Are you ready to join the fight against the #taxonkids? THE SURRENDERED is the hot new release climbing the dystopian charts, and author Case Maynard is stopping by to tell us about just how this book came to be.
DREAMING THE SURRENDERED INTO BEING
By Case Maynard
It all started with a dream.
I know that sounds very cliché, but it’s true. Three years ago I must’ve been extremely stressed about money. Or maybe I had threatened to sell one of my children to the highest bidder, likely because they were acting out or something. Whatever the case, my subconscious mind grabbed hold of that pressure, and it manifested itself to me in the form of a dream. Or more accurately, a nightmare.
I don’t remember much about the dream in its entirety, but the parts that stuck with me are what first planted the seeds for my debut novel, The Surrendered.
In its most basic form, this was what I dreamt:
In the midst of a huge auditorium of sorts, I stood hand-in-hand with two of my children, who were then ages thirteen and fourteen. They were crying. I was crying. We were at this place with thousands of other families, who at the edict of the government, were being forced to pay ridiculous amounts of money to ensure the freedom of our offspring. A new tax had been passed. A tax on the children.
As I stood there, my mind raced as I neared the table where I would ultimately give up control of my kids. My babies, my loves…they’d been levied because I couldn’t afford to pay their fees.
Just before it was my turn to face the panel of stern-looking government officials at the table, I thought “Wait. I could give up my home. I could stop paying for my cars. If I could just stop paying all my other bills, I could possibly squeak out enough money each month to pay the ludicrous taxes. We could live in the streets and scavenge and beg for food. It would be worth it if it meant I could save my children and keep them with me! So I gathered them up, turned on my heel, and we headed for the nearest door. But just as we were about to exit, I caught sight of a small girl who had been abandoned there by her own parents. She was young, no more than three or four years old. And I knew I could never leave her. I would take her with us too! But, oh! How could I possibly pay for another child?
It was at this point that I woke up, full of dread and frustration as the unsettling dream swirled about me in the dark bedroom. I had just one thought before giving into fitful slumber once again.
What a great idea for a book.
And so was born The Surrendered. Or as it was called in its beginning stages, The Millhouse Children (Blaze Publishing suggested we change the name—go on, Google Millhouse and see what you come up with J).
I tossed the idea around in my mind for nearly a full year before I finally put pen to paper—or fingers to keyboard, as the case may be—and in just four short months, I had the first draft in my hands. It wasn’t the dream exactly, it had—as stories tend to do—taken on a life of its own. And another eight months later, I had a publishing contract on it. And now eleven more months later, I’m a bona fide published author. One dream led to the fruition of another dream. Sort of like serendipity.
I only tell you this story to say this: Every waking day—and sometimes every sleeping night—there are big ideas all around you for the taking. Stories are begging to be written. Worlds are waiting to be created. Amazing wonders want to be invented. Lives are crying out to be changed. Dreams are trying to be fulfilled. You just have to listen to the signs of the universe. And find your serendipity as I have.
I hope that you do.
about the book:
After a financial collapse devastates the United States, the new government imposes a tax on the nation’s most valuable resource—the children.
Surrendered at age ten—after her parents could no longer afford her exorbitant fees—Vee Delancourt has spent six hard years at the Mills, alongside her twin, Oliver. With just a year to freedom, they do what they can to stay off the Master’s radar. But when Vee discovers unspeakable things happening to the younger girls in service, she has no choice but to take a stand—a decision that lands her on the run and outside the fence for the first time since the System robbed her of her liberty.
Vee knows the Master will stop at nothing to prove he holds ultimate authority over the Surrendered. But when he makes a threat that goes beyond what even she considers possible, she accepts the aid of an unlikely group of allies. Problem is, with opposing factions gunning for the one thing that might save them all, Vee must find a way to turn oppression and desperation into hope and determination—or risk failing all the children and the brother she left behind.