Sovereignty: An All Too Plausible Dystopia
Author Anjenique Hughes is off to a terrific start with her debut novel, Sovereignty. A dystopian novel, it paints a frightening future for our nation and the world. Written for young adults, any age teen really, adults too will enjoy it. The premise of the story and the characteristics of the teens are uplifting at the same time they are scary.
Since Ms. Hughes is currently on a virtual book tour hosted by iRead Book Tours, we we pleased to read and review the book on Mystery Suspense Reviews, as well as interview the author. We loved her answers to the questions asked.
Thank you for stopping by to read our interview here. You can find other articles, interviews and reviews listed on her iRead Tour Page here. You will certainly enjoy learning more about this new author and her book.
Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us, Anjenique. It’s a treat to be part of your book tour.
I understand this is the first in a trilogy. Do you have the stories already in your mind for the second and third? Will it definitely stop at three?
Yes ☺ I pretty much have the plot for the second book, which I have started, and the third is mapped out. It’s funny, because my brother had drilled into my head to know how the trilogy ended before I even started writing- he quoted other authors, such as J.K. Rowling, as someone who knew way ahead of time how she wanted her saga to conclude. I have a somewhat solid idea of how the third book ends; I’m sure it will morph over time before it’s published!
Dystopian novels are so appealing, perhaps because they seem so possible. What is the main appeal to you?
The main appeal to me is that palpable rush of trepidation I feel when I stop and realize that this could actually happen someday. Government control, genetically implanted technology, loss of freedom, censorship, etc. It’s not a scared type of fear, it’s more of a cautious awareness of a probable future. The “what if’s” of a dystopian genre are so exciting, because you can play with your created world in so many different ways. Also, there is something about the future, or the unknown, that is really intriguing.
What is the hardest part when writing for the young adult category?
Probably the hardest part is keeping the action continuously going in a manner that doesn’t cause them to drop the book on the floor and doze off! As a teacher in this day and age, I know how difficult it is to motivate students who would rather sit for 8 hours in freeway gridlock than pick up a book and actually read it. -__- Also challenging are keeping the dialogue witty and making sure there is zero cheesiness in the plot. ☺
What research is required when you are writing dystopian/futuristic stories? (Or is it mostly imagination?)
For me, a lot of it was my imagination. However, I did conduct research surrounding the military training segments. I also consulted a friend who is SWAT, as well as doing research on Navy Seals Ops.
Your story takes place hundreds of years in the future. Can you see your vision of our world happening? What do you think our world will be like fifty years from now?
Yes, I can see this happening in our world. Especially the identity chip implantation, for sure! Maybe not in fifty years, but definitely down the road. In fifty years from now, I see world problems such as starvation, war, earthquakes, etc becoming exponentially worse. I see terrorism increasing, even newer technology, possibly even having “flying cars” by then. ☺
It is a terrific debut novel. Have you written other manuscripts that led to this one?
Thank you so much!! I started two other books years ago, both based on true stories in my life that I never ended up finishing. I always knew I wanted to write a novel and have it published and with my propensity to drop projects, I’d have to say it’s a miracle that I even finished it!
As a first novel, how long did it take you to finish?
I was on a serious roll when I wrote this first YA novel. I finished 75% of the book in one month. However, I was interrupted due to vacation travel, having to leave the country for five weeks (I know, tough life). Upon returning, I found it super hard to get back into the groove. It took me another three months to finish the book, then the never ending editing began, of course. I had four editors working on the book at different times, and one even commented on how she noticed a difference in the writing between the first 75% of the novel and the last 30 pages or so- it was a real wake-up call to fix it! ☺
Are you an outliner or do you let the characters lead you?
You know, I have never used an outline, and I know a lot of successful authors frown upon this. I just have let the characters lead me, which is a great way of putting it! To be honest, I feel a little guilty not using an outline, thinking maybe I should, but every situation and every book is different I guess!
When do you find time to write when you spend your days teaching?
I used as much summer time as I could to crank out the story. In finishing the first novel, the last portion of the book was written at night and on weekends, therefore taking me three months to actually finish only 30 pages or so-
Did your students influence and/or read your manuscript?
The three main characters, Goro, Alex, and Cory are named after the three students who positively influenced my life throughout my teaching career. They say, “To teach is to touch a life forever,” well, these three students touched my life profoundly. They were the reason I stayed with teaching. I mentored all three of these exceptional students.
Building relationships with students can be one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher. Of course, all my students are important to me, but every once in a while, a few will rise above the rest. Seeing students learn, grow, succeed in life, is the best feeling in the world. I have lost touch with Alex and Cory over the years, but they both expressed to me after graduation that I had a huge impact on their lives. I didn’t have Goro read the manuscript, because I wanted him to be surprised with the finished product. ☺
Often as a writer writes, bunches of ideas come to mind for future books. Is that true for you as well? Do you have multiple plots in mind to consider once your trilogy is finished?
Ooh, no…is that a bad thing? LOL. I think I would eventually like to finish the two novels I previously started based on true stories in my life- I want and need to finish what I start, haha!
What is the main lesson you would like your readers to learn from Sovereignty?
Basically, do NOT give up. Soldier on. Persevere. You can and WILL do it. No matter what the odds are, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You too can be a resilient survivor, making your own glorious way in life!! ☺
Which authors influenced you to become a writer?
I have always loved YA novels, even as an adult! I love Lois Duncan particularly. She has a unique way of pulling you into the story, keeping you on your toes…
Who are your favorite authors currently?
Currently my favorite author is Michael Connelly. His books are a completely different genre, but he was instrumental in helping me fall in love with the City of Angels. I was not a fan of LA when I first moved here, and his books helped me grow to appreciate the city I now call home. He knows this, as I have told him many times!
How did you celebrate the completion of your book?
I think I texted my Krav Maga personal trainer and he was stoked for me! There wasn’t a huge celebration; I called some family members and handed out free copies of the book to close friends and whatnot. ☺
Thanks so much Merry for these amazing questions!!! I’m so glad you liked the book! ☺
Thank YOU Anjenique!
Under the totalitarian reign of the 23rd century’s world’s government- The Sovereign Regime- control is made possible by the identity chip implanted in every human being, recording everything that is seen, done, and experienced.
No more bank accounts.
No more smart phones.
No more secrets.
When Goro inadvertently overhears an exchange of sensitive information, causing him to confront the truth about his world and prompting him to choose his true loyalties, his dream of revolution kicks into high gear. Goro doesn’t know he has covert intel in his possession both the SR and the resistance movement are desperate to acquire.
Determined to attempt the impossible task of bringing down the world government, he and his closest friends gain access to the key to ultimately deciding who has sovereignty.
But who will get to Goro first: The resistance or the Sovereign Regime?
With master’s degrees in education, special education, and counseling, Anjenique “Jen” Hughes is a high school English and math teacher who loves teaching and mentoring young people.
She enjoys traveling and has worked with youth on five continents. Saying she is “young at heart” is an understatement; she is fluent in sarcasm, breaks eardrums with her teacher voice (students have complained when they were within earshot), and cracks sarcastic jokes with the best of her students.
Her work with ethnically and socioeconomically diverse youth has inspired her to write books that appeal to a broad variety of students seeking stories of bravery, perseverance, loyalty, and success.