Blinded by the Light was published by Cillian Press in October 2013, in both paperback and eBook. Here's a summary to tell you more:
In the near future, when the world's population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn't matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it's all about being noticed at the right parties.
But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.
Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?
Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy.
As part of the UK blog tour I have a guest post from author Joe Kipling, introducing her characters and a bit more about the book. Thanks, Joe!
What’s the book about and who are the main characters?
Blinded by the Light is a young adult dystopian novel. The events of the book take place in the near future, 20 years after the Sandman Virus has decimated the population of the UK. A cure for the virus, discovered by the Light Foundation was made available to the fortunate few who could afford to pay for it. The ensuing violent protests and riots from those left to die resulted in the commissioning of the ‘Select Neighbourhoods’ Project. Three Boundary Towns were created in London, Manchester and Edinburgh. Those with the money to pay for the cure were offered a place to live within these safe havens.
I’ve always been interested in social inequality and discrimination and this is a theme that runs throughout the book. The story explores the differences in opportunity for people who have money and those that don’t. I think this mirrors our current society where people on a lower income don’t just face financial poverty but also poverty in terms of health care, education and opportunities.
MaryAnn, the main character in Blinded by the Light is 15 years old and has grown up inside the Neighbourhood. She’s an Alpha and born into a life of privilege and entitlement. She worries about the small things: her popularity, having the right boyfriend and wearing the right clothes. These are the things that matter to her friends so they’re important to her too. She has complete and unquestioning faith in the Light. Through a life changing event she’s forced to face up to reality of the world that she lives in and to really question the very foundations of the Neighbourhood that she was born into.
Get to know some of the characters in Blinded by the Light:
In the Neighbourhood:
MaryAnn Hunter is 15 years old. Her life is dominated by fashion, celebrity and a desperate need to fit in. Her father is the Legislator and is responsible for maintaining law and order within the Neighbourhood. His position means that she’s an Alpha and enjoys all the privileges that this brings with it. MaryAnn is a complicated character. She’s a little spoilt and can be selfish but she has a real empathy for others and a strong understanding of right and wrong. I wanted her to be a real character without any special survival skills or supernatural powers. She’s someone who’s thrown into a difficult situation and needs to find a way to survive.
The Director is the leader of the Light and the ruler of the Manchester Neighbourhood. He’s tall, broad shouldered and attractive in a way that screams of good health and fitness. He’s the embodiment of everything that the Light, values. He’s a charismatic and popular leader, but beneath the shiny veneer there’s a cold and calculating heart. He cherishes his position and will go to any lengths to keep it.
In Blinded by the Light the rebels fighting for the people left Outside are called the Union. When I was deciding on a name for the group I considered the events of the book, and who would fight for those without the money to pay for The Cure. I thought that this would probably fall to the Trade Unions. So the Union in my story are an evolution of this organisation.
Daryl Hunter is MaryAnn’s 19-year-old brother. He ran away from home when he was 15 to join the Union and she hasn’t seen him for a number of years. With his messy dark hair and slender frame he probably makes an unlikely resistance fighter. However along with his best friend Peter and sidekick Flash Gordon they make a formidable team.
Peter Mallory is a solider in the Union. He shares a passion for Sci-fi and even named his dog and faithful sidekick after my favourite action hero Flash Gordon. His first impression of MaryAnn was not very favorable and he’s still trying to figure out whether he likes her or not. This causes quite a bit of tension between the two characters.
Patrick Hunter is the leader of the Union. He’s also MaryAnn and Daryl’s uncle. He recruited Daryl into the Union and is desperate for MaryAnn to follow. He cares about his extended family, but the thing closest to his heart is the fight for equality. In many ways he shares similar traits to The Director in that he will go to any lengths to bring down the Neighbourhood.