Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Virtual Book Tour with Author Interview: The Least Envied by Sean DeLauder

Sean DeLauder will be awarding $25 Amazon or BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

The Least Envied
by Sean DeLauder



Cast back in time to a perilous wasteland, Andrew is tasked with recording the fate of an individual history has chosen to ignore. Threatened by knee-high creatures called Wogs, an enigmatic beast known as the Forest Monster, and the man orchestrating the slow annihilation of the world, Andrew discovers all hope for salvation and survival rests with a boy without a history.



Will I win?” asked Billy-Bob.

Gordimer grimaced and rubbed his nose. He checked the parchment, eyes glazing as if he were looking at it but not reading it.

You will find victory in defeat and death.” Gordimer rolled the parchment, cleared his throat, and added, “You will also need fourteen acorns.”

The pleasant flavor of heroism had gone suddenly sour. Victory in death? This bit of information didn't make much sense. He certainly couldn't win if he were dead. And victory could hardly be had through defeat.

What was that last part?” asked Billy-Bob.

You will need fourteen acorns,” Gordimer repeated.

Billy-Bob's head shook.

No no. The other part.”

He leaned forward to look at the parchment, but Gordimer clutched it to himself, then lit a corner with a small flame he produced from somewhere unseen. The parchment burst into a brilliant white fire and was gone. Mostly. Gordimer's eyes went wide and he fanned the air, swatting at bits of glowing cinder and fluttering his wings as they circled about him, hissing and biting back curses when flecks of fire reached his skin. When they were scattered he wiped his hands across grime-darkened pants.

Messy stuff,” he mumbled.

Maybe it was better he didn't understand the meaning of the parchment. Maybe Gordimer had misread it. In fact, the more he considered the bit about victory and death the less he wanted to know.

Why do I need fourteen acorns?” Billy-Bob asked.

Gordimer's lips quirked.

Because thirteen is bad luck.”



Author Interview:

Can you tell us about your book in 10 words or less?

Everyone has a story; some stories aren’t what they seem.

How long did it take you to write this book?
The Least Envied took me about two years to write. That said, I’ve had this idea in my head since high school—almost 20 years ago. In that time I’ve written and added and deleted and rewritten and refined the story over the course of a writing career that began when I was seven years old. This is a story I have been reluctant to release until I thought I had the ability to write it correctly. I very much believe that the story is what I want it to be now.

At the same time, as a writer, and now that I can no longer make changes, I have no doubt every time I open the book I will find an otherwise unimportant comma I’ll want to remove and another I’ll want to include. As Da Vinci said, art is never finished, only abandoned.

What was your favorite scene to write?
Introducing readers to new environments is a lot of fun and I try to do this in a unique way, which gives even familiar settings a sense of foreignness or uniqueness. Not to sell all the other scenes short (I can’t think of any part of the story I didn’t enjoy crafting), but the opening scene in the book, in which I bring the reader into a hostile world, was very enjoyable to write.

If you could cast anyone to play some of the main characters, who would you choose?
This is something I do frequently, and with as many films as I’ve seen, one would think I’d be better at it. That said, I’d have no trouble casting Nicholas Hoult as the hero of the story.

Did any music inspire you while writing?
Absolutely. I don’t by any means write with a constant background of noise, but there are songs that I felt fit well with the themes of my book and they helped remind me of my feelings for the characters, and in that fashion helped me mold them in a way that would shape how readers felt about them as well. There is a long list of songs I could include here, but I’ll limit it to Patrick Park’s Something Pretty—a song I discovered watching the Carson Daly Show at 2 a.m. while working an overnight security job during college. I knew immediately it was about The Least Envied.

What is currently in your TBR pile?
An indie book by Virginia Cox, a New York University professor of Italian Renaissance literature, titled The Subtlest Soul. The story occurs in Italy during Renaissance (naturally), but it’s Cox’ attempt to tie together the stories of several notorious families and personalities, and how they interacted, that fascinated me. The approach reminds me very much of Gore Vidal’s Creation, one of my favorite books, and his ability to pull together a variety of philosophical figures (Buddha, Confucius, and a wealth of notorious Greek and Persian historical figures) who coexisted during Persian Achaemenid era in Greece, Persia, China, and India.

Chocolate or Vanilla? 
This is a harder question to answer than you might think. As we move through these questions, and in my book as well, I am very aware that the world exists not in black/white, chocolate/vanilla, but in shades of gray, and my preferences depend wholly upon context. In most cases, particularly where tasty foods apply, I can find a context for anything. I like both, most of the time, except when I like neither.

I think it would be easier to select a preference from two things more diametrically opposed, such as, “would you prefer a burrito or to be hit in the face with a brick”? I would not hesitate to call myself a Burrito Man in that particular dynamic.

Cats or Dogs? 
I have a dog now and I’ve always had dogs, so they are my preference, but I have no issues with cats. I appreciate any animal capable of making a personal connection. Ultimately, it comes down to temperament less so than the animal. With the proper means, I would be happy to take on a well-disposed hippopotamus. I would probably name him Reggie, as that seems like an appropriate name for a hippopotamus, though I confess my experience in that regard is minimal.

Once Upon a Time or Grimm?

Surprisingly, as much as I enjoy fairy tales, I don’t watch either show, though I am familiar with both. Once Upon a Time fairy-tale-mashup reminds me of Bill Willingham’s Fables, which I really enjoyed. That said, Grimm strikes me as a little grittier, and more appealing in that respect.

The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments? 
Like the television shows above, I’m familiar with both. Even as I watched the two stories gain popularity, neither really caught my interest. My wife has read both, and enjoyed both, and I’m content to allow her to be the expert on these series.

Chinese or Italian?
I fall all over myself for General Tso’s chicken. I also fall all over myself for lasagna. This decision is not made by which is better, but rather which happens to be closer. If they are equidistant I would have no choice but to eat both, enjoy the experience, and suffer the horrible consequences.

ebooks or Hardcopies? 
Print for books; electronic for periodicals. There’s something gratifying about the physical presence and behavior of a print copy. It’s in watching a bookmark march through the pages and the ability to look at a wall in your house and see the physical presence of your accumulated knowledge. Newspaper and magazine articles are, by comparison and by their nature, much more ephemeral. I don’t develop an attachment to them the same way I do a book, and I look at a print periodical as a waste of paper because I’m invariably going to throw it in the recycling bin as soon as I finish what interests me.

Coffee or Tea?

Both are an acquired taste. Unfortunately for coffee, it’s a taste I never acquired.

Best book you’ve read recently?
I recently read a history of Alexander of Macedon by Peter Green, though not historical fiction. This may seem like a dry topic, but a good writer can make anything seem interesting and relevant. Peter Green is one such writer. What struck me is how Green acknowledged Alexander meant something different to different cultures and countries, and how nations idolized him in different ways to justify their attitudes. He acknowledged how every writer’s interpretation of Alexander is colored by their own culture and the prevailing political attitude, and accepted the same undoubtedly happened with his own work (stating that Alexander’s success was possible through his own efforts, but the right situation was created by those around him and those who came before).

Favorite TV show?
Borgias is a very entertaining if disturbing program. I also really enjoy NOVA and Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s update of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.

Celebrity Crush?
It’s hard not to like people like Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Poehler. They’re both great people and actresses. While Poehler’s roles are generally restricted to a specific character, they are both characters I appreciate, particularly Poehler’s her awkward sincerity and compulsion to attempt to try and do what is right and popular at the same time (usually by trying to convince herself that what’s right is popular). I also like Elizabeth Banks, who has the look to be a starlet, but always finds hilarious roles to play.

I recently watched Interstellar, so that reminded me how much I like Matthew McConaughey, going all the way back to Contact. Chris Pratt (and wife, Anna Faris) seems like someone it would be fun to have a cookout with.

Current Favorite Song? 
I recently stumbled upon Stonehenge by Ylvis, which is NSFW, but my brand of absurd and full of random associations postulating the purpose of Stonehenge. It also has a catchy refrain, which helps. It Can Happen by Yes and Never Meant to Know by Tally Hall are also tops on the iTunes plays.

Most anticipated 2014 book?
I am embarrassingly out of touch in terms of discovering new books. When I was younger I was a huge fan of Piers Anthony. That was the only time in my life I can remember anticipating new books. There’s such a pantheon of books available from the past 50 years alone, it hasn’t been necessary to look for something new.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

This author has held several positions in recent years, including Content Writer, Grant Writer, Obituary Clerk, and Staff Writer, and is under the false impression that these experiences have added to his character since they have not contributed much to his finances. He was awarded a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism and a BA in Technical Communication by Bowling Green State University because they are giving and eager to make friends. He has a few scattered publications with The Circle magazine, Wild Violet, Toasted Cheese, and Lovable Losers Literary Revue, and resides in the drab, northeastern region of Ohio because it makes everything else seem fascinating, exotic, and beautiful.



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  1. Thanks so much for hosting, Amanda. The interview was a pleasure and involved a topic with which I was comparatively familiar, though I did learn a thing or two in the process.

    1. Thank you for answering my questions :) I, too, was a Piers Anthony fan (still am) and I also would have to eat both Chinese and Italian if they were both within my reach.

      Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

    2. Absolutely! I'll be here all day.

      Piers has to be close to 40 Xanth books by now. I'm glad to see he's still writing at his age. I hope he never stops.

  2. The excerpt was fascinating, but I really enjoyed your comments.

    1. Thanks, MomJane, it was a pleasure, though I admit some comparatively simply questions challenged me more than they should have because I find it impossible to choose between very good things. That sort of decision just isn't fair to one or the other, or to me for that matter. Chinese OR Italian? Come on. Not fair.

      So far as the excerpt is concerned, imagine 300 pages of fascinating excerpts just like that. That's my book.

      What would you name your pet hippopotamus? Assuming "Reggie" is taken, of course.

  3. Replies
    1. I have to thank Amanda for the questions that prompted this interview... I suppose it is possible you were thanking her. In which case I will pass that baton on.

  4. I loved the reasoning for needing fourteen acorns.

    1. Thanks, Seanna! I am confident Gordimer felt pleased with this bit of cleverness, but Billy-Bob does find a use for them eventually. They definitely prove more useful than to avert potential bad luck.


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