Dark Faerie Tales is excited to have author Bethany Wiggins stop by today for the release of her new novel Cured. It is the second novel in the young adult dystopian Stung series. Cured was released today (March 4, 2014) from Walker Children’s/Bloomsbury. Want to know our thoughts on this series? Read Bridget’s review for Stung here and for Cured here.
A huge thanks to Walker Children’s/Bloomsbury for giving away one copy of Cured! Details to enter are below the post.
Bethany Wiggins has always been an avid reader, but not an avid writer. She failed ninth grade English because she read novels instead of doing her homework. In high school, she sat alone at lunch and read massive hardback fantasy novels (Tad Williams and Robert Jordan anyone?). It wasn’t until the end of her senior year that the other students realized she was reading fiction–not the Bible.
Once upon a time, Bethany’s sister dared her to start writing an hour a day until she completed a novel. Bethany wrote a seven-hundred page fantasy novel that she wisely let no one read–but it taught her how to write. She is the author of SHIFTING, STUNG (April 2013), and CURED (2014).
Want to read more from Bethany Wiggins?
DFT: Would you like to start by telling us a little bit about the Stung series and where you got the inspiration to write them?
Bethany: STUNG and CURED are books set in a world where the bees have gone extinct, and the world has become a violent, survival of the fittest place. Believe it or not, STUNG was primarily inspired by a horrible nightmare I had, about waking up in my childhood home and finding everything abandoned, and then being chased out a window by an insane beast who used to be someone I loved. That nightmare is chapter one! Other parts of STUNG were inspired by the frenzy in the United States to get the flu vaccine when the swine flu was going around, and also, the bees dying off (colony collapse) inspired part if it. CURED is a continuation of that.
DFT: The dystopian society was created because humans decided to alter the genetics of bees and the effects were not positive. This caused honey prices to skyrocket and eventually everything started to die because there were no bees to pollinate the plants. What made you decide to use something that seems as insignificant as bees to bring down our society?
Bethany: I picked bees as the downfall of society because that put an element of truth into a fiction story. The bees disappearing is a real, true danger in our society. I think the most intriguing stories have enough truth in them to make the reader stop and think about his life, and how much we take for granted.
DFT: Jacqui and Fiona are very different characters in so many ways. What made you decide to have Cured from Jacqui’s POV instead of Fiona’s? Was it difficult to have such different protagonist in the same setting?
Bethany: I chose to have CURED from Jaqui’s point of view because Jacqui experienced four years of society’s downfall, which Fiona did not experience. By telling the story from Jacqui’s point of view, I can show the reader those four years–something I could not do if Fiona was narrating. Also, I like trying different things to see how they will work. Changing main characters was my way of taking a different approach to a series. It was so much fun having a different protagonist in the same setting! It made me see everything (in the book) in a new light.
DFT: Because it was not safe for girls to live outside the walled city, Jacqui has had to pretend to be a boy for a long time. Was it difficult to make her have so many boy mannerisms, but still think and feel like a girl?
Bethany: Actually, no. It was fairly easy. I’m not very girly myself, so I didn’t have a hard time imagining what it would be like pretending to be a boy. It was actually a lot of fun! And honestly, it is what any parent would do in that situation, and being a parent, I could see what would need to be done to protect a daughter.
DFT: There is a pretty large cast of characters in Cured that all have their own significant role to play. Which one was your favorite and why?
Bethany: Jonah is my favorite. He is so big and so ferocious looking, but in reality, he’s as gentle a can be. There is so much depth to him, and so much sincerity. As I wrote him into the story I fell in love with him.
DFT: If it’s possible without spoiling anything, what was your favorite scene to write?
Bethany: My favorite scene is the one where Jacqui and Jonah are being held prisoner by the Raiders, and Jacqui finally understands that true beauty is on the inside. Here’s a quote:
He drops his head and laughs a hoarse, whispered laugh, possibly the first laughter that has come out of him in four years. “I know I’m hideously ugly. You don’t have to pretend I’m not.”
My heart aches at his words. I know how it feels to look at yourself and see nothing beautiful there. And then I think about how Jonah held the beast child for hours while we waited for the cure to start working, and how he spoke so gently to me when the raiders caught me and Bowen was furious. He is good and kind and meek. That is real beauty.
DFT: Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that this is the end of the Stung series. So what can you tell us about other projects you are currently working on?
Bethany: You are correct. I wrote CURED in a way that gives the reader closure, so that if I never write another STUNG novel, no one will hate me. That doesn’t mean I will never write in the STUNG world again–there is always a possibility. As for now, my current project is being a mom. I just had a baby (my fifth) and am way too tired/busy/frazzled (and yet, utterly happy) to be doing any other projects at the moment. But once life settles down, and I start sleeping through the night, I will start writing again.
Available March 4, 2014 from Walker Childrens/Bloomsbury
About this Book:
Now that Fiona Tarsis and her twin brother, Jonah, are no longer beasts, they set out to find their mother, with the help of Bowen and a former neighbor, Jacqui. Heading for a safe settlement rumored to be in Wyoming, they plan to spread the cure along the way–until they are attacked by raiders. Luckily, they find a new ally in Kevin, who saves them and leads them to safety in his underground shelter. But the more they get to know Kevin, the more they suspect he has ties to the raiders. He also seems to know too many details about Jacqui and her family—details that could endanger them all. For the raiders will do anything they can to destroy the cure that would bring an end to their way of life. Bethany Wiggins’s reimagining of our world after an environmental catastrophe won’t fail to stun readers.
Click HERE to read an excerpt