I had the pleasure of working as an editor on ECOSYSTEM, the new book by author Joshua David Bellin! It will be released in 2 DAYS!
Here’s a little bit about the book:
Seventeen-year-old Sarah is a Sensor, gifted with the ability to survive within the sentient Ecosystem that swept away human civilization centuries ago. While the remnants of humankind huddle in small villages of stone, Sarah uses her psychic connection to the Ecosystem to travel freely in the wild in search of food, water, and fuel. Sarah doesn’t fear the Ecosystem—but she hates it for killing her mother when Sarah was a child. When she hunts, she hunts not only for her people’s sustenance but for revenge.
Then Miriam, an apprentice Sensor, is lost in the Ecosystem, and Sarah sets out to rescue her. Joining Sarah is Miriam’s beloved, Isaac, a boy who claims to possess knowledge of the Ecosystem that will help their people survive. The harrowing journey to find the missing apprentice takes Sarah and Isaac into the Ecosystem’s deadliest places. And it takes Sarah into the unexplored territory of her own heart, where she discovers feelings that threaten to tear her—and her society—apart.
Here’s where you can order it now:
I also got the chance to interview Josh about his book! So without further ado, enjoy!
Christa: I’m so excited to interview you, Josh! I absolutely loved ECOSYSTEM and can’t wait to chat with you about it.
Josh: Hi, Christa! Thanks for having me on your blog!
Christa: Tell us a little bit about why Ecosystem is different from your other published works.
Josh: I’d say that Ecosystem differs from my other books in that it leans more toward fantasy than science fiction. Though it’s set on Earth, I was less concerned with real (or even plausible) science than with creating an alternate world with its own rules and powers and dangers. (And monsters. Can’t forget them.) So in this book, I’m reaching back to the fantasy genre I loved as a teen, when I was reading books like J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea and starting to dream of being a writer when I grew up.
Christa: Do you believe that nature could inherently become self-aware and grow like it does in Ecosystem, or do you feel this book is pure fantasy?
Josh: I believe that we know a lot about Nature from the “outside”—through science and observation—but very little from the “inside”—that is, we don’t know what it’s like to be it. We can imagine easily enough what other human beings are thinking and feeling and seeing, but can we imagine what a frog thinks? What a praying mantis feels? What a tree sees? It’s hard, because those existences are so different from ours. Ecosystem adopts the premise that the natural world could become—or could already be—self-aware, and if that gets readers to think about the possibility of experiences beyond our own limited point of view, I’ll be happy!
Christa: I know you’ve written quite a few books–which of them has been your favorite to write and/or read?
Josh: Sitting down to write a book takes so much time and energy, you have to love each and every story or you’d never get it done. (That’s why, like most writers, I have lots of unfinished books on my hard drive; I didn’t love them enough to complete them.) But with each book I’ve completed, it’s been kind of like loving one’s children: I love them all differently but equally. I love the Survival Colony novels because they were my first, and also because I love the characters and the monsters. I love Ecosystem because it’s a throwback to my childhood reading, because I had so much fun creating the world, and because I enjoyed the challenge of writing from a teenage girl’s point of view. But I’ve got some really weird novels on my computer that I love in totally different ways, and that I might publish someday—so watch out!
Christa: What are your next writing plans? More in the Ecosystem universe or something new?
Josh: I’m almost done drafting the second book in the Ecosystem trilogy, titled The Devouring Land. Depending on how the revision goes, I’ll either publish it toward the tail end of this year or the beginning of next year, then move on to the final book, which is titled House of Earth, House of Stone. After that, the future’s a bit fuzzier. There’s a prequel to the Survival Colony series that my agent is currently shopping around, and I’m attending a weeklong workshop this summer to learn about astronomy in preparation for a Mars colonization novel. I’ve also got a North Pole exploration novel that I halted to work on the Ecosystem series and that I might return to. Whatever my next book turns out to be, you can be sure it’ll involve desolate landscapes, fearsome monsters, and lots of adventure!
Christa: Those three things definitely sound intriguing! So to finish up, what three pieces of advice would you give aspiring authors?
Josh: First and foremost, write. I can’t tell you how many people have said, “I have a great idea for a novel,” but they never sit down to write it. I have a great idea for a particle accelerator, but if I don’t do anything to make it a reality, I might as well not bother.
Second, and related to the first, focus on things you can control, not things you can’t. To a large extent, you can control how often and how much you write; by contrast, you have surprisingly little control over what happens to your book after you’ve written it. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to promote your work or whatever, but it does mean that you’ll be banging your head against the wall a lot if you put things you can’t control ahead of things you can.
Finally, and related to both the first and the second, write for love. Maybe you’ll become rich; probably, however, you won’t. The vast majority of people who publish novels don’t make much money from writing; in fact, most don’t make enough to live off of, and many don’t make anything at all. If you write for money and fail to make money, you’ve got nothing. If you write for love and fail to make money, you’ve still got love.
Christa: Wonderful words to think about… Thanks so much for joining me today, Josh! I can’t wait to get my copy of ECOSYSTEM!
Joshua David Bellin has been writing novels since he was eight years old (though the first few were admittedly very short). A college teacher by day, he is the author of three science fiction novels for teens and adults: the two-part Survival Colony series (Survival Colony 9 and Scavenger of Souls) and the deep-space adventure Freefall. His new book, the YA fantasy Ecosystem, releases on April 22, 2018 (Earth Day). Josh loves to read, watch movies, and spend time in Nature with his kids. Oh, yeah, and he likes monsters. Really scary monsters.
Links for Joshua David Bellin:
Ecosystem is thrilling fantasy adventure from the author of Freefall and the Survival Colony series, Ecosystem is the first book in a YA trilogy that includes The Devouring Land (2019) and House of Earth, House of Stone (2020).