GOODREADS - "This dystopian young adult fiction book, set in the near future, critiques aspects of society such as a preoccupation with celebrity, materialism and privilege. It shows that in real life good and evil are never clear cut and we all have to decide what it means to 'do the right thing'. Told from the point of view of a girl from a privileged background, it follows the course of MaryAnn's awakening as she learns the truth about her life and the lies she has been told by her family and by her government, leading her to question everything she believes in. But whilst things may seem black or white to some, MaryAnn learns that there are grey areas too - nothing is as clear cut as it might seem. In real life people are not always good or bad, sometimes they just are. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?"
Blinded by the Light is about death and coming to terms with loss, the abuse of power, discrimination and the fear of the unknown. It is the first book in The Union Trilogy. You can read my review, HERE.
To add a little excitement to our interview, Ms. Kipling has brought along two of her main characters, MaryAnn and Peter. I appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with us today! Especially Peter, who is an important part of the Union. Peter is MaryAnn's brother Daryl's best friend. Both Peter and Daryl are soldiers for the Union.
SO, HOW DID YOU TWO MEET?
MaryAnn: We have a difference of opinion over how we met. The first time I met Peter was when he escorted me over the Boundary to see my brother Daryl.
Peter: We actually met before that. I was working undercover as a SanTech at her school in the Neighbourhood. She wanted to use the toilet and I told her they were out of order. Things got a little bit heated.
MaryAnn: I don’t remember it.
THE TWO OF YOU MET UNDER FORCED CONDITIONS; IF YOU COULD HAVE CHOSEN BETTER CIRCUMSTANCES, WHAT WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN?
MaryAnn: I don’t think we would have met under any other circumstances. Peter wouldn’t be part of my social group in the Neighbourhood. I’m an Alpha and he’s a Delta.
Peter: Yeah she’s right our social groups don’t mix well.
COMPARE EACH OTHER TO A FOOD.
Peter (smiling): Oh that’s an easy one. MaryAnn is like rare steak.
MaryAnn (Frowning): What do you mean? Steak? I’m a vegetarian!
Peter: It was supposed to be a compliment. Steak is the best quality meat.
MaryAnn: I don’t want to be compared to a dead animal (she pokes a finger at him). You made that comparison on purpose to annoy me.
Peter: Of course I didn’t. I’m just trying to answer the question as honestly as I can (I notice that he’s trying to hide a smile).
MaryAnn: Okay! If I had to compare you to a food then it would be a turnip.
Peter (returning MaryAnn’s frown): A TURNIP?!
MaryAnn: What’s the problem with a turnip? It’s a good simple vegetable. Earthy, with strong roots.
Peter: Woah! Did you just call me simple . . .
Interviewer: Erm... okay, so maybe that question wasn’t such a good idea. Lets move to the next one.
WHAT IS ONE THING ABOUT THE OTHER THAT PUSHES YOUR BUTTONS ALMOST INSTANTLY?
Peter: I only get to choose one thing! Where do I start? As you can see she has no sense of humour and can’t take a joke. She’s untidy and messy. She leaves her stuff lying around the boat, so I have to pick up after her like a servant. She steals my shower tokens all the time. She might actually be the most annoying person I’ve ever met in my whole life.
MaryAnn: He thinks he’s a lot funnier than he actually is.
WHAT PHYSICALL ATTRIBUTE DO YOU MOST APPRECIATE ABOUT THE OTHER?
Peter (smirking): I’m not sure I should say.
MaryAnn (staring at him in horror and crossing her arms tightly across her chest): Peter, don’t be disgusting.
Peter: What’s the matter. I just meant that you look nice in your clothes. They erm . . they fit very well.
MaryAnn: Will you please stop it. People are going to read this interview and get the wrong impression about us.
Peter: This is where you’re supposed to return the compliment and tell me that I look nice in my clothes too.
MaryAnn: I don’t want to look at you in your clothes.
Peter (grinning widely): MaryAnn I appreciate that I have a certain boyish charm, but I didn’t realize you were so keen to see me without my clothes on. Why didn’t you mention it? I’d have been more than happy to oblige.
MaryAnn (looking slightly flushed and red faced): I never meant . . . Oh God! Can we just move on to the next question please.
IF YOU TOLD THE OTHER PERSON A SECRET, AND TOLD THEM NOT TO TELL DARYL, WOULD YOU TRUST THEM NOT TO TELL?
Peter (laughing): She’d have the best intentions, but eventually she’d forget and would blab about it.
MaryAnn: I think Peter would be good at keeping a secret.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST AFRAID OF?
MaryAnn: The Director.
Peter (reaching over to touch her arm): No need to be afraid of that raving lunatic. He’s not getting anywhere near you. I promise.
WHAT MAKES LIVING WORTHWHILE?
MaryAnn: Friends and family.
Peter: Well I don’t have any family, but I agree that my friends make living worthwhile. I’m lucky to have friends that I’d trust with my life.
MaryAnn opens her mouth as if to respond.
Peter: I know what you’re going to ask MaryAnn and of course you’re one of those friends. You know I trust you.
MaryAnn seems stunned into silence for a moment.
Peter: Obviously not as much as I trust Flash Gordon, but you definitely make it into my top 5.
MaryAnn: Despite the fact that you just rated me behind your dog. I think that might be the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.
Peter: Don’t get used to it.
Interviewer: Well. Okay. I think this is a fabulous place to wrap things up! Ending on a high note is always good. Thank-you so much MaryAnn and Peter for taking time out of your busy lives to meet with us here, and I greatly appreciate Joe bringing them.
Joe Kipling is a Hull born, West Yorkshire based young adult fiction writer with a life long passion for Sci-Fi, especially the apocalyptic variety. She currently lives in Holmfirth UK, with her dog Rosie and is a full time consultant and part time writer. A lifetime of travelling and avoiding near catastrophe has provided endless inspiration for her debut novel, Blinded by the Light.