This post has been generously written by PJ Hoover, author (and Texas Sweetheart!) of the YA Dystopian, Solstice. PJ is also the author of the popular Forgotten Worlds Trilogy, a mythology adventure for middle graders. Here’s a bit about her newest book, rated in the TOP 20 for Children’s Love and Romance on Amazon:
Piper’s world is dying. Global warming kills every living thing on Earth, and each day brings hotter temperatures and heat bubbles which threaten to destroy humanity. Amid this Global Heating Crisis, Piper lives with her mother who suffocates her more than the chaotic climate. When her mother is called away to meet the father Piper has been running from her entire life, Piper seizes an opportunity for freedom.
But when Piper discovers a world of mythology she never knew existed, she realizes her world is not the only one in crisis. While Gods battle for control of the Underworld, Piper’s life spirals into turmoil, and she struggles to find answers to secrets kept from her since birth. And though she’s drawn to her classmate Shayne, he may be more than he claims. Piper has to choose whom she can trust and how she can save the people she loves even if it means the end of everything she’s ever known.
Setting Notes from PJ: Living in Austin, TX which is notorious for extreme heat and very dry weather, I have a good sense for what defines hot. But global warming is not just about the heat. It’s about all types of environmental changes. And it’s about what would result in society if the weather got so stifling hot, sweat dripped from us within seconds of being outside. The temptation to make everyone live indoors is definitely present, but for SOLSTICE, I stuck with the firm belief that, even in brutal temperatures, people will want to spend time out under the sun.
Brightness of the ever-present sun, solar panels, thermometers, dead vegetation near the ground, tall trees reaching up toward the sun, dirt, cacti, rocks, dry creek beds, cockroaches (always), dome structure extending over city for use in extremities, public transportation instead of cars, greenhouses, misters, heat waves rippling over anything paved, shade structures, dead sea life, rising ocean tides/water levels, skimpy clothes, dizzying effect from dehydration
Sounds of electrical braking mechanisms on public shuttles, branches snapping as they fall from trees, kids/teens hanging around outside, weather reports on the news channels, sirens when heat reaches extremes, fans blowing air, eco-friendly A/C running and turning on/off
Asphalt from streets, scent of cooling gel, smell of sweat and body odor, eco-friendly A/C odor, humidity in the air, dirt, decay
Taste of misting gel, processed food as everything becomes in shortage (including fruits and vegetables, animals), fresh fruit grown in greenhouses, water (rationed)
Misting gel sprayed to cool masses, heat in air, heat soaking into skin, sticky sweat, air blown from fans or A/C units, gritty dirt, chemicals (as in for hand cleaning) as water is in shortage, shortness of breath from heat
–The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.
The red vinyl crunches under my legs as I cross them, and already I can feel it sticking to me and sweat forming. If the restaurant has eco A/C, they aren’t using it. Or maybe I’m just nervous. Or both.
I think the A/C unit’s stopped working because even though the place is shiny and bright and filled with vibrant colors and the ceiling fans are on full blast, it’s roasting hot. A drop of sweat trickles down my face, and I lick it when it hits my lip. It’s bitter from the misting gel we got sprayed with earlier.
— Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly. Use references to your setting throughout the manuscript to keep the atmosphere present in the reader’s mind.
Silence falls on the class faster than a flash flood in a dry creek bed.
* * *
The humidity from the day before has doubled, and smoke from the fires mixes with it. It feels like we’re living in a giant brick oven. It feels like every bit of rain that poured down during the hurricane has lifted into the air and hangs there smothering the city of Austin.
Thanks so much PJ–this is an awesome addition to the Setting Thesaurus! And with it being so close to summer solstice, I can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by offering up 2 copies of PJ’s Book, Solstice! If you’d like to WIN, just leave a comment below! I highly recommend checking out PJ’s blog, because there’s always something cool going down over there, and you may just learn a bit of Kung Fu while you’re at it. Contest runs through to this Saturday!
As always, Tweets and Mentions are hugely appreciated 🙂 Have a great writing week!
Giveaway now closed–winners will be announced tomorrow! 🙂