Title: Assured Destruction
Author: Michael F. Stewart
Genre: YA Mystery/Thriller
Page Count: 185
Book Description: You can learn a lot about someone looking through their hard drive...
Sixteen-year-old Jan Rose knows that nothing is ever truly deleted. At least, not from the hard drives she scours to create the online identities she calls the Shadownet.
Hobby? Art form? Sad, pathetic plea to garner friendship, even virtually? Sure, Jan is guilty on all counts. Maybe she’s even addicted to it. It’s an exploration. Everyone has something to hide. The Shadownet’s hard drives are Jan’s secrets. They're stolen from her family’s computer recycling business Assured Destruction. If the police found out, Jan’s family would lose its livelihood.
When the real people behind Shadownet’s hard drives endure vicious cyber attacks, Jan realizes she is responsible. She doesn’t know who is targeting these people or why but as her life collapses Jan must use all her tech savvy to bring the perpetrators to justice before she becomes the next victim.
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Q & A with Michael F. Stewart
Q: Tell us a little bit about your main characters.
A: So Janus is sixteen, lives with her mom who has progressive MS or multiple sclerosis. Their home is Assured Destruction (www.assured-destruction.com), a computer recycling facility in an industrial park. So Jan’s pretty isolated and has a lot of adult responsibilities she’d rather not have. She uses the Internet as an escape and for the majority of her social life. Think of her as a young Lisbeth Salander.
Lisbeth SalanderQ: What was your favorite scene to write?
A: My favorite scene of all time is in book two. Since it is my favorite it likely means I have to cut it! (Kill your darlings and all.)
Q: What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
A: My time is divided between different books at different stages. So while I’m outlining and researching one book, I might be writing another, doing revisions on a third, a fourth might be in production, and a fifth marketing. This said, it’s tough to do all of these things every day and still write comprehensible prose. So when I really get into a book, I spend at least four hours a day on it until the first draft is done. I need my head in the book. After the first draft I can afford to split my time again.
Q: What do you see as influences on your writing style?
A: My writing style, and by that I mean ‘voice,’ changes dramatically depending on the age group I’m targeting, the genre I’m writing and the choices I’ve made with regard to point of view (first, third limited, or omniscient) and tense (present or past). Pick any two of my books and I doubt you’d think they were written by the same author. This said, I really feel as though I found my voice with Assured Destruction. Oddly, it’s the voice of a sixteen year old girl! Go figure.
Q: How would you describe yourself?
A: A writer, a father, a husband. A man who is seriously interested in where technology and story meet. (That’s actually my tagline on my website. Everyone should have a tagline!)
Q: What do you do to unwind and relax?
A: I run. And that really helps my writing too. I actually do a lot of sports, run, swim, kayak (anything which only requires me to go in a straight line as I’m not particularly gifted with coordination). Play with my wife and four daughters (now you might understand why I’m writing female point of view YA!).
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: Next stop is India. I’m desperate to immerse myself in so different a culture.
Q: What book are you reading now?
A: You know what? I’m actually doing a sample review. It’s what I do sometimes to catch up on everything that’s being published. I’m not a really fast reader, so I download every book that looks passably interesting or popular, and I read the sample. I actually love beginnings anyways, so it’s fun and helps remind me how important openings are.
About the Author:
Michael sees writing as a brilliant excuse to tramp across the world, and it has taken him abroad as a leader of Antarctic expeditions, crew of a tug boat on the Baltic Sea, paddling the Zambezi River, climbing in Sumatra, spelunking in Belize and, of course, singing inside the King’s Chamber of the Great Pyramid while lying in its rose-colored sarcophagus.
Travel and a fascination with reading and religion spawned 24 Bones, which draws from Egyptian myth and is influenced by Jungian and Gnostic themes. Re-released in 2013.
His second novel, a 2011 Epic Award Finalist, is closer to home but a setting no less exotic, the Alberta Tar Sands. A horror about a revenant prehistoric vampire titled THE SAND DRAGON.
In 2012, HURAKAN launched: a Mayan themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle.
In addition, a full length graphic novel THE TERMINALS is in production and has already been optioned for film and television.
His four YA graphic novels for the Texty Award winning Boldprint series are published by Oxford University Press Canada.
He's very excited to be publishing the Assured Destruction Series in 2013.
In addition to his writing career, Michael is a four time world champion dragon boat athlete, father of four girls, and husband. He tries very hard to keep life an adventure both on and off the page.
Michael is represented by Talcott Notch.
Other books by Michael F. Stewart