As soon as I read the synopsis of Darklandia, I knew I was the one to do the reviewing, and I was right – I loved it. I have always loved anything dystopian, sci-fi, thriller'ish, I don't do chit lit very well, and count Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World amongst my absolute favourite novels, but enough of my reviewing credentials…..
Darklandia is well written and extremely well edited, when reviewing self-published and e-books, I think that is an important point to note, as quite simply many books available for download are not as well written or edited.
The book starts at a good pace, with Sera witnessing the rapture of her great grandmother, the last of the Darklings; those people who lived and remembered a time before the system and Felicity ran things, but it is not until Sera stops drinking her rations that the world as she knows it starts to crumble, and when the mysterious half smiling handsome Nyx saves her from being 'marked', she embarks on a journey not only self-discovery, but a journey into the heart of Felicity.
The time she spends with her father in Darklandia, the virtual reality world all citizens must serve their time in, suddenly taking on a whole new meaning. It would seem her father was a champion of the rebels, knowing his time was numbered but still choosing the path to try and free the sleepwalkers (the name the rebels have for citizens who drink their mind and sense numbing rations, and stumble through life believing they are happy). But it is Sera who holds the key and Sera who can communicate with her father from her pod in Darklandia, obtaining the information needed for the rebels to blow the world apart and free the sleepwalkers from their dulled existence.
The twist in the tail of this book's ending is magnificent and utterly unanticipated. I admit to a small amount of disappointment at the way the novel ends, but it is so unexpected that it whacks you in face! I will say no more, as I don’t want to unwittingly provide any spoilers.
Darklania is billed as a young adult book, and although the characters are young in age, I think the novel would appeal to any age group. If you like your books a bit on the intelligently dark side then Darklandia is for you! Cleverly thought out and a little chilling in places, its a highly highly recommended title!
About the Author, in her own words…….
I really enjoyed Darklandia, can you tell our readers a little about your inspiration for the book?
Brave New World and Nineteen Eighty-Four are in my top ten favourite books, so they did inspire me. What inspired me the most, though, was my desire to tell a story that made readers question reality and the level of control a government can have over shaping that reality.
If someone has never read a dystopian novel before, can you give us a little rundown as to what exactly dystopian is?
Dystopian societies are fictional societies where everything is wrong as opposed to a utopian society where everything is perfect. Dystopian fiction can take place in the future or in an alternate reality. Many dystopians, such as Darklandia, begin with a protagonist who believes they are living in a utopian society. The main ingredient in any dystopian is a protagonist who senses something is wrong and subsequently attempts to change it.
Have you always wanted to write? Being a author isn’t an easy option, it requires extreme dedication and only a few are lucky enough to pay their bills with the fruit of their labours, what made you first put pen to paper?
I often think that when old friends find me on Facebook they probably think my career is utterly predictable. Being a professional writer has been a dream of mine since I was very young, but I never thought it was something I could do to pay the bills. I never thought I was good enough. It wasn’t until I was let go from a job I had worked at for over ten years that I realized I had been wasting so many years doing something I wasn’t passionate about. That’s when I decided to take my writing seriously. This is the most difficult and most rewarding job I’ve ever had and I hope I get to do it for a very long time.
Darklandia isn’t your only book, what else by T S Welti is out there, and what is coming next?
My No Shelter Trilogy is a series of novellas that follows the love story of Nada and Isaac as they attempt to survive in post-apocalyptic America. I am currently working on a prequel to the No Shelter Trilogy then I will be working on the sequel to Darklandia. I also have a paranormal romance, Parallel Spirits, and I will be working on the sequel to that one in 2013.
At Razberry Juice, we have championed the e-book and the self-publishing author, but one fact that cannot be denied is that whilst it is great that 'anyone' can publish their work, it is true that some people just shouldn’t, and whilst trawling Amazon looking for good new reads, there seems to many badly published, badly edited and suffice it to say badly written books. How do you as a writer make yourself 'heard' (or seen above this)?
It’s difficult, for sure, but I think readers and writers have discovered ways to find each other in the vast ocean of slush. Of course, I think the most important part is writing something good enough that readers will recommend your work. Word of mouth is, I believe, still the most effective way to reach readers.
Following on from the question above, how easy was it to get your books published in e-book format? I see you used Scarlett Rugers for your cover, how important is it to get all that stuff right, the editing and look of the book etc?
Publishing a book is easy. Publishing a good book takes a lot of hard work and lots of talented people. I used Scarlett for my cover because, in my opinion, she is the best in the industry. Her services don’t come cheap, but I wanted the cover for Darklandia to not only be striking, but to also convey genre and story. Scarlett captured this perfectly in Sera’s smiling face as she looks up (probably at a propaganda poster) and the semi-transparent “Darklandia” splashed across her face, hiding her.
As for editing, I’m a self-editor. I have a half-dozen beta readers and three of them read my beta drafts with an editor’s eye, giving me feedback on everything from typos to issues with characterization, series continuity, and plot. By the time I publish, my books are virtually error-free.
Finally, Christmas is just around the corner, how will you be celebrating the festivities, are you a Christmas person? Or just glad when it’s all over and done with?
I am a Christmas person, but only because I harbour a not-so-secret love of Christmas music. This year I will be celebrating the holidays with my family in California and paying a visit to my mother in Nevada.