Tuesday 18 June 2013


Why I Chose Dystopian 
by Samantha Durante, 
author of Stitch

There are literally HUNDREDS of book genres to choose from, but when I started coming up with ideas for Stitch, there were only two that I knew right away Stitch might fall into: paranormal romance and dystopian sci-fi.  (And in fact, I wasn’t able to choose just one, so it’s actually a little bit of both!)

Dystopian stories have been incredibly popular lately, particularly in the young adult market (see: Hunger Games, Divergent, Delirium, etc.).  And though I didn’t realize it until I discovered all these new dystopian series recently, I’ve always been drawn to dystopian settings – The Giver, Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451 were some of my favorite books as a kid.   So this begs the question of what exactly it is about dystopian books that’s got me and all these other readers so excited.

After giving it some thought, I think it comes down to a few factors: uncertainty, morality, and hope.

1. Uncertainty.  We’ve all seen the news reports the past couple years – between the economy, the environment, and the unending global violence, it’s pretty obvious: our world is on a downward spiral.  At least, it certainly feels like that sometimes.  And when you look into the future and it’s all of a sudden unclear where things are going, it gets you thinking: what if things actually got worse?  Like, much worse?  What would it be like?  Am I prepared?  Could I survive?

2. Morality.  So the media has got us down on ourselves and wondering if our civilization can even make it, and as soon as you open that can of worms, all kind of difficult questions present themselves.  What would I do to survive?  With limited resources, how do you decide who gets to survive?  Who makes that decision?  What happens if I don’t like the answers to these questions?  How could I do things differently?  But am I any more qualified to come up with answers than the next guy?  We all know what’s right and wrong in the normal day-to-day but what happens when the world gets turned on its head?  Do the rules change?

3. Hope.  And I think this is really the crux of the whole dystopian genre – when the world ends, and everything is terrible, and you’re forced to do things you don’t even want to think about just to keep on living, what do you have left?  Hope.  Only hope. 

I think this is a fundamental feature of human beings – that inner optimism, the ability to remind ourselves that there’s something out there worth living for even when our world crumbles beyond our wildest nightmares.  So we start thinking about how we can solve the problem – how would I structure our society to make something better?  What could I change that would create a better outcome?  After all, every dystopia is just a failed utopia – someone’s unsuccessful attempt at making the world a better place.  So dystopian books force us to ask ourselves what we would have done differently, and thereby tap into that inner well of hopefulness, that unbreakable conviction that somewhere there is a right answer, even if we haven’t figured it out yet.

For me, dystopian books are all about the “What If,” and that’s a game I love to play.  So with the Stitch Trilogy, we’ll get to play “What If” through the protagonist, Alessa’s, eyes – to see how she answers these questions, how far she’s willing to go, and what factors will push her to bend her own rules.  And as we watch Alessa struggle to find her place in a transitioning society, we get to ask ourselves: what would I do?

Samantha Durante lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, Sudeep, and her cat, Gio. Formerly an engineer at Microsoft, Samantha left the world of software in 2010 to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams and a lifelong love of writing. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Jerome Fisher Program in Management & Technology, Samantha is currently working full time for her company Medley Media Associates as a freelance business writer and communications consultant. The Stitch Trilogy is her debut series. Learn more about Samantha at www.samanthadurante.com.

Lots of places!  There’s my website (www.samanthadurante.com) where I keep a blog and post other big updates about my book writing (you can sign up on the Contact page to get an email when I have a release date for Book 2).  I’m also on Goodreads and Facebook (both as an author and on the Stitch fan page).  And of course I’m on Amazon and Smashwords.  I LOVE to hear from readers, so please keep in touch!

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