Monday, October 31, 2016

The Rift Uprising by Amy S. Foster ~ Q&A PLUS Giveaway


Normal seventeen-year-old girls go to high school, binge watch TV shows all weekend, and flirt with everyone on the face of the Earth. But Ryn Whitaker is trying to save it.

Ryn is a Citadel. A soldier. A liar. Ryn and her fellow Citadels were specially chosen and trained to guard a Rift—one of fourteen unpredictable tears in the fabric of the universe that serve as doorways to alternate Earths. Unbeknownst to her family, Ryn leaves for school each day and then reports for duty as an elite, cybernetically-altered soldier who can run faster, jump farther, and fight better than a Navy SEAL—which comes in handy when she’s not sure if axe-wielding Vikings or any number of other terrified and often dangerous beings come through the Rift. A fine-tuned weapon, Ryn is a picture-perfect Citadel. But that’s all about to change.

When a young man named Ezra is pulled through the Rift, Ryn finds herself immediately drawn to him, despite her training. What starts as a physical attraction quickly grows deeper, and Ezra’s curiosity throws Ryn off balance when he starts questioning the Rifts, the mysterious organization that oversees them, and the Citadels themselves—questions that lead Ryn to wonder if the lies she’s been telling her family are just the surface of a much bigger lie told to her. As Ryn and Ezra desperately try to get to that truth, they discover that each revelation blurs the line between the villains and the heroes even more. 

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Amy S. Foster is a celebrated songwriter, best known as Michael BublĂ©’s writing partner. You might recognize her work in his four hit singles, including "Home" and "Haven't Met You Yet.”  She has also collaborated with Destiny’s Child, Diana Krall, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and a host of other artists. She is also the author of the novel When Autumn Leaves. When she's not in a studio in Nashville, Amy lives in the Pacific Northwest with her family. Amy is the daughter of singer B.J. Cook and the legendary music producer, David Foster. Fun fact about Amy: Her extended family tree includes Bella and Gigi Hadid, Sara and Erin Foster and Brody and Brandon Jenner, and Clay Aiken! The Rift Uprising, her YA debut, will be released on October 4, 2016.   

LINKS: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Val had the opportunity to ask Amy Foster some questions!

1.    Rift.  What a great word.  It brings to mind so many possible meaning.  I'm wondering if there's more than a description of a portal there?

In everyday language, the word ‘Rift’ is used to describe a chasm, a void or an unbridgeable distance between people. There are rifts in families, between loved ones, in the workplace or even opposing ideologies.  So in a way The Rift, as I’m using it, makes complete sense even though we’re talking about a scientific anomaly. In the beginning, The Citadels see the Rift as a kind of Hell Mouth (thanks Buffy!) But as they begin to understand it’s true nature and all that it implies, it’s so fantastic, so huge, that it’s hard for them to accept that it is indeed a bridge that can be crossed. Even though they are super soldiers, it is the kind of thing that’s hard to wrap your brain around.

2. I love that Ryn, the soldier guarding the Rift, is a girl.  Definitely sets a feel for this book.  How did you decide on a girl to guard and a boy to come through confused?

A soldier is a soldier is a soldier….Regardless of gender. A person in a crisis situation will adapt and succeed or they will fold and fail. It makes no difference if they are a boy or a girl, it’s a matter of character and fortitude. I wanted to create a female protagonist who was sure of herself and sure of her mission and made no excuses for who she was.

3)  There's so much to character development that we don't read in the pages of the book.  Can you tell us one little thing about Ryn that we don't learn in the book? What about that young man that comes through the portal?

I’m not sure people will realize how much of a nerd Ryn really is deep down inside! It’s not just that she’s bookish, but if she wasn’t so busy fighting all the Visitors From Other Earths that pour out of the Rift she would be a frequent Con attendee, for sure. As for Ezra, we know that he’s half Moroccan but what I don’t say explicitly is that his mother is Jewish. Having one parent who is Muslim and the other Jewish gives Ezra more wisdom and patience than that of the average 18 year old. He’s used to having a foot in two worlds. This sets him up quite nicely to be able to traverse many worlds, if the need arises…

4)  Since it's Halloween here on Stuck In Books and you do use the word monsters in the book blurb, tell us something that scares you.

I’m always worrying about my kids. My dad likes to say that you’re only as happy as your unhappiest child. Professionally, I’m pretty scared of failure. But since this is Halloween, my absolute all time favorite holiday ever- I assume you mean something a little more Supernatural? So I guess I would have to say Zombies. I hate Zombies. I seriously don’t get the fascination with them- they are the worst!

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The Rift Uprising © Amy S. Foster

Chapter 1

Command Center, this is Gamma Team in Nest 4, there is no visual. Over. The voice crackles in my earpiece. I tap the small device without thinking. Its not a hardware issue, not with the kind of equipment we use. More than likely its interference. We are the closest team to The Rift. I wait for the other teams to check in, but its protocol at this point. They arent going to see anything before we do. We hear from Lamda, Phi, Rho, and Omega. The reserves are farther back, in the denser part of the forest, waiting in case something really bad comes through, like a column of Karekins. Karekins are the most dangerous enemy we face in The Rift game. They are humanoid, but proportionally much, much bigger--at least eight feet tall. Whenever I see one, I think of the Titans from Greek mythology. Maybe the big shots at ARC thought the same things when they divided us all into groups using the Greek alphabet.
The scientists at The Allied Rift Coalition created sophisticated machines that spike and beep whenever The Rift is about to dump something out.
We dont need them.
Citadels are in tune with the opening. I dont even think its our heightened senses. We just spend so much time around the damn thing that weve grown accustomed to its habits. I am Beta Teams leader. I was surprised at first when I got the rank. I am not the fastest or strongest among us. It didnt take long though, once we were first deployed, before it became obvious that I think quickly on my feet, though. Im a natural tactician and I dont make sentimental decisions. In the beginning of all this, I would never have volunteered for a command. After so much time on active duty, however, its clear the rank is a good fit. The fact that ARC figured out my strengths before I did still pisses me off. Its like swallowing one of those huge horse vitamins without water. The truth that they somehow know me better than I know myself will always burn right in my center.
I try not to think about how or why anymore. Its pointless and distracting, and I need to focus. Im here and in charge, responsible for my team. We are holding our positions. The four of us are crouched behind a large rock that sits just off to the left of The Rift. The rock was strategically placed here so that we can see whats coming out, but they cant see us. 

No, we cant actually see through solid rock or anythingthough that would be cool. Instead, the rock has a couple holes bored through, covered and camouflaged on The Rift side with paint and sieved metal. Its kind of like a two way mirror. No one would notice the holes unless they got right up and put their face up to them and at that point, well, more than likely they would have already been neutralized.
I study my three teammates for a moment. They look so bad-ass they could be on the cover of a comic book. Three years ago, Christopher Seelyethe head of ARC--told us we had all been chosen because of our incredible averageness. He got that one wrong by a mile. Maybe it was bad math or maybe its the chip they implanted to give us all these crazy super powers. Either way, we are far from average. Citadels are striking. People look at us and cant look away. We are sleek and dangerously fascinating, like any other large predator, which makes it impossible for any of us to fly under the radar. Am I pretty? No, not conventionally. But, we all have a strange and complicated beauty thats undeniable. We have become used to being watched and stared at. I wonder what our parents think sometimes. Do they notice or are they just used to us? I wouldnt dare ask them, and because of the role I am forced to play at home, they wouldnt expect me to.
I am snapped back into the moment when Boone checks in on the mic, trying to sound all official, Command this is Brony Team, we still dont have a visual. He smirks beside me. I roll my eyes. Always the comedian.
Repeat, Command demands through our earpieces.
This is Team Rainbow Sparkle and we have a negative on a visual, Violet gives Boone a smack and per usual, Henry says nothing at all. Henry has no sense of humor. Hes as immovable as the rock we are crouched behind.
Major Applebaums voice cuts through the static. Cut the shit, Boone. After were done here today you can go home and play with all your little action figurines, but since we know something is about to come through, maybe youd like to focus so that we can save some lives. " Its an inside joke, years old, that Boone never gets tired of. When we first met Applebaum we were so intimidated that it was difficult for most of us to even speak, let alone answer one of the dozens of questions he would scream in our faces during basic training. It was Boone that came up with the idea that his last name sounded like a My Little Pony character. Boone can be a smart ass but he can always diffuse a tense situation. After we started associating Applebaum with a childrens cartoon, the Major seemed far less terrifying.  Ryn? he asked.
Im on it, Sir. I shoot Boone a look. A look that says everything without me having to use any actual words. And then, I feel the hair on my arms begin to stand up. I know that I am the first one to sense that The Rift is about to open. I always am. I think thats another reason they made me Team Leader: I have a hyper sensitivity to it. I hold my hand up and make a fist. Its a gesture that means business and my team knows me well enough to stop the nonsense and follow my lead. I keep my head down and close my eyes. I can feel the tug of The Rifts giant mouth in my belly. I know we wont be sucked in because all the mathematicians have calculated the exact distance where we are safe. Its one of the few things ARC has told us that I believe absolutely, because we havent yet lost a Citadel that way.
But it doesnt mean the pull doesnt bother me every time.
My heart begins to beat a little faster, the adrenaline starts to course through my veins. The Rift's rippling intensify.
"Command, this is Beta Team Leader, we have a visual. Stage 1. Repeat we have a visual Stage 1. Through the rock I can see the shimmering air undulate like a hummingbirds wings and then, from The Rifts center, a purple dot begins to bleed out towards the edges. Thats Stage 2, Command, copy, I say swiftly.
We copy, Team Leader. Hold your position. I grit my teeth. They dont need to tell me what to do. I know exactly what needs to happen next. Im about to put my life on the line and they are safely sitting on their asses a mile away, watching this all on a bunch of camera feeds. I take a breath. Irritation wont help me if things turn ugly. I have to empty myself out of every emotion. I have to become a thing instead of a person if I want to survive the next ten minutes. Its why were called Citadels and not soldiers. Solid, immovable objects, not malleable beings.
Ready to withstand anything.
The purple in The Rift begins to darken until it is pure black. Its not a normal black, but the darkest color my eyes can register. It is the inky night of the universe. I look at my Team. They are ready. Focused. Intense.
Stage 3, Command. Standby. We all wait for the sound. The Rift always opens with a muffled sonic boom. Its not ear piercing. Its not even all that unpleasant. In fact it comes as sort of a relief. No more waiting. No more guessing. Its time.
The booms happens.
It is an echo of a thing, started a million or a billion Earths away from our own Earth. The ground shakes ever so slightly.
Thats it. Stage 4. Weapons ready. I say calmly. I peer through the rock. The view isnt perfect through the tiny holes perforated in the metal on the other side, but its enough. The Rift opens completely and a person comes tumbling out. Just as quickly, The Rift closes again and turns back into the neon green tower of energy that it is. It always closes with far less ceremony than it opensa guest whos over stayed his welcome and hustles to get out of there before things get awkward.
It looks like we have a solo passenger, Command. I repeat, a lone individual, a man or possibly…” I peer through the grate in the rock. Its ten A.M. so hes pretty easy to see from my clumsy vantage point, even though theres fifty feet between us. Hes tall but a bit wiry, a swimmers build. Hes looks pretty young, maybe my age or a bit older. A youth. Not a child though, I add hastily.
Roger that, Team Leader, lets give him The Five. Applebaum says cautiously. 
Yes Sir, going silent. I say softly. The Five is what we give every Immigrant--human or otherwise--that comes through The Rift. There are a few species like the Karekins who we simply attack because we know they are a threat and have shown no desire throughout the years to negotiate.
For the rest of what or whomever ends up here, we have a pretty decent method of threat assessment. We watch them for five minutes. It becomes clear almost right away what we are dealing with. They are all afraid. How that fear manifests itself is the key. Some get panicked and desperate. Some cry. Some wail. Some simply sit down and look at The Rift, staring into its sickly green abyss, clearly in shock over what has just happened to them. Some, get very, very, violent.
I breathe out slowly. There is an unlikely chance things turn ugly this morning. This young man is wearing a flannel, jeans, and sporting a backpack that makes him look like hes from a version of Earth very similar to our own. Obviously weve seen more benign-looking beings step through and wreak havoc, but my gut says hes not about to go on a rampage.  And yet Im troubled.
He is also standing just a little too close to The Rift.
Regardless of whether their five minutes are up or not, we cant ever let them go back through. Who knows where they would end up? The chances of making it back to their exact same Earth of origin are almost nonexistent. Anything that has the misfortune of stumbling through becomes our responsibility and we wouldnt want them jumping back in and ending up God knows wherean Earth without an atmosphere? A Karekin Earth? The sharp shooters are ready with a tranq gun up in one of the tree towers, or Nests, just in case.
Hes awfully close, Applebaum says as if reading my mind, but I know hes just looking at one of the video feeds back at Command Center.
Just give him a second, I whisper. The young man cups his hands over his eyes and steps back as if trying to get a better view. Hes taking it in.
He looks around. All he will be able to see is forest. He looks back at The Rift. What the hell? he asks in plain English. He reaches around for his backpack and then stops, bites his lip and slips it over his shoulder once again. Oh my God." His voice is just barely loud enough for me to hear. My hearing is enhanced so he must have almost whispered it. The minutes tick by. He scratches his head and begins to pace. Hes trying to figure it out. Hes trying to analyze. I recognize this approach. Ive seen it in others. There is no real logic to whats happened to him, though. Well there is, in a Ph.D quantum physics type of way, but this guy doesnt look old enough to get that. Besides, even if he could wrap his mind around how this happened, there is no rhyme or reason to why it happened to him. Its moot at this point, though.
The Five are up.


  1. I love Ryn and her toughness. I'm excited to read more about her and get to know her. I also hate zombies and leave the room and block the TV sounds when The Walking Dead is on. Horrible show.

  2. Only people who DON'T watch the WALKING DEAD thinks it's a show about zombies. This show is about how people deal with the apocalypse and you very quickly realize that the "zombies" are not near as scary as some of the humans wandering this world.

  3. Sounds like a cool sci-fi type of read, thanks for the chance! And zombies don't do anything for me (I just think they're lame lol).

  4. Sounds good! Thanks for the chance! :)