Welcome to author Laura Diamond, who is guest posting about modern-day epistolary form. But first, a little bit about her dystopian YA novel, Dawn of the Vie! (And be sure to check out the giveaway at the bottom of the post).
DAWN OF THE VIE
Genre: Young Adult scifi/dystopian
Publisher: Curiosity Quills Press
Date of Publication: October 3, 2016
Number of pages: 320 approx
Word Count: 80,000
Cover Artist: Curiosity Quills
Since their Arrival less than 30 years ago, immortal Vie rule the planet like the super-predators they are. Enslaved humans are their servants…their entertainment…and their food. Anemies—humans with various types of anemia—are simply exterminated. Their nutritionally deficient blood is useless to the Vie.
Or so it’s thought…
Alex, an Elite Vie, is a bit of a Renaissance Alien. Part scientist, part Raid Specialist, part drug addict, he knows Anemie blood is valuable. Rather than blindly carrying out his boss’s kill order, he convinces some colleagues to spare a few Anemies, not only for study, but also to reserve a secret stock.
The more Anemie blood Alex drinks, the more he slips into delusion, and the more his double life threatens to crumble. But quitting Anemie blood is not an option. Every Anemie has their own personal flavor. Each gives a unique high.
When Alex takes a hit of Justin’s blood, his hallucinations bleed into reality…
Anemie Justin knows his little sister, Sammie, and he are living past their expiration dates. It becomes a guarantee when they’re bitten by a Vie named Alex during a raid. (The bite is fatal, thanks to a toxin carried in Vie saliva.) Alex adds insult to injury by promising Justin a second chance—an antidote in exchange for agreeing to be a lab rat.
And a mule…of his own blood.
When Justin says no, Alex takes off with Sammie.
All Justin has to do is find them, beat Alex, and cure himself and Sammie. All he has is a stake and serious lack of self-preservation.
Alex wants Justin’s blood.
Justin wants his sister back.
New City, Year 75 A.L. (After Landing), Month 5, Day 17, late afternoon
I hated afternoons the most. Soon after came darkness—the time when a raiding squad could snatch you out of bed and drain all the blood from your body. It was amazing that any Anemies survived with the extermination campaign ridding the world of us red blood cell-deficient freaks.
I gently squeezed my sister’s hand to make sure she kept up. Dirt caked under her fingernails like it caked under mine. The cuff of her torn sleeve had stains like mine. Her pant cuffs were rolled up six times… also like mine. A younger version of me—mouthiness and all—in girl form. Unlike me, Sammie tended to dawdle, and since we held onto the last rung of the society ladder by the tips of our fingers, giving in to distraction could get us hurt—or killed.
My gaze jumped to the pale, indifferent sky then jittered to the partially constructed biodome edge as I walked. Large, clear panels filled the metal framework in a beehive of hexagons. Eventually, the damn thing would cover the entire city, including the river surrounding the island and part of the ocean capping the south side. The project had been progressing since before I was born.
Once the construction workers completed the biodome, Vie wouldn’t have to fear the destructive UV rays of our sun and could wander freely during the day. We’d have no safe period whatsoever. Vie could get us any time.
As soon as that thought entered my mind, I snapped my attention to the cracked sidewalk. More Anemies than usual filled the streets today, and I needed to be on high alert. At noon, we’d compete for the rations served by tranced human slaves. Most Vie wanted Anemies extinct, but the New City Association for Anemie Rights—NCAAR—fought for us. And by fighting for us, I meant they gave us nearly rotten leftovers, lab-made food, and water pellets. Vie members of the NCAAR—who somehow remained anonymous in spite of everyone knowing what the organization did—knew we Anemies kept on the move and we didn’t carry much with us, so they designed food and water pellets to fit in our pockets. The pellets also lasted a week or more, depending on how strictly you rationed them.
I snorted. Vie had no idea what it was like to look up, down, left, right, ahead, behind, sideways all the time and all at once. They couldn’t comprehend fearing the vulnerability of sleep (yes, I’ve fallen asleep with my eyes open; Sammie screeched, thinking I’d died). The sensation of constant hunger never tortured them. As advanced beings, they’d evolved past such things.
“What’s so funny, Justin?” Sammie’s little voice barely carried over the growing crowd. She tugged my arm, the force of it little more than the peck of a baby pigeon’s beak.
“Nothing, just something stuck in my throat.” I craned my neck, searching for a safe place for Sammie to wait.
She’d be trampled if I dragged her along with me into the mess of emaciated, dirty bodies.
About half a block away stood a three-story row house with wide, concrete stairs. The bricks had crumbled in sections, and large cracks fissured along the mortar. Vie construction efforts would move north at some point to smash this and other buildings down and replace them with gleaming skyscrapers. For now, the northern section of New City slowly yielded to ruin.
Soon after their Arrival, Vie had destroyed the outer boroughs, torching houses, buildings—whatever humans had constructed. They called it part of their Cleansing. Forests had grown up in those once-urban areas. I longed to return there. To be free of terror. To be free of Vie. Then I reminded myself it would never be true. They’d moved in and taken over, reshaping the world into their vision of perfection.
Sammie and I didn’t fit in their world. But we had to live in it.
The Multimedia Angle—The Use of Journals, Videos, and Book Quotes In Books by Laura Diamond
Part of what made IMMORTAL ALIENS: DAWN OF THE VIE a blast to write was the multimedia aspect I developed for the story. The book takes place in a dystopian future where immortal alien vampires called Vie have taken over the planet. They’re slowly restructuring what was once New York City, dubbing it New City. They’re building a UV blocking biodome, because, despite their immortality gifted by a DNA-altering vaccine called Vitalus Sustennus, Earth’s sun does irreparable damage to them.
They’ve also enslaved humans, using them not only as a food source, but as test subjects, errand runners, and even concubines.
A certain population of humans—those with various forms of anemia—are useless to Vie because their blood does not provide the same nutritional value as those with normal blood. As a result, Anemies are being hunted and exterminated.
A majority of the book is from the perspective of a teen Anemie, Justin, who finds out his blood does something that no one else’s so far has done—it ages Vie! He carries the potential of a lethal, biological weapon that humans can use against Vie to win back the planet.
In order to fully paint the picture of this sci-fi/dystopian landscape, I’ve included excerpts of The Book of Vie, a book that contains prophetical information about the Bringer of Death, the harbinger of Vie downfall.
Excerpt from The Book of Vie:
With their glorious Arrival, immortal Vie inherited the earth to rule with absolute power. Enslaved mortals, tormented by their bloodthirsty masters, abandoned hope and bore the yoke of submission without protest. The lowest of the low, the outcasts among outcasts, begged for mercy, but the immortals denied them. Then one day a mortal was born among them with the power to break the curse, free all mortals, and bring the gift of death.
—The Book of Vie, Author Anonymous
I’ve also included journal excerpts of Justin’s nemesis, Alex (Alejandro Reyes), an Elite Vie scientist who leads extermination raids to weed out the lingering Anemie population, who performs experiments on humans and Anemies alike, and who uses Anemie blood as a drug (because of its lack of healthy red blood cells, it makes any Vie who drinks it high, similar to any illicit drug), while also trying to atone for his sins by leading a group whose mission is to protect Anemies. Yep, the quintessential “bad guy” is trying to do some good.
Excerpt of Alejandro Reyes Journal:
Journal of Alejandro Reyes
Date: Year 75, Month 5, Day 18
I found him.
Then I lost him.
Had we not been interrupted, I could have snuck him away, using his sister as a carrot. He seemed so motivated to assist her, even at his own peril.
Perhaps I can still use her to get to him. He will no doubt be searching for her, as I will be searching for him. At some point, we’ll find each other. We have to.
Everything I built depends on it.
And, considering the technological advances the aliens brought, I’ve included video transcripts of their version of reality TV, hosted by gregarious and charming Vincent Marks.
Excerpt of Vidscreen Transcript:
VIDSCREEN TRANSCRIPT FOR VINCENT MARKS
Year 75, Month 5, Day 21, 12:00 PM
* * * * * * * * * *
Good afternoon, fellow New City citizens. Vincent Marks here. Welcome to Action News 7 Twelfth Hour Broadcast. Today, we bring you breaking news of three Anemies who trespassed into the Commercial Laundry Service earlier this morning…
As a reader, I find excerpts of journals, transcripts, emails, newspaper clippings, even sketches or drawings lend a tangible piece not otherwise included in the regular chapter format. It allows a glimpse into the world the protagonist and antagonist is living in, outside of the viewpoint of the main character. It’s also a lot of fun, both to write and to read, and fun is such an integral component of entertainment, something I strive for in all of my stories. If you choose to buy and read IMMORTAL ALIENS: DAWN OF THE VIE, I hope you enjoy what I’ve created!
About the Author:
Laura Diamond is a board certified psychiatrist currently specializing in emergency psychiatry. She is also an author of all things young adult—both contemporary and paranormal. An avid fan of sci-fi, fantasy, and anything magical, she thrives on quirk, her lucid dreams, and coffee. When she’s not working or writing, she can be found sniffing books and drinking a latte at the bookstore or at home pondering renovations on her 225 year old fixer upper, all while obeying her feline overlords, of course.