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Interview with Andrea Murray, author of Omni

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Pierce only wants a shot, a real shot, and not just the excuses he’s been handed his whole life.  Harmony wants to escape her future, the future she fears will be chosen for her.  After their chance meeting, they might get exactly what they want.

Since taking over the US government years earlier, the Omni party has created a perfect existence.  From consorts to job assignments, every choice, every facet of life is under their control.  Each citizen has a specific role in one of the four strata.  Seventeen-year-old Pierce is a Drudge, the lowest social stratum in society.  For over two years, he’s hoped—prayed—that his upcoming aptitude test will finally free him from his virtual slavery and give him a chance at a better existence.

When he rescues Harmony, an Artist and member of the most successful stratum, at a publicity event for her latest movie, his life takes an unbelievable twist.  With his gallant act and good looks, he becomes a media sensation.  Every stratum in society seeks his membership for their publicity, but as he becomes closer to Harmony, Pierce realizes what fame in the all-seeing eye of Omni is truly like. His choices will not only affect him but Harmony as well. The life Pierce thought he wanted may not be worth the cost to either of them.

What genre is it?
Omni is YA dystopian romance (heavy on the romance I’m afraid).

That’s not a bad thing!
I didn’t want a dystopian novel which focused so much on the constraints of and the description of the society that the love story became lost amid the political/social hullabaloo.  Pierce and Harmony had to come first with the society revolving around them rather than being devoured by it.

It’s very futuristic and all that, but we hear its inspiration comes from the past?
This novel is based upon the ancient story of Paris and Helen.  I tried to create as few of my own characters as possible, relying instead upon those from the original story while endowing them with the traits I see in them both in my own story and the traditional version.

That’s a great idea.
I’ve been a teacher for seventeen years, and many years ago, I taught seventh grade language arts.  As part of that curriculum, we completed a large unit on Greek and Roman mythology.  I was fortunate enough to have my nephew in one of those classes.  He developed an appreciation for all those great old stories, and every time a new mythology movie comes out , he calls me for confirmation that the story is accurate or to tell me whether it’s worth watching.   He inspired the use of the story.

The society, Omni, came from my classroom.  Each week, we study Greek and Latin root words.  One of those a couple of years ago was
“omni,” which means “all.”  While discussing the word , the idea of a society completely controlled by the government came to me.  I created the society, in part, from our own society, where entertainers  like sports heroes and film stars make unfathomable amounts of money while many families can’t even pay their utilities.

Tell us about your Paris and Helen.
Pierce, an orphan like Paris, is a Drudge.  As a Drudge, he’s the lowest member of the Omni society, yet he doesn’t let that limit him.  Instead, he manages to “pierce” through those restrictions and gain the attention of important members of society. He doesn’t settle for what society has dealt him; he has dreams of a better life, maybe a better world, where class lines don’t hold citizens back.  However, he’s also learned to work within those constraints without compromising himself.  He is loyal, courageous, and caring–what more could you want?

Harmony is an Artist, the highest stratum.  She is confident and collected on the outside, but like so many of us, she harbors uncertainty and the wonder of what else life might hold for her.  After meeting Pierce, she isn’t willing to settle for what Omni wants from her anymore.

We’ve interviewed you in the past about the Vivid series of novels. Remind us what they’re about.
They are paranormal romances following the life of Vivian Cartwright, a girl born with the extraordinary gift of controlling energy.

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from a really tiny town in Arkansas where I live with my husband of nineteen years, our two children, and a rambunctious German Shepherd. I have a BSE and an MA in English and have been a full-time teacher for seventeen years.  I’ve taught just about every English-related class from concurrent credit college courses to journalism.

Do you have a website where we can keep up with your work?
I am a regular on Goodreads where I have a blog. Please visit me there and send me a message.  I love to hear what my readers think.

Do you use social media?
Alas, I do not tweet, and you can probably find me on Facebook, but I usually reserve that as my personal account.

What’s next?
The sequel to Omni is next.  I plan to bring in some aspects from the Trojan War and have a grand time reuniting Pierce and Harmony.

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