Blog tour: Orange City

Welcome to the blog tour for Orange City by Lee Matthew Goldberg, who has kindly agreed to answer a few questions for my date on the tour!

Hi Lee! First of all, I would like to congratulate you on the publication of Orange City! Can you please briefly tell us what it is about?

A: Thanks! Imagine a secret, hidden City that gives a second chance at life for those selected to come: felons, deformed outcasts, those on the fringe of the Outside World. Everyone gets a job, a place to live; but you are bound to the City forever. You can never leave.  

Its citizens are ruled by a monstrous figure called the "Man" who resembles a giant demented spider from the lifelike robotic limbs attached to his body. Everyone follows the Man blindly, working hard to make their Promised Land stronger, too scared to defy him and be discarded to the Empty Zones.   

After ten years as an advertising executive, Graham Weatherend receives an order to test a new client, Pow! Sodas. After one sip of the orange flavor, he becomes addicted, the sodas causing wild mood swings that finally wake him up to the prison he calls reality.

Did you have the plot entirely figured out when you started writing the book or did it take an unexpected turn as the characters grew on the page?

A: This one took a lot of turns. It started out as a short story I wrote way back in college, then it was a screenplay before it became a novel. With each draft, it became more and more science fiction and dystopian, so I think I just needed all of those years to really build the world of Orange City.

Was Orange City your working title? Either way, how did you choose it?

A: The first title was Orange Girl and was more about the character Marlena. With subsequent drafts, the City became a bigger and bigger character so it made sense to switch up the title.

If this novel was going to be turned into a film, who would you cast in the role of Graham?

A: Hmmm, good question. Maybe Ryan Gosling, like a slightly nerdier version of Ryan Gosling.

Without giving too much away, can you tell us about a scene in the book that you love or that was particularly difficult to write?

A: My favorite scene is when Graham spends the night with Marlena and first sees that she doesn’t have any arms and looks like a “warped Venus De Milo brought to life.” I just love that description and the book really changes gears after that scene. As Graham falls in love with Marlena, it’s the first time he has something to fight for in the City.

Is there anything that didn’t make it into the final version of the book?

A: A lot, but more-so when the book was about an advertising agency and less science fiction. There were a lot more offices scenes that wound up getting cut. Also the character Gayle was very different in earlier drafts. She was less trustworthy.

If you are already working on your next writing project, would you mind giving us a little anticipation of what we are to expect?

A: Sure, I have a Young Adult series coming out this spring as well about a sixteen-year-old girl in the 1990s who runs away from home to be a grunge singer and meet Kurt Cobain. I’m working on the third book now.

What are you reading at the moment?

A: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse. I’m a thriller writer first, so I read lots of thrillers. This one is a good one set in a luxury hotel in the Swiss Alps that used to be a sanatorium.

Due to the popularity of social networking websites, interacting with readers – be it via Twitter, Facebook Instagram etc. – is becoming increasingly important. How do you cope with these new demands on authors and do you think that they somehow disrupt your writing schedule?

A: Yeah, it’s tough. On one hand it’s great because it opens your work up to some many more readers, but it can be exhausting. I do a lot of publicity around the time a book comes out and try to take off when I’m writing, but it can be hard. I actually need to find a better balance.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

A: Don’t let rejection get you down. ALL writers get rejected. It only will make you a better writer so keep at it!

Thank you for your time!

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