Escape from the Past: The Kid
by Annette Oppenlander
GENRE: YA historical/sci-fi
Time-traveling gamer, Max, embarks on a harrowing journey through the Wild West of 1881! After a huge fight with his parents, Max tries to return to his love and his best friend, Bero, in medieval Germany. Instead he lands in 1881 New Mexico. Struggling to get his bearings and coming to terms with Dr. Stuler’s evil computer game misleading him, he runs into Billy the Kid. To his amazement Billy isn’t at all the ruthless killer history made him out to be. Trouble brews when a dying Warm Springs Apache gives Max a huge gold nugget to help his sister, Ela, escape from Fort Sumner. Shopping for supplies Max attracts the attention of ruthless bandits. Before Max can ask the Kid’s help, he and Ela are forced to embark on a journey to find his imaginary goldmine. This is book 2 in the Escape from the Past trilogy.
EXCERPTS (Please choose only ONE to use with your post):
My chest began to throb without warning, then tighten. Had it been this painful last time? Ten months had passed since I’d last played. I smiled despite the pain. I couldn’t wait to sneak up on Bero. Hug Juliana. The pressure on my body increased. She’d be mad, of course, but then she’d kiss me. Maybe we could sneak into the barn tonight.
The weight on my lungs grew. Breathing stopped. My vision filled with the red haze of oxygen deprivation. I tried to gulp, but my ribs were glued to my sides. I was stuck...and terrified. The fog turned gray...then black. Like last time, I managed to stand, but my legs and feet stood rooted like the giant oaks in Hanstein’s forest.
My heart pounded in my neck, the only sign I was still alive. The fog deepened. Why was this taking so long? Still the pressure held as if I’d been thrown under a boulder. I was dying.
I’d made a huge mistake.
It’s easy to forget fear. Stuff happens and you get distracted. After a while all you remember are the good things. Now that I was unable to move, unable to do anything, I remembered the way I’d felt the first time I landed in the game. I’d felt terror.
And terror was back now in full force, squeezing my middle and poking at my heart. As the pressure lifted and the fog cleared, the sense of impending doom gripped me with such force that I fell forward. I’d made a horrible mistake.
Stumbling, I stubbed my toes and suppressing a shout. In the near darkness, a rock or cliff rose wide as a house and three stories high. I only saw its outline, a black edge against the starry sky above.
The whistling I’d heard earlier definitely came from between the giant rocks. The air was filled with the scent of grasses, grit and something like sage. Had I returned in the summer?
Behind me the area appeared more open. Maybe I was down near the river and Luanda’s house. Should I move in the dark or wait? I’d get lost, wandering off in the wrong direction. A cold wind dug under my shirt and nipped at my skin. I tugged my sweater closer around me when I saw something glowing on the ground like a huge red eye.
“Not a move, Boy,” the voice hissed. “Or I’ll blow a hole through your gut.”
1.When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
Becoming a writer/author was a process that took several years. In the beginning–the late 90s–I wrote children’s stories for early readers. I didn’t know anything about writing for children, the market nor the submission process, so this went nowhere. In 2002 I interviewed my parents about their lives during WW2 in Germany which led to a number of short stories. I didn’t really imagine writing a novel, let alone several, I merely wanted to preserve the memories for my family.
But I grew aware how much I enjoy the writing process. How I felt while I did it. I worked for a PR agency and did lots of business-related writing. I’d go home at night and write some more, spent my weekends writing fiction. I grew more and more invested, took classes, read books on craft, attended conferences and joined a critique group. In 2009 I attended a short story class at Indiana University and that’s when the light bulb turned on fully. I’ve known ever since that writing is my passion and I must do it even if publication is light years away. I finished the first manuscript in 2010. The first two books were published in 2015.
2. Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre that you write?
I like a lot of authors and I particularly like James Alexander Thom’s books of historical fiction. Many of his stories are set in the American West and explore the lives of Native Americans.
3.What are reading right now?
I’m reading “The Night Watch” by Sarah Waters. It’s a story set in WW2 and post-war London. I like her style and voice and I’m in the middle of writing a story set in WW2 Germany, so I get myself sort of into the mood of the times.
4.Which one of your characters is most like you?
I don’t think I can name any one character. Of course, I’ve spent months researching the Wild West, Billy the Kid and Warm Springs Apaches. So, a lot of filtering has been going on and the important parts made it into the book. I also believe that a writer’s subconscious determines what flows onto the page. In a sense all story is a part of me because I created it. I can’t pin it down though into a single personality.
5.Which of your books is your favorite? Why?
I don’t have a favorite because my books are quite different. My first novel, “A Different Truth” is a mystery set during the Vietnam War era and tells the story of a sixteen-year old kid who’s banished to a military boarding school where he has to solve the hazing crime of his best friend. It’s a rather serious tale that makes people think about moral choices.
In comparison the “Escape from the Past” trilogy is a historical adventure about nerdy gamer, Max, trying out an experimental computer game and time-traveling to medieval Germany and the Wild West. The stories are full of action, but overall much more light-hearted. Within the trilogy it’s also hard to pick a favorite. Books one and three are based on medieval castle Hanstein in Thuringia, Germany, while book two, “The Kid” includes Billy the Kid and an ancient Warm Springs Apache warrior.
Maybe I’ll be able to chose in a few years, once I’ve had more distance and a few more books published.
Thank you very much for having me!
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Annette Oppenlander writes historical fiction for young adults. When she isn’t in front of her computer, she loves indulging her dog, Mocha, and traveling around the U.S. and Europe to discover amazing histories.
“Nearly every place holds some kind of secret, something that makes history come alive. When we scrutinize people and places closely, history is no longer a number, it turns into a story.”
Social Media Links
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/escape-from-the-past-annette-oppenlander/1122768791?ean=9781785352133
Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Use the link below to enter.