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Thursday 18 February 2016

ℚ The Kid: Escape from the Past [2] - Annette Oppenlander

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Kid (, Lodestone Books, 308 pages), a YA Historical Science Fiction novel, book two of Escape from the Past trilogy.

What a wonderful way to bring history to life, re-imagine the past, and imagine the future all at the same time!” —Patrice W. Hallock, Ph.D., Utica College

Experience “the twists and turns of the story while gaining a greater appreciation of the challenges of life in the Wild West during the late 1800’s. Max, a typical teenager of today, is thrown into a series of arduous challenges he must overcome in order to return to his former humdrum life.

Along the way, he and we gain valuable insights and appreciation of the hardships encountered by the new western settlers and the Native American people amongst outlaws and the formidable desert climate of the New Mexico area. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable experience you will not want to miss.“  —Richard Rafes, Ph.D., J.D., President of East Central University

“Ms. Oppenlander has a keen eye for detail, and her ability to create cliffhanging situations of high suspense makes for a great read. I strongly recommend this novel for any imaginative young reader who likes to have one foot in fantasy and one in reality.” —Bill Hays, Retired English AP/Honors Teacher

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops

A very warm welcome to Annette Oppenlander; thank you for taking the time to join us on BooksChatter.

Before we start I have expand on the image that I used above because, as you said on your Facebook page, a cowboy attire would have fitted your latest release, The Kid, better as it is set in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico!   However I really like that image of you in Medieval attire, as you do write meticulously researched historical fiction, you have a fun 10-page fact-sheet on the German Middle Ages for your newsletter subscribers, and of course the first book in the Escape from the Past series, The Duke's Wrath does in fact take place in 1471 Germany.

What was the inspiration for The Kid?

"In “The Kid,” book two in the “Escape from the Past” trilogy, time-traveling gamer, Max, intends to return to his friends in medieval Germany, but mistakenly lands in the Wild West of 1881 New Mexico where he’s abducted by ruthless bandits and rescued by a beautiful American Indian girl.

Kingston Main Street

Growing up in Germany, I’ve always been fascinated with the Wild West.  I remember watching westerns with my father and reading books about pioneers, American Indians and the gold rush.  After I moved to the U.S. I continued reading historical fiction set in the eighteen and nineteen hundreds.
I chose Billy the Kid because I see him as a tragic character who encountered a string of bad luck and was basically set up to fail.  He isn’t much older than Max and you can easily see how any young man could have had Billy’s fate.  The second important character is Chief Nana, a Warm Springs Apache warrior, who in the summer of 1881 rode a 3,000 mile vengeance war against the U.S. Army.  He was never caught nor were his fifteen or so warriors.  The amazing thing about him was his age.  He was around eighty years old then and had a bad leg."

Above: Billy The Kid playing croquet, article about Billy the Kid and Chief Nana.

How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?

"I don’t think I can define the part that is reflected.  Of course, I’ve spent months researching the Wild West, Billy the Kid and Warm Springs Apaches.  So, a lot of filtering has been going on and the important parts made it into the book.  I also believe that a writer’s subconscious determines what flows onto the page.  In a sense the whole story is a part of me because I created it.  I can’t pin it down though into personality or a particular expertise."
That makes perfect sense.

The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover.  Can you tell us about your cover for The Kid - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.

"My publisher is responsible for the cover and while I make suggestions about the theme, i.e. Wild West I’m not in charge of covers nor can I veto them."
Why should we read The Kid and the Escape From the Past trilogy; what sets it apart from the rest?
"I think the trilogy is rather fast-paced and adventurous and people who like historical fiction will like this series.  It covers the German Middle Ages in books one and three and is based on a particular castle there.  That is pretty unique because most medieval stories are set in England and France.

What sets it apart is the sense that you’re really there.  I’ve had many readers comment that they felt they were “in” the story and that they couldn’t put the books down.  Anytime that happens you’re really invested, it’s worth a read."
Yep, that would seem to be the norm.  I must admit that I really love the premise of your series.

Can you tell us something quirky about The Kid, its story and characters?

"Several of the characters like Billy the Kid, Warm Springs Apache Chief Nana and warrior woman Lozen are real people and they happened to be in New Mexico in 1881. Chief Nana actually married one of Geronimo’s sisters and spent time with him at the Mescalero reservation.

Ela and her brothers are fictitious, but each American Indian name has a meaning. Ela, for instance, means “Earth.”"
Who would you recommend The Kid to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"This book is for written for teens and anybody who loves a good story set in the past.

I had one reviewer who praised my writing, but didn’t like references to peeing.  There are on occasion such references because I felt it was important to show Max struggle with his alien environment.

There are mild references to sex, but nothing specific. In book three, however, there is an actual, albeit brief, sex scene."
If you could / wished to turn The Kid and the Escape from the Past series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I’d love Steven Spielberg as my director.  Who wouldn’t.

I’d like somebody like a young Michael J. Fox to play Max.  Other than that I’m uncertain about particular actors.

As far as locations go, the stories should be filmed at Hanstein Castle in Thuringia, Germany, probably with lots of computer animation, because the actual castle is in ruins.

Book two, “The Kid,” would be filmed in New Mexico, near Fort Sumner and in the Black Mountains, a breathtaking patch of nature in the Gila wilderness."
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"I typically stick with historical fiction as my main genre.  In the case of the “Escape from the Past” trilogy which is set in the Middle Ages and the Wild West, and my first novel, “A Different Truth,” set in an Indiana military school during the Vietnam War, the stories have teen protagonists.

My current project is about a couple during and after WW2 in Germany.  It’s a love story of sorts and explores the theme of forgiveness. It is historical fiction, but not really for the YA market.

Some day I’d like to do some early reader books.  I’ve got a few manuscripts from the 1990s slumbering in a drawer."
What is your writing process?
"I write first drafts and new work in the mornings because that’s when I’m most fit.  I work on edits, research and reading in the afternoons.  I write most days, even Sundays, if I’m in the middle of things.  The exception is when I’m traveling and don’t get into a routine.  Then I hardly write at all."
What is in store next?
"I’m a lifelong author so that’s what I’ll be doing until my brain gives out. I hope I’ll have the opportunity to write many more novels. I recently sent book three “Escape from the Past: At Witches’ End” to the publisher and expect a release date in the fall of 2016.

This will conclude the trilogy. My current project is the WW2 story and I’m also working on a YA novel set during the American Civil War.  During my last Germany trip in September, I came across a colorful man, one of the Pappenheim descendants who I may write a novel about."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I’ll gladly tell you about my old dog/mutt, Mocha, we adopted from the Humane Society eleven years ago. As you can see she’s old and gray, but still quite fit.  I walk her every day and she’s so well trained, she walks without a leash and frequently gets compliments.  She and I are roommates because she has her bed in my office.

My husband and I make organic green smoothies (fresh fruits and veggies) every morning and Mocha enjoys a small portion herself to round out her diet."

Hello Mocha! You beautiful naughty girl ;-)

The Kid
Available for Pre-Order
Out on 26 Feb 2016!

UK: purchase from purchase from Nook UK purchase from Kobo UK US: purchase from purchase from Barnes & Noble purchase from Kobo find on Goodreads

1 comment:

Annette Oppenlander said...

I just love this blog post. It turned out great with all the images, so thank you for doing such a wonderful job.