One of the most difficult parts of writing Landry Park was writing about the Rootless. In this world, all of the estates are driven by nuclear power, and all of the nuclear waste from these estates is handled by an underclass, the Rootless. Malnourished, routinely beaten, and all suffering from some degree of radiation poisoning, the Rootless are the counterpoint to Madeline’s comfortable and luxurious life.
There’s one scene in particular where Madeline goes to the sorting yards—the place where the nuclear waste is processed—and witnesses firsthand what their daily life is like. I had just reread John Hersey’s Hiroshima prior to writing it, and so I had a very vivid picture in my mind of what acute radiation poisoning looks like. It’s not pretty. Beyond skin burns, the poisoned can experience frequent vomiting, severe headaches, and many develop forms of cancer. Writing about that was not easy—but it was necessary for Madeline to see.
Landry Park Synopsis:
In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish Gentry, sixteen year old Madeline Landry dreams of going off to the University. Gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when her childhood friend is attacked and she witnesses Gentry golden boy David Dana secretly helping a Rootless girl, in spite of the fact that the Rootless, who maintain the nuclear power the country relies on, are exposed to dangerous radiation. As Madeline begins to question everything she has been taught her whole life, rumors of war and rebellion begin to swirl amidst Gentry courtships and extravagant debuts. Soon Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she is forced to make a choice: to stay with the Gentry—her family, her charmed life, and the estate she loves dearly—or to join David in the fight for Rootless equality.
About Bethany Hagen:
Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City, meaning she can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and is offended by dry rub barbecue. She grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When she's not working at the library or running around with her kids and husband, she's writing or thinking about writing. Landry Park is her debut book.
The lovely folks at Penguin are letting me give away one finished hardcover copy of LANDRY PARK! Winner must be over 13. US only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway