BLOG TOUR: Heathens by Jonah Bergan

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Author: Jonah Bergan
Book: Heathens
Page/Word Count: 90K Words
Categories: Fantasy/Paranormal/Sci-Fi, New Adult, Young Adult, YA post Apocalyptic Social Science Fiction with LGBT+ Main and secondary Characters
Release Date: April 29, 2017
Photographer: Florian Schwalsberger

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Get Heathens by Jonah Bergan on Amazon & Kindle UnlimitedWell it finally happened. The world ended. It didn’t happen the way anyone expected it would. No nukes, no pandemics, just a whole lot of rage and a whole lot of violence. None of us saw it coming. There were plenty of clues, but none of us figured it out in time. The real kicker is, I’m pretty sure someone planned it. I’m pretty sure someone did it on purpose.

I’m Holden. I survived. You won’t like my story. That’s too bad, because your world’s headed the same way as mine. Everything that happened to me, is going to happen to you. The same kind of people that did this to me, will do it to you. They’re doing it right now. They’re making it worse and you don’t even see it. Sure, I could help you. I could give it a try, but you won’t listen. I’m not the same as you. I’m a different kind than you, so you won’t listen. That’s why it’ll happen to you. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t say you didn’t have a clue. Not when all you had to do was listen.

Heathens is a young adult post apocalyptic science fiction novel. Heathens contains some coarse language and violence.

Can One Angry Boy Save the World?

Excerpt: (please hover over the text within the box as you scroll)

Holden goes to the meeting at the bookstore…The bell above the door sounded. It went “ching-a-ling.” It sounded like Christmas. It sounded like reindeer bells. Right away some of the people sitting in the folding chairs turned to look at me. They turned away just as fast. I guess they were just looking to see if I was someone they knew. Maybe they were looking for someone the same way I was looking for James or Top-hat? Who knows?

I looked back outside and saw the guy in the suit walking off. I was kind of relieved. Not a lot. Just kind of. I needed a minute. I needed some time. I needed to think about something else.

Everyone had turned back to look at the person speaking. He was a black guy—kind of old. He had big crazy gray hair. He parted it in the middle. He had big glasses. No matter where he looked the lenses seemed to be glazed over by the overhead lights. He was wearing a ratty looking sports coat, and brown slacks and a black turtleneck. He was really agitated. He talked like a preacher or something.

“…embrace our own culture and heritage!” he said. “In the most ancient of times, we were the shamans, the spiritual leaders of our tribes. Some called us twin-souls! They conceived of us as a more perfect balance of both masculine and feminine—the most elemental aspect of nature! Later, in cities, we were the priests and priestesses in the magnificent temples they built. They called us the Sons of Hermes! The Daughters of Aphrodite! The singular difference of our being was elevated in those societies, and a family lucky enough to birth one of us was considered blessed!”

He tensed up his shoulders and shook both his fists in front of himself.

“This is what they’ve stolen from us! They buried our truth, hid from us our culture, and condemned us for everything that makes us wonderful in the eyes of whatever gods and goddesses may look down upon this poor earth!”
I turned away and started looking around at some of the books. I wasn’t really looking. I was just pretending to look. I picked up a book at random. I didn’t even look at the cover. I flipped through a few pages without really reading or anything.

Clarissa was there. I didn’t know that until she tapped me on the shoulder. She was wearing a red felt dress with a wide black belt. The buckle looked like two opposing crescent moons. She wore black boots that rose to mid-calf. Her makeup was simple, elegant—blue eye shadow and a careful line of red lipstick.
She smiled.

“I didn’t get a chance to ask,” she said. She was speaking softly. “Did you enjoy the show?”

I nodded. “You were really good,” I said.

She smiled again. “Thank you.” She kind of half-bowed her head. Then she looked back up at me all kind of cheery. “What brings you here?”

“I was supposed to meet someone,” I said. “A guy I know.”

“Aww,” she said, kind of smiling a little and kind of sounding like she was talking to a puppy or something. “Did the mean wittle boy stand you up?”

That kind of pissed me off a little.

“I think he’s dead,” I said. “He lived at the Center.”

She sobered up. “I’m sorry,” she said. She looked at me, like she was looking for damage in my eyes or something. “I’m sorry that happened,” she said. “I’m so sorry.” She put her hand on my arm.

I shrugged.

“Maybe there’s a good reason for you to be here,” she said. “Maybe some of this will help you. Do you believe in fate?” She glanced at the book in my hand. She took my arm in hers and patted it.

“I don’t know,” I said. “I should go.”

She glanced back over at her shoulder at the speaker. He was finishing up. There was a smattering of polite applause. She looked back at me.
“Not all the speakers as quite as… extreme as the Professor,” she said. “Maybe one of the other speakers will say something to help give you some perspective. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that you’re here.”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“There are no accidents,” she said. “Come, sit with me. What could it hurt? It certainly wouldn’t hurt my reputation to have a handsome young man on my arm.” She kind of leaned in and gave me a wide tight-lipped smile. It was kind of a false smile, but what could I say?

“Okay, for a few minutes,” I said.

There were two groupings of chairs, one in front of the podium, and the other alongside it. Clarissa led me to the one on the side. There were fewer people sitting there. The Professor had just stepped away from the podium. He came toward us. Clarissa stopped him before he could sit.

“A very nice presentation, Professor,” she said. “You’ve given us a lot to think about.”

“Thank you young lady,” he said. “But it is no longer enough to think! We must act! We must reclaim our heritage!” He looked from her, to me, and then back again. I kind of gave him a half-smile. I wanted to be polite and everything, but he kind of smelled bad—kind of stale, you know?

“Young people today,” he said. “These talents they possess. Perhaps, on our behalf, they may turn back the tide of the hateful and the untruthful.”

“I agree,” she said.

The Professor looked at me. For a real long minute he looked.

“Rise up, young man!” he shouted. It kind of startled me. He pointed his finger into the air. “Claim your right to live. Demand your right, not to be what you want, but to be who you are!”

Heathens by Jonah Bergan
Copyright 2016 Jonah Bergan
All rights reserved.

jonah-bergman-authorAbout Jonah Bergan:
Jonah Bergan is a freelance novelist living in New England. His publishing credits include “Heathens,” a post-apocalyptic young adult novel, “Off World,” a Gay Scifi novel, “Letters From Home,” a ten part serial, as well as multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Jonah is also host to the Sci-Fi Sunday feature which he operates from his blog.

Interview with Jonah Bergan:

  1. What is your writing process? I am a pantser. I loathe the term. I suspect it was contrived by someone intent on selling self-help books to millions of prospective authors. You cannot plot emotion. For emotion to communicate it must be spontaneous and sincere. You cannot “plot” that. You have to let it rise in you. You have to let yourself be honest. I firmly believe that the plot of the story serves the theme, not the other way around. I suppose it’s harder, if not impossible, to write a self-help book about that.
  2. What is the hardest part of that process for you? The emotional toll is the hardest part. Digging deep into the unconscious, suffering along with your characters and knowing that any relief you might offer them (and yourself) does them an injustice. Like us, fictional characters must rise to their own occasion. Like us, they must face their demons, their fears, and they must ultimately become their own heroes. The author must suffer along with the character, and there is a toll in that. I suspect Margaret Atwood lived in the world she created, just as George Orwell lived in the world he created. As authors we must live in the worlds we create, and when those worlds are dark, it always exacts an emotional toll.
  3. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? I spent a great deal of my life “running away” from writing. I found I was in pursuit of money over the wholeness of my being. It is only when I write that I feel whole, and yet I chose to put it off until I had more time, more money, more stability. It was a very bad decision. I learned recently that you only have as much time as you have. Money and the stability it promises is fleeting and is ultimately self-serving. Take a look at the faces of those who pursue money and power for it’s own sake. What do you see in their eyes? The singular pursuit of money enslaves us. It diminishes us. Whatever your talent, you have to contribute to the world in some positive way. That’s the only way to truly live a life. When you do, you feel whole. Writing novels is what does that for me.
  4. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering that leap for themselves? Only become an author if you must. If it makes you whole, then do it. Start now and don’t quit. It is not the easy work most people think it is. You’ll work harder than you’ve ever worked on anything in your life, with no guarantee of even a single reader to recognize your efforts, let alone a paycheck. But if it’s what you must do to become whole, then do it. If you have something to say, then find your voice and say it. Learn the craft, yes, but look deeply inside yourself and tell the truth about what you find.
  5. What do you think makes a good story? Emotional resonance. If the story makes you feel then it is a good story. If it expands your awareness of other people and the lives they live, then it is a great story. If it fills your heart and expands your mind and opens a world of possibility to you, then it is a mind-blowing work that will inspire you for decades. Look at the books you love. What is it about those stories that made them into something more than just words strung together one after the other? I think you’ll find your answer there—I think you’ll find that the story, the characters, and voice of the novel resonated with you emotionally.
  6. What can readers expect from you next? I begin all my novels by stating the theme. I begin with the idea, and I write a little snippet of text that serves as an introduction to what the book is about. Heathens is a young adult novel about the personal and social consequences of divisiveness, division and hate. It’s about the road out of that darkness. It’s about healing on both the personal and social levels. I asked: who benefits from divisive speech and the promotion of hate? The introduction reads:

Who was supposed to throw the first stone?
Does anyone remember?
Who picked up the first stone?
Who encouraged others to do the same?
Does anyone remember?
Here, I’ll help you. I’ll give you a clue.
Whoever told you that we had an agenda,
they had the agenda.
Whoever told you that you were in danger,
they were the threat.

My next work asks, is there something more to life? Is there some magic to be found, or perhaps rediscovered? That introduction reads:

Here’s the world, and here’s the world,
and this is how it goes.
The world you know is not the world,
it’s not as you’ve been told.

I expect that novel to be available to the public sometime during the fall of 2019. I’m through chapter five now, but the editing and revision process takes three times as long as the first draft takes to create. Heathens, on the other hand, is available now. I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Where to find Jonah Bergan:

Jonah Bergan Amazon Jonah Bergan Page Jonah Bergan on Facebook Jonah Bergan's Facebook Author Page Jonah Bergan on Goodreads Jonah Bergan on Google Plus Support Jonah Bergan on Patreon Jonah Bergan on Twitter Jonah Bergan Website

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