I'm honored to be a stop on Sara Francis's blog tour, to celebrate the release of her novel The Underground. This is the final book in The Terra Testimonies trilogy and it was a pleasure to talk to Sara about her writing journey, the excitement of dystopian fiction, and how we can continue to cheer ourselves on. (Also, read to the end and find out about a giveaway Sara is offering, exclusive to the blog tour!)
First things first, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a girl with a passion for all the arts! Literary, visual, musical, and more. For the past few years, I have been pursuing my love of the written word by writing and publishing a YA Dystopian trilogy and a children’s book series.I love to watch movies, play games, and have fun! My favorite food is french fries and I have an unhealthy obsession with coffee. If you follow my social media, you know that I love to share fun memes, stories, and adventures with my little skull Boris who has become a muse and an integral part of my writing process.
What has your writing journey been like?
A wild ride is the best way to describe my writing journey. Like with every goal, there are always highs and lows. There are days where I look at my work and go, “Dang, Sara, you are good!” Other days I look at it and cringe away, trying to keep myself from throwing it out the window. There were many tears, sleepless nights, happy dances, and empty coffee mugs.
In the end, every moment was a blessing. Every word was a gift. I couldn’t be more grateful for my YA trilogy “The Terra Testimonies”. Writing it and the characters taught me so much. They showed me to be grateful, to love, to have compassion, and most importantly, patience. When you first start writing, 9/10 times you’ll never be the greatest author in the world. You must be patient. You must take your time. You must practice. From there, you will be able to nurture your talent so it may blossom when it is time.
How would you describe your writing style?
Epistolary is how I describe my writing style. Frankly, it’s just stating what it is! For “The Terra Testimonies” specifically, they are written in first person by 3 different individuals per book. They are either diary entries, testimony transcriptions, or letters. With my writing, I keep the narration true to the character while ensuring they write just enough descriptions to keep the reader in the story but not bore them. I for one am not a fan of overly detailed descriptions, so I avoid going over the top as much as I can!
Can you pitch us The Terra Testimonies trilogy?
The Invaders left the world in ruin. This destruction and horror was unforeseen by all but seven. These “Keepers” knew of the disaster and prepared six islands as a place of refuge. They rescued thousands of survivors and brought them to their safe haven to prepare them to retake the world when the time is right. The Isles birthed an army of Bionics, Mutants, and Militia to destroy the Invaders.
However, throughout these young fighters’ training, they realize that not everything is as it seems. These Isle members are thrown into confusion as one individual plants seeds of doubt into their minds.
“The Terra Testimonies” trilogy follows the testimonies of these young fighters as they struggle with identifying who the real enemy is and if they should actually do something about it.
You recently released the final book. Can you tell us what The Underground is like, and how does it feel to have wrapped the trilogy up?
The final book of the trilogy “The Underground” is the most suspenseful and heart-rending read of the series. It is filled with action, danger, suspense, and you’ll need ten boxes of tissues at least. It has a villain point of view which makes it even harder to pick a favorite side! Frankly, it feels amazing to be able to wrap up the trilogy, but I’m going to miss it. I’ll miss writing about my beloved characters and the story. However, I’m grateful it is finished and I am thrilled to have it out in the world.
Now, I know this is an impossible question, but who is your favorite character from The Underground?
Ah, this is an impossible question! I think my favorite character in “The Underground” would have to be the protagonist Joshua. He is the spy living among the enemy, but his personality is relatable. He is a reminder that all great things are accomplished by ordinary people. He has his flaws, his strengths, his moments, but in the end, he is as human as we are. There are especially times where I just want to give him a hug, but he’ll refuse because he can’t jeopardize the mission.
What were some of the challenges of writing a trilogy? Some of the benefits?
One of the biggest challenges of writing a trilogy is consistency. Writing a complete series takes time and authors change as the months go on. I first put pen to paper for book 1 when I was fifteen. I’m twenty-two now and I have grown in many shapes and forms. This means my books and writing style have evolved with me. However, remaining to the main plot and voice of the story was always a challenge, but in the end I was able to achieve it just fine.
I would say keeping the story alive is the greatest strength to writing a trilogy. With my three books I was able to show things how they are, how they came to be, and how they end. I was able to build up the universe as a whole and yet still leave room for pondering and imagination. I could never have done that to the same extent with just one book. For this series in particular, a trilogy was the best way to go.
Do you have any advice for other writers of science fiction or dystopia?
Like always, my main piece of advice is to be inspired, not intimidated. Never get discouraged or disappointed when you see another author that may be better or more successful than you. Rather, look at what they do and aspire to go even higher. With science fiction and dystopia, the world is at your fingertips. Read other works in the genre. When writing Science Fiction, gaze up at the stars and wonder what it would be like if you could move them, or look at technology and wonder what you would make next. For dystopian writing (and life in general), look at the world and decide what you will do to change it.
Anything else to add?
I am a fun, personable person so I encourage you to follow me on Instagram and reach out any time! My IG handle is @sarafrancis_author. Also don’t forget to check out my website at www.sara-francis.com. And finally, for this blog tour exclusively I am hosting a giveaway to celebrate the completion of my trilogy! Be sure to enter here https://kingsumo.com/g/uxrlup/the-terra-testimonies-blog-tour-giveaway
Thanks again to Madison for all the amazing work she does for the writing community!