The H5N1 virus was the deadliest disease in the history of mankind. Not only did it spread rapidly, reaching every corner of the globe, but it also resulted in an inconceivable 100% mortality rate among adults. Within a month, almost every human being became a victim of the virus.
All that remains of humanity is a handful of “immune” children. Except that they aren’t truly immune. The virus lurks in their bodies, ready to strike when they reach maturity.
Kyle, Hannah, and Amy are three immune kids who find themselves thrust into a lonely world after losing the people they have known and loved. No longer able to rely on the company, wisdom, and experience of adults, they must survive in the harsh post-pandemic world with only a handful of other immune children. But the trio soon learn that dying from H5N1 isn’t the only thing they have to worry about.
What makes your book different than other books out there?
In most YA books I’ve read, the adults play an important role, either as the object of rebellion, as mentors, or both. I wanted to change that by getting rid of ALL the adults, so the young characters in my book are the causes — and solutions — of their conflicts.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My two main sources of inspiration are my dreams and just asking “what if” to everyday situations. I published two short story collections where most of those ideas came from dreams I had. In the Hands of Children came about when I was saving some digital photos and wondered, “What if we lost the technology and knowledge to retrieve all of that information?” That led to coming up with a premise where a virus killed all adults in the world, and the rest, as they say, is history.
What kind of books do you read? Are they similar to the books you write?
I tend to read a lot of YA books, with some thrillers, sci-fi/fantasy, and zombie books thrown in there for good measure. I write in the same genres that I read because I want to personally enjoy what I write or I’ll end up disliking the process, especially the part where I edit my manuscript for the twentieth time!
Dream cast your book for us.
Since the characters are all teens or pre-teens, and I don’t really know many actors that age, is it OK if I pick adult actors and cast their younger versions?
I picture Hannah looking like a young Katherine Heigl, and a young Amy Adams would make a good Amy. As for Kyle, maybe a young Zac Efron, but I’d prefer an unknown actor to play him, like when George Lucas picked Mark Hamill to play Luke Skywalker.
Do you have a ‘day job’? What is it?
By day, I’m a software engineer. I’m lucky in that I like being an engineer, so as long as I have time to write, I have the best of both worlds.
What has your biggest struggle been so far?
As with other writers who hold down day jobs, my biggest struggle is finding the time to write. Writing is important to me, but not as important as my family and putting food on the table and paying the bills.
How do you feel about romances being so common in YA (and to a lesser degree MG) books?
Romance is fine as long as it’s not the focus of the story and the relationship doesn’t feel forced. I don’t believe that every story needs romance, but if it happens naturally between two characters, then that’s great. I can see why it’s popular in YA books because that’s the age when we usually first experience romance. It’s exciting and it’s a big deal!
What trend do you love in MG/YA books? What trend do you hate?
I love the growing popularity of dystopian novels. Not that I want to world to end anytime soon, but there’s something about the end of the world and what comes after that appeals to me.
I don’t like any trend that involves vampires, werewolves, or paranormal romance.
A train leaves New York traveling west at 70 mph. At the same time, another train leaves Dallas traveling north at 50 mph. What is the closest that the trains will get?
What’s next for you?
I’m working on a YA novel involving clones. I’ve never read a YA story about clones, so I hope this will be fun and original!
H.S. Stone has been writing books since before he learned to read. Of course, those first books were gibberish, but his fate as a writer was sealed at an early age. Since then, he has written on and off for his entire life, publishing two short story collections and two novels. H.S. Stone lives with his family in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Stop by on Friday to read my review of In The Hands of Children!