Tracy Lawson is an award-winning author of two nonfiction books, and The Resistance Series is her first in the world of young adult novels.
In Counteract, Book One of The Resistance Series, the Office of Civilian Safety and Defense (OCSD) has guarded the public against the rampant threat of terrorism for the last fifteen years with the full backing of the US government. Their carefully crafted list of Civilian Restrictions means no concerts or sporting events, no travel, no social media, no cash transactions, and no driver's licenses for eighteen-year-olds Tommy and Careen. The OCSD has even outlawed grocery stores, all in the name of safety.
Now, there's a new threat-airborne chemical weapons that could be activated at any time. But the OCSD has an antidote: just three drops a day is all it takes to stay safe. It's a small price to pay for safety. Or is it? Book Two, Resist, picks up this fast-paced dystopian series with the resistance forming against injustice. After their plan to rescue a group of dissenters imprisoned by the OCSD spins out of control, Tommy and Careen are on the run, dodging the quadrant marshals in a headlong dash for the remote mountain headquarters of the Resistance.
I had a chance to interview Tracy to learn more.
I was mentoring a friend of my daughter’s when the initial idea for Counteract came about. Chase is a pretty sharp guy and an excellent writer —and when he was in high school I had a lot of fun working with him and editing some of his short stories. We had finished working on a story about baseball, a broken nose, and a bro ken heart, and were ready to start something new, when he suggested we write scenes in response to the prompt: “What if everyone were on LSD and all thoughts were communal?” It was certainly thought provoking! Chase created the characters Tommy and Eduardo, I created Careen, and right away, we knew we were onto something. Obviously, the story morphed and changed a lot before it became the finished version of Counteract —but that was how it all began.
What do you enjoy about this series that cannot be found in any of your other books?
The Resistance Series is my first published fiction My other book, Fips, Bots, Doggeries, and More, is based on a journal kept by my great-great-great grandfather during his family’s 1838 horse and wagon trip from Cincinnati to New Yo rk City. I did a ton of research before writing that book, and amassed two filing cabinet drawers full of information related to the 22-page journal! During the publication process, I nearly went crazy double-checking all my facts and citations, and by the time the book went to print, I never wanted to see another footnote. Fiction? Yes, please! Now that I’ve had a little break from footnotes, I’ m enjoying writing another nonfiction history book. I’m planning to merge my two favorite genres and write some YA historical fiction sometime after I finish the
How does the Office of Civilian Safety and Defen se (OCSD) differ from other dystopian governments in young adult series like The Hunger Games and Divergent?
In the Resistance Series, there has been no rebellion, no cataclysmic event. The dystopian world in which they live has been created by fear, engineered by an enemy masquerading as a protector. The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense was created to protect against the rampant terrorism that has affected the nation for the better part of the twenty-first century. Little by little, the OCSD usurped power from the traditional three branches of the US government. The OCSD’s long list of Civilian Restrictions was designed to maximize safety and security. Most people don’t consider themselves oppressed or fettered by their lack of freedom. Teenagers like Tommy and Careen don’t know things were ever different. They can’t remember a time when teenagers learned how to drive and went on dates to malls and movie theaters.
What do you hope readers take away from this book?
First and foremost, I want readers enjoy the story! I hope they relate to Tommy and Careen, and look forward to reading the next installment in the series. Books for young adults often reflect the reader’s need to quest ion authority and rebel against the rules set down by older generations; the Resistance Series looks at what can happen when people surrender our civil liberties in exchange for the promise of safety and security. I hope readers understand that protagonists in dystopian books are often branded as outcasts or rebels because they question the restrictive rules of their societies—and that individuals who change the world rarely do so by going along with the herd.