Happy publication day to Sequenced, Book 1 of the Sequencing Chronicles!
In today’s post, you’ll get a synopsis of Sequenced, my review, and a Q+A with our special guest, Sequencing Chronicles author Elayna R. Gallea!
As with all citizens of Tiarny, Nellie is due to be sequenced when she turns 18. The sequencing process places each person in a job that is best suited for them and Tiarny overall. The Source, an almost omnipotent power, provides guidance on what each person will do and where they will go. Before her sequencing, Nellie’s mother clues her in on a secret about their family that will forever change what Nellie thinks about their life. After Nellie is kidnapped on her way to the Capital to become a new Healer, she learns more than she could have ever bargained for, and the uncertainty of her future grows as she realizes her very existence is in mortal danger…
Nellie has turned 18 and is on her way to the capital to become a Healer. The sequencing process that gave her this job is very secretive. Once you have been sequenced, you are not permitted to discuss what happens with others.
One thing I found interesting about the sequencing (and the Source) is that it has the power to change your rank in society – firsts, seconds, and thirds are not treated equally, down to even the amount of water they are allowed to use.
While in theory it was fortunate for Nellie that she would go to the Capital and have access to more, leaving behind her mother was never something she wanted to do. She has high hopes to return to her again one day – the sooner the better.
That is the problem with dreams. Sometimes they’re stolen from us before we even have the chance to realize them.
Nellie has two key love interests: Elijah, who she knew in childhood, and Dion, a brooding Capitalist who also learns the hard way how life truly is for Tiarny citizens who dare break with tradition. (I’m still rooting for him! #TeamDion)
I felt like the writing style was immersive. I could picture myself in the places Gallea describes. The world she has created is truly dystopian.
My favorite place so far is definitely the library. I love the image of a soft-lit underground room, where the library is almost a lair that must be protected at all costs.
When one of Nellie’s friends dies trying to find an important book in said library, the stakes go up even higher, and everyone is on edge. Some of his last words to her were, “Eleanor, you need to find the book. The fate of the world depends on you.”
That’s a lot of pressure for a girl who only recently found out there’s a secret commune living underground in her homeland.
As with any good dystopian story, the world as we know it is not as it seems. Underground bands of misfits and rebels are afoot. Anyone could be a spy, and anyone could be the person who ends your life.
Definite Hunger Games and Divergent vibes – if you love those, this might be your next favorite read.
Get your copy of Sequenced today! It’s available in e-book or paperback from Amazon.
Rise of the Subversives, Book 2 in the Sequenced Chronicles, is available for preorder and will be released in February 2022. In Rise of the Subversives, I’m hoping we learn more about what happened to Nellie’s best friend, Fay, after the sequencing.
The Runaway Healer – a prequel telling the story of Ingrid’s mentor, Healer Solange, and Solange’s romance with Rafael – is available now from Amazon.
Q+A with Elayna R. Gallea
Q. What inspired you to become a writer?
A. I woke up one morning in the summer of 2021 and said to my husband, do you think I could write a book? He said yes. He’s always been my biggest cheerleader. I was intrigued and decided to go for it. One thing led to another, which brought us here today. In all honesty, I’ve been a voracious reader ever since I learned that 26 letters could combine into such miraculous ways, and telling a story seemed like a natural extension of that.
Q. Are you a pantser or a plotter?
A, I am a pantser trying to be a plotter. It’s not working out too well, but I’m putting in an effort. I like the idea of plotting, but find my words just flow so well that things just happen. I have a very vague, 2 point idea, of what the final book will look like. Book 2 had a 12 point plot that has evolved into a large story.
Q. One of the dystopian tropes I am intrigued by is the idea that every person has a job to do and that anything disrupting that system is a threat to society. How did you develop Tiarny and its systems? The Firsts, Seconds, and Thirds seem to work as a caste system, except its members are determined by the Source instead of their birth.
A. Tiarny is a play on the word tyranny (just thought I’d throw that out there). Way back in the 2010s, I got a degree in sociology and the idea of classism just always stuck with me. I always wondered what would happen if we had no choice, and were just thrown into something when we came of age. We place so much value in post-secondary education in the Western society, but I always thought about what if we had no choice in what we were to do after we grow up. It seems to me most dystopians explore class systems by birth, but in our society, I think a lot of our class issues are related to our professions, so Sequenced dives deeper into that.
The disparaging differences between the classes haven’t really been explored too much in Sequenced, but they are explored more deeply in both The Runaway Healer and the upcoming Rise of the Subversives.
Q. What was your favorite part to write in Sequenced?
A. Dion. I’m a huge enemies-to-lovers fan, and every time Nellie and Dion are on a page together, it just makes me smile so much. Sorry #teamelijah. I’m 100% #teamdion. Dion is my favourite character I’ve created in the Sequenced universe and I just love writing about him so much.
Q. Today it seems that more and more writers are being inspired to move forward with publishing. What is your writing, editing, and publishing process like and how has it progressed since your first novel came out?
A. I am an online teacher and I teach 4-5 hours a day. I try to write between classes, but I keep my books on the cloud as well so I can write in the evening on my phone. As for editing, I’m actually a huge grammar nerd, so I use multiple tools such as ProWritingAid and Grammerly to help edit, before multiple rounds of beta readers and finally, proofreading.
With writing, I find the best way to improve is to write consistently. I prefer to write in sprints, which means I set a timer and go for a specific amount of time, but I will occasionally be struck with an idea and have to add it in on the spot. At the moment I am publishing on Amazon, but I likely will take the trilogy wide in paperback once all three are out.
Q. Did you have the plot for The Sequencing Chronicles before writing The Runaway Healer, or did it develop as part of that writing process?
A. I actually wrote Sequenced first! The Runaway Healer was supposed to be a baby story (under 10k words), but when I started fleshing out Sol and Raf, I just couldn’t do it to them, so I wrote their whole story. I finished The Runaway Healer before the final edit of Sequenced, so I ended up weaving the two stories further together at that point. As a pantser, I don’t even know what is going in book 3 yet! I have an extremely general idea consisting of 2 plot points.
Q. The Runaway Healer tells Solange’s story – do you have plans to write about any of the other characters? I would love to hear more about Bronywyn’s backstory.
A. Bronywyn is such an amazing character. After Nellie, she is my favourite female character and is absolutely deserving of her own story! Her story is in the works, but likely will not happen until books 2 and 3 are finished. I’m hoping to release them close together because book 2 is a doozy and I know readers will want answers.
Q. Can you give us any teasers for Book 2, The Rise of the Subversives?
A. Okay. 3 things, because at this point the first draft of Rise of the Subversives is practically complete, and it’s coming out to be longer than Sequenced.
1) Fantasy elements play a much larger role going forward. Hypothetically, if the three talismans were to be reunited in this book, it would mean big things for Nellie.
2) Grab a box of tissues, because there is a big betrayal and death in book 2. I sobbed the entire time writing it.
3) Let’s just say the Queen makes an appearance in book 2. She probably doesn’t fit the bill of your mental image.
Q. You’ve partnered with Daniela A. Mera (author of Lady of the Primordial Tree) on a separate book. Can you tell us a little more about that novel and what the writing process is like working with another author versus by yourself?
A. Yes! Opposite Ends of the Sea is our collaborative book baby. It was birthed from watching a story idea on TikTok and we literally wrote the book in under 3 weeks. It’s an incredible experience working with another writer. She would write one chapter, then I would read it and write the next, etc. It flowed so quickly. We are in a writing group together, so we communicate daily anyway, but this was taking it to a whole new level. Opposite Ends of the Sea comes out on Dec. 27, 2021 and is an urban fantasy paranormal romance. It’s a standalone Romeo and Juliet retelling with a happily ever after.
In a lot of ways, it was easier to work with another author because we could bounce ideas off each other as we wrote. We are already familiar with each other’s writing styles because we work as critique partners on a weekly basis on our individual projects.
We already have a plan for book 2 set in the same world.
Q. Who are some authors you look up to?
A. Elise Kova is my favourite self-published author. Not only do I love her work, but I am a big fan of the way that she has navigated the world of self-publishing. I’m a huge fan of Jennifer L. Armentrout and I love the worlds she creates. I’m a voracious reader and I read at least 100 books a year.
Q. What are you currently reading?/What’s on your to-be-read list?
A. I’m reading Go Tell the Bees That I Am Gone. I have waited years for this book, so I’m taking my time! I am also reading The Gender Game by Bella Forrest.
Some of my most anticipated reads for 2022 are The War of Two Queens by Jennifer Lynn Armentrout and the 3rd book in the Married to Magic series by Elise Kova.
*I received an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*