Today I’m very pleased to be featuring Summertime Blue by John Campbell Rees which was published by The Timeless Press on 12th March 2016. Summertime Blue is available on Amazon UK and Amazon Us and from Waterstones.
As adolescence lasts only 16 weeks in John Campbell Rees’s book, I wondered whether he thought there was a best time in a person’s life and he has provided a fascinating guest post today all about that very subject.
The Light Half of the Year has arrived on Arbouron, the Planet Earth in a neighbouring reality. The inhabitants of the Canopy of the great Tree are returning to their homes after their enforced Winter Exile. The members of the Winter Squad, the volunteers who maintain the Canopy during the Dark Half of the Year are returning to their base in the Roots. This year feted as the heroes who saved the Tree.
A new challenge awaits Nevamarsya, the youngest member of the Winter Squad as she travels with her family, friends and colleagues to the Roots for the first time as as Officer and fully grown Tree-Person. The consequences of defeating the alien invader hang heavily on Neva and the other youngsters sent up to the Canopy for training only. Have they been robbed of their one and only chance of being a child by the horrors they have witnessed.
A ghosts from the past threatens the present. The Loan Shark Drwgdynant disappeared twenty years ago, before he could stand trial for his many crimes. Now a body has been discovered and Tabbernant, the oldest member of the Winter Squad, who was responsible for ending Drwgdynant’s reign of terror is accused of his murder. The person who can clear Tabbernant’s name is has been in hiding for the past two decades from the criminal Syndicates. Will Neva and her friends be able to find him in time to save Tabbernant.
The Best Age to Be Alive
A Guest Post from John Campbell Rees
I don’t think I have ever met anyone who enjoyed being a teenager. Eight whole years of spots, raging hormones, horrendous peer pressure, life altering examinations and parents who stopped understanding you on your thirteenth birthday. Wouldn’t it be be great if you could get that all over with in four months?
In my first two novels, that is exactly what happens. The in story explanation is that the inhabitants of the Tree were created to be the soldiers who defended the Tree from all external attacks when it was a Sapling. For a young tree, there are many threats, disease, parasites or inclement weather to name a few, it could not wait for its army to go through a normal life cycle with a sixteen to eighteen year childhood and adolescence, it needed troops quickly, so it made sure its troops matured quickly. The out of story reason is I used to work in a branch library across the road from where two double-decker coaches disgorged their homeward bound passengers at the end of a school day. The library had eight public access PCs, a magnet to the teenagers. At the start of the academic year, in September, I would see the new intake of eleven year olds, in uniforms several sizes too big. It only seemed like four months later, before the Christmas holidays, those same children would be talking about the GCSE examinations they would be taking the following Summer. Of course four years had passed, but it didn’t feel that way.
Winter Squad covered the four juvenile characters, Nevamarsya, Natalicsya, Pemisegant and Althallant’s telescoped young life, up to the point where they are about to swap the emptiness of the Winter Canopy for the year round hustle and bustle of the Roots. The four main juvenile characters are enjoying the best part of any tree inhabitant’s life. They are still in the first blush of youth and look it. Their bodies might look fully grown, but they are not fully adult yet. In a year’s time, they will complete their growth cycle when they go through the Biological Adoption process and join one of the twenty eight families. After that, they will have to take their studies and future careers seriously.
In Summertime Blue the four youngsters believe they are in the best age to be alive as I think this is the best time to be alive in the world I have created. They are experiencing the best of both worlds, a fully developed body, free from the limitations of childhood but still maintaining the juvenile enthusiasm for life only youngsters possess. Given the martial nature of Tree society, where all jobs have a military rank structure, the forty plus days of actual combat experience gives them advantages not available to their contemporaries. They hold the first adult rank of Subaltern, they are allowed to drive, can stay out an extra hour after normal juvenile curfew and could, if they wanted to, get married.
Although, it has to be remembered that barring accidents and wartime fatalities, Tree People know they will die on their forty second birthday. This does not make them fatalistic. It encourages them to enjoy each and every day, before it is too late. So the characters will soon learn that any age is the best age to be alive.
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