Novelist Ties Nation-changing Teens to Kansas City
Jan 8 2013
Contact: Rhonda McCormack email@example.com 480.650.1367
In her debut Indie novel, wildflowers, KC native Rhonda McCormack devastates the West with a climate disaster and then sends two rule-breaking teens to find the secret for its renewal. But this ecotopian mystery ends well, for the characters and for all the western states.
When asked what inspired wildflowers, McCormack says:
“Beyond the fantastic elements in the story, the main character, Keifer, and his sister Abi are really living out the continuation of the environmental moments we’re experiencing today. The weather disasters and ecological shifts that occur in the book are not unlike Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy or the recent crustal earthquake that occurred in Vancouver, where two tectonic plates shifted sideways. This is an almost-replica of the up-and-down plate shift that sends the Pacific Ocean careening over the lower western U.S. in wildflowers. The human stories behind these events are what speak to me, and I’m also fascinated by the growth of products and technologies that aim to ease the impact on our natural environment.”
It’s true that the novel, set in the not-far-off future, includes many manifestations of current products and government policy. The hot cell phone is the Bridge, the Whole Foods Act has discontinued the Twinkie, and EVs have replaced cars, with Tesla—the stylish American electric vehicle company whose Model S just became Automobile magazine’s 2013 Auto of the Year—taking center stage. As for the Kansas connection, Kansas Citians will recognize many fictionalized references, and local environmentalists will enjoy knowing that the transformation of the entire western landscape is rooted to the work of one KC family.
In this way, wildflowers is about people and relationships. At 279 pages, this young adult novel twists and turns its way through the post-environmental experience of Keifer and Abi Michaels, who in the three years since the evacuation from their Arizona home can’t agree on the details of the past. It’s only when Keifer uncovers a confusing family secret that he sees Abi as his ally. Soon the two are plotting and planning, inspired by their activist mother’s family. But while Keifer is focused on sneaking into the Restricted Zone and navigating a maze of clues, Abi motivates him to live his personal truth.
As for the author, she says deciding to independently publish is part of her personal truth. McCormack, born and raised in the Twin City area, is a long-time member of The Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and writes about self-pubbing at rmccormackwrites.blogspot.com. She’s also the artist and owner behind Gongoozler Art, which she says has helped her Indie experience. “It’s been a fun challenge to combine my art with my storytelling style, which is all about exposing the brilliant uphill climb out of childhood.”
On online shelves now, wildflowers can be purchased as a print-on-demand title through Amazon or an eBook through Kindle. Though classified in the YA genre, with language and content at the PG-13 level, the author says, “wildflowers is an adventure for readers of all ages.”
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