Destiny Hawkins - Dark Dystopian Fantasy that Makes you Think
Destiny Hawkins has been a writer since she was nine years old. When she isn’t working she enjoys cooking, running, listening to music, and reading—plus, of course, writing! Her favorite genres to read and work in are fantasy, LGBT, Paranormal, Romance, Dystopian, and young adult. As our Author of the Day, she tells us all about The Descendants, a dark dystopian fantasy set in an unforgiving society.
Please give us a short introduction to what The Descendants is about.
The Descendants is a dark dystopian fantasy about a girl who is having a hard time living up to societal expectations. While the Lighter Nation stands for strength and light, the main character is viewed as weak and has found that she has a bit of darkness. There is only a matter of time before she shows everyone what she can really do, especially since she is the strongest of them all.
What inspired you to write this book? Did you plan from the start to make this into a series?
This book actually just started out as an idea while I was bored at work. The more that I thought about it, the more it began to form into a story that needed to be broken into a series. Now, as for how I came up with the idea? I love stories with weak characters that have to prove his or her strength, or someone is perceived as weak until they can show their true colors. I also love dystopian novels and wanted to incorporate fantasy, so what better way to do that than to create a society full of people with the power of light and give the main character the power of darkness.
Tell us more about Monroe Academy.
Okay, buckle up. Monroe Academy is a school that was named after Ellison Monroe, the founder of Lytonia. It is a school where students are trained and taught on developing and strengthening their Lighter Energy, then tested every few years. By a certain age, students must pass their test at the specific level for their age or else they are stripped of their powers and forced into servitude for the rest of their lives. By law, students from age 10 through 24 are required to attend the academy and pass at level ten before they are released back into society. Until then, they are motivated by torture and many other disciplines to stay in line and perform as best as they can.
Why did you pick a society that doesn't accept the weak as the backdrop for this series?
Because the main character, Rayah, cannot perform like the other students, she is perceived as weak. Building around that, I created a society that would mold its citizens into the kind of people that feared weakness. With the school raising young students, they'd grow into powerful lighters who looked down on anyone that couldn't meet the standards they've been given. This helped create Rayah's shy and quiet personality because of how she was bullied and mistreated, but it also helps with molding her into a mentally strong character who worked hard to show her physical abilities before she runs out of time.
Why did you find it important to bring the subject of slavery into this book?
I needed an outrageously unfair punishment for people that didn't perform well in Lytonia, and I thought the worst kind of punishment was taking someones freedom.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I have recently gotten into creating cover art and I believe I am doing well so far!
What makes Rayah so special?
There are a few things lol. Since Rayah can't use her light, she is classified as a Null while other students fit into one of three classes. Mostly everyone believes that she has no power at all, but during her dreams she is able to do something called Jumping, which is similar to astro projection only people can see and feel her. She can also get hurt and carry her injuries back to her real body.
Why does this make her special? Because only Elite lighters are able to do something like that, and to be apart of the Elite means to be one of the top Lighters in the entire nation. That isn't all though. The gods gifted her with more power than anyone could imagine. Not even her.
In this book you’re dealing with so many difficult themes – as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility? If so, how do you deal with this?
I feel that I need to write a story that speaks to readers who feel singled out in their lives. Whether they are outcasts who are mistreated, have obstacles to overcome, or even prove themselves, I want them to know that they can do it. Rayah has much to experience in this series with just about the worst life anyone could think of and it touches on loss, depression, love, fear, strength, power, and controlling ones thoughts.
What has most surprised you about the response you've received from readers ?
I didn't realize how much people connected with Rayah until I saw the reviews. I was surprised by how much people liked her, but also by how much they want to see her go all out.
I want to know what your journey has been as a writer. Were you that weird girl (like me) who was always with a book and constantly writing story ideas down?
Oh, yes. I definitely was that girl. Especially in the sixth grade. I was quite the outcast because of it. I guess my wild ideas made me seem a little weird, but I still enjoyed it. I've always had a passion for writing and creating worlds.
How do you balance all of the demands of a successful writing career (writing, appearances, etc.) and the myriad personal life demands?
I am honestly still getting that down. For years I didn't know what direction to go, so I was all over the place. Now I know and have been trying to get things in order for months. I know that I'll get it eventually though.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on book three of The Descendants Series! The Unbroken!
Where can our readers get a copy of The Descendants?
Copies of The Descendants can be found on amazon.com!