Friday, May 1, 2015

Blog Tour-Interview: FREAKS OF NATURE by Wendy Brotherlin

I'm back again, but this time I am featuring interview questions that I couldn't wait to ask as well as some wonderful artwork that Wendy commissioned from artist Mike Corriero! Check out the interview and artwork below where you will also find links to Mike and Wendy. And you don't want to forget to enter this epic giveaway courtesy of Wendy!

About the book

Title: Freaks of Nature
Author: Wendy Brotherlin
Series: The Psion Chronicles, #1

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Isbn: 9781633920064
Get a Copy: BN | Amazon | Book Depository

"Stand back because a new generation of superheroes is here.  “Freaks of Nature” is that rare action-adventure novel that simultaneously tugs at your heart and punches you in the gut.  With equal parts mystery, mayhem and romance, this is a story that will leave you begging for the next vividly imagined installment."
D.J. MacHale
#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The global Ebola-X pandemic of 2022 lasted five months, two weeks and six days before a cure could be found. In its wake, it left a generation of psionic freaks who can turn a single thought into a weapon… or worse.

Fifteen-year-old Devon McWilliams is one of those freaks, but instead of some awesome ability like telepathy or telekinesis, he talks to plants. Yes, plants. In other words, Devon rates a big fat zero on the scale of kick-ass psychic abilities. But when Devon escapes from his psionic detainment facility, the United States Military intercepts him before he can rendezvous with the Psionic Underground Network. Regaining consciousness, Devon finds himself securely fastened to his seat aboard a military airship headed to Washington DC, where he will either be incarcerated for life or killed. 

However, there are six other psions aboard this one-way flight to doom… and one of them, a telepath named Bai Lee, claims to have the means to escape, but they have to convince her, one by one, that they’re worthy of freedom. This is not good news for Plant Boy. The last thing he wants is to relive his nightmare escape from the psi-facility that left his best friend dead, especially since he’s made the acquaintance of the lovely, blonde healer, Alya du Roumanie, sitting beside him. Worse than that, he wouldn’t be able to bear the look in her eyes if she ever found out how truly pathetic a psion he really is. 

They say there are no keeping secrets from a hell-bent telepath, but Devon McWilliams is determined to do just that, risking everything not to be left behind.

About Wendy Brotherlin

Wendy Brotherlin is a screenwriter, music enthusiast and all around geek-goddess. She earned a Masters in Screenwriting at the University of Southern California and went on to write for children’s television including Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?. Today, she lives in Manchester, Maine with her husband and two little super-heroes-in-training. Freaks of Nature is her first novel.

Tour Schedule

April 27- Wendy Brotherlin
April 28- Mindy @ Books Complete Me 
April 29- Brooke @ The Cover Contessa
April 30- Stephanie @ Chasm of Books
May 1- Raychelle @ Steele Reviews

May 4- Nicole @ Nicole Payne
May 5- Release Day!!
May 6- Raychelle @ Steele Reviews
May 7- Beth @ Curling Up With A Good Book
May 8- Deitre @ A Leisure Moment

Q: Good morning, Wendy! The YA community yearns to know more about your novel FREAKS OF NATURE. Tell us a little more about the background of your story.

A: This novel is loaded with mutant teenagers––teens with fantastic psionic abilities! The story takes place nineteen years after a worldwide Ebola-X outbreak. Millions died before a cure could be discovered. However, it was that very cure that caused the next generation to mutate. Children were born with alien blue eyes and extraordinary psychic powers––and most of those powers were quite dangerous. Seeing these young people as a threat, the government built psionic detainment facilities to house and contain them, ripping children from their families in order to keep the public safe.

In order to convey my ideas visually, I hired creature artist, Mike Corriero, to assist me with character and tech design. He did an amazing job and his artwork is featured inside the book and on my website. Above is an image of Devon McWilliams, the book’s protagonist, by Mike Corriero, © 2014. You can see more of Mike’s artwork at 

Q: How did you come up with the setting? What elements of reality did you draw upon to write this story?

A: The setting for this story starts off in the badlands of North Dakota and ends in a redwood forest along the California Coast in a world very much like our own, with the exception of some highly advanced technology. The advanced tech is due to the tech-heads––psions who are able to create any machine they can imagine. Most of these amazing machines are patented by the government and used for the military, but there are a lucky few who have managed to stay clear of the government’s reach. 

I came up with settings that were best suited to tell this story and keep it interesting. I drew upon elements from today’s headlines in an effort to piece together how I felt the United States and world governments would react to a spate of children born with very dangerous powers. Some of these kids can kill with a thought. Some of these children have accidently killed their parents when they were toddlers. They are marked with strange blue eyes. They are dangerous. Ordinary people need to be protected from them…even if they are only children. 

Q What was it that drew you to FREAKS OF NATURE? Was there a particular character begging to get out?

A: The main character in FREAKS OF NATURE is Devon McWilliams and yes, he was begging to get out. He’s a good kid and because he talks to plants, he has been able to live with his family for over thirteen years. This makes him different from his peers who have been raised in the government detainment facilities. Devon also has psionic powers that appear to be quite mild in comparison with say, a psi-cannon, who can fire balls of energy from her hands. Inside his government detainment facility, Devon found it hard to make friends because with his rare and not-very-impressive powers, he wasn’t taken seriously.

Q: How does dialogue play into your story?  Do you focus more on the development of the storyline or the characters or is it somewhere in between?

A: The dialog should reflect who the character is, so it is a very important extension of the story. For me, the dialog and character development go hand in hand. When I develop my characters, I also consider how a particular character speaks. I like to outline my stories before I actually write, but at the same time, I develop the characters. Sometimes inspiration strikes me with the main character first––other times, I have an idea for the plot first. Either way, I prefer to work on both character and storyline simultaneously.

Q: You were a screenwriter for Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark?. What was that like?

A: I loved, loved, loved working for Nickelodeon! D.J. MacHale was the creator of Are You Afraid of the Dark? and he was a terrific boss. You may recognize his name from his many series of middle-grade novels––The Pendragon Series, The SYLO Chronicles, Morpheus Road, and his newest release, Voyagers: Project Alpha, coming out September 2015.

Q: How has screenwriting impacted writing novels? Did you learn anything in particular that you applied to writing FREAKS OF NATURE?

A: I learned much writing for television: How to write fantastic dialog, the importance of three act structure, and how write concisely and visually. 

Q: So we have to know…Did you ever get slimed?

A: Sadly no. Not by Nickelodeon… not yet anyway.

*insert raised eyebrows here from Raychelle*

Q: What is one little known or unique fact about yourself?

A: When I was going to film school, I interned for Michael Douglas’s production company, which was called Stonebridge Entertainment at the time. And yes, I got to meet Mr. Douglas himself a few times.

Q: What were your biggest learning experiences through the process of writing to publishing?

A: I was surprised by the amount of time and energy that goes into promoting one’s work before, during and after the editing process. But I sure am having fun designing cool swag.

Q: Where is the strangest location that you had an idea come to you for either this story or another piece?

A: On a sheep farm in Melbourne, Australia while a herd of wild kangaroos raced past. It was a completely alien experience, like I was standing on another planet.

Q: What can we look forward to from you in the future? 

A sequel to Freaks of Nature entitled Shadow Walker, as well as more terrific artwork by Mike Corriero.

Some additional images of the characters featured in FREAKS OF NATURE: 

Bai Lee's Eyes by Mike Corriero. ©2014 Wendy Brotherlin.

Winnie's Eyes by Mike Corriero. ©2014 Wendy Brotherlin.

Nevada's Eyes by Mike Corriero. ©2014 Wendy Brotherlin.

Vahn's Eyes by Mike Corriero. ©2014 Wendy Brotherlin.

Thank you so much Wendy! I don't know about anyone else, but I absolutely love the artwork! =)


*Open to US entrants

*Must be 13 years of age or older

*No giveaway account may be used for tweeting/following, must be an active account 

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