For those of you who’ve been like, living on another planet for the past umpteen years, Mari is the author of the award-winning Blood Coven Vampire series.
I first came across Mari (writing as Marianne Mancusi) when I read read A Connecticut Fashionista In King Arthur’s Court, described as “Sex & The City… of Camelot!” Loved it to bits. Then shortly afterward, I got a hold of a copy of Boys That Bite, the first book in the Blood Coven Vampire Series, and realized she was writing YA as Mari Mancusi… epic win! Give me more!
Today Mari’s here on my blog–SQUEEEEEE! *indulges in a total fan-girl moment*–talking about her latest release Tomorrow Land, and sharing an excerpt with us.
AND she’s very kindly offered a giveaway to one lucky commenter–deets at the end of this post so make sure you check it out!
By Mari Mancusi
When I first conceived the idea for what would become Tomorrow Land, I had this very clear vision in my mind of a girl, emerging from an underground fallout shelter and stepping into a nuclear wasteland. I imagined a decimated world filled with ruins and topped by the thick, gray storm clouds of a nuclear winter.
But as I continued to explore the idea, I decided to destroy the world by plague instead of bomb–where the lucky ones are wiped out by a killer virus. The unlucky are turned into zombie-like creatures with an appetite for human flesh.
But I still wanted that scene—of a girl stepping from the fallout shelter. Reconnecting with the world she’d left behind four years earlier. But what would this world look like? Certainly not a nuclear wasteland. In fact, I realized, it would probably be kind of wild and beautiful—nature wrestling back control from mankind.
Here’s an excerpt from Tomorrow Land—describing the world I created:
TOMORROW LAND: EXCERPT
As Peyton stepped out from the underground bunker, she was immediately struck with wonder at the outside world. After four years inside, she’d forgotten how vast it was, how beautiful. The sky was painted a vibrant blue, sprinkled with puffy cotton-like clouds. Wildflowers tumbled across sagging porches and poked defiantly through cracked pavement. Her favorite oak tree was still standing, strong and majestic in the center of their front yard, its branches stretching high into the sky, as if to worship the heavens.
The scent of honeysuckle tickled her nose and Peyton sucked in a large breath, delighting in the fresh, clean, and warm air that seemed so much sweeter than the stale re-circulated stuff she’d been stuck breathing for the last four years.
It was strange. For some reason, down in the shelter, she’d always envisioned the outside world to have become a gray wasteland, strangled by stormy clouds that mirrored the loss of humanity below. She’d expected a graveyard, a desolate landscape, a world with acrid winds and a sepia palette. But, it turned out, nature hadn’t mourned man’s destruction after all. If anything, it appeared to be celebrating its newfound freedom from gardeners and landscaping, a once-tamed suburbia transforming into a feral forest full of emerald life.
She stuck out her arms, feeling the warmth of the sun on her skin for the first time in four years. She wanted to skip down the street, dance, cartwheel. Run for ten miles without stopping. Enjoy a world without boundaries after years in a cage.
After doing a little shimmy of joy on the front porch, she stopped herself, looking around, self-conscious, even though she knew there was no one to see her. The thought sobered her a bit. This beautiful world would most likely be empty. Or practically so. And now she didn’t even have her mother by her side. A new emotion gripped her heart: sadness, the beauty of the world fading as reality sank in. Though she’d mourned her previous life for four years on the inside, it was different to suddenly experience its loss firsthand. Back in the shelter this reality had seemed unreal, distant. Like something from a film. Actually stepping out into the world and seeing the empty, debris-filled streets, the houses crumbling from years of neglect, made the whole situation a lot more real and a lot harder to swallow.
It was the silence that felt the eeriest. Not that her middle-class suburb had ever been a bustling metropolis, but there had been sounds all the same: the droning of lawnmowers pushed by dads on their days off, the screams and laughter of kids playing wild games of tag, cars streaming down the nearby interstate, beeping away their road rage. Planes flying overhead. Normal, everyday, take-them-for-granted sounds. All were now swept clear by an overwhelming, almost suffocating silence. There wasn’t even birdsong.
A realization she had half-suppressed for too long rose up and choked Peyton. Everyone and everything she knew and loved was gone. Her friends, her teachers—everyone had succumbed. Only her father was left. Out there. Waiting for her. Waiting for her assistance in rebuilding the world he’d known would fail.
By Mari Mancusi
Can true love survive the end of the world?
Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice–between her family–and Chris Parker, the boy she’d given her heart. And now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he’s the only thing on her mind.
All Chris “Chase” Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed–breaking his heart without ever telling him why.
Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperons of a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk…and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost–all the while attempting to save what’s left of the human race?
Mari’s very kindly offered to give away an electronic copy of Tomorrow Land to one commenter.
Please leave an email address — or make sure you check back to see whether you’ve won :) — and indicate your preference for either PDF, mobi, or epub file.
Giveaway open to international entries.
Winner will be drawn at random.
Giveaway ends on Monday 19th March.
Two time Emmy award winner Mari Mancusi used to wish she could be a vampire back in high school. But she ended up in another bloodsucking profession–journalism–instead. Today she works as a freelance TV producer and author of books for teens, including the award winning Blood Coven Vampire series published by Penguin Books. When not writing about creatures of the night, Mari enjoys traveling, cooking, goth clubbing, watching cheesy horror movie and her favorite guilty pleasure–videogames. A graduate of Boston University, she lives in Austin, Texas with her husband Jacob, daughter Avalon, and dog Mesquite.
To find out more about Mari: