Wednesday, December 3, 2014

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Simone Pond, Author

Simone Pond, Author
3rd Book in New Agenda Series
Simone Pond writes dystopian novels to let out her "dark side." Her latest novel, THE MAINFRAME, is the third book in her New Agenda series. The first book in the series, THE CITY CENTER, was the recipient of a gold medal award from Readers' Favorite. Reviewers say her series represent “a very different dystopia” and “unpredictable” and “unexpected.”

Pond lives in Los Angeles with her husband. She has written a guide on how to hit the Amazon Kindle Top 100 and blogs at Simone Says. She is currently working on a book of short stories that tell about the event that caused the entire series of books.

Q: Why do you choose to write dystopian novels? What inspired you to write the series, and specifically your newest novel THE MAINFRAME?

Simone Pond: I have a dark side that needed to come out and writing is my favorite outlet. I got the idea for THE CITY CENTER when I was talking to my husband about cities in the future. I said, “What if in the future people lived inside giant city centers that they thought were safe havens, but they were actually prisons?” And he said, “Now that’s a good idea for a story. Have you seen Logan’s Run?” The seed was planted for my first book and the series just took off. For my newest novel, THE MAINFRAME, I thought it’d be fun to see what my main character, Ava, would do if she had a rebellious daughter and how they’d end up having to work together to fight the bad guy, Chief Morray.

Q: Reviewers of the first two books in The New Agenda Series tout the books as “a different dystopia” and “a very different dystopia,” an “unpredictable page turner” and “unexpected.” What makes your series different and unpredictable from typical dystopian fiction—if there is a “typical”?

Simone Pond: I jump around in time (over three hundred years), so the story doesn’t just follow one main character in a series of chronological events. There’s three hundred years of history that I’m working with, as well as virtual realities. There’s an entire universe to create several story threads. I have to find unique ways to tie everything together.

Q: How do you make your series “gripping?”

Simone Pond: I drop hints for the reader to pick up so they can start figuring out what’s going to happen next.

Q: Reviewers also tout your “memorable villain.” What makes a good villain? Do you believe that you need an effective villain in order to have a hero, i.e., do you need a Chief Morray to create an Ava Rhodes?

Simone Pond:  I think we all have a dark side and for me what makes a good villain is someone you can sympathize with on some level, but also want to take down. Without Chief Morray pushing Ava, she would’ve remained stagnant. He forces her to challenge herself and grow throughout the series. He’s actually my favorite character, which is why I loved writing THE NEW AGENDA because it’s about his youth and what turned him to the dark side.

Q:  Did you write The New Agenda Series to entertain or also to deliver a message? I noticed that several reviewers found your books “thought provoking.”

Simone Pond: There’s underlying social commentary threaded throughout the book series, as well as spiritual themes. I take it to the extreme so that my characters suffer the consequences of a future that has gone wrong. In a sense I’m saying, “Hey do you all see what’s happening around us? We are being controlled and manipulated and our freedom is slowly being taken away from us under the guise of protection. Where do you go for your strength? Who do you serve?”

Q: How do you draw readers to engage in your stories given that they are set in the future? What makes them credible? How important is believability?

Simone Pond: I make sure my characters are relatable and have the same weaknesses and strengths, passions and desires all humans have. I think knowing your character down to his or her core is the most important thing. It’s not how they react to the story plot, but why.

Q: Why do you write a “series” of books rather than unrelated standalone novels?

Simone Pond: Originally, I was just going to write THE CITY CENTER, but in the middle of that draft I had the idea about going back three hundred years to Chief Morray’s teen years (probably because of my love for S.E. Hinton). So I wrote THE NEW AGENDA. While I was writing that, the idea for THE MAINFRAME came to me.

Q: How helpful is setting to telling your stories?

Simone Pond: Setting is huge for my stories. The city centers are prisons made to look like utopias. The Outside represents freedom. These settings are integral layers that add to the theme of each novel.

Q: What’s next?

Simone Pond: I’m currently working on a book of short stories about the Repatterning, which is the man-made apocalypse that set the entire book series into motion. I might continue with another book in the series. I’m waiting to hear back from my main characters.

Q: Tell us about Simone Pond. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Simone Pond: When I’m not writing, I’m thinking about writing . . . But to help pay my bills I freelance in advertising as a project manager. Other things I do? I start each day with a workout because it clears my head. I love having tea with close friends, taking walks with my dog, and hanging out with my husband. I love going to church, helping out friends and encouraging other writers.

About Simone Pond

As a young girl, Simone Pond loved writing in her journal and making up stories, but after reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, everything changed. Amazed that a woman could write so convincingly from a teenage boy's perspective, Pond became determined to become a writer as well.

In 2013, Pond released THE CITY CENTER, the first book in her dystopian fiction series. A fast-paced tale of love and adventure that will appeal to young adults and seasoned readers alike. The second book in the series, The New Agenda, was published in May of 2014. THE CITY CENTER and THE NEW AGENDA are best sellers in Amazon's post-apocalyptic science fiction category, and THE CITY CENTER was the recipient of a gold medal award from Readers' Favorite.

The third book in the series, THE MAINFRAME, has just been released.

Pond currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their Boston Terrier. Learn more about her and her writing at Simone Says...


THE MAINFRAME is the third book in the New Agenda series. Book three picks up in the year 2345, seventeen years after the disappearance of former city center leader, Chief Morray. There has been peace among the West Coast regions for years, but in Ojai Village there is very little peace between Ava and her sixteen-year old daughter Grace. Both have different ideas about what it takes to maintain independence. Ava spends hours inside the mainframe searching for Morray, while Grace focuses on the art of combat. Grace’s dream is to get accepted into the Silicon Valley Academy and become a soldier like her father General Joseph Strader. During tryouts for the academy Grace comes across some digital footprints inside the mainframe, convincing Ava that Morray has returned to seek revenge and reclaim control. When Ava goes missing, Grace assembles a motley crew of cadets to go on a search and rescue mission up north in Seattle to save her mother and take down Morray. Grace soon learns that independence comes at a price.


Ava awoke from a deep sleep, feeling groggy and half drugged. Her temples throbbed and each cell dragged through her body. She didn’t remember going to bed, or falling asleep. She especially didn’t recall putting on a delicate nightgown of soft satin. She usually slept in a tank top. She sat up and looked around the room to get her bearings. Nothing made sense. Not the enormous king-size bed or the overstuffed feather comforters, or the chiffon canopy hanging over her head. She got out of bed and looked around the room to figure out where she was. Massive crystal chandeliers dangled from the vaulted ceilings. The room was far too opulent to be inside the academy. No, she thought, these chambers are fit for a queen. And she had been here before. A long time ago. A very long time ago. She went over to the windows and peered out to the vast green forest of trees that stretched across the Los Angeles basin all the way to the Pacific Ocean.

“Impossible,” she whispered, leaning against the glass to keep from collapsing.

This was the same room at the Royal Palace where Morray had held her prisoner sixteen years ago. She stood by these same windows just before she made her speech and just before Joseph’s men stormed the Arena and took down Morray. The walls shifted to gray, and the edges of the room closed in on her. She staggered over to the white lounger to sit down and catch her breath. How could she be sitting in a place that no longer existed? Years ago, the New Democracy had demolished the palace. She wondered if she were having a lucid dream or a very pronounced hallucination. It was too real to be a dream––the intoxicating scent of jasmine, the cold marble floor under her bare feet, and the taste of bile in her throat––but the room defied all logic. This had to be an outright lie. It had to be. There was only one explanation and one man who could concoct such a convincing falsehood . . . Morray.

Gold Medal Winner in Dystopian Fiction - Readers' Favorite Awards.

The year is 2328. City Center dwellers gossip about the upcoming celebratory Graduation Day. They anticipate the gaudy grandeur of the Successors vying for a spot in the Royal Court. Most of the citizens are rooting for the captivating and talented young Ava Rhodes to become the next Queen.

Ava cares little about the competition or the title: she’d prefer to watch a virtual sunset or walk barefoot in the Garden sector. A week prior to Graduation Day she encounters Joseph, a rebel from the Outside, and discovers her utopian home is actually a prison and breeding facility aimed at designing the perfect human. She escapes with Joseph to the Outside world, sending the City Center’s leader, Chief Morray, into an obsessive pursuit for his property. On the Outside, Ava must decide if she'll keep running, or go back and save her people from destruction.


For certain, society was disintegrating: humans were self-destructive and wildly uncontrolled. But young William Morray had hoped, as an idealistic teenager, that his father’s acclaimed Repatterning Program––a precursor to the brilliant New Agenda––could manage the upheaval and get society back on track.

They said it was for the greater good: out of chaos comes order and from the ashes the phoenix will rise. They said the Repatterning was a positive event, but like most advertising, it was a lie.

William’s wish had always been to work with his father and win his approval. However, when he is sent away to a remote underground safety shelter in Denver, William is awakened to the grisly truth that the Repatterning is a mass genocide. And worse: his father, the New Agenda leader, is the spearhead of this horrifying plan to eradicate all cities, homes and people outside of the Elite citizenship. William decides to team up with an underground rebel alliance to end the Repatterning and save what’s left of civilization.


Author Amazon page 

1 comment:

  1. I've read all of these books, and I'm blown away by the creativity in each one.