Hello all! It’s lovely to be here, and I’d like to kick things off by thanking Serenity for having me! My name’s Amanda Cyr, and my debut YA novel, Zhukov’s Dogs, just dropped last week. It’s an action-packed coming-of-age story set in one of the many post-apocalyptic futures I researched during the infant days of outlining—one with a bit more scientific merit than my least favorite “end of the world” premise, a.k.a. zombies. Although global cooling likely won’t be the end of our world, it’s a reality for Earth’s inhabitants in Zhukov’s Dogs, most of whom have forsaken everything north of Des Moines, Iowa since the ice swept in.
I doubt we’ll see anything half as world-changing as global cooling or zombie infestations during our lifetimes, but that’s part of the reason I love building fictional worlds in which all the mess has hit all the fans at once. It allows me to immerse myself in a story, live vicariously through characters I’d probably never want to meet in real life, and get all the badassery out of my system from the comfort of my living room.
It’s that sort of vicarious badassery I wanted to share with readers in Zhukov’s Dogs. The main character, Nik, is seventeen, but that doesn’t stop him from taking on the world and climbing through the ranks of secret service in the process! I don’t know about you guys, but at seventeen, my daily agenda was a blur of AP test prep, a certain totally-dating-a-BFF boy, and video games.
Maybe that’s why I’m insatiably fascinated by apocalypse theories I know will never come to fruition. When the daily agenda was – and still is – so monotonous, how can someone not fantasize about an altered reality? It’s disdain for monotony that led to the drafting, revising, querying, and publishing of Zhukov’s Dogs and countless other works of fiction, so if you find yourself world-weary, dive into someone else’s world for a bit! Or better yet, create your own fictional escape, and tap into that vicarious badassery!