What would you like to tell readers about yourself?
* I’m high school graphic design and marketing teacher, at a large suburban high school in Massachusetts. Working as a high school educator and observing the outlandish world of adolescence was the inspiration for my first young adult novel, “Suburban Zombie High.”
* My inspiration for writing stems from being a youth who struggled with reading in school. While I found school assigned novels incredibly difficult to digest, I devoured comics and later fantasy novels. Their influences can be seen in the tall tales I spin.
* I took the long route to becoming a writer. For a brief time, I majored in Creative Writing but exchanged one passion for another as I switched to Art and Design. My passion for reading about superheroes, fantastical worlds, and panic-stricken situations would become the foundation of my writing career.
* I participated in my first NaNoWriMo in 2006 and continue to write an entire novel every November. Now I am the NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison to the Massachusetts Metrowest Region. I also belong the New England Horror Writer’s Association and to a weekly writing group, the Metrowest Writers.
Today Jeremy Flagg will be talking about a character from Nighthawks.
* Conthan Cowan is a small piece of who I was many years ago. He’s twenty-six when the story begins for him and he’s an artist trying to make a name for himself in the New York art scene. He has a great group of friends who jostle, joke, and support him as he gets his first gallery show. He’s hopeful, he’s sarcastic, and most of all, the future looks bright for him.
* Then I put him through the ringer. Conthan quickly sees that his life as he’s known it is going to change forever. He no longer has time to be innocent and naive to the world around him. He’s thrust into a dangerous situation and he has to find a way to survive. His survival is less about him fighting his way out of harm, but more trying to figure out what he is and isn’t willing to do for his own safety. As his morals are tested, he finds himself stepping down off this self-righteous pedestal and getting his hands dirty. He finds himself doing things he would have originally said were wrong. Conthan has to face his definition of right and wrong.
* I love Conthan because we get to watch his descent from an idealist to a more practical version of himself. The stressors he’s faced with are far beyond anything he had ever imagined before and he’s finding ways to cope with it. The ways he copes aren’t what he expected and when pushed too far, he discovers there is a dark side to his personality that he had never encountered before.
* What Conthan taught me as I wrote Children of Nostradamus: Nighthawks is that there is seldom a situation that is strictly black and white. That fine line that we are often determined to not cross is flexible and we need to compromise. However, there are things that happen to him throughout the story that show us that sometimes, that line is imaginary and needs to be shattered entirely. This idea that our superheroes are strictly good or bad is a myth and he discovers what he originally thought would be cut and dry isn’t.
* The book looks at his humanity and what he is willing to sacrifice to protect those he cares about. His darker self is discovered and I can see that each person has that and only in times of peril will they have to assess their own humanity. I have no idea what is in store for Conthan as the series continues, but I see him blurring the line between good and bad and pushing the boundaries of what he is willing to do to save himself and those he loves.
* His debut exhibit features the transformation of his high school friend, Sarah, as she went from a shy, soft-spoken girl to a Child of Nostradamus—an individual gifted with extraordinary abilities. Living in a society where the Children of Nostradamus are captured by the government, Conthan’s exhibit draws attention from officials and protesters alike.
* A government psychic may be dead, but that doesn’t stop her from manipulating the future…
* The deceased White House aide is only remembered for her failed assassination attempt on the president decades before Conthan was born. Foreseeing her own death, she scribed letters to bring together specific Children of Nostradamus on a mission that will change the world.
* On the night of the gallery exhibition, Conthan receives one of those letters…
* Whispers from the past direct him to visit Sarah, the subject of his paintings, who like many Children of Nostradamus, is being detained in a government research facility. It’s there he finds himself aligned with a rogue group of Children on a mission to prevent a dark future.
* As a dark future unfolds, there's only one hope to stop the destruction of the world...
* The Children of Nostradamus.
* “God help them,” said the woman at the news desk.
* He could hear Elizabeth gasp at the announcement. His mind was moving a million miles an hour. His wife, still covered in sweat and grime from giving birth, his newborn son, his office calling him to alert him to the news, all of it caused his head to swim. He was unsure of what his next move would be.
* The television flickered and turned to static. Mark reached up and smacked the side of the box. The static began to take the shape of a person. He stepped back to see the solid outline of a man on the TV.
* “United States of America,” said a voice through the static, “land of the free and home of the brave. We are calling out your discreet operations. We know all about The Culling. Individuals who for years have been in your employ, using their more-than-human abilities to further your goals, will not die in vain. Killing empaths, slaughtering clairvoyants, and the genocide of telepaths will be responded to in kind.”
* “Eleanor,” he said in a hushed voice as he realized what they were talking about.
* “The United States has declared war on the wrong people. We can see you coming. We can hear your plans. We will not be eliminated. You’ve seen our reach.”
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