Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Blog by Alan Averill, author of The Beautiful Land - May 10, 2013

Please welcome Alan Averill to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. The Beautiful Land will be published on June 4th by Ace.

Guest blogs are scary. And yeah, I realize that I'm in a incredibly lucky position when writing a post on someone's website is the scariest thing I have to do today. I mean, there are dudes in this world who are being chased by tigers. Possibly as you read this. Hopefully the tiger is not chasing you. If that's the case, then I congratulate you on your multi-tasking skills, because it can't be easy to read a blog post and run for your life at the same time.

But guest blogs are scary because you're not only trying to write something that's hopefully amusing and enlightening, you're doing it on a website that someone else has spent years cultivating. You want to be on your best behavior in situations like that, you know? Or at least sit politely at the dinner table and not spill your drink all over the nice new linens. It's different than writing for yourself, which is the way I usually prefer to do things.

Yes, so, anyway. Hello. Now that I've laid my fears out for everyone to see, I suppose we should chat about The Beautiful Land. When people ask what kind of book it is, I tell them it's a science fiction-adventure-horror-love story. The usual reaction at this point is to back away slowly and find someone else to talk to, but really, that's the best description that I can think of, because it's not a book that fits neatly into a genre. It's got time machines and scary monsters and a star-crossed couple all smashed together into a kind of literary stew. It also deals with memory, guilt, regret, love, war, and other heavy topics that frankly I didn't realize I'd ever be writing about. But I suppose that's one of the great gifts of fiction -- it allows readers and writers both to explore subjects they might otherwise not.

Take Samira Moheb, for example, who is one of the main characters. She's an Army vet suffering from PTSD as a result of her time in the Iraq War. Now, I've never been to war. Never been in the military or had PTSD or anything even remotely close to that. Honestly, I can't imagine going to war in real life. Remember that guy in Saving Private Ryan who carried the ammo around and stood in the stairwell while a big German killed his friend? That would probably be me. I'd like to think I'd fight and be heroic and make the right decisions all the time, but I also worry that I'd curl into a little ball and sob uncontrollably as soon as we landed on the beach. And so I find people who do go to war -- people who run into danger instead of away from it -- to be a topic of endless fascination. How can you possibly convince yourself that racing toward your own demise is a good idea? And what does it do to a person's mind once they've made such a decision?

I like to write about stuff like that -- stuff that's out of my personal comfort zone. People often say "write what you know," but I've found that doesn't work so well, at least for me. Writing what I know would entail filling a book with lazy guys who drink too much beer, and while there's probably a fine novel in there somewhere, I'd rather spend my time with new ideas. Writers, especially fiction writers, are pretty much professional liars, after all. And while you want to make sure you have a basic understanding of your facts, it's also fun to dream up new worlds and breathe life into people who never existed outside of your head.

Anyway, I guess that's why I like to write, be it blog posts, videogame localization, or science fiction-adventure-horror-love stories. It's a way for me to experience the world in ways I will never be able to otherwise, either because of work, finances, or because I don't happen to own a time machine of my own. It's also a way for me to share all the stories that the little man in my head is busy thinking of while I'm off doing other things. Here's hoping you enjoy his work.

About The Beautiful Land

The Beautiful Land
Ace, June 4, 2013
Trade Paperback and eBook, 368 pages

Takahiro O’Leary has a very special job…

…working for the Axon Corporation as an explorer of parallel timelines—as many and as varied as anyone could imagine. A great gig—until information he brought back gave Axon the means to maximize profits by changing the past, present, and future of this world.

If Axon succeeds, Tak will lose Samira Moheb, the woman he has loved since high school—because her future will cease to exist. A veteran of the Iraq War suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Samira can barely function in her everyday life, much less deal with Tak’s ravings of multiple realities. The only way to save her is for Tak to use the time travel device he “borrowed” to transport them both to an alternate timeline.

But what neither Tak nor Axon knows is that the actual inventor of the device is searching for a timeline called the Beautiful Land—and he intends to destroy every other possible present and future to find it.

The switch is thrown, and reality begins to warp—horribly. And Tak realizes that to save Sam, he must save the entire world…

About Alan

Alan has been writing for as long as he can remember. His first novel, The Beautiful Land, was the winner of the 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. He's also done writing and localization work for dozens of video games, including Fire Emblem Awakening, Hotel Dusk, and Nier.

He currently lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife Sue, his dog Sam Perkins, and a whole lot of rain. You can find more of his random musings on Twitter at @frodomojo, or at


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