In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots.
Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone.
The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes.
Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race.
It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what.
And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.
Tell a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
I studied Film at Texas Christian University, but none of the technical aspects of film ever appealed to me. It wasn’t until the class on screenwriting that I understood what it was I loved about movies—the stories, the characters, and maybe most of all, the dialogue. I started writing with screenplays, and slowly moved into penning novels. I still dabble with screenwriting, and might even write a television spec script for The Last Year once the series is complete.
It's cool how you got into writing through screenplays. What was the inspiration for Whispers in Autumn?
The original idea came from a tweet, one where someone mentioned their daughter waking up from a nightmare terrified she didn’t exist. The inspiration for the rest of the story showed up little by little, and though I always wanted the world to be subtle but terrifying, my focus from the beginning was telling the story of how Althea survived in it.
It'd be terrifying to live through the experience of feeling like you don't exist. How did you come up with the title?
The original title was In the Autumn, but when I was working with an agent last year, she suggested we give it a little more mystery and nuance. Since there are four books, and the title of the series is The Last Year, I knew I wanted to keep the word autumn, but there was a lot of brainstorming. And drinking. And not so brilliant suggestions. A lot.
I love how the books go through seasons. The Others use mind control to turn humans into something like "contented, unquestioning robots." How do these robots behave?
As though they’re not robots at all. The humans on Earth are, well, not exactly happy. They’re content with how things are, they accept the Others as their rulers, and go about every day exactly as they went about the day before. The most defining aspect of their existence is the lack of emotion—good or bad. As Althea wonders on more than one occasion, would getting rid of all the bad emotions be worth giving up the good ones?
That's a tough question. While the bad is... bad... we humans aren't good at letting go. What were the first words running through Althea and Lucas's minds when they first meet each other?
Curiosity, mostly. And hope. Neither of them are behaving as contented, unquestioning robots, leaving them to wonder if the other could be Something Else…or something more sinister.
If you were Something Else, how would you try to blend in?
I wouldn’t be as good at it as Althea is, I can tell you that. The key to not attracting attention is not displaying any emotion at all in public. I don’t know about you, but some days, walking around with a smile on your face can be quite the task!
I'd be caught almost immediately, I think (though maybe not so quickly if no emotions means people aren't as funny)! What are you working on right now?
I just completed revisions on Winter Omens, book 2 of The Last Year, and sent them to my editor. While she’s line editing, I’m going to be writing Book 3. The plan is to publish all four books in the series by mid-February, so I’ve got plenty to do!
Trisha is an author of Young Adult fiction from Kansas City, MO. Her spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, spending time with a large, loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into her hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by her dogs Yoda and Jilly. Whispers in Autumn is her first novel.
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