Guest blog by Liz Newman, author of The Ashes of Windsor
The world didn't end on the twelfth, but those preaching gloom and doom say we are now at the beginning of the end. It is no wonder that readers have a fascination with love and dystopia. Some of the most popular books today, such as The Hunger Games series or even Water for Elephants, have strong romantic elements centered upon the fringes of a dystopian setting. The Hunger Games takes place in the post-war United States, dubbed the civilization of Panem, and Water for Elephants is set against the backdrop of a failing circus on the fringe of bankruptcy during the Depression. Both of these stories would not be as outstanding as they were if either the dystopian element or the romantic element was taken away. Both of these stories would not have the romantic element if the dystopian element was not added to the plot's formula. The idea of dystopia existed in these two stories on both the macrocosmic level, as in The Hunger Games where a society lived it, and on a microcosmic level, as in Water for Elephants, where a small circus struggled to survive in a society where almost every other factor worked against it, even the owners themselves.
Thus can the same with life, or romance as we know it in life. Our greatest romance is found in our greatest time of need, where we are emotionally downtrodden and in need of more than a good friend or casual lover. We become in need of something to make our lives meaningful; something which takes away the befuddlement we feel when faced with the human condition of loneliness. The realization of this human condition is dystopia on a microcosmic level. In fiction, the human condition of loneliness is the essence of conflict itself. The demons or angels that accompany this realization are manifested in our supporting characters, our antagonists, and our hero or heroine's actions. Love and dystopia are two sides of the same coin. Some may argue that Utopia should make up the flip side of that coin, but I beg to disagree. Utopia and Dystopia can both be regarded as the soil upon which love can grow. That makes love an absolutely wonderful and divine aspect of human life, a beacon of hope we can all count on, no matter where we live or what environment we are surrounded with. We can always count on the proliferation of love.
My newest work, The Ashes of Windsor, is the story of two teens who are in love and struggling to survive in the dystopian environment of New York after nuclear war. Thrust into the world of the fallout, Inari Giles grasps for the strength to survive. Peter Huntford, her beloved boyfriend, vows to bring Inari to Arcadia, a haven that will only accept young women of childbearing age through its gates. Will he find a way to bring her to safety, even at the cost of his own life?
Here is an excerpt:
I tilted my face up to his and gazed into his hazel eyes. Reaching out, my hand caressed the side of his face. He leaned forward and kissed me as he gripped my upper arm. The softness of his lips, coupled with the moist, cool wetness of the water on his face, stirred my body so intensely I quivered despite the unseasonable heat. The feel of his heartbeat through his muscular chest made me short of breath, and I reflexively curved my body into his. The firmness of his body contrasted with my softness, and the feel of his fingertips dancing from my shoulder to the curve of my waist incited such a feeling of contentment the nearness of him made me feel complete, as if there were nothing more to want in the world than this moment.
Rising from the ground with his glorious body gleaming in the golden sun, he climbed up the Ouaquaga Bridge. Spreading his arms out into a wide V, he vaulted himself into the air, bringing his hands together and tilting himself into the perfect dive. The maple trees and lush green brush provided the perfect backdrop to the picturesque spectacle he made. He disappeared under the crystalline surface of the water.
I walked towards him, undulating my hips as his eyes popped up from the surface of the river. “You look like a crocodile,” I called as my body became submerged under the water. We swam towards each other. He circled his arms around me, and we went under, twirling deep into the water, intertwined in a place where we held our breath. For a few fleeting moments, we needed no air to sustain ourselves. We needed nothing but the love we had for each other to survive the depths. My lips met his again and again as he held me close, and when we couldn’t hold our breath any longer, we kicked for the surface. Emerging upon the banks until the water covered us only from the waist down, we breathed in deeply to fill our lungs with air again. He took me into his arms and kissed me, and I held tight to his embrace. The feel of his skin coupled with the heat of the sun made me gasp with desire.
Thank you for reading this post, and please do leave a comment. You may win a free eBook of The Ashes of Windsor, an Amazon gift card, or a box of delicious chocolates from the Helen Grace confectionary. I will also be online chatting with other Devine Destinies authors at our annual holiday party and giveaway at 7pm on Saturday, December 15th at http://www.extasychat.com. Stop by and win free eBooks and other prizes.
Wishing you a holiday season filled with blessings.
View the book trailer for The Ashes of Windsor at http://www.lizrnewman.net/book-trailers.html