Today I am interviewing Jay Chalk, author of the new science-fiction novel, Revolution 2050.
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DJ: Hi Jay! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Jay Chalk: Hi DJ! And thanks for your interest! A little about myself…I was a long-haul trucker back in the 1980s and part of the ‘90s. I received a Bachelor’s degree in History with a minor in English from UT@Tyler in 1993 and never looked back. It was in the 1990s, during a tumultuous time in my life, that I began writing. I’m now in my 20th year of teaching high school social studies–and also with four and half novels under my belt.
DJ: What is Revolution 2050 about?
Jay: After another American civil war, a totalitarian regime called the Directorate controls the region east of the Mississippi River. The protagonist, Sam Moore, is a young school teacher and member of the Directorate Party. The story is how he transforms from a subdued school teacher to a revolutionary/guerilla fighter against the very regime he once loved.
DJ: What were some of your influences for Revolution 2050?
Jay: I’ve always been a student of history. I’m fascinated how a whole population can be mesmerized to the point of blindness and follow a self-proclaimed “leader” off the deep end. The memoirs of Russian author and Cold War dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn heavily influenced the themes of my novels. Playwright, dissident and former Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel also impacted the thought behind my stories. Havel was a thorn in the side of the Soviet Union. His non-fiction book, Open Letters, gave me a ton of behind-the-scenes ammo when it comes to how an authoritarian regime really works behind closed doors. Add in a smidgen of Bradbury, Huxley and a touch of Orwell and there you have it.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers would sympathize with them?
Jay: I think the most interesting thing about my characters, and several reviewers have agreed, is that my characters are common, everyday people that you can identify with. No super-hero/magical stuff here. Sam, fellow revolutionary and love interest, Katie Spencer, and her grandparents, Leo and Michelle, are the kind of people who might live next door, down the street, or perhaps co-workers you know and hangout with after work. What makes them compelling is how they interact with their surroundings–and within themselves–when faced with life-altering decisions. Those decisions not only could cost them their lives, but also could affect future generations of Americans.
DJ: What is the world and setting of Revolution 2050 like?
Jay: The setting is Carolina Province (South Carolina). I try to create an Eastern European, post WWII Cold War era ambience and of hopelessness. Religious worship of any kind is a felony. In the story, 20 years earlier South Carolina was a war zone. Severe winter, abandoned, crumbling buildings, which are reminders of a happier time that one’s forbidden to dwell on, are all part of the backdrop. The population, for the most part, is disheartened, suspicious, resentful, and hate the ruling class, especially the government–a government that their parents had once openly embraced–which makes it even worse. All but a few are frightened to do anything about their way of life. As Sam said, their parents got the government they deserved–but not their children. Yeah, DJ, I paint a pretty bleak picture–at least at first. And as far as technology, it’s not much different than today. Satellites keep getting taken out, first by the Chinese, then by the Western Alliance west of the Mississippi River. The Directorate uses its technology and resources to brainwash the populous, not to better it.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Revolution 2050?
Jay: My favorite part is how Sam Moore makes the transition from follower to leader. His transition isn’t an overnight, sudden thing. Sam’s back and forth arguments within himself drove me crazy. As a veteran high school teacher and American, I fear where the American social studies curriculum is heading–and it’s not a pretty picture. Political correctness is all pervasive, shoving American exceptionalism out the door. Revolution 2050 is the culmination of political correctness–and what it morphed into. A few months back, yet another school district banned To Kill a Mockingbird. In Revolution 2050, that’s the first banned book (then and now) that Sam embraces–a sort of “in your face,” to authority–and to today’s PC crowd.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Jay: See my last statement. I also hope readers dwell on the novel’s undercurrent of love for family, country and God.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing Revolution 2050? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Jay: I can answer that with a quote from Sam: “Of course in the real world, bad is often camouflaged as good and allowed to enter through the front door. And when you discover the mistake, well, it’s too late.” The story’s message is vigilance, recognizing good from evil–and acting upon it. Also, even though technology is not a major player within Revolution 2050, its earlier sinister use as a distraction as one’s morals are pickpocketed is addressed early on in the story.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from Revolution 2050 that you can share with us?
Jay: Gosh, there are so many, and my publisher, Dancing Lemur Press, was kind enough to provide them for me to scatter throughout the Twitter/Facebook universe–which I gleefully did. One of my favorite quotes from the novel that I haven’t yet shared, while not original, is something my father used to say to me when I gave an excuse for screwing up. In the novel, Katie Spencer is in a position of trust. She does something that breaks that trust–but for a good reason. When she’s reminded of it, she replies with, “You’ll find ‘trust’ in the dictionary, between ‘take’ and ‘tyrant.’”
DJ: Now that Revolution 2050 is released, what is next for you?
Jay: The sequel to Revolution 2050 is complete and waiting in the wings. It’s heavy in action, mostly set in Texas during the 2060s, but the story does move to the East Coast, especially to the Pennsylvania-Maryland region. The protagonist in that story is introduced in chapter 28 in Revolution 2050. I’m currently working on, or rather struggling with, the third book in the series. It’s set in the early 22nd century; the characters are the progeny of the first two books. And technology is a major player in that work.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Revolution-2050-Jay-Chalk/dp/1939844436/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1521148960&sr=1-1&keywords=revolution+2050
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about Revolution 2050 that we haven’t talked about yet?
Jay: I think Revolution 2050 would make a pretty cool movie, but doesn’t every author say that about their book?
DJ: Is there anything else you would like add?
Jay: I hope Revolution 2050 will be remembered long after it’s put down.
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Jay: Thank you, DJ, and you’re very welcome!
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*** Revolution 2050 is published by Dancing Lemur Press LLC and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | Kobo
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Samuel Moore is living a dystopian lie…
After a civil war, the North American Commonwealth now dominates the eastern half of the former United States. Controlled by a totalitarian regime called the Directorate, the NAC demands compliance, awareness, and unity. A Directorate member and teacher, Sam enjoys the benefits while skirting the forbidden.
Then Sam encounters Katie Spencer. She sneaks him a short wave radio and he hears the Western Alliance broadcasts. Katie also reveals a video she captured of NAC death camps. Sam realizes he’s involved in a nightmare that could shake every foundation.
With the video broadcast date approaching and several students desperate to escape to the Western Alliance, Sam is forced to decide. Remain loyal to the Directorate? Or abandon all he’s ever known to fight for freedom?
About the Author:
I’m a writer/fan of dystopian sci-fi. REVOLUTION 2050 is the first in what I hope will be a trilogy.