Talking about God or what happens when we die is something many people shy away from, but Anna Schumacher's new book "End Times" - the first in a series - confronts the issue head-on without fear. At the crux of the book is a teen named Daphne, who is struggling to figure out what she believes. Daphne and her family move from Detroit to a rural Wyoming town full of religious fanatics who believe the Rapture is near. Soon, some crazy stuff starts happening that are seemingly signs that "the end" really is near, and this little Wyoming town is ground zero for where it's happening.
"This isn't a Christian book or a 'religious,' book," Schumacher says. "It's a book about religion, but it's not angled one way or the other." Her goal, she tells us, was to write an entertaining story about what religious fanaticism looks like and what would happen if their beliefs actually came true.
As the first book in the series, "End Times" sets the stage for an apocalyptic world, which is where book two will be set.I love books that actually play in the apocalyptic space, especially Stephen King’s 'The Stand' which really inspired this, where you actually see the world before the apocalypse, you see the world during the apocalypse, you see the world after the apocalypse and that’s what I was hoping to do with this series," Schumacher says.
"End Times," along with Young Adult series "Divergent" and "Half-Blood" are all quite dark - much darker than most adult books - but Schumacher finds easy reasoning for this: "The outlook for teens is a little dark right now," she says. "We're not that far away from the dystopian world that so many of these teen books explore."
Of course you can't read a book about signs of the end without questioning your own beliefs, if you haven't already. For the teen readers to which this book is aimed, it will especially cause readers to grapple with life's "big questions." Still, despite what the book's main character ultimately decides she believes, Schumacher says that while she does hope the book prompts readers to ask these sorts of questions, she isn't trying to convince them of anything in particular. "When I was writing the book, I was a little worried I would offend people," she says. "But I was also worried I wouldn't offend people enough."
Book launch party:
June 4, 7 - 9 p.m.
37 Main Street, Brooklyn, 718-666-3049
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