Allow me to introduce you to my friend and author, Anna Kittrell, and her newest novel, The Commandment, releasing August 24, 2018.
Anna was kind enough to answer a few questions related to her writing process for us. I find it very interesting and enlightening to learn of authors’ writing process.
Her bio, a free excerpt, and information about The Commandment follow.
Here are the questions and Anna’s answers. Enjoy!
- Do you have any interesting writing quirks you’d like to share?
When writing, I strive to communicate the thoughts and emotions of my characters in original ways. To make sure the facial expressions and actions are clearly conveyed to the reader, I often make faces in the mirror and act out physical movements. A few things I’ve acted out are: locking my hands behind my back while pretending I’m tied to a chair, pushing my head into a laundry basket while imagining I’m drowning in a fish tank, and rolling around on the floor, pantomiming a scuffle. I’m sure I look ridiculous! But it helps me come up with new ways to say the same old thing. It also helps me get inside the character’s skin, which enables me to breathe a little extra life into the story.
- Did you learn anything from writing this book?
I learned SO MANY things while writing this book! For example, Lukas Stone, the hero of the story, is fearful of heights, yet owns a hot-air balloon (that he’s never been in.) In my research, I learned that throwing out sand bags is no longer the way to lift a hot air balloon. Instead of helium, like they used in the old days, today a propane burner is used to keep the balloon in the air. Blasting heated propane into the envelope causes it to rise. To land, the pilot opens a valve on top of the envelope, allowing the hot air to escape for a controlled descent. Another cool thing I learned was that some types of cactus juice produce a numbing sensation…which was PERFECT for creating the serums in The Commandment.
- Can you tell us about your heroine?
My heroine’s name is Briar Lee, she’s a few weeks from turning eighteen—and I really like her. She’s been under house arrest since the age of seven. Because of her functioning Agathi—aka God Zones—the government fears she will spiritually contaminate society, and therefore won’t allow her to venture from home.
Currently, Briar resides at a Nevada-based medical laboratory over a thousand miles away from her Oklahoma residence. She didn’t choose to live here, and definitely wouldn’t be there if she had a choice. Due to her functioning God Zones, she was flown to the lab to be a human test subject for Lukas Stone’s groundbreaking abstergent—a brain injection that dissolves the area of the mind that houses all thoughts and emotions connected with God.
Something people may not know about Briar is that she loves to cosplay! For those unfamiliar with the term, cosplay is dressing up in costume to represent comic book heroes, cartoon characters, or anyone or anything else that appeals to you. Briar plans to work with children after earning her degree in child psychology. Cosplay is a fantastic way to connect with kids. Plus it’s just plain FUN!
Briar has overcome many obstacles in her young life. Some of her trials have included being on house arrest since age seven, enduring the death of her courageous grandmother and the suicide of her father, being flown over a thousand miles from home to become a laboratory test subject, being drugged, kidnapped, and imprisoned in a medical chamber of horrors, and having holes drilled into her skull and needles plunged into her brain.
It’s safe to say the poor girl is in desperate need of a Knight in Shining Armor! Despite his clinical, emotionless upbringing, Lukas Stone was able to fill that role by tuning into that still small voice that resides in the soul. His ability to choose “right,” even when everyone else insists it’s wrong, makes him a hero.
Upon meeting Lukas, Briar’s first thought was that he was a handsome guy. Her second thought was that he wasn’t rowing with both oars—or in his case, flying with both wings. For goodness sakes, the man owns a hot air balloon, but is afraid of heights! In turn, Lukas thought Briar was a silly small town girl, warped by a functioning God Zone. It took some time for each of them to see past the surface, into one another’s hearts, and then, finally, into one another’s souls. Now Briar knows there isn’t a more beautiful place to be than by his side, and she’s pretty sure he feels the same about her. To believers, “till death do us part,” doesn’t really mean death—or parting. Lukas and Briar will spend eternity together. That realization makes their love even stronger.
Anna works as a middle school secretary in her beloved hometown of Anadarko, Oklahoma, where she resides with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband, Tim. She has written for as long as she can remember, and still has many of her tattered creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, written on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.
Read on to find out more about the book and to read a free excerpt:
Author: Anna Kittrell
Title: The Commandment
Genre: Christian Futuristic Scifi
Publisher: Pelican Book Group
Imprint: Prism Book Group
Ten years ago, Briar’s body rejected a government mandated vaccine known as SAP (Serum to Advance Progressivism), formulated to erase God from the mind. Briar was seven years old. She’s been on house arrest ever since.
Now, just weeks from becoming a legal adult, Briar remains non-responsive to her mandatory SAP injections. Along with her rapidly approaching eighteenth birthday looms a grim reality: by order of the Commandment, adulthood means institutionalization for those resistant to SAP.
In a matter of days, Briar will become a permanent resident of the ARC—a facility shrouded in dark rumors of torture, experimentation, and death. Her only alternative is to accept a last minute ultimatum to become a laboratory test subject for a new God-dissolving serum.
With a decade of solitude behind her and a lifetime of confinement before her—what does she have to lose? Except maybe her soul.
“It’s late September, not the middle of July,” Briar’s mother said, blotting her forehead as she clipped down the walkway toward the car. “Seems Mother Nature didn’t get the memo.”
“Can I drive?” Briar jogged to the driver’s side.
“We’ve already discussed this. You’re not allowed behind the wheel until that thing comes off your leg.” Her mother nodded toward the clunky black box strapped around Briar’s ankle.
The infamous ankle monitor—aka life destroyer. Briar’s electronic prison guard since age seven.
“But that’s so ridiculous. What am I going to do, pick up a bunch of other unlevels and start a crusade? Come on, please? Just to the clinic. They’ll never know.”
“Don’t argue, just get in.” She aimed the key fob at the car.
“You know, Mom, if you had a cuffphone, like the rest of the population, you wouldn’t need that old fob. The car would sense you coming and the door would pop open on its own.”
Briar drudged around to the passenger side and climbed in, the headachy sweet scent of floral air freshener hitting her between the eyes.
Her mom slid behind the wheel and clicked her seatbelt. “Buckle up,” she said, double-glancing at her daughter. “What on earth is that on your head?”
“You noticed?” Briar pulled the seatbelt over her shoulder and snapped it, catching a section of long blue hair in the clasp. “I was chatting with Mouse online, trying to cheer him up.” She plucked the wig from her head, freed the strands from the buckle, and pushed the wig into her bag, causing her furry keychain to fall out onto her lap.
“He was sad about losing his dad.”
The little boy’s face had crumpled as he’d told her he wanted his dad back. She’d known how to make him feel better but had swallowed the comforting Bible verse on her tongue—one of many her grandmother had taught her as a child—and put on the silly wig instead. Blue hair was acceptable. Reciting scripture would get her arrested. Sharing Christian faith was illegal by law of The Commandment. The crime carried an even stiffer penalty than skipping a SAP injection or disabling a fleshcard.
Not that either of those things meant anything to Briar. Her body repeatedly rejected the Serum to Accelerate Progressivism, meaning she had no need for the under-the-skin device that kept track of SAP levels in the brain. Her body’s intolerance of SAP was the reason she couldn’t take a walk around the neighborhood, or drive—or do anything that made life worth living.
Barnes and Noble: https://goo.gl/UWgq3Y
Website: annakittrellauthor (https://sites.google.com/view/anna-kittrell/home)
The Commandment Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRLTQp4S-aA
Author Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/AKittrell
The Commandment FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheCommandment2017/?ref=br_rs
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/-/e/B009OWBPMM
P.S. — I can hardly wait to have the book arrive in my purchased book collection.
Thank you so much for this amazing opportunity, Julia <3
Ha, I can totally picture you doing all those things, Anna. Whatever it takes to get it right, right? 🙂 I enjoyed the interview. I love the unique concept of your story. Congrats and best wishes!