By Alicia Michaels
The Bionics Novels, Book 1
Published: February 10th, 2015
Publisher: Crimson Tree Publishing
Genre: NA Paranormal Romance
Content Warning: Coarse language, mild sexual innuendo
Recommended Age: 16+
All Blythe Sol ever wanted was to be a normal girl. Yet, her dreams of following in her father’s footsteps by joining the military after graduation are crushed when nuclear war comes to the United States in the year 4006. Tens of thousands are killed in a series of attacks on many major cities, while thousands more are left injured from the devastation of the blasts, or terminally ill from the effects of radiation.
When the government offers the sick and injured a second chance as part of the Restoration Project, how could they refuse? Hoping to put her life back together after the blasts take both her arm and her eye, Blythe enrolls in the program filled with hope. She never expects that the bionic additions will change her life so drastically. When it is discovered that those outfitted with the robotic parts have become enhanced beyond the limits of ordinary human ability, normal can never exist for her again.
The Bionics become targets of the government, as fear of them spreads across the nation, further enflamed by media propaganda and political conspiracy. Forced to go into hiding or face execution, society’s outcasts band together to form the Restoration Resistance—an underground rebellion which Blythe becomes a part of in order to survive. She could never imagine that joining them would thrust her at the forefront of an imminent revolution, or that it would put her in a confusing tug-of-war between two of her fellow soldiers—Gage Bronson, the mysterious new addition to the Resistance, and Dax Janner, her best friend. Even though Gage is rapidly capturing her heart, she is forced to face the possibility that her feelings for Dax might just go beyond friendship. However, with impending war and the threat of death hanging over her head, Blythe hardly has time to worry about anything as trivial as a love life…
When the airstrip comes into view, I know that we’re in deep shit. Jenica, Blythe, and the Professor haven’t even made it to the craft yet and are ducked down behind a row of hover bikes, taking cover. I can see our hijacked government craft several hundred yards away, its guns raised and swiveling on their turrets as Dax and Sayer try to help us pick off the MPs one by one. It is an impossible task—there are too many of them. The smart thing to do is run, but I know Dax won’t leave without the others. As I weigh my options as quickly as possible, I realize that there is no way we’re getting out of this together. I start across the tarmac, gun in one hand, raising my COMM device with the other.
“Janner!” I bark as Dax as I make a beeline for a craft parked on the other end of the airstrip. With so much manpower concentrated on the others, this craft is unguarded. I’ve never piloted a hovercraft in my life and what little I do know has come from watching Jenica at the controls, but I can’t think about that now. The MPs are closing in on Blythe and the others and there is nowhere for them to run. “Do you know how to fly one of these things?”
Dax’s voice—or rather, Sergeant Barnes’ voice—crackles over the speaker. “Not that particular model, but Strom does. What are you thinking, Bronson?”
“I’m thinking you need to get out of here and get our rescued prisoners home,” I say as I reach the hovercraft and proceed to climb up toward the closed hatch, all the while praying that it is unlocked.
“That’s a negative, Bronson,” Dax answers, yelling to be heard over the sound of gunfire. “We’re not leaving without our team intact.”
“That’s not exactly an option,” I answer, trying the hatch and find it open. I quickly scramble inside. “We’re going to have to split up. Put Strom on the line and tell him I need a five-minute piloting lesson. I’m going for Jenica, the Professor, and Blythe.”
Dax hesitates for a split second before I hear his heavy sigh over the speaker. “You’d better not get them killed,” he grumbles, and I can picture him grudgingly handling the COMM device to Sayer. “Or I will seriously kick your ass.”
“If I don’t do something, we’re screwed either way,” I retort before Sayer comes on the line.
“Strom, give me the basics,” I say as I run up the hovercraft’s center aisle and find the pilot’s chair. Rows of foreign buttons, gauges and screens line the panel in front of me. I watch through the window while the space between Jenica, Blythe and the Professor and the MPs grows smaller. I don’t have much time.
“See that clear plastic box to your right near the throttle?” Sayer asks over the COMM device.
I nod. “Yeah.”
“Pop it open and flip that red switch.”
I do as he says and immediately the hum of the hovercraft tells me it’s turned on. “Done.”
“There’s a series of silver switches to your left.”
I locate them. “Yeah, there are six of them.”
“Those control your elevation. Each one will lift you higher into the air. Flip the first two and that’ll get you high enough that you’re flying but still low enough to swoop down and grab Jenica, Blythe, and Professor Hinkley.”
I quickly follow his instructions and the hovercraft jolts as I flip the two switches, then it ascends, hovering several feet over the ground.
“Now what?” I ask, dropping into the pilot’s chair and fastening the harness. My hands shake as I grip the throttle.
“Fly,” Sayer answers before the connection is cut.
It is my pleasure to welcome Alicia Michaels, author of The Bionics, to Room With Books.
Hi Alicia, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Please tell us about yourself and your background?
Hi there! Happy to be here. I am a wife and mother of three who works from home as an author. I’m a Texas native who loves books, movies, shopping, and food (cooking and eating). I’ve been a published author for three years now, and have written over two dozen books under various pen names.
What were you like at school?
I was a bit of an oddity. I got bullied in elementary and middle school, so I spent a lot of time by myself reading or hanging out with the other nerds and outcasts. I skipped a grade, so I was younger than everyone else, which made it even harder. By the time I got to high school, I got tired of being bullied and stopped taking people’s crap. I became more outgoing, and even though I was never popular, I had a lot of friends. Because, as we all know, the popular crowd is usually very small. There were way more friends to be had outside that circle. I joined the swim team, competed in various choir competitions, and did drama. No matter what, though, I could always been seen with my nose in a book.
Were you good at English?
English was my favorite subject. I was the kid who was happy when there was an essay or term paper to be written, because it was one thing I always knew I could get an A on. I also loved all the great books we got to read for English like The Scarlet Letter, Lord of the Flies, etc.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Of course I think all authors would love to be on the USA Today and New York Times bestseller lists, and sell millions of books, get rich, and have their books adapted to film. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t dream of those things. But honestly, if that never happens, I’m just happy to have a voice and a platform through which I can share that voice with my work. As long as people are reading my books, I’m happy writing them.
Which writers inspire you?
There are a lot. Too many to name. I have my favorites and go through seasons where one writer is my inspiration for that time. Right now that person is George RR Martin, authors of Game of Thrones. As someone who writes Fantasy, I find him to be an excellent example of exemplary world-building and character development.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
Blythe is me. She is every 19 year-old girl out there, with the same dreams and ambitions we’ve all had, or still have. She wants a normal life, she wants love, maybe a family someday. But her circumstances are what make her extraordinary. Losing parts of herself in a nuclear attack, and then having to reform her identity once her arm and eye are replaced by bionic prosthetics … fighting for her life when the government turned on her kind … losing everyone she’s ever loved … standing against oppression with a group of vigilante freedom fighters … these are the things that make her extraordinary.
What are you working on at the minute?
Tempest’s Fury, the fourth book in my YA Fantasy series, The Lost Kingdom of Fallada.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I’m a huge fan of Jurnee Smollet (The Great Debaters, Tyler Perry’s Temptation, True Blood). Not only does she look exactly how I picture Blythe in my mind, she has the passion and presence to pull the character off.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
At this point, writing has become my livelihood. I went from publishing one novel, to having several out, with three series that have fans waiting for the sequels. So, there really isn’t a choice anymore. This is how I support my family. So when one book is finished, I take a very short time to rest, then I jump on the next one. That isn’t to say that I don’t still enjoy it. This is my job, but I love every day, every minute, every task, every word written.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
It’s kind of hard to have structure when two of my kids stay home with me during the day. My oldest is in school, but my boys are both under 4 years old. One is still in diapers. I try to make lists of tasks for the day, and do my best to stick for it, and still make time to write. But it doesn’t always work out that way. I have learned to be flexible and do as much as I can in a day without overextending myself.
Where do your ideas come from?
Ideas jump out at me from everywhere. Inspiration is funny like that. Books, movies, songs … seeing a random stranger in public, or a conversation with a friend. There’s no one place. Inspiration is everywhere.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Rarely do I outline. If I do, it’s only because certain research I’ve done needs to fit into the story in a certain way. Aside from that, I allow the story to unfold organically, letting the characters drive the story by doing what feels natural. I find that makes the story more spontaneous, and it makes the plot twists more effective.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
Writing is easy. It’s the part that comes after that’s hard. Editing, and taking criticism. Releasing it to the world and waiting for feedback. No matter how many books I write and release, that never changes.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I am always reading! I love multiple genres and authors, so it’s hard to choose favorites. But I do love George RR Martin, Loretta Chase, Julia Quinn, Suzanne Collins, Courtney Milan, C.S. Lewis … the list goes on and on!
For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
There’s no preference. I just love to read a good story. A book is a book in any form. E-books have become more practical and convenient for me, having kids who like to rip pages, and limited space for storing paperbacks. But I do have a big collection of both kinds.
What book are you reading at present?
Walking the Edge by Zee Monodee (Romantic Suspense)
Tell us about the cover and how it came about.
I love the cover for The Bionics. It can be very hard to find models who fit your character, but the girl we found to portray the main character, Blythe Sol, was just perfect. I wanted to show toughness and vulnerability, and I think she portrays both. We also wanted to do something to show that she is different from other humans, thus the enhancement ot her eye, making it appear different from the other. That is Blythe’s bionic eye.
Who designed your book cover?
Marya Heiman of Strong Image Editing. She’s an AMAZING artist, and understands concepts and how to expand them into a tangible product.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I don’t just think it, I KNOW it works. It continues to be the best way I have found to get my books into the hands of new readers.
How do you relax?
Reading, of course. Shopping, cooking, watching movies with my husband, playing with my kids, sewing. Did I mention shopping?
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
They can visit me at www.fantasybyalicia.com, or one of my many social media pages.
Any final words?
Thanks so much for having me on your blog today and for your awesome questions!
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Ever since she first read books like Chronicles of Narnia or Goosebumps, Alicia has been a lover of mind-bending fiction. Wherever imagination takes her, she is more than happy to call that place her home. The mother of two and wife to an Army sergeant loves chocolate, coffee, and of course good books. When not writing, you can usually find her with her nose in a book, shopping for shoes and fabulous jewelry, or spending time with her loving family.
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