Monday, 29 August 2011

Blog Tour: POD by Stephen Wallenfels + Giveaway

Welcome to the first stop on the POD Blog Tour! Today, I have the author of POD, Stephen Wallenfels, on the blog for a Q&A session, and tomorrow I'll be posting up my review of POD. Also, the lovely people at Templar Publishing are offering one lucky UK reader the chance to win their very own copy of POD! So stick around for details on that.

PODs - strange alien spheres hover menacingly in the sky, zapping anyone who ventures outside.

Josh is 15 and stuck in his house with his OCD dad. They're running out of food... Megs is 12, alone and trapped in a multi-storey carpark. The hotel next door is under the control of dangerous security staff, but Megs has something they want, and they'll do anything to get it...

When the aliens invade, the real enemy becomes humanity itself.

What would you do to survive? 

Q and A with Stephen Wallenfels, author of POD

Hi Stephen, thanks for joining us! 
It’s a pleasure to be here. Thanks for the opportunity to visit with your fans.

It's a pleasure to have you! Can you tell us a bit about POD?
POD is actually three stories in one. There’s an alien invasion (really more like a siege). There’s a character study of a father / son relationship under stress. There’s an action adventure story about a plucky 12-year-old girl trying to survive in a car park while she’s being hunted by some nasty guys. And of course there is a dog and a kitten. I guess you can call it a “Sci-fi action adventure teen thriller survival story”.

Definitely sounds exciting! You've said POD is a young adult novel, with elements of science-fiction. Is there anything that inspired or influenced you to write this genre?
I chose YA and science fiction for a couple of reasons. I enjoy science fiction, not so much for the hard science, but more for the way people and societies react to disruptive technologies. In the case of POD, we’re dealing with a vastly superior unknown alien force with an unknown agenda. I chose YA because I believe YA a great voice with the most potential to reach the most people. Ages 12-90+ will read a compelling YA novel. Plus YAs are the next in line to handle this planet and all the issues we “adults” leave behind.

POD splits between fifteen-year-old Josh who is stuck in his house with his father and twelve-year-old Megs who is trapped in a car-park. Did you find one of these characters more difficult to write about, or could you easily switch from one to the other?
It wasn’t hard to switch from one to the other because POD was originally a short story written from Josh’s POV. My friends said they loved the story but wished it was longer. So I added Megs and alternated the chapters. It was a little tricky during the editing process, but the two are in very different locations in different situations so it wasn’t too hard.

POD stands for “Pearls of Death”, which is what Josh calls the alien vessels in the sky. How did you come up with this acronym?
The short story was originally titled, Pearls of Death, because they reminded Josh of his mother’s pearl necklace. When I decided to go with a novel, I figured Pearls of Death was too...descriptive. I wanted something more mysterious, with a touch of menace, and a dash of science fiction. POD is what happened.

Did you have to do any research when writing POD?
I live about twenty miles from Prosser and visited there several times. I spent a lot of time on Google Earth re-visiting Santa Monica, CA, where I went to college back in the day.

What are some of your personal favourite books?
Ooooh, there are so many!!! Sparrow by Mary Dora Russell, The Giver by Lois Lowry, Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobsky, Lord of the Flies by William Golding. As a kid I devoured anything by H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Ray Bradbury. One of my favourite YA protagonists in the past ten years is Ree Dolly from Daniel Woodrell’s amazing, Winter’s Bone.

If you could do any job in the world (besides writing), what would it be?
For the longest time I couldn’t imagine a better job than being a professional beach volleyball player. Now that my knees aren’t so good any more, I’ve decided being a full-time writer would be the best job ever. It’s the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do my entire life. To let my imagination run wild every day, that sounds like a great (and a little scary) way to live.

What do you find hardest about writing?
Since I have a full-time job in marketing, it’s hard to find the time and a place to concentrate. Writing is a very solitary activity. I need to be alone with my characters and if there are distractions they sulk and refuse to talk to me. So I get up at 3:45 am and write until 6am every day except Sunday. I drink lots and lots of tea. As far as the process goes, I hate outlining. But I do it when I have to. And I had to with POD.

Can you tell us about any other projects you have coming up?
Absolutely! POD 2 which puts Josh and Megs in a profoundly changed world. And another action/adventure/science fiction/ teen thriller in the pipeline.

Thanks for answering questions today, it’s been great to have you on the blog!
It’s been a pleasure for me, too. I look forward to visiting your blog again. And thanks to your fans for sitting in on this “conversation”. 

Stephen Wallenfels is a freelance writer with over 60 feature articles, columns and interviews to his credit. He has also published short stories in national magazines for children and adults. POD is Stephen's first novel and he is currently working on POD 2.

For more on Stephen check out his website.


I hope you enjoyed the Q&A! To find out more about POD, visit the POD website - - where you have the chance to win an iPad! I hope you check out POD, it really is a great read! :)

To enter the competition to win a copy of POD, just leave a comment on this post with your email address by September 6th. UK only.

That's it for my stop. Huge thanks to Stephen for answering my questions, and to Templar for giving me this opportunity. The next stop will be tomorrow at I Want to Read That - make sure you visit!

Competition now CLOSED


  1. Getting up at 3.45 is dedicated! I don't think I'd be awake enough to even boil the kettle! :D

    Great start to the blog tour :)

    I'm looking forward to reading this book at some point, I do think it sounds great.

  2. Wow, this one sounds sufficiently action-packed and involved with three stories in one!

  3. Huh--this one sounds really interesting! I haven't heard of it but think I'll have to check it out. Plus, the author has some great fave books! Great interview.
    Mary @ BookSwarm

  4. Thanks for the info, would love to read

  5. This sounds like a great book. I hope to read it.

  6. I love peas, so I'm sure to love this too

  7. Cheers for a great review and interview.
    I'm always fascinated to find out how authors get their idea for books and would love to one day find the time to put some of my inspirations down on paper.
    My English teacher used to dread getting my essays in as they would be pages long and I would try to include the same characters for a whole term. He once told my parents that I more than made up for the other class members that wrote only half a page! HEHE
    He used to pick a theme and we would have to write a short story around it. I would spend all week drafting notes and idea's then at the weekend bring it to life.

    OK I've rambled down memory lane long enough, cheers again for the interview. X


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