dust now covering the planet. Glory’s quests to transport herself and her brother to safety make up the thrilling and fascinating first volume of The Dust Chronicles.
“A deliciously dark, harrowing world, brightened by dazzling characters and sparkling prose." -- #1 NYT bestselling author, Kelley Armstrong
"A tense thriller with a strong, beating heart at its center. Glory and her impossible choices will keep you glued to the page. I'm still trying to catch my breath!" – Diana Peterfreund, author of For Darkness Shows the Stars
“Exciting... McGowan keeps the suspense throbbing...” – Kirkus Reviews
"McGowan launches the Dust Chronicles with a bang, painting her post-apocalyptic world with a dark brush and featuring a strong-willed and determined protagonist. Readers will be immediately transported to this world where businessmen rule the job-based class system." -- RT Book Reviews, 4 stars
Donnell: Congratulations, friend, Deviants is getting rave reviews. And is that the most amazing cover? The characterization comes through even in your blurb. Shredders. Are these zombie-like people?
Maureen: Thanks, Donnell! The Shredders are like a cross between zombies and the reavers from the short-lived TV show Firefly. They have bulging eyes and skin that looks scab-covered—mostly because they like to coat their bodies with the blood of their victims. They are pretty terrifying, and they definitely add an element of horror to Deviants, but there’s more to them than meets the eye.
Donnell: I see a pattern here. Glory your main character is tempted to turn on her boyfriend who spies for the authorities. Glory’s father killed her mother. Am I reading something into this that isn’t there, or have you got some kind of major plotting going on in this series.
Maureen: Betrayal and its effect on the heroine’s ability to trust is a major theme in Deviants. There are also layers of deceptions in these stories—even more in the series’ second book Compliance, which releases May 21, 2013. Not everything is as it seems.
Donnell: Love the concept of this post-apocalyptic series. Tell us about the dome that protects the survivors of the asteroid that buried the human race. And what’s on the outside that makes them want to stay put.
Maureen: Deviants is set three generations after several asteroids hit the earth. The asteroids caused major destruction, and also triggered multiple earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. None of the asteroids struck near where the story is set, but huge clouds of dust moved through the world’s atmosphere and fell to cover everything. The dust is lethal to most humans and has changed the DNA of others. It gave some affected humans special abilities or powers, and turned others into sadistic Shredders.
The story begins inside a domed city called Haven. It was built, soon after the asteroids struck, by a consortium of corporations, to protect its inhabitants from the dust. The executives who led the charge to build Haven wanted to save themselves from the dust. They took what they wanted and tossed aside anything they didn’t need—including people.
Three generations later, buildings are in disrepair, there’s massive overcrowding, and a clear separation between the haves “Management” and the have-nots—everyone else.
Donnell: Glory has the ability to kill with her emotions. That’s an intriguing and scary power. She’s 16 years old. I can’t even imagine the struggle she must face. Can you share a bit of where you got the idea of this series? Then tell us what we can expect from The Dust Chronicles in future work!
Maureen:I’d originally been working on a developing a story idea for a sexy urban fantasy series with a strong female heroine who never showed her emotions. When I was brainstorming with my critique partners and told them why my heroine was so closed off emotionally, they immediately thought I should write about her backstory and write it as a YA, rather than the adult story I was planning. I can’t explain more without giving up major spoilers. J But yes, it would be terrifying to know that your emotions can kill, especially at a time in your life when emotions run high! Imagine falling in love for the first time and not being able to look into the boy’s eyes for fear you’d hurt or kill him?
The next book in The Dust Chronicles is called Compliance and it will be out on May 21, 2013. I don’t want to say too much more, except that it will continue Glory’s story and she’ll be put in even more danger than she was in Deviants and face even bigger challenges.
Donnell: Quite different from your kick-ass fairy tale young adults wouldn’t you say? How fun/different was it to transition into young adult dystopian.
Maureen: Deviants is similar to the Twisted Tales books in that they all have a lot of action, a lot of worldbuilding and strong heroines. But because the publisher for the Twisted Tales books wanted them to appeal to younger readers as well as a YA audience, I couldn’t make them as dark as I would have liked to. My editor kept giving me notes like—remember the nine-year-olds! (I had some great ideas for Sleeping Beauty: Vampire Slayer that were too dark for younger teen readers.)
Deviants was written for more of a true YA audience—which these days doesn’t just mean teens. More than half of YA readers are actually adults.
It was great to let loose and tell the story I wanted to tell. Today’s YA reader is sophisticated and the books are anything but juvenile. I actually think there’s more freedom in YA for authors to tell bolder, more “out there” stories than in the adult market. Plus, it’s easier to blend genres.
Deviants has elements of sci-fi, thriller, horror and romance. I call it a post-apocalyptic thriller, with a dystopian setting, and dollops of horror and romance.
Donnell: Congratulations, Maureen!
Maureen: Thank you Donnell!
MAUREEN ASKS READERS
According to a recent study, 55% of all YA books were purchased by adults intending to read the books themselves. If you’re an adult, do you read YA? If not, why not?