*Materials & images provided by Kirstie Bryant.
Icarus Series, #1
~Released: October 16th, 2014
~Length: 474 Pages
~Genres: Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Dystopian
When 17 year old Liv Larson and her brother are sent to separate foster homes, she dedicates her every breath to getting him back. After months of solitude and anti-social behavior, her best friend Riley ropes her into a Rooftop Solar Flare Party. Despite the fascinating lights in the sky, Liv finds herself drawn, instead, to Zander- the boy with the crooked smile.
For a few hours, Liv’s troubles finally feel a bit less overwhelming—that is until what should have been a small flare erupts into a massive solar storm forcing them all to seek shelter in the school’s basement. Cut off from the rest of the world and with no signs of rescue, fear and paranoia set in and battle lines are drawn, dividing their ranks. What is left the group must embark on a perilous journey to save one of their own and find their families…but, something sinister awaits them in the shadows and it’s undeniably connected to Liv.
Can Liv keep her promise to reunite with her brother? What are she and her friends willing to do to survive? Will their bravery and determination be enough to save them all from a rogue government, a terrifying virus, and the things that go bump in the night…Or was Icarus, indeed, The Killshot?
Aria Michaels is the author of the Best-Selling young adult dystopian novel Killshot (Icarus Series, Book One) as well as its companion novella, Before the Sky Fell. In addition to her career as an author, Aria Michaels is an avid reader, die-hard zombie fan and enthusiastic lover of bonfires and red wine. When she is not glued to her computer pouring out the voices in her head, Aria can be found playing in the dirt with her boys, painting, or binge-watching The Walking Dead with her husband. Don't let her mild-mannered smile fool you…this woman has lofty ambitions that include complete global domination. She is determined to live in a world where every pair of yoga pants comes with a free book, an iced caramel macchiatto and a magic force-field that repels the sound of screaming children (of which she has six). In the meantime, Aria is hard at work on the next installment of the Icarus Series, reveling in her role as instigator of literary mayhem and stealth assassin of fictional characters.
"You are never more than one choice away from a different future." --Aria Michaels
(Provided by Kirstie Bryant)
When did you begin writing and what inspired the Icarus Series?
I actually wrote and “published” my first book when I was in third grade…and by publish, I mean I wrote and illustrated a story in crayon and my teacher made a copy on the Xerox machine (yes, it was the 80’s) and gave it to my grade school librarian for people to check out. *laughing*
Thankfully, my writing has gotten a bit more sophisticated over the years. I am currently focused on the YA dystopian genre. Killshot, my first novel in the Icarus Series, is actually based on a reoccurring nightmare I have had pretty much my whole life. The dangers in the dream change over time, but there are a few constants; there is always fire and I am always running, but I am never alone. No matter how scary the dream gets, I have always had a small group of friends and loved ones by my side.
At what point did you first consider yourself a writer?
I will let you know when it happens. (laughs) Honestly, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around it all. I took a risk, a BIG one, when I decided to dive into this writing thing and I went in head first without my floaties. I am still in shock at how amazing it has all been. Still, I think the moment you get too comfortable and start feel like you are safe, that is when you start to sink.
Do you have a specific writing style?
If I had to define it, I would probably call my writing style Complete Emersion. The way I write puts you into the mind and body of my characters. You don’t just see what they see…you feel the heat from of the smoldering fires and smell the smoke and decay. You feel every beat of their heart and stomp of their foot- every victory, and every heartbreak. You don’t just feel for the survivors. You BECOME a survivor.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes, and it is a simple one. No matter your circumstances, no matter your fate…You are never more than one choice away from a different future.
(Provided by Kirstie Bryant)
Me: I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to sit down with me today, Zander. I must admit, in light of all you are going through right now, I was quite surprised when Aria told me that you had agreed to this interview. I know you don’t have a lot of time, so let’s get right down to the fan questions, shall we?
Zander: Sure, fire away, ma’am. (…and there’s that crooked smile)
Me: One fan would like to know, what is your most treasured possession?
Zander: You know, if you had asked me that question a few days ago I would have said my bike—well, my dad’s bike, hands-down, but after everything that’s happened? It all just seems so trivial now, you know? (He laughs, but it sounds deflated and his smile doesn’t quite reach those copper eyes)
Me: How do you mean?
Zander: Thing is, when all you have left in this world is the clothes on your back and your memories, possessions don’t really mean a whole lot anymore. The only thing I have that means anything to me is little more than a useless scrap of metal. Still, it’s all I have left of my dad and Liv damn near got herself killed trying to get it for me. I can never repay her for that.
Me: Speaking of Liv, that brings me to our next fan question. The two of you seem like you have a real connection. Do you feel as though Icarus is responsible for that or is there more to it?
Zander: Wow, you don’t shy away from the hard ones do you? (laughs and runs his fingers through his hair) Yeah, we definitely have a connection but it’s kind of hard to explain. I mean, she’s probably the most stubborn and strong-willed girl I have ever met in my life, but…Liv is special and I don’t just mean her abilities, you know? She has this sort of reluctant strength, if that makes sense. And by the way, my faith in her and our connection, as you put it, has absolutely nothing to do with Icarus. Liv has always been a survivor—even before all this. I wish she could see what the rest of us see, you know?
Me: No, I totally get it. (swoon). Where was I…Oh, right. Next question. What is your biggest regret?
Zander: I…you know what? I don’t think there is room for regret in this world anymore. Life is just too short, and there are no guarantees that there will even be a tomorrow. I think that rather than looking back with regret, I am choosing to look forward with hope. Salvation is out there and we are going to find it.
Me: Wow! I have to say, that’s insanely optimistic given what you’ve been through since Solar Storm Icarus hit. How do you stay so positive when the world is quite literally crashing down around you…when everything feels so dark?
Zander: (laughs and shakes his head, his dark hair falling into his eyes as they meet mine) The dark is nothing to be afraid of, ma’am. Even the brightest star needs a little darkness to shine.
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