Title: PROJECT EMERGENCE
Author: Jamie Zakian
Pub. Date: March 14, 2017
Format: Paperback, eBook
An ancient Hopi myth says people arrived on tiny silver pods that fell from the sky.
But the truth is far more terrifying.
Two-hundred fifty-eight teens are sent from a dying Earth to a terraformed Mars as part of the Emergence Program, mankind’s last hope before solar flares finish off their planet and species. Among the brave pioneers are sixteen-year-old Joey Westen and her twin brother, Jesse.
After only minutes in space, something triggers a total ship lock down.
With the help of their roommates, the Matsuda twins (notorious hackers and shady secret-keepers), Joey and Jesse stumble onto an extremist plot to sabotage the Emergence Program.
But Joey and Jesse didn’t travel to the deepest pits of space and leave their mother behind to be picked off in a high-tech tin can. They’ll lie, hack, and even kill to survive the voyage and make it to Mars.
Interview with Jamie Zakian
What first made you decide that you wanted to be an author, and how long have you been writing for?
I’ve had a long-standing love affair with the written word, though it wasn’t until 2012 that I started writing fulltime with the goal of becoming an author. Writing a novel and actually getting it published had always been a dream of mine, but life is hectic. Kids got older, the crazy blur of days slowed, and I thought what the heck I’ll give it a shot. I didn’t know when I started my first manuscript that I was doing the thing I’m most passionate about, but it was crystal-clear by the end.
It’s so fascinating that this book incorporates an ancient Hopi myth. What inspired you to do that, and how large a part does that myth play in this story?
I was researching creation myths when drafting Project Emergence in search of title ideas and came across the Hopi creation myth. It’s an emergence myth, a legend that says Earth is the fourth world to be inhabited by Tawa’s creations. That they fell to this planet from the sky in little silver pods. The coincidences with that myth and my storyline struck me, so I named the script Emergence and it was later retitled Project Emergence.
Out of all your published works, is there a story that you most enjoyed writing? Were any of them more difficult to write than the others?
I am a YA writer, but a few years ago I got an idea for an adult story I just couldn’t shy away from. That idea later became published as my Ashby Holler series. I found it liberating to write freely without worrying about language or appropriate content, but it was also difficult because I had to delve into dark places I normally wouldn’t go for my writing. I’m extremely grateful for the experience though, as I feel it’s helped enrich my writing overall.
What’s something that you would like readers to be able to take away after reading your books?
I seem to have a common theme in all my stories: The power of friendship can defeat all evil. See, I’m a lover not a fighter, and I truly believe that love and understanding can overcome any form of hate. The purest love can be found in friendship, when people trust and support each other with no agenda other than to see the others flourish. That’s the world I want to live in, so that’s the worlds I write.
What are some books that you feel have influenced you as a writer?
I’ve been repeatedly devouring Heinlein novels for as long as I can remember. I also spent a lot of my childhood lost to James Patterson stories. It could explain why I always veer toward writing fast-paced sci-fi adventures.
Was there anything that surprised you about the publishing industry that you didn’t learn until after landing your first book deal?
I was definitely surprised by how welcoming and friendly everyone has been. You go through publishers, editors, bloggers, public relations, and everybody is helpful. I guess when you’re a querying writer, you get used to so many rejections it’s a surprise when people want to know more about your work and help it succeed.
Do you have any advice that you would like to share with aspiring writers?
If writing is your passion, the thing you eat, sleep, and breath, don’t give up. Project Emergence was my first book deal, but it wasn’t my first complete manuscript. It was my third. The first two, which I love, are sitting on a virtual shelf in FUBAR status. With writing, there’s no limit as to how much can be learned, no end to how sharp you hone your craft, and determination will take you a long way.
Jamie Zakian is a full-time writer who consumes the written word as equally as oxygen. Living in South Jersey with her husband and rowdy family, she enjoys farming, archery, and blazing new trails on her 4wd quad, when not writing of course. She aspires to one day write at least one novel in every genre of fiction.
Follow the Blog Tour
3/13/2017- Reading for the Stars and Moon– Guest Post
3/13/2017- Kaelan Rhywiol– Review
3/14/2017- Month9Books– Excerpt
3/14/2017- YA and Wine– Interview
3/15/2017- Kaitlin Gillespie– Review
3/15/2017- Don’t Judge, Read– Interview
3/16/2017- The Math Lovin’ Momma– Review
3/16/2017- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt
3/17/2017- Fix Gal– Review
3/17/2017- Book Review Becca– Spotlight
3/20/2017- Jennifer Eaton– Guest Post
3/20/2017- So Few Books– Interview
3/21/2017- Never Too Many To Read– Review
3/21/2017- Rockin’ Book Reviews– Excerpt
3/22/2017- Omg Books and More Books– Review
3/22/2017- Wishful Endings– Guest Post
3/23/2017- Hall Ways Blog– Excerpt