The Last Drop
THE LAST DROP
Synopsis: Jeremy always said Space Academy was Earth’s last hope. People only dream of leaving a dying planet in search of better lives. Avery never expected he would be forced to do just that. On the heels of his brother’s murder, his father’s disappearance and Earth’s dwindling water supply now contaminated with a deadly virus, Avery and his younger brother have no choice but to leave Earth behind and join the survivors migrating the nearest habitable planet. What they don’t know is that the rarity of water extends far beyond Earth and they aren’t the only ones fighting for survival.
Technology is all around us. Humanity is becoming hopelessly bound by it. What if a society were built exclusively with dependence on technology? An existence where all the information you need is literally plugged into your head? Sarah finds herself within this world, craving for change, but all she sees is a mindless compliance to the technology around her. Her unwillingness to follow the status quo has landed her in trouble and there are those who have had enough of her meddling. In an effort to correct Sarah’s mal-compliance issues, she is taken to a remote facility to be “unplugged.” “Reset” in an effort to make her conform to the world around her. But hers is not a simple reset and what she discovers once she arrives will not only put her in mortal danger, but will also unravel a truth far beyond her expectations.
In an effort to write a biography that won’t bore people stiff, I’ve kept this one pretty simple. I, Andrea Perno (and yes it is very strange referring to myself in the third person) write futuristic science fiction. I am a writer, an illustrator, an artist, an outdoor enthusiast and oh yeah, how could I forget the most important one? I’m a middle school inspirational life coach, disciplinarian, stand-in parent, “stop throwing clay at him and for the love of God put your jacket on it’s cold outside”…teacher.
I grew up in Florida and Pennsylvania where my childhood consisted of riding horses, catching lizards, shooting, hiking, building things, and camping literally all over the U.S.A. My parents are keen on experiencing all that life has to offer. That mentality has really shaped who I have become as an adult. I also grew up watching huge doses of science fiction (thanks Mom) and home improvement shows (thanks Dad) Star Trek, Star Wars, Batman, Superman, Bob Vila, Home Improvement, MacGyver…I could go on or I could just say that’s where a ton of my writing inspiration comes from. I love creating worlds for people to escape.
I’m a workaholic with very little free time who’s fueled by chocolate and French Vanilla tea…yes tea, not coffee. I’m allergic to coffee. I will die. Though it may seem like I run all day and have zero time left for anything else, I am savagely loyal and passionate and will drop anything in a heartbeat for friends or family who need me. I, we…are nothing if not for the people around us.
Describe your book/series in 15 words or less!
My books are YA, futuristic science fiction that push the boundaries of reality and imagination.
When did you start writing? How did your first book evolve into what it is now?
I began writing at a very young age. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Hess, made me keep a journal in school. I can’t really read my writing from back then, but I wrote a lot and that spilled into my middle school and high school experiences where I participated in Journalism, debate and newspaper clubs. My senior high school English teacher told me fondly that I was the only student in his 27 years of teaching who needed a page limit for writing papers. (I tend to write prolifically.) I also attribute a lot of my inspiration for writing to my parents. They provided tons of opportunities to love writing on camping trips where my siblings and myself were each charged with writing short stories to share around the evening campfire. My writing dropped off after college while I worked as an Art teacher and then was sparked again after reading The Hunger Games. Suzanne Collins in part inspired the writing of my first novel, The Last Drop.
What made you go with a traditional publisher?
The goal was always to find a traditional publisher. I feel like as an author if you have a traditional publisher to back you, you don’t have to muddle through all of the marketing and editing on your own. I’ve always liked someone to walk me through a process and to have a constant sounding board if I need one. Beau Coup Publishing LLC has been all of that and more for me.
What issues popped up for you through the traditional publishing channel? Formatting, covers, platforms, etc.
The wonderful team at Beau Coup publishing LLC has really helped me through any and all of those issues.
Writing style…what is your writing process like?
I tend to write in the first person. I like the feel of telling a story step by step as seen through the protagonist’s eyes. My process for writing varies by the day. I try my best to build a schedule and stick to it but sometimes that doesn’t always work. Typically (and this is only over the summers and holiday breaks since I’m a teacher as a second career) I work for about 3-4 hours in the morning. ( Sometimes this equates to doing a lot of research or simply staring at the screen hoping my imaginary characters would like to talk to me that day) I’ll take a break, maybe go for a run, do housework or chores or artwork (I’m also a freelance illustrator, so breaks sometime simply mean switching from creating with words to creating with pictures) When my husband gets home from work we spend some quality time together and then I typically hit the computer hard for one or two more hours before bed. Ironically the best times to write are sometimes right as I climb into bed and call it a night.
How do you develop your characters?
I like to think that I’m a creative genius who develops my own characters but that’s just not how it works. My characters literally “come to me” they tell me how they look, what accent they have, who their brother and sisters are and why they hate the dog in the next door neighbors house. They sort of develop themselves and evolve as the story does. It’s my job as a writer to listen and capture what they are telling me.
Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?
Cover art is one of my favorite things about being a writer. I designed both of my covers. The first one was done through a royalty free image website, but the second book I literally painted the image and did all the artwork myself. The wonderful Jennifer Stevens of Beau Coup Publishing LLC took my artwork and created the title fonts that go with it. It’s a team effort, but I really love the fact that I got to have input and better than that, could create the artwork for the covers.
How do you spend your time when you aren’t writing?
When I’m not writing I’m an art teacher, freelance illustrator and outdoor enthusiast. I’m either painting, hiking, running or on the back of a horse enjoying the outdoors with my husband, family and friends.
Are you the driver or a passenger in your book? (Are you in control of where the story goes or does it sort of just happen?)
Definitely I’m the passenger. The characters tell me where they want me to go and I’m along for the ride to capture what they are saying and doing.
What’s next for you?
I’m in the process of continuing The Last Drop series. This is a trilogy that I started over a year ago. It seems to be taking me just about a year to finish each book what with teaching and other side jobs. I hope to have the second book of the trilogy (tentatively being titled: Change of Tides) into editor’s hands at the beginning of August. At which point it will be full steam ahead with the third and final book of the trilogy and onto a few stand alone books that I have in mind. Most of those books are also going to be Sci-fi/fantasy.
Now for the SILLIES
If your book/series was a dessert, what would it be and why?
I don’t know if you would consider spicy hot Cheetos to be a dessert… but I’d imagine my book, The Last Drop would be a bag of spicy hot Cheetos because most of the story takes place in the desert.
If you were a toy, what would you be and how would people play with you?
I think I’d be a toy soldier. I pretty much grew up playing with toy soldiers with my two brothers. We would create armies (and I mean we had HUNDREDS of these little plastic soldiers) and then use rubber bands to shoot each other’s soldiers down. Which ever army had the last man standing won the war.
What is something about yourself that most of your readers don’t know?
Readers might not know that I competed in western and English horsemanship shows in college. I’m also very good at riflery. I shoot regularly with my father and have even gone deer hunting a few times.
We all need a hero! Tell us about your protagonist(s)? Was there a real-life inspiration behind him or her?
My protagonist for my novel, The Last Drop, is a sixteen year old boy who’s growing up on a military base the controls Earth’s last remaining water. Pretty much everyone works for the army or you don’t survive. Unfortunately for, Avery, his father is also the commanding general. While Avery doesn’t believe it’s right to kill people to survive he pretty much has to do what his father wants him to do.
This story is a lot about growing up and doing what’s right and finding yourself. I think it’s something that everyone can relate to as they’ve grown up. The real life inspiration for my main character is drawn from a number of very strong people in my life who have successfully been able to stand up for what’s right despite the odds being stacked against them.
You’re having a party. What character from your book do you hope attends? Why? What character do you hope doesn’t attend? Why?
I hope Avery attends just because I’d really like to meet him face to face. I spend so much time in his head…or vise versa depending on how you look at it. It would be really neat to meet him in person. The character I hope doesn’t attend is Rustin. He’s the embodiment of every awful person, bully etc. that you’ll ever meet. Just not a nice person.
Who is your favorite “Book Boyfriend”? What series is it from and who wrote it?
Book Boyfriend…I really like Peeta Mellark from the Hunger Games. Written by Suzanne Collins. Admittedly he’s probably a little young for me, though. ; )
If you could have one super power what would it be? Why?
I would want my super power to be controlling time. There’s never ever enough time to do all the things I want to do or plan to do in a day. Especially the fun stuff. I’d speed up time to get through the stuff I don’t want to do…ie cleaning the house. Slow down time so I’d have more of it to spend with family and friends.
What do you think about when you are alone in your car?
BOOKS. I spend typically two hours a day commuting back and forth to work. Half of The Last Drop was written through voice notes on my phone that I later transcribed.
What song best describes you? Why?
hahaha, I couldn’t think of one so I asked my husband what he thought. He immediately said (and I mean took less than a second to respond)
I’ll make a man out of you- from the movie Mulan. I’m not going to even touch why he said that.