Join us as we continue our interview with Jay Coles…
Can you tell us about your upcoming trilogy?
Hell yeah! I would love to. I am so excited about it. The trilogy is called LIONHEART and it follows a 16 year old boy named Benjamin “Ben” Tran who is a Brand Ten Lionheart (which I will explain in a second) from Compound #21 as he is captured by the Supremacy, forced to make the decision to surrender and become their weapon of mass destruction or fight back. Now, Lionhearts are people with peculiar abilities–superpowers, almost (cool as heck right?). These peculiar abilities can range from being able to control time loops with one’s mind to being able to turn into an ice sculpture. Ben is desperately wanted by the Supremacy because he is both Brand Ten and his ability is strong enough to shatter their secrets. Lionhearts are branded, on the back of their neck at birth, on a scale from one to ten. The number represents how harmful they are to the government, ten, of course, being the most harmful. This makes Ben double the danger.
What other books are similar to Lionheart? What makes them alike?
If you are a fan of Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT or Tahereh Mafi’s SHATTER ME series, you will enjoy LIONHEART. The idea of having a dangerous main character that has to unite a group of people and weigh survival, revenge, and liberation against love, allegiance, and safety makes those two series similar to LIONHEART.
How many books are in the series? What are those titles?
There are 3 full books and 1 novella, which is actually a Journal of the Supremacy’s secrets, which I am excited about writing. The books are as follows: Lionheart (Book one), Insurrection (Book two), Resurgence (Book three), and Pressure (the novella).
Can we get a snippet from your upcoming book?
Gladly. *Prepares to read* Here’s the prologue to LIONHEART (book one).
“We are the outcasts.
We make up roughly 25 percent of the world’s population. We look like you. We talk like you. We live among you, but in no way, are we human. We have abilities you dream of having. We are like the superheroes you once enjoyed in movies and in comic books, except for the fact that we are real. We were genetically and artificially modified to be the superior class in our societies. My name is Benjamin Tran and I am a Lionheart. Actually, I’m a sixteen year old Lionheart. Now, when I say Lionheart, you might think that I’m incredibly brave or incredibly outgoing. Well, I’m neither of those. In fact, odd enough, I’m quite scared to admit that I am a Lionheart, even to you. It’s unsafe. Monsters of all shapes and sizes lurk in the darkness, just waiting for Lionhearts, so they can kidnap and murder us all. I don’t mean the movie-kind of monsters. I mean people. Bad people. That’s why we are hiding from them. That’s why we prefer to live anonymously, but I’ll explain this later. So, let’s just keep this between the two of us. (To the rest of the world, we are the monsters.) I’d much rather you put this book down and never touch or open it again, unless you dare to know the truth and my quest. You’re still reading? I knew you’d want to know. A wise old bird once told me that you’d want to. He told me you’d understand. He also said you’d help me. He said that you are a good listener. I’m not going to tell you who this wise bird is. I just hope he told me the truth about you.
Anyway, until a few years ago, I was a normal, purposeless, home-schooled boy. I didn’t know the full effect of being a fullblood Lionheart. When Lionhearts turn eighteen we have to prove our Lionheartedness to the “great” leader of our compound, President Norman Gavorkna and his council called,“The Supremacy.” They force us to undergo a simulation experiment. The goal: to test our harmlessness to the government. They inject you with something that takes you to another place and you have to fight, using your ability to navigate your way out of the trance. And from the outskirts, everyone watches your every move as you fight your way out, but it’s not real, it all happens in your head. And if you fail, you are immediately imprisoned. In order to fail, you must navigate all the way through. This shows the government that you are potentially harmful and to rid themselves of the burden, the Supremacy will imprison you. Lionhearts reside at the crossroads of good and evil. We live on an apocalypse in physical form. We evolved from one thing: the destruction of the United States of America, now renamed Baitland, by all the new Presidents, even our compound’s very own, President Norman Gavorkna, and The Supremacy. The vote was unanimous and consistent, no one disagreed with the new name change, not one out of the fifty of them. And each state was turned into it’s own competitive compound. I live in compound #21, which used to be Illinois, the 21st state to enter the United States. And that’s pretty much how we are separated from each other. Compound #19 used to be called Indiana. Compound #49 used to be called Alaska. Compound #1 used to be called Delaware, and so forth. Each compound has it’s own body of officials that make up their government and its elected or chosen leader. Some compounds, unfortunately, don’t have the option of choosing their leaders. It just happens. Lionhearts are a special group of people that live among the humans. We coexist and it works out for the most part. This means that humans also live within the Compounds. Lionhearts look like ordinary humans, but what makes us special is that each of us has a unique ability, a gift that separates us in society. I have the gift of supernatural intelligence and navigation. I think saying that sounds incredibly lame, but the world hates me for it. The Supremacy hates me for it, twice as much. My gift must be preserved because it’s illegal. I must be watched at all times. I must never take the name of the Supremacy in vain. I must abide by the law. I am one of the few that possess such a gift. The Supremacy has found out my ability and my brand, very recently, and they’ve sent me to their headquarters for a day. Their goal: to make sure I’m not trying to overthrow them. I’m no hero. I don’t have the courage to overthrow President Gavorkna and his council. Seriously. Not saying it wouldn’t be the best thing I’ve ever done to Lionheartkind or mankind. Anyhow, My sister’s ability is the best in my family. Well, to her it isn’t the best, but she has the touch. And no one can touch her because things happen when people touch her. Peculiar things. Really weird things. Things that involve shape-shifting. I can’t imagine being my sister and not being able to experience the warmth presence of another individual, rather it’s a hug or a kiss, without turning them into some sort of animal or architecture. That would make me even more depressed than I already am. Slightly. Now, Lionheart’s abilities are immune to each other. This means we can’t go around using our abilities on other lionhearts; that would defeat the whole purpose. Instead, we are taught to utilize our gifts to make a positive contribution to our society. I don’t understand how we lionhearts can do such a thing, when the majority of us cause nothing, but pain and negativity, in the world. Essentially, outside of my little world, which rests within this compound, there’s a combination of nothingness and sameness and everything is so uniform it’s ugly. I am determined to make something of myself. The outside world will remember me.”
We hope you have enjoyed this fourth installment of our interview with Jay Coles. We can’t wait to bring you more!
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