Blog Tour: After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward

Hey guys! I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the first (and biggest!) blog tour organised by Dave over at The Write Reads (a must follow for book lovers and bloggers alike)! This is the first in hopefully a long line of blog tours where we can bring some attention to some truly fabulous books and authors!

Today I’m super excited to share a wonderfully written book with you, After the Green Withered by Kristin Ward!

Here you can find a synopsis, all the fun details and even an interview with the author! What more could you want?!

Title: After the Green Withered

Author: Kristin Ward

Publisher: Kristin Ward, self-published

Genre: YA, Dystopian

Synopsis:

They tell me the country looked different back then.

They talk of open borders and flowing rivers.

They say the world was green.

But drought swept across the globe and the United States of the past disappeared under a burning sky. 

Enora Byrnes lives in the aftermath, a barren world where water has become the global currency. In a life dominated by duty to family and community, Enora is offered a role within an entity that controls everything from water credits to borders. But it becomes clear that not all is as it seems. From the wasted confines of her small town to the bowels of a hidden city, Enora will uncover buried secrets that hide an unthinkable reality. 

As truth reveals the brutal face of what she has become, she must ask herself: how far will she go to retain her humanity?

Interview:

So, Kristin, tell us a little bit about After the Green Withered. Why do you feel this story needed to be told?

My book is a dystopian fiction based in a world ravaged by drought where water, the most valuable resource on the planet, is the global currency. Following a prologue, which provides an essential backstory for the world I created, readers are introduced to a young woman, Enora, who is on the cusp of graduating high school and entering adulthood. This transition is tainted with frustration and worry over where she will end up, as options are limited in her society. Everything in her community is rigidly controlled, from water credits to borders, by an entity (the Drought Mitigation Corporation or DMC) that took control of water resources early on in the crisis and now has absolute control of every aspect of her community. When she enters a role within this entity, Enora discovers starting secrets that make her question who she is and what she stands for.

As for the intentionality of the story, numerous readers have told me that the book is a truly frightening vision because they could see it coming to fruition in real life. As the author, it is a wake-up call. An important idea is that the choices we make, environmentally, have consequences. We may not see them in our lifetime, but what we do can and will affect the future. In the end, if the people in Enora’s world had made different choices long before she was born, then her life and the events that shape the story, would have been a much different tale to tell. I would say the biggest takeaway is that the decisions you make, no matter how seemingly small, have an impact. A river starts with one drop of water. Awareness begins the same way. If we all do one small part whether that is a household practice or an idea we support, those things can translate to something bigger than ourselves.

What made you want to write about a dystopian world?

I’ve been a fan of the genre for many years, ever since I first read The Giver by Lois Lowry, actually. Books like The Hunger Games and The Handmaid’s Tale are favorites as I feel these stories touch on important social issues readers should explore and reflect on. As for my rationale for writing a novel steeped in this genre, I was inspired to tell a particular story that could only be told through a dystopian vision.

What made you want to aim your book at a YA audience in particular?

I love YA books. In fact, I think is it a huge misnomer to categorize them as geared toward young adults (teens) since many lovers of YA fiction are between the ages of 20-40. I’m beyond even that age and I still love YA fiction! LOL. As I began to craft the foundational ideas for this book, the age of my main character and the genre itself, went hand in hand with the context of the book. As I continue writing, I do plan on delving into adult fiction genres as well.

Your main character, Enora, has been described as a strong female lead. Was it a conscious choice to make her this way?

Absolutely! I believe in the strength and resilience of women. I wanted to tell a story about a young woman who lives in a harsh world and is faced with the cold underbelly of controlling powers. Her fortitude and internal compass really come into play as she uncovers startling secrets. As the story continues in book two, she grows into a role that she could never have predicted and, in the end, must face a decision that many characters may not be strong enough to embrace.

Water is an important recurring theme in this book. What made you want to make this so significant?

I was inspired to write After the Green Withered and Burden of Truth while completing research for a graduate course I wrote in environmental education. My course included concepts regarding earth’s history and, within this, I learned a great deal about the impact humans have had on the planet. As I studied and composed the course, an idea began to germinate. What if there was a global drought due to the impact humans have had on the planet? What if water became the global currency? That seedling concept sat with me for a year, or so, as I finished my course writing and taught a few graduate courses. I began to write the story in earnest about four years after the idea took root, finally publishing five years later!

I wanted to make water the central theme because it is a resource that is essential to life and is often taken for granted in developed countries. Droughts occur across the planet but rarely do they make the headlines. The impetus for finishing my book when I did actually came about after I read an article about Cape Town’s water crisis. At the time of publication, it was predicted that Cape Town’s water supply would run out in April of 2018. This was not some far-fetched scifi idea. This is really happening. So, I buckled down and finished the book because the story I want to tell is relevant and important.

What were your main inspirations for writing and publishing Enora’s story?

I feel that the story I am telling is important in the present. The world Enora lives in is shaped by the choices we are making today with regard to the environment. My hope is for readers to feel a connection to the context of the story and the choices Enora must grapple with in both books.

You also recently published the sequel to this book, Burden of Truth. Is this the end of Enora’s story or is there more to explore?

That’s a great question! I’ve had a few readers ask if I would write a third installment. Burden of Truth concludes Enora’s story. However, I am toying with the idea of telling the story of a character introduced in the sequel. It would not be part of a trilogy. Rather, it would be his story set in the world from the first two books.

Do you have any other novels in the works? Will you continue to explore the dystopian genre?

I do! My current work in progress is due out this year. Rise of Gaia is a YA scifi-fantasy crossover with an environmental theme. Here’s a quick blurb to give you a sense of the story:

Beneath rock and soil, trees and oceans, she lies.

Under concrete jungles and poisoned rivers, she slumbers.  

She is Mother Earth.

And mankind has turned its back on its mother.

The visions begin on Terran’s seventeenth birthday. Horrifying images pummel her brain, while a voice commands her to see beyond the world she thought she knew and into the heart of it.  Gaia has awakened, brought to consciousness by the greed of a species that has tainted every aspect of her being in a tide of indifference. With this awareness, comes rage. Gaia calls upon her children to unleash her fury, wreaking vengeance on humanity.

Terran will emerge in a world on the brink of collapse, to face a being whose wrath is beyond imagining.

This book was self published. What was your experience with this process like?

I’m incredibly grateful to be writing at a time when authors can take control of publishing through multiple platforms. The self-published, indie author, community is gaining a broader audience these days. From a personal standpoint, I decided to self-publish because I have stories to tell and want those works in the hands of readers, not sitting in a slush pile. Authors who query could be waiting months or years to be picked up. This is not something that I wanted to experience. I also have complete creative control of my work and am not dependent on the vision of a publishing house or editor who could potentially alter central ideas in my stories.

However, self-publishing is not an easy feat. There is a huge marketing aspect to gaining a readership and I find this part of my journey to be the most challenging. I am an unknown author and struggle to get my book into the hands of readers due to the sheer volume of books on the indie and traditional market. This blog tour is a wonderful way to connect with the reading and blogging community. I love sharing my novel with so many insightful bloggers and hope this translates into multiple connections with readers.

Would you recommend self publishing to any budding authors out there? What would your advice be?

Walt Disney said it best, “If you can dream it, you can do it!”

New authors who wish to self-publish will be entering the indie author community. This is a group of dedicated and wonderfully supportive people, who are eager to listen, share, advise, and laugh with you.

As for self-publishing advice, I’m going to offer two suggestions: hire an editor and be active on multiple social media platforms. Everyone needs an editor, whether indie or traditional. I love my editor, David Taylor of thEditors.com. He’s helped me develop my first drafts into something wonderful through his expertise and understanding of the story I want to tell.

Whether you’re indie or not, it’s also essential to have a presence on numerous social media platforms in order to connect with readers and establish yourself as an author. Create a website and begin blogging! This was actually my first step in my publishing journey. I started my blog and worked to establish a reader base for my blog and newsletter prior to releasing my book. It’s a great way to connect with people and is a good platform to practice your writing chops! Get on Facebook and Twitter! Twitter is a huge platform for authors, agents, and publishers. On Facebook, you’ll find author groups that will enable you to connect with and support each other. As a bonus, these outlets will also help with marketing 😉

A huge thank you goes to Kristin for answering these questions and giving us an insight into her writing process, and to Dave for organising such an incredible blog tour!

If After the Withered Green sounds like your kind of read, it can be purchased over on Amazon! (not an ad x)

You can check out the thoughts of some other wonderful book bloggers on this book who have their posts up today! 😌

Are you looking forward to reading this book? I’d love to know your thoughts on it! You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to discuss this book (or any others that I’ve featured) in more detail!

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