September 14, 2016

Gamescape: Overworld Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

Gamescape: Overworld (The Nova Project #1)
Author: Emma Trevayne
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Fantasy/Dystopia
Release Date: September 13, 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow

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The planet is dying. Centuries of abuse have damaged the earth beyond repair, and now all the authorities can do is polish the surface, make the landscape look pretty to hide the disease within. Two prominent yet mysterious businessmen couldn’t fix it, either, but they did something even better. Together, they invented Chimera, the most complex and immersive virtual reality video game the world has ever known. The Cubes in which Chimera is played quickly became a fixture of this landscape: part distraction, part hospital, and almost wholly responsible for holding up the failing world economy.

Miguel Anderson is also dying. He isn’t the only one who plays the game–everybody does–but Miguel has more reason than most: When players leave their Cubes for the day, the upgrades and enhancements they’ve earned for their virtual characters leave with them. New lungs to breathe poisoned air, skin that won’t burn under the sun are great and everything… but Miguel, born as broken as the earth, needs a new heart–and soon–if he wants any hope of surviving just a little longer.

Then the two Gamerunners announce a competition, with greater rewards and faster progression than ever before, and Miguel thinks his prayers have been answered. All he needs to do is get picked to lead a team, play the game he’s spent years getting good at, and ask for his prize when he wins. Simple, really.

At first, things seem to go according to plan. Mostly, anyway. Inside his Cube, with his new team–including his best friend–at his back, Miguel begins his quest. He plays recklessly, even dangerously, for someone whose most vital organ could give up at any moment, but his desperation makes him play better than ever. The eyes of the world are on him, watching through status updates and live feeds, betting on his chances. With greater rewards, though, come greater risks, and the Gamerunners seem to delight at surprising the competitors at every turn. As he ventures deeper into a world that blends the virtual and the real to an unsettling degree, Miguel begins to wonder just why the game was invented at all, and whether its stakes could be even higher than life and death.
Top 10 Things You Didn't Know About GAMESCAPE: OVERWORLD

1. I wrote the last several chapters to Katy Perry’s Roar. This is a departure from my usual musical tastes, though it’s on my lifting playlist for the gym.

2. Much as I wish I’d invented the camera-eyes thing, I didn’t. There are people who already have them.

3. The vast majority of the book is from Miguel’s POV, but other than the scene with the sea monster (!) my favorite scenes to write were Blake’s. His voice is closest to my snarky internal narrative. And he’s so callously indifferent. I wouldn’t want to be like that, but it’s a fascinating thing to think about or pretend to be for a few minutes at a time.

4. Heidi Schulz, author of the fabulous Hook’s Revenge, Hook’s Revenge: The Pirate Code, and Giraffes Ruin Everything helped me figure out the objects Miguel and his team needed to collect, what order to find them in, and what they’d be used for. The book is dedicated to her.

5. Just after I started writing it, I met someone who was doing a PhD in battlefield simulation video games. The meeting was a complete coincidence, but that’s where a lot of the research came from. For example, when Miguel touches his wrist and his pulse reading flashes up as a specific color, that’s based on a standard color chart of panic/adrenaline levels. If it came up in black, that would be very, very bad.

6. I gave Miguel the last name Anderson just so I could make a Matrix joke.

7. The first draft bears almost no resemblance to the finished product. The first few chapters are the same, but after that everything changed. I think because the book grapples with some big issues, I struggled, and it took some time to remove what wasn’t necessary and add in the things that would make it the book I’d wanted to write from the beginning.

8. The first rock Nick gives Miguel as his own personal trophy is a rock I have that an old friend gave to me. I don’t have a full-on rock collection, but I have carried that one around for about fifteen years.

9. I obviously invented a lot of the technology in the book, or extrapolated it from technology we have now. Some of it was inspired by my own personal experiences being an actual cyborg—I have a machine in me because of a medical condition. I set off metal detectors and have to charge myself up once a month. But if I had to choose from all the gadgets they have in Overworld, I’m with Blake: give me the hoverboard.

10. Video games get a bad rap sometimes, and I’m not sure I treat them entirely kindly in the book, but really I love them. The immersive experience, even on an ordinary console, the adrenaline, the stories. I played The Legend of Zelda for YEARS. I beat Mario Galaxy with both Mario and Luigi, even that HORRIBLE PURPLE LEVEL with the disappearing floor tiles. These days I don’t game nearly as much because of time constraints—and more accurately, because I know I will get too absorbed and ignore other obligations—but video games are incredible. New technologies are only making them more so.

11. BONUS FACT: Synthmint tea exists because I love peppermint tea. Please feel free to send me peppermint tea.

Thanks for stopping by and sharing some fun facts about the book with us, Emma!
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YA sci-fi/cyberpunk writer. Fan of words and music and chocolate. Represented by Brooks Sherman of FinePrint Literary Management. My first novel, CODA, will be out Spring 2013 from Running Press Kids, and its sequel, CHORUS, will be released the following year.
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