Reader’s Favorite reviewer Patricia Reding says it best: “Just sixteen, pregnant, betrayed by boyfriend and family, alone . . . and an outlaw, Chrissie is in big trouble. So opens Chrissie’s Run by S.A. Mahan, a story sure to have readers turning pages quickly and furiously. In the dystopian world of the New Republic, Chrissie does the unthinkable. When ordered to show up for an appointment at which the authorities will abort her child, one they say would be born handicapped, Chrissie runs. She finds her way to the underground of the city. Vulnerable, in part due to the hefty price upon her head, Chrissie struggles to protect herself and her child. Enter Moses, a gifted man and a protector, who helps Chrissie on her journey to find the mythical land of Haven. He is followed by Samson, Angel, and others, each of whom is willing to risk death in an effort to protect life. Meanwhile, Chrissie’s pursuers become more plentiful and stronger. How many will be willing to pay with their own lives to protect the single life of an innocent?” Chrissie’s Run is a young adult, dystopian edge-of-your-seat page turner that you will literally not want to put down. S. A. Mahan explores a future society that embraces full governmental control and social engineering. It is a story of hard choices, and even harder consequences for Chrissie. She hears ‘the voice’, the voice that tells her that her unborn baby is Daniel. Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Chrissie makes the hard choice. Will she and Daniel survive?
EXTRA CREDIT INTERVIEW WITH S.A. MAHAN:
S.A. Mahan joins LitPick for an Extra Credit Interview today. Her most recent book, A Pigeon’s Tale, was released a few months ago, and one of our LitPick student reviewers had great things to say about it. Read her review here: https://litpick.com/review/pigeons-tale-review-jowill.
***Do you have a solid outline before writing, or do you usually get ideas as you go along?
Well, I have always heard that an outline is the way to go. I disagree! If you can escape into your imaginary world and live there for a while, meet your characters, and listen to their voices, that is what I think is important. My characters definitely assert their voices in my writing. This happens in my mind, of course, but once you create a character, you have to be true to who that character is.
As for the structure of the story, I need only to have the peace and solitude to escape and live in the imaginary world of the story I am writing. Then, get it down on paper or the computer. And then go back a hundred times to see if my story development is where it should be. Outlines work for some writers, but not for me.
***Has someone you’ve known ever appeared as a character in a book (consciously or subconsciously)?
Other than Walter, Bear, and Schatzie (the animals in A PIGEON's TALE that were pets when I was young), I have created all my characters in my mind, possibly collected through the years from bits and pieces of people I have known, characters from history, movies, or books.
***What do you do when you get writer's block?
I take a hike in the mountains and clear my mind. Something about fresh air, the long views, the flowers, waterfalls, and streams that invigorates me and helps me focus on my stories.
***If you could live in a book's world, which would you choose?
I think the world I created at the end of A PIGEON'S TALE would be a wonderful world in which to live.
***What is your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?
THE LORD OF THE RINGS, absolutely! Peter Jackson did an incredible job of bringing Tolkien's story to the big screen. I cry every time I watch it.
***If you could have lunch with one other author (dead or alive!), who would it be?
You guessed it! J.R.R.Tolkien
We know you consider yourself an outdoorswoman and that you enjoy hiking the Rocky Mountains. Tell us about one of your greatest adventures.
I have had many adventures hiking in the Rockies, but one in particular is coming to me now. My husband and I had hiked up to the top of Arapahoe Pass, in the Indian Peaks. There is an old mine there called the 4th of July Mine. Beautiful views, lovely flowers... Out of nowhere a thunderstorm showed up, and we had absolutely no cover! We started running down to tree line, very precarious because of the rocks and streams we had to cross. Every time the thunder cracked and the lightning sounded, we knew it was getting closer and closer. We felt like we were running for our lives! By the time we reached the trees, we were soaked, in spite of our rain jackets. Why we did not get struck by lightning that day, I will never know!
We are so glad you made it through that thunderstorm. What an adventure. Thanks for joining LitPick again!
SIX MINUTES WITH S.A. MAHAN:
Today S. A. Mahan joins LitPick for Six Minutes with an Author! Ms. Mahan is the author of The Baby Sea Turtle for younger readers and Chrissie’s Run for those who read young adult (YA) books. In addition to being a published author, Ms. Mahan raises alpacas, enjoys the fiber arts and is an avid outdoorswoman.
How did you get started writing?
Before I even started writing, I made up and told stories to my siblings and cousins. I was a storyteller as far back as I can remember. I am still drawing from those early days of tall-tale telling. I could keep my family entertained for long hours into the night. Eventually, I wrote some of those tales down. I plan to write more stories based on those early ideas.
Who influenced you?
Among my early influences were teachers who enjoyed my stories. I loved, and still do, science-fiction and fantasy. Growing up, I read everything I could get my hands on. Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov, and J.R.R. Tolkien were writers who greatly influenced me, as were Charles Dickens, O'Henry, and Hemingway.
Do you have a favorite book/subject/character/setting?
Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy is my favorite book of all time and, of course, Frodo is my favorite character. I love beautiful, mystical settings that carry an undercurrent of danger and a promise of adventure.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to be an author?
Never stop reading or writing. Your writing will improve with each story. Study people and really study the ones you find interesting. Every person is a walking story. Find a really bad book that has been published (hopefully not mine), study that book and think about how you could improve it. Write, write, write! And remember this advice I once read: You can't write Hemingway's novels, but by the same token, Hemingway would never be able write yours. We all have our own, unique voice.
Where is your favorite place to write?
My favorite place to write is in my study, in my home high up in the Rocky Mountains.
What else would you like to tell us?
I have discovered that some of my best story ideas emerge when I am hiking up mountains with my husband. I love the beauty and majesty of the mountains and I find a quiet refuge in them. That is me. I find our world very distracting today, just as Moses did in Chrissie's Run. He, of course, used this distraction to his advantage. Find your quiet place, observe life from a quiet distance, breathe and think deeply. Then, write!
Thank you very much for spending six minutes with LitPick! Thank you for sharing the advice that a writer can’t write Hemingway’s novels, but he couldn’t write theirs either. Excellent advice!