Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of Bliss. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our writing process, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away a copy of the first novel we wrote together: King of Dublin!
Today on the tour, Heidi interviews Lisa:
Hi, I’m Heidi Belleau! Today on the Bliss blogtour, I interview my co-author, Lisa Henry, and get her side of the story!
H: So I think we’ve mentioned elsewhere on this tour that the concept of Bliss was your idea. Where did you come up with it?
L: I actually had a really weird dream one day about this guy who was arrested and was fighting the whole way, and they put him in a box and he came out different. And nobody in the dream seemed to notice except me. And I woke up and thought, “Mind control! I have to write a story about mind control!”
H: And oh, what a story it turned out to be! What about a mind control narrative appealed to you most?
L: Mostly, the gap between how Tate presents, and how he really feels, even when he’s not totally aware of it himself. He thinks he’s happy, but on some level he’s also rattling the bars of the cage in his brain. The chip steals all his sense of self, and I think Tate knows he’s lost, but the chip stops him from even thinking about that. Which is the most awful thing you can do to something, I think. Obliterate their self identity, and take away their ability to think for themselves.
H: Dystopia is such a rich genre full of amazing visuals and chilling prose. Did you have any specific inspiration that you drew on writing Bliss?
L: Probably the classic Stepford Wives. Definitely one of those so-perfect-it’s-creepy societies. Maybe even Pleasantville. I think the world-building here was really important. We had to present Beulah as very much the ideal society. And in many ways it is. They use renewable energy, they’re environmentally conscious, they have free healthcare and education. They have an incredibly low crime rate. Beulah is the sort of society that is a utopia — as long as you don’t rock the boat. Because if you conform to their standards, as Tate discovers, you’re made to conform.
H: Without spoiling too much… what was your favourite scene to write?
L: When the chip gets turned on. Tate was such a brash, foul-mouthed character– and then suddenly he’s not. So the scene when the doctor activates the chip. So creepy!
H: First King of Dublin, now Bliss. Do you think you and I are gonna be writing any more dystopia/post-apocalyptic? (Please say yes!)
Um…like I even need to think about that. Yes!
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release — King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!
They’re always happy.
Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.
So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
You can read an excerpt and purchase Bliss here.
About the Authors
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop.
She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.
Chat with her on Twitter using the handle @HeidiBelleau.
Check out her books on Goodreads.
Or contact her using good old-fashioned email: email@example.com