CSFF September Blog Tour ~ Rebels Day 2

Welcome to Day 2 of the CSFF September Blog Tour
featuring Rebels by Jill Williamson.

Over the course of this series I have had the pleasure of interviewing Jill Williamson for each book and here are those interviews working back through the series - starting with Rebels:

1) How would you view Levi, Mason, and Omar's growth as individuals throughout the Safe Lands series?
Each of the brothers grows some during the trilogy. Levi learns to love people who are different than he is. Mason learns that not everything has a perfect answer--he can't solve everything. And Omar learns to forgive himself and that life is very much worth living.

2) The Safe Landers have a statement Find Pleasure in Life.  This seems to be something many people believe now - how much influence do you think modern technology has on this attitude as opposed to pre-industrial technology living? (like those living in Glenrock)
I think people have always wanted to live happy lives. Modern technology brings entertainment and instant gratification right to your smartphone--it's effortless. And while the technology is amazing, we need to be careful not to lose the ability to entertain ourselves outside of technology. Talking face-to-face with other people. Playing a board game. Jogging together. There is much pleasure to be found
in life apart from technology. I think of Pa Ingalls playing the fiddle for his family or dancing at
Bilbo Baggins' birthday party. That kind of pleasure--without technology--is still a lot of fun.

3) Do you see yourself ever revisiting this series in the future (i.e. following a specific character who was in the background, prequel, etc.)?

The only way I might do so would be to publish the prequel. Originally the publisher made an offer to purchase Captives and the prequel where Elder Levi was a teenager in our current day times. When I explained that Captives was meant to be the first book in a trilogy, they tossed out the prequel. I'd already written half of it, and I've always wanted to finish it. Maybe someday. We shall see.

Outcast interview:
1) Omar is trying to change. Do you think part of the problem he has is the attitude Levi and Jordan have towards him?
Levi and Jordan treat him in a similar way that his father did. And Omar’s insecurities come from his relationship with his dad. So that’s why those two tend to get under Omar’s skin. But Omar is starting to learn that he doesn’t have to be the person his dad wanted him to be. That he can be who God created him to be.
 2) Levi is having trouble getting the Glenrock survivors follow his directives as elder, do you feel this is a result of Levi's own insecurities in his position or is it a result of being in the Safe Lands?
Well, Levi is elder. They even voted him in. So he’s trying to be the best leader he can. But he’s young, and he doesn’t really understand what grace is all about. So he’s quite legalistic in his ways. He strongly believes that with enough will power a person can be perfect, and he’s determined to try. That does stem from his insecurities over his past mistakes. He doesn’t want to make mistakes ever again. But he is human, so he will never be perfect—at least not on earth.
3) I like the link that you created with the naturals and the people from Glenrock, did you have this in mind before you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) or was this a revelation to you as well?
Hmm… By “link” do you mean the common ancestor? If so, I did have that in mind. I started writing the apocalyptic prequel before I ever started writing the dystopian series. So those characters and what happened to them were always in my mind.

4) With the little tidbits you've dropped about Papa Eli and his time in the Safe Lands what are the possibilities of a prequel?  I for one would be in line waiting.
It could happen, sure. I originally sold the prequel, which is called Thirst, and Captives to Zondervan. But when they learned that I had intended for the dystopian book to be a trilogy, they opted not to buy the prequel. So if the books do well enough, I think Zondervan would be willing to publish the prequel about Eli, his sister, and his youth group friends are the main characters. And they were trying to get out of the city to a safe place that had clean drinking water. I miss those guys. :-) That book is half written, so it wouldn’t take all that long to finish it. Though some of the revelations in the Safe Lands series are spoilers for how Thirst ends.

5) Why the Owl?  What drew you and Omar to this particular character?
In the beginning of Captives, Omar was drawing an owl. I had said he had an obsession with them. So that’s why I thought it would be a good fit. I didn’t give him that interest for any reason in particular. I was just writing, and when Mason has said there were pictures all over the walls in Omar’s room and he felt like there were eyes everywhere, that made me think of owls, since they are always depicted with large eyes. And that’s also why I made the Owl was one of Omar’s favorite superheroes from the comic books his grandfather gave him. The Owl is a real superhero, just not a very popular one. So Omar made it his own.

6) The cover for Book 3 is really interesting ~ which brother do you see as being on the cover?
The way I see it, Levi is on the cover of Captives, Omar is on the cover of Outcasts, and Mason is on the cover of Rebels.

Captives interview:
1) When you came up with The Safe Lands did you anything that influenced your design of this city?
I came up with The Safe Lands map long before I came up with a story to go with it. I was drawing maps one day and thought it would be fun to have a walled city. When I finished drawing it, it looked like a bell. So I started calling it The Bell. Then later, when I got the idea for the story, I knew instantly that it would fit with my Bell map.

2) Levi, Mason, and Omar are all different and handle the situations that they are given differently.  Do you have a favorite brother and if so who is it and why this brother?
I suppose that Mason is my favorite. I like the way he tries to solve problems by thinking them through. It was hard for me to write him, because I don't think like he does. I spent a lot of time on forums, reading his type of personality to try and find his voice. And when I found it I was so excited because he became real.

3) Do you think Mason's empathetic nature makes him ideal for the medical profession or is his sensitive nature too empathetic and he would be hurt by all the pain and suffering that he would see?  
Mason will always be saddened when patients die or are in a lot of pain. But to be a successful doctor, Mason will have to learn to separate himself from that and understand that death happens and that it's not his fault. This will be easier for him to handle if he would stop trying to control things and trust God.  

4) Levi's guilt over what he think happened in the past has affected him, did this also play a role in his attitude towards his brothers - especially Omar?
Sure. Levi beat himself up that he failed to set a good example for Omar. Levi thinks that a leader should be perfect, yet he knows he's not perfect. Still, he strives for perfection, which makes him a little intense. And he likes to tell his brothers what he thinks they should do and think, but that's not a very good way to lead. Levi will learn this in time, I hope.

5) The technology used for the tattoos in the Safe Lands, do you think there would be a market for it today and if so what warnings would give against its use?
I think people would love SimTags. They would be very popular. As to warnings, it's still a way of marking your skin, though images only show up when they're programmed. And you could get infections from implanted microchips. Plus, it's a way for the government or the SimTag company to know your location at all times, which is a little creepy.

6) The other day after I finished reading Captives I was putting on make-up (just lip gloss and blush for work - don't want to scare the patrons out of the library! :D) and Roller-Paint was brought to mind (which was really a scary thought!).  Where did this idea come from? (I've seen the Safe Land ads for it by the way UGH!)  
Because Safe Landers prize beauty, but their disease makes the skin flaky and ugly. So I figured they would find a way to make themselves look perfect. I can't remember where I came up with the name for it. Maybe when we were painting in the house. LOL

Be sure to come back tomorrow for my review of Rebels on the third and final day of the tour.  And while you wait for the midnight toll you can visit the other tour participants who are sharing their thoughts about Rebels throughout this 3 day tour 
(September 29 - October 1, 2014)

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~ Blooming with Books