Monday, September 29, 2014

"The Last Orphans" by N.W. Harris: EXCERPT, REVIEW, GUEST POST, INTERVIEW, & ***Giveaway***!!!!!!

Title: The Last Orphans

Series: The Last Orphans Series #1

Author: N.W. Harris

To Be Published: October 17th, 2014

Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing

Page Count: 274

Genre: YA Apocalyptic Sci-Fi

Content Warning: Violence, adult content, minor language

Age Recommendation: 16+

One horrifying day will change the life of sixteen-year-old Shane Tucker and every other kid in the world.

In a span of mere hours, the entire adult population is decimated, leaving their children behind to fend for themselves and deal with the horrific aftermath of the freak occurrence. As one of the newly made elders in his small town, Shane finds himself taking on the role of caretaker for a large group of juvenile survivors. One who just happens to be Kelly Douglas–an out-of-his-league classmate–who, on any other day, would have never given Shane a second glance.

Together, they begin their quest to find out why all of the adults were slaughtered. What they find is even more horrifying than anything they could have expected–the annihilation of the adults was only the beginning. Shane and his friends are not the unlucky survivors left to inherit this new, messed-up planet. No, they are its next victims. There is an unknown power out there, and it won t stop until every person in the world is dead.

A spine-tingling adventure that will have you gasping for breath all the way until the last page, The Last Orphans is the first book in an all-new apocalyptic series.


Born at the end of the Vietnam war and raised on a horse farm near small town north Georgia, N.W. Harris’s imagination evolved under the swaying pines surrounding his family’s log home. On summer days that were too hot, winter days that were too cold, and every night into the wee morning hours, he read books.

N.W. Harris published his first novel—Joshua’s Tree—in 2013. It was no wonder that with his wild imagination and passion for all things word related, that N.W. Harris was named a quarter finalist in Amazon’s Break Through Novel Award Contest. In early 2014, N.W. Harris joined the ranks with Clean Teen Publishing when they signed his new young adult apocalyptic adventure series—The Last Orphans.

In addition to writing, N.W. Harris has been a submarine sailor, nurse, and business owner. His studies have included biology, anthropology, and medicine at UCSB and SUNY Buffalo. He is an active member of SCBWI and lives in sunny southern California with his beautiful wife and two perfect children. He writes like he reads, constantly.


Light faded from the gloomy heavens as Shane climbed over his aunt and out of the passenger side of the cab. Ominous green clouds still choked the sky, but the air was calm and quiet. He walked a few yards away and turned around, staring absently at the wreckage and wanting to die. The truck door hung open, his aunt’s swollen feet sticking out. Crippling numbness overtook him, pressing in on all sides, as if he were being buried in wet cement. It invaded his mind, drowning his thoughts, and leaving only dejected questions that no one could answer. What was he supposed to do now? Why did he have to still be alive when everyone he loved was being taken from him?
“Help!” A girl’s hysterical voice ripped through his viscous daze like a bullet through a soda can. “Can you please? Help!”
The voice was pitched with agony and grief, but also very familiar.
Shane pivoted, the weight of his aunt’s nightmarish demise making it hard to move.
Two girls ran up the Douglas’ long, gravel driveway toward him. The taller one’s tangled, blonde hair billowed behind her. She wore cutoff blue jeans and a baggy, white T-shirt with crimson paint smeared across her chest. She dragged a shorter version of herself by the hand behind her as she ran. It took a second for Shane to register who it was.
“Kelly?” he shouted, his voice hoarse with shock. Struggling to break free of the catatonic state threatening to turn him into stone, he jogged heavily down the driveway to meet her.
“They killed my dad and my mom!” she shrieked, her eyes wild and her gaze darting like she expected some horror to jump out of the fields and attack her. “They went berserk and trampled them!”
“Wait—slow down.” Shane grabbed her shoulders to steady her. Her distress tore his mind away from the despair seeping through every part of his body, starving him for breath and welding his joints together. “Who killed your parents?” He realized the red on her clothes was fresh blood.

What did Sister Sinister think?
* * * * *
 I give it 5 stars!
 * * * * *

Something has gone terribly wrong with the animals of the world, turning them on the adult population until only the youth are left alive. Struggling to survive, a large group of kids will band together and hit the road in search of even a single grown-up who can take the burden of responsibility, but until they find them -if they ever do- these kids are going to have to make it on their own. Can they do it, or will an even greater threat prove to be the undoing of all of humanity?

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review, one that I am more than happy to give 5 stars to. It is absolutely deserving of each twinkly one, because the author has given us a story that will appeal to many readers by touching on subjects that raise fear in us, sadness, disbelief, anger, hope, and love. It has mystery and excitement and budding romance and bravery; guilt, shame, and greed. It is a human story under inhuman circumstances.

* * * * *

Topic for Rebecca, answered by N.W. Harris:

  • If all the adults suddenly were wiped from the face of the planet, would law and order be a thing of the past, or would the children create their own?

The children would eventually create their own new version of law and order. The systems that are in place today are there because of a functioning infrastructure. If all the adults are gone, that infrastructure will fail. In my opinion, there will be initial chaos, then groups of children will start to conglomerate. Some groups will be bad and some good. Some of the kids will try to find ways to shelter and feed themselves by farming, hunting, fishing, etc. Others will make their living by stealing from those good children. At first, justice will be swift, frequently violent and without trial. As those that are determined to rebuild by making honest livings settled into their new lifestyles, I believe they’d make militias to protect their families and food. Next they’d create tribunals and hold some sort of court for criminals. Like in the in the Wild West, some of these new justice forces would inevitably become corrupt. Over time, I believe the children would thrive and society would be reborn. But I’m a bit of an optimist (my stories may not always seem to reflect that.)

Sister Sinister interviews the hugely talented N.W. Harris:

Welcome N.W. Harris, author of “The Last Orphans”! I can't thank you enough for taking the time to do this interview!

Q. Can you tell us a little about what inspired you to write “The Last Orphans”? 
A. I grew up in the South, and I love science fiction. I’ve always wanted to write a story that merges the two—that takes small-town kids and puts them in an extraordinary situation. I wanted to show the tenacity and strength of those polite people who live in the backwoods of America, and I wanted to use the setting in which I was raised in a novel.

Q. I can honestly say that this book is one of my ultimate favorites. There was just something special about it. But it isn't your first publication is it?
A. Wow! Thanks for saying that :) I have published two other novels in The Joshua’s Tree Trilogy. It’s also young adult science fiction, and is with a different publisher than The Last Orphans.

Q. In “The Last Orphans”, the cast is a group of school kids thrust into unspeakable horror. If something like this happened for real, do you believe that the youth of today could really handle such an extraordinary scenario?
A. I think they could. I believe most people have an inner hero in them that will come out if the right pressure is applied. I have a lot of faith in the human race and think we are something very special--a force to be reckoned with. 

Q. Young Adult books are wonderfully popular right now, but I only recently learned that it doesn't imply that the target audience is young adults, but rather that the main characters are teens! Who do you think your book will most appeal to?
A. I think it, and the series, will appeal to teens and adults who like a gritty action story and who like apocalyptic scenarios. Many readers want a story with a core group of characters they can follow, and not a loner for a main character. The Last Orphans Series will appeal to that audience as well. 

Q. Have you already started work on the next book in this series? Can you tell us a little about it?
A. Funny you should ask. I actually just sent the finished manuscript to my publisher a couple of days ago. I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say the challenges that await Shane and his friends surpass what they encountered in Book 1. I’ll also tell you that book two is called "The Harvest" (and that was not public information until now!:) The title is very reflective of what the book is about. Think I’ll stop there (laughs wickedly).

Q. What future projects do you have in mind? Anything you can share?
A. Well, for the near future, a lot of work needs to be done with marketing The Last Orphans. I also have to take care of edits on book 2. Within the next few weeks, I intend to start writing the third book in the series. Distant future—I want to write a story about a boy who is an elf (or a dark angel) and is living amongst us normal folks, going to high school an such. He thinks the symptoms of his “condition” are a disease and doesn’t have a clue as to what he is. Then strange people start trying to kill him... Of course, that’s just what I’m thinking today, lol.

Q. If you were thrust into an apocalyptic situation amidst a group of friends, family and strangers, would you be the sort to lead or would you be more of a follower?
A. I’ve always been more the leader type. If other leaders were in my group, I’d collaborate with them. I think that is the only way we’d survive. No one person has all the answers, and everyone in a given situation has something they can bring to the table.

Thank you so so much for sharing with us today, and for that title reveal. *cheeky grin* I cannot wait to get my hands on that book!!

Thanks for having me! 



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  1. Replies
    1. I was very lucky to get a chance to pre-release read it! I wish it was out now for everyone else!

  2. Yay!!! Thanks for the awesome review and interview! :-)

    1. Thank *you* for writing exactly the kind of book I want to read!

  3. Awesome review! I love books that deal with a lot of emotions and generally go towards subjects that are usually taboo. That's why I think this might be for me!