Publisher: Great Nation Publishing (25 July 2014)
NORMAL IS OVER The school year ending with Reject High's destruction was enough for Jason Champion. Summer break meant lots of time to split between his girlfriend Sasha and best friend Rhapsody. That is until predictions of a solar storm arrive, one unlike the earth has ever seen. Sasha tells Jason the sun's rays may affect his invulnerability and strength, while a mysterious new enemy is possessed with the belief that whoever absorbs the radiation will become immortal. With no other options and their enemies drawing closer to their goal, Jason and his friends join forces with the "Collective," a group that has guarded the origin of their power for a century. Its members think the storm will cause an explosion killing millions - a price none of them are willing to pay. The second installment in a young adult fantasy series, Sophomore Freak combines engaging characters inside of a page-turning, breathtaking adventure. Equal parts sci-fi, fantasy, and action-adventure, Sophomore Freak is a breathtaking page-turner written from the perspective of Jason Champion, a 16-year old teenager with rage blackouts and a penchant for getting in trouble, Equal parts sci-fi, fantasy, and action-adventure, Reject High is a breathtaking page-turner written from the perspective of Jason Champion, a 15-year old teenager with rage blackouts and a penchant for getting in trouble, Brian Thompson writes science fiction for both young adult and adult audiences. He is a celebrated writer, educator, and former journalist. He is also the author of speculative fiction/science fiction thriller The Anarchists and the third installment of the Reject High series, Forgotten, due in summer, 2015.
1) When you write, do you plan the storyline or just go with the flow and see where it takes you? Plotter or Panster?
Both, actually. I started off a pantser, but in writing sci-fi and world building, that didn’t really work out. So, I became a plotter and I use sticky notes for my major plot points. If I feel the character(s) take me down a different road, I go with it. I’m writing the third book in the series now and I have to rewrite the climax and ending I’ve plotted because of that very reason.
2) Where do you do most of your writing? Do you have a special spot?
I have a space in my office where I write. I also have a laptop that I tote around so that I can get writing time in where I can. The past few unconventional places I’ve written are a moving car and a train. We have two young children, ages 6 and 2, so you have to adapt in order to get things done.
3) Are any of your characters based on people you know?
My main character’s stepmom, Debra, is named after my stepmother. She’s one of two people I know on the planet who would willingly adopt a boy with rage blackouts and ADHD. Hers is the only case where a character is based off of someone I know. I do name characters after other people (with permission, of course) but generally, their characteristics are different.
4) Who was your favorite author as a child? Who is it now?
I don’t know that I had one. I loved the Sword of Shannara series by Terry Brooks and The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Those are the authors that stick out in my mind. I’m more of a classic guy, so you could pick anyone from Shakespeare to Philip K. Dick and I’m happy.
5) Did you always want to be an author? If not what was your ambition?
Growing up, I wanted to be a doctor. Then a lawyer and a computer science major. None of those really worked out for me. My creative writing class in my senior year of undergrad at Morehouse College really sparked that ambition for me.
6) A lot of authors have playlists for their books. Do you like to listen to music whilst you write and if so can you give us any recommendations?
It depends – I’ve listened to The Roots, Lorde, contemporary Christian, R&B, Rush, Pink Floyd. It really depends on what kind of scenes I’m writing.
7) Can you tell us a bit more about your book and how it came about?
Sophomore Freak is the sequel to Reject High and the second part of a four book series. The first book, Reject High, centers on Jason Champion, a 15-year-old boy kicked out of his school for fighting and sent to the Regional Educational Guidance Collective Training Facility – an alternative school nicknamed “Reject High.” There, he meets his best friend, Rhapsody. She shows him an emerald crystal that gives them mysterious powers. They later find out there are six different colors of the crystals and each give them different abilities. Along with Sasha, the prettiest girl in school, and Selby, her ex-boyfriend, Jason and Rhapsody discover they are being watched by a group hoping to possess the emerald.
Sophomore Freak picks up three months later. Jason is being targeted by David King, a scientist who thinks the six crystals will explode during an upcoming solar storm. He also believes the radiation from the explosion will make him immortal. King threatens the lives of Jason’s loved ones until he collects all of the crystals for him.
The Reject High series came about from reading Rick Riordan’s Olympian books and I thought about how I would write a YA series with superpowers. I did some research on solar flares, which is a major plot point for the books, and it kind of went from there.
8) What made you want to write for the YA market?
My editing partner Jackie read the opening pages to The Lightning Thief and it sparked something in me. I have experience in secondary education and I believe it’s because I have a voice that appeals to those ages.
9) Do you ever get writers block and if you do, how do you beat it?
Sometimes. I do a few things. I either walk away to do something else or I go back to the last pages I finished and rewrite them or add to them. That usually gets me back in the flow of things.