Today I am so pleased to welcome Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau to Joyfully Jay. Lisa and Heidi have come to talk to us about their new release, Bliss. They have also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving them a big welcome!
Hi! We’re Lisa Henry and Heidi Belleau, authors of Bliss. We’re touring the web talking about our influences, our writing process, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at our book, and even a sneak peek or two! And what would a blog tour be without a contest? We’re giving away a copy of the first novel we wrote together: King of Dublin!
Here’s today’s look at the “utopian” world of Bliss:
In Bliss, we borrowed the names of our city states from literature. Specifically, Pilgrim’s Progress. In Pilgrim’s Progress, Tophet is hell, and Beulah is heaven. In Bliss, Tophet is hellish, and Beulah is…well, Beulah is a utopia.
We have a problem with utopias.
Every utopia is actually a dystopia, and for one very simple reason: utopias rely on conformity. Societies are made up of people, and people are imperfect. To create a perfect society means to demand perfection of every citizen. They rely on everyone following the rules, and nobody rocking the boat. What starts off as a shared vision veers very quickly into Thought Police territory. Everybody, at some point in their lives, finds themselves as the voice of dissent. But there’s no room for dissent in a utopia.
Utopias never work well in fiction. There’s always something sinister going on behind the scenes. Look at Logan’s Run, or Animal Farm. Or even The Lego Movie.
Utopias don’t work well in reality either. Look at Communism. Great, in theory. In practice so far? Not so much. Not that neo-liberal capitalism is much better once the money shakes out. No system is ever perfect, and sometimes the pursuit of perfection is worse than the alternative. Especially as methods of control get more and more sophisticated.
And what better way than to keep an imperfect population in line than altering their very minds?
Rory James has worked hard all his life to become a citizen of the idyllic city-state of Beulah. Like every other kid born in the neighboring country of Tophet, he’s heard the stories: No crime or pollution. A house and food for everyone. It’s perfect, and Rory is finally getting a piece of it.
So is Tate Patterson. He’s from Tophet, too, but he’s not a legal immigrant; he snuck in as a thief. A city without crime seems like an easy score, until he crashes into Rory during a getaway and is arrested for assaulting a citizen. Instead of jail, Tate is enrolled in Beulah’s Rehabilitation through Restitution program. By living with and serving his victim for seven years, Tate will learn the human face of his crimes.
If it seems too good to be true, that’s because it is. Tate is fitted with a behavior-modifying chip that leaves him unable to disobey orders—any orders, no matter how dehumanizing. Worse, the chip prevents him from telling Rory, the one man in all of Beulah who might care about him, the truth: in a country without prisons, Tate is locked inside his own mind.
Lisa Henry lives in tropical North Queensland, Australia. She doesn’t know why, because she hates the heat, but suspects she’s too lazy to move. She spends half her time slaving away as a government minion, and the other half plotting her escape.
She attended university at sixteen, not because she was a child prodigy or anything, but because of a mix-up between international school systems early in life. She studied History and English, neither of them very thoroughly.
She shares her house with too many cats, a dog, a green tree frog that swims in the toilet, and as many possums as can break in every night. This is not how she imagined life as a grown-up.
You can visit Lisa her website, at Goodreads, or on Facebook or Twitter.
Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town New Brunswick, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write.
Her writing reflects everything she loves: diverse casts of characters, a sense of history and place, equal parts witty and filthy dialogue, the occasional mythological twist, and most of all, love—in all its weird and wonderful forms.
When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her daughter or sipping a drink at her favourite coffee shop.
- She also writes queer-flavoured M/F as Heloise Belleau.
- Chat with her on Twitter using the handle @HeidiBelleau.
- Browse her website at HeidiBelleau.com or HeloiseBelleau.com.
- Check out her books on Goodreads.
- Follow her Facebook and Tumblr accounts.
- Or contact her using good old-fashioned email: email@example.com
Thanks for following our tour! To celebrate our release, we’re giving away a copy of our first joint release — King of Dublin. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post with a way for us to contact you, be it your email, your twitter, or a link to your facebook or goodreads account. Please put your email in the body of the comment, not just in email section of the comment form, because we won’t be able to see it otherwise! On September 1, we’ll draw a winner from all eligible comments! Be sure to follow the whole tour, because the more comments you leave, the more chances you have to win the prize!
- By entering the giveaway, you’re confirming that you are at least 18 years old.
- Winners will be selected by random number. No purchase necessary to win. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning.
- If you win, you must respond to my email within 48 hours or another winner may be chosen. Please make sure that your spam filter allows email from Joyfully Jay.
- Winners may be announced on the blog following the contest. By entering the contest you are agreeing to allow your name to be posted and promoted as the contest winner by Joyfully Jay.
- Prizes will be distributed following the giveaway either by Joyfully Jay or the person/organization donating the prize.
- By entering you are agreeing to hold Joyfully Jay harmless if the prize or giveaway in some way negatively impacts the winner.
- Readers may only enter once for each contest. Duplicate entries for the same giveaway will be ignored. In the event of technical problems with the blog during the contest, every effort will be made to extend the contest deadline to allow for additional entries.
- Void where prohibited by law.