Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Lucy in the Sky by John Vorhaus [Guest Post + Giveaway]

Hello everyone! Today I have the pleasure to introduce you all to a great guy, Author John Vorhaus. He wrote Lucy in the Sky which is a YA coming-of-age story. John is here today to share with my readers a guest post he has wrote and to giveaway a few copies of his book. So let's get started and thank you for reading. ^__^




Lucy in the Sky
by John Vorhaus



A coming-of-age tale set in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1969, Lucy in the Sky lightly touches on such weighty issues as the meaning of life, the purpose of art and the existence of God. For those interested in answers to The Big Questions or just keen to revisit a simpler time, Lucy in the Sky promises a fun and compelling trip – and that’s trip in every sense of the word. Gene Steen is an earnest, intelligent, truth-seeking teen stuck in the cultural wasteland of his suburban home. He wants to be a hippie in the worst way, but hippies are scarce on the ground in the forlorn Midwest of Gene’s 15th year. Then, propitiously on the Summer Solstice, his life is turned upside down by the arrival of his lively, lovely, long-lost cousin Lucy. She’s hip beyond Gene’s wildest dreams and immediately takes him under her wing. Lucy teaches Gene that being a hippie isn’t about love beads and peace signs, but about the choices you make and the stands you take. Yet for all her airy insights into religion, philosophy and “the isness of it all,” Lucy harbors dark secrets – secrets that will soon put her on the run, with Gene by her side. Lucy in the Sky resonates of such classics as Summer of ’42 and Zen in the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, and invites the reader into a richly detailed vision of the ‘60s, as realized by Vorhaus’s sure-handed prose and authentic sense of place and time. With frank talk about sex and drugs, Vorhaus pulls no punches about the realities of the era, yet delivers an uplifting message about personal power and the path to enlightenment. A rewarding read for young seekers and old geezers alike.
BUY LINKS:  Amazon | B&N 


Can YA Be Frank?
By John Vorhaus


I’ve just written my first young adult novel, called Lucy in the Sky, a coming-of-age tale set in Milwaukee in 1969. Our hero, Gene, is a fifteen-year-old boy who wants to be a hippie in the worst way, and during a few weeks of that watershed summer, his wish comes true in unexpected ways with surprising results. Now, since this book is set in 1969, and since the protagonist is a very honest and forthright teenage boy, I knew that in the book I would have to confront two significant issues, namely…


Sex.


And drugs.


As you know, the social context of these things was very different in 1969 from what it is today. When, for example, Gene sees a girl not wearing a bra, he becomes predictably excited, and predictably, uh, male in his perspective. Is this a problem? Well, kinda. I don’t want to lead readers into waters more turbulent than they’re prepared to handle, and I certainly don’t want to reinforce sexual stereotypes or gender objectification, but it’s undeniable that these attitudes were rife in 1969, and I can’t be true to the period (and therefore true to the character and story) if I don’t “tell it like it is.” I seek not to offend, but only to inform. I can’t know for sure that I’ve hit the target; I can only hope and trust.


At least one reviewer tells me I’ve gotten it right: “Gene is a horny teen so there is talk of certain body parts and woodies. As the story progresses there is sex, drug usage, and mentions of violent anti-war activism… However, none of it felt gratuitous and our beloved Gene is a good guy through it all.” I’m thrilled that that reader saw what I was driving at; however, it might not always be that way. Especially when we get to drugs.


Folks, in 1969, kids smoked pot. Adventurous ones dropped acid. These were the social norms. Those norms are very different today, and I would hate for impressionable young readers to take away from my book the message that, “Drugs are cool and you should do some right away.” On the other hand – again in the name of being true to the world of my story – I can’t apply 21st century mores to 1960s characters. It wouldn’t make sense and it would feel like a cheat – like a writer playing it too safe. So in order to tell the story honestly, I had to go to an authentic, though not necessarily socially acceptable, place.


Can I get away with this? Is it allowed? Hey, in The Hunger Games, young people kill one
another all over the place, and no one is suggesting that this is an ethos that our own young readers should adopt. I’m being flip, I know, but behind the joke lies what I think is an essential truth of the writer’s experience. If our motives are pure, if we seek to uplift the human condition (as I do), then we can be forgiven for telling a jarring truth or two.


I’m playing for fairly high stakes in Lucy. I desire nothing less than the transformation of young readers’ souls: I would have them understand that being a hippie, or exercising any other sort of personal freedom and personal responsibility, is about the choices you make and the stands you take. In service of that goal, I decided to pull no punches with my storytelling, and to refrain from a social stance that would be common and acceptable today, but jarringly strange and inappropriate to the Age of Aquarius.


So, no, I don’t think you need to warn young readers away from this book. Some will find
it challenging. Others will find it uplifting. All, I hope, will find it a respectful tale, honestly
told, of a boy for whom sex and drugs are only two tools (among many, including art, religion, meditation and motorcycles) that he uses to deepen his understanding of himself and his place in the world.


Of course I invite you to judge for yourself. Sample chapters are available at www.tinyurl.com/Lucy1969. If you have thoughts on this subject (before or after visiting Gene’s world), I invite your comments at johnvorhaus@yahoo.com.


Thank you John for this very unique and honest guest post.






Find John @ Website | Blog | Twitter

John Vorhaus is known to one and all as the man who brought Radar Hoverlander – con artist extraordinaire – to life in the “sunshine noir” mystery novel, The California Roll, and its acclaimed sequel, The Albuquerque Turkey.
John is also well known as the author of The Comic Toolbox: How to be Funny Even if You're Not, and its acclaimed sequel, The Little Book of SITCOM, which continue to be definitive sources of information and inspiration for writers from Santa Monica to Scandinavia.
An international consultant in television and film script development, Vorhaus has worked for television networks, film schools, production companies and film funding bodies in 28 countries on four continents. He recently worked in Bulgaria, recruiting and training writers for that country’s adaptation of Married… with Children, and in Tel Aviv, consulting on the Israeli version of The Golden Girls. He also travels regularly to Nicaragua, where he co-created the social action drama Contracorriente to provide positive role modeling for the poor, young and disenfranchised of that embattled country. And oh by the way, he has written more than three million words on poker, just in his spare time.
Vorhaus is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon University and a member of the Writers Guild of America. He has taught at such institutions as Northwestern University, the American Film Institute and the Writers Program of the UCLA Extension. He is the author of a dozen books, including Creativity Rules! A Writer's Workbook, the novel Under the Gun, the Killer Poker series and, with Annie Duke, the bestselling Decide to Play Great Poker.

 Thank you all for reading. John has offered to giveaway 5 ebook copies of Lucy in the Sky.
Your choice of format. There will be 5 winners. To enter use the rafflecopter form before:


Ends August 8th.
OPEN TO EVERYONE!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5 comments :

  1. This sounds like my kind of book. I'm fascinated with the hippie lifestyle of the 60s.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, it is. Thank you for asking.

    - Beckie

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read my post, I really appreciate it. :) Feel free to leave a comment below, I love reading them and I always try to visit everyone back. *MUAH*

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