In Jill Williamson’s new young adult dystopian
novel, she crafts an alternate reality sure to enthrall readers. In her second
installment of the trilogy titled
(Blink), brothers Levi, Mason and Omar must find a way to liberate
themselves and those they love.
Can you tell us about the first novel in
The Safe Lands trilogy and where the story of Outcasts picks up?
In Captives, the people who live
in the Safe Lands are dying of a plague. They need uninfected people if
they’re going to survive. So Safe Lands enforcers raid the village of Glenrock
and take the survivors captive. The story follows three brothers. Levi wants to
get his people–and his fiance–out of the Safe Lands and back to life as
normal. Mason would like to find a cure for the plague and solve the problem
for good. And Omar thinks life in the Safe Lands is going to be much better
than what he had in Glenrock.
In Outcasts, the remnant from
Glenrock has escaped their confines, but they are still trapped inside the city
walls. They join forces with Safe Lands rebels in an effort to find
Where did you get the inspiration for
I came up with the idea for this book
during my ladies’ Bible study at my church. We were doing Beth Moore’s study on
Daniel. And Beth asked us to think about how teenage boys we knew might cope if
forced into a Babylon-type place like what happened to Daniel and the other
young royals. And so the idea was born for Captives.
What can we expect from the third and
final installment in the story?
In Rebels, the remnant from
Glenrock is divided, but they are all still fighting for freedom. The mystery
of Liberation is answered, and the brother must work together with Safe Lands’
rebels to find freedom and bring truth to the Safe Lands’ people.
What’s the secret to creating an
alternate reality that will pull readers in?
I always want it to be plausible. So I
like to make things similar in many ways so that the reader can relate, yet I
need things to be different too. For a dystopian world, I like to make mankind’s
fears come true. That’s kind of the heart of dystopian novels. The idea that
“This could really happen!” So in the Safe Lands, I tried to create a
place that fit my fears of what our country might someday become. It also helps
to add the right technology and slang. Those kinds of details can make a
storyworld come alive.
What’s your writing process like?
I brainstorm my premise, characters, and
plot. Then I storyboard the plot out on 3X5 cards until I have planned out the
main scenes that will get me through the story. Then I sit down and try to
write one card a day until the first draft is finished. Once I have a messy
first draft, I usually know where my problems are, and I take the time to go
back and fix them. Rewriting is my favorite part, and I’ll rewrite as long as I
Who was your favorite character in
In Captives, Mason was my
favorite. And I still love Mason. But in Outcasts, Omar really grew on
me. He is trying so hard to do the right thing. Yet he’s not sure what that looks
like. He’s only sixteen, and he’s made a mess of his life and everyone else’s.
But he wants to fix things. And his crazy attempts and failures make him