A prison not like ours... Lifers by M.A. Griffin (Blog Tour Interview & Giveaway)

I'm welcoming the author of Lifers to my blog today for an interview.
Definitely check that, the book, and the giveaway out below...

by M.A. Griffin
YA Dystopian, SciFi, Thriller
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & ebook, 288 Pages
January 30th 2017 by Chicken House (Scholastic)


Fear haunts the streets of Preston's city: a girl has disappeared. Preston is drawn to investigate, exploring the city in the hunt for his missing friend. And deep in the bowels of a secret scientific institute, he discovers a sinister machine used to banish teenage criminals for their offenses.

Captured and condemned to a cavernous dimension, Preston is determined to escape. But this is no ordinary jail. Friendships will be forged and lives will be lost in a reckless battle for freedom, revenge--and revolution.

Set in a world all too similar to our own, Lifers is thrilling, pulse-pounding storytelling of the highest degree.

(Affiliate links included.)

Author Interview

Welcome to my blog today to tell us more about LIFERS!
Hi! Many thanks for inviting me along. It’s an absolute pleasure!

1. How would you describe the main characters of LIFERS?

‘Lifers’ is a story about five teenagers who live in Manchester, UK, the city where I live and work. They’re each different, but what unites them is a common enemy; a government minister called Christopher Armstrong whose new and pitiless prison system is designed to be a cost-effective way of “cleaning up the streets”. He’s developing an alternate reality machine called a Kepler Valve. On the other side of the valve is Axle 6, a wild world, a sort of feral prison from which no-one escapes.

Preston, our protagonist, is driven by a desire to make amends for a terrible mistake he’s made – a blundering betrayal of his best friend Alice. Ryan, on the other hand, is an urban explorer. He’s all about risk-taking, trespass and re-framing your perspective of a city by seeing it from above.

Then there’s Chloe Ellwood. She’s strong, principled and determined; the leader at the heart of the rebellion against the oppressive forces of government. Along with Preston’s conspiracy-theorist pal Mace, the group have to escape Axle 6 and somehow expose the brutality of the prison regime. They’re trying not to become lifers. I’m not sure they succeed…

2. What inspired the idea of an alternate reality machine?

I’ve always loved magic door stories. When I was a kid, I wanted my sci-fi and fantasy epic and otherworldly; Middle Earth, not planet Earth. I wasn’t up for stories of an ordinary world tipped on its axis by the existence of a magic door to a parallel place. Until I read Brit-author Alan Garner’s Elidor, about a church (also in Manchester!) that becomes a portal to a fantasy land. Then I got into Stephen Donaldson’s fantasy. And as a teenager I was also devouring Terry Brooks’s Landover stories.

Soon, I was sold on this idea of throwing one world into sharp relief by contrasting it with another. I’m still hooked now. I loved Stephen King’s JFK time-travel novel 11.22.63, for example. So I wanted to try it to, and I’d been waiting for an idea to come along. ‘Lifers’ is my magic door story.

3. Did you find any interesting facts as you did research? What kind of research did you do?

Good question! I really got into UrbEx – Urban Exploration – starting with a site called www.28dayslater.co.uk. It’s a forum for explorers who’ve been into abandoned or forbidden buildings. The landing page lists asylums, hospitals, cranes, industrial sites… the pictures are amazing.

Here’s a shot from a recent post, taken from the roof of a Manchester hotel:

That’s a lofty and precarious perch, eh? The book tries to explore how cities become different places when viewed from different perspectives. In ‘Lifers’, Manchester is changed at night, and becomes what I’ve called ‘Dark Manchester’, a kind of parallel version of the daytime city.

I’ve never done any high stuff myself, by the way – I get really terrible vertigo! – but I still love exploring abandoned buildings every once in a while.

4. What is your favorite part of the story?

Ah! To be honest, there’s a section at the end that I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote ad infinitum that I’ve ended up really liking. Can’t say much, obviously, but I wanted to show a mysterious institutionalised character, and explore the idea of the freedom prison offers. If that makes any sense!

5. What are you most looking forward to reading in 2017?

There are so many MG and YA titles! Too many to mention equitably. The best thing might be to pick from outside those spaces. So here we go.

Two sequences of novels have grabbed my attention recently and both have their latest paperback instalments arriving soon. Hurrah!

One is by Irish crime writer Tana French; the Dublin Murder Squad series. Each new novel takes a minor character from the previous book and makes them narrator and protagonist of the next. The last one was the brilliant The Secret Place. This year’s is called The Trespasser.

Louise Welsh is based in Glasgow, Scotland. She’s been delivering instalments to her Plague Times series over the last few years. They’re brilliantly done. The third and (I think…) final book is due this year. Can’t wait!

Thanks so much for answering my questions and sharing about LIFERS!

About the Author

I'm a writer of children's fiction, represented by Ben Illis at the B.I.A., available for workshops and school visits when I'm not chained to a laptop cursing my lack of progress and/or poverty of imagination.

My debut novel, The Poison Boy, was written as Fletcher Moss. My second novel, Lifers, is my first for teen readers. It arrives April 2016.

Tour Schedule

Week One:
1/23/2017- YA Book Madness- Interview
1/24/2017-Here's to Happy Endings- Review
1/25/2017-Novel Novice- Excerpt
1/26/2017- A Dream Within A Dream- Review
1/27/2017- Fantasy Book Critic- Guest Post

Week Two:
1/30/2017- Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile- Review
1/31/2017- Tales of the Ravenous Reader- Interview
2/1/2017- Book-Keeping- Review
2/2/2017- Wishful Endings- Interview
2/3/2017- A Gingerly Review- Review

Tour-Wide Giveaway

3 winners will receive a finished copy of LIFERS, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Is this one on your tbr? What did you think of the interview?

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