Author: Jonah Bergan
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
Well 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)
About 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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: