Excerpt + Guest Post + Giveaway: In The Beginning There Was Us by Ingrid Jonach

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why am I busy and why still I haven't read this book?!?!?! Ingrid Jonach wrote one of the books I'll never get tired of pimping of because When the World Was Flat (and we were in love) is A-W-E-S-O-M-E. But for now, I'm sharing an excerpt of Ingrid's newest novel, IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS US, and a guest post. Guys, this guest post is one of my favorites EVER because ALL HAIL URBAN SCI-FI. And of course... a giveaway!

In The Beginning There Was Us
Title: In The Beginning There Was Us
Author: Ingrid Jonach
Date of Publication: April 28, 2015

What would you do if you were God? If you had the power to not only give life, but take it away in the blink of an eye? These are the questions that plague fifteen-year-old Abbey Baxter after she resurrects a boy, long lost to the ages.

The achingly beautiful and eternally melancholy Cole not only serves as a welcome distraction from her long-time crush, Elwin, but also eases the heartache that persists since the sudden passing of her younger brother, Junior, four years earlier.

As the intrigue of her relationship with Cole deepens, so too does the mystery that surrounds a growing phenomenon sweeping through her small West Virginian town, transforming the lives of its residents. Around her, two bedroom cottages are transforming into mansions without explanation and residents are waking up to bank balances that have tripled overnight, all under the watchful gaze of the sinister American Laboratory for Particle Physics, located on the outskirts of town.

As Abbey searches for answers in a bid to solve the mystery in partnership with Elwin, she’s forced into a realization that that some things are better left buried, including her newfound love, Cole.

This cautionary tale of heartache and obsession explores the endless possibilities of the universe and its devastating impact on two young lovers from different worlds.

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Mali looks like she’s warming up too, bouncing from foot to foot. I know that bounce. It’s her boy bounce.

It had started in fifth grade with Jed Jefferson—Jay-Jay. Talk about OCD. If that boy even looked at the clock on the wall above her head Mali would be bouncing back and forth. In seventh grade, it had continued with Sandy Waxman. And since eighth grade, it had been all about Buck.

The next round of games are being announced over the loud speaker. A cheer goes up when the announcer reads out “Buck Dartmouth” and Buck walks onto the court, waving his clasped hands around in the air, like a pro-wrestler entering a ring. His groupies line up courtside, including Mali. Double Dammit.

I think about getting my own hotdog, but the heat’s like a heavy blanket that makes me want to lie down and go to sleep.

I give in to it about five minutes into the game, stretching out on the grass and closing my eyes. The intermittent thwack of the volleyball and the resulting “Oohs” and “Ahhs” fade into white noise, along with the sound of the bees droning in the nearby honeysuckle as I doze.
I’m dreaming about Cole and in my dream, he’s lying beside me on the grass, listening to me talk nonsense. And I mean that literally. It’s a dream after all.

We’re talking about how we’re getting married in the Fall. When I ask whether he wants to get married in Albert Falls or Italy, he tells me his hometown had been part of the European Apocalypse.

I stop speaking mid-sentence as Cole brushes my cheek with his fingers. He leans towards me, his porcelain skin dappled in the sunlight that filters through the leaves.


I open my eyes. I’m curled up on my side with the grass tickling my cheek. I blink owlishly at a pair of red skate shoes. “Cole?” I mumble.

I roll onto my back and stare up at a wide smile and a mop of light brown hair. “Elwin. Hi.” I return his smile as I realize he’d just called me Abbey, instead of Quasi.

I sit up too quickly, moaning at the rush of blood to my head.

“Are you OK?” he asks, crouching down and steadying me with an arm around my shoulders.

“Head spin.” I rub my temples, trying to get rid of the black spots in my vision. My heart’s thudding like a bass drum, but that’s because I’m in his arms, not because of my blood pressure.

“Have you had lunch?”

I shake my head.

And thus begins the best thirty-five minutes of my life. Elwin buys us hot dogs and sodas, before settling down beside me on the grass to watch the game. It feels like we’re on a date.

“Do you like volleyball?” he asks.

I choke on my mouthful of hot dog as I laugh.

Elwin grins and nudges me companionably. “I forgot. It sends you to sleep.”

“I shut my eyes for like a second,” I lie.

“You were snoring.”

I gasp and nudge him back. “I was not!”

He chuckles, flashing me a picture perfect smile.

I look straight ahead at the court in case I swoon. Is this another dream? It’s been years since I’ve had one-on-one time with Elwin.

I can remember having heart to hearts with him after Junior had died. Mali would be lapping their indoor pool and we’d be stretched out on the chaise lounges talking. It had been good to be able to take off my Moretta mask for a while—even Mali had been speechless when it came to Junior.

That was when I’d started crushing on Elwin majorly—like stealing strands of hair from his comb and hiding a photo of him in my underwear drawer majorly. Yeah. I know. Stalker.

Guest Post

Why I love writing sci-fi YA
by Ingrid Jonach

I love writing for young adults—mainly because I like reading young adult novels, so I guess I feel like I'm writing for myself. And, even though I’m now well beyond the traditional age bracket, my favourite contemporary author remains Sarah Dessen (who has just released her twelfth novel Saint Anything. Yay!).

When I was writing books for kids, I used to get asked all the time whether I had kids myself. I somewhat sheepishly replied, ‘No,’ as if this somehow disqualified me from being able to entertain and educate that age group. After all, I was a kid once myself. 

And that’s exactly how I look at my obsession with young adult novels. I was—not too long ago—a teenager and it left an indelible mark on me. I think what really appeals to me about writing for young adults is that you’re exploring the transition to adulthood, which gives you some really heavy themes like the loss of innocence and search for identity, coupled with characters who vary vastly in maturity.

I’ve always been a big fan of fantasy—more so than science fiction. The books I adored growing up were mostly supernatural (for example, anything by Australian author Victor Kelleher). I particularly adored the horror genre. I devoured anything with vampires in it (WAY before Twilight) and cut my teeth on R. L. Stine. 

When I started pitching my first young adult novel—When the World was Flat (and we were in love)—to agents, I actually described it as a fantasy novel. Embarrassing as this is for someone with a writing degree to admit, I wasn’t a reader of science fiction and thought of it largely as stories set in space (hard science fiction). When I finally pieced together that Albert Einstein and his Theory of Everything were science and NOT fantasy (duh!), I started describing my story as science fiction fantasy and then soft science fiction and now science fiction romance and sometimes speculative fiction. The genre, however, that I think really sums it up is the non-existent genre of urban science fiction (a hypothetical counterpart to urban fantasy). 

My follow up young adult novel, In The Beginning There Was Us, is also urban science fiction (I'm just going to go ahead and coin it as a genre). Both of my young adult novels look at re-imagined histories and possible scientific explanations for the inexplicable in a contemporary setting. For example, scientific theories I have developed (or dreamed up) about ghosts and luck. I use the term ‘scientific’ loosely, of course. The theories are only based in science – the rest is based in what if?

You know how kids go through the ‘why?’ phase. They ask what you’re doing and when you tell them they want to know why. And when you tell them why their next question is inevitably, ‘why?’ I think I’ve never left that phase behind. I enjoyed maths at school until my teachers stopped being able to explain to me why I needed to understand trigonometry and calculus. Then I dropped it (something I somewhat regret, but that saw me pass my final exams with flying colours!).

This insatiable curiosity has led me to the science fiction genre. The romance that’s spread throughout my novels is just the icing on the cake. Couple both of those with the young adult demographic and I have so much scope for my imagination! 

About Ingrid Jonach

Ingrid Jonach writes books for kids and teens. 

Her young adult sci fi romance novels When the World was Flat (and we were in love) and In The Beginning There Was Us are available now. 

She is also the author of the picture book A Lot of Things and the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan Australia.

Ingrid has worked as a journalist and public relations consultant, and has a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing with Honors in Communications.

She lives down under - in Canberra, Australia - with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi.

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