The Verona Trilogy is an adventurous series that takes readers along on the life-changing journey of three 24th century teens. Travel in time to 14th century Verona Italy with them and get lost in this exciting sci-fi, historical fiction tale. It's a pleasure to feature this incredible series here at FLY HIGH! and I'm really happy to share with you my interview with author Lory S. Kaufman. There's a giveaway contest for you! Take your chances in the rafflecopter form below this post. It is open internationally, you can win the 3 book in the trilogy either in ebook form or in print (winner will choose). The deadline is May 15. Enjoy the interview and good luck in the contest.

Maria Grazia:  Welcome to FLY HIGH! Lory. My first question for you is: Time travelling and artificial intelligence are among the main features in your YA series, The Verona Trilogy.  What age would you like to travel back to if you could? And what special wish would you make come true if advanced artificial intelligence was at your service?

Lory: Where would I go to?  When would I go to? I love history, so I want to go everywhere, to see how people lived, thought, and to understand their motivations. But with my love of art and arcitecture, I think my choice of 14th century Verona was at the top of my list, and that’s one of the reasons I set my first series there. Now that I have travelled back in time to there, the place I am visiting in my own personal time machine is ancient Akkad, in Messopotamia. It’s the research for my next stories. So glad I have my own, personal time machine.
As for what service I would have the A.I.s perform, I’d probably have them do what I have them do in the story. That is, help humans not make the mistakes we’ve been making over and over again for centuries and millenium. You see, for me, the race of A.I.s in my stories are a metephor. A metephor for the fact that we humans can’t seem to control our greediness long enough to make a world where there is cooperation. This could usher in a time where there is safety and security for humans and all the other creatures of the planet. So, the A.I.s are both the philosopher king and the benevolant police force who allows each human to reach their best potential and not kill ourselves.
Wow, that answer is like a beauty contestant saying her wish is “world peace”. But it’s true.

Maria Grazia: The protagonists of The Verona Trilogy are 3 spoilt teens.  Tell us something about them.

Lory:  The 24th century of my books feature an almost perfect  Utopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, there are History Camps, full-sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experience the same degredations, so their generation doesn’t make the same mistakes as earlier ones. But some kids don’t get it even then. These are called “hard cases”, and for them, the cure is not just History Camp, but Hard Time History Camp. The idea is to “scare them straight”.
The Verona Trilogy hard cases include; Hansum. He’s 17, good looking, athletic, and like all 17 year olds, he knows everything. Then there’s 15-year-old Shamira. An artistic genius, she’s a rebel who just doesn’t care what others think.  And finally, Lincoln. He’s 14, and a smart-aleck, whose wisecracking hides deep insecurities. Readers should note that, while the book features teens, and can be read by teens, we watch them go through excperiences that cause them to quickly mature . . . or die. Because of this, over half the readership of these books has been adult.

Maria Grazia:  Who/what  inspired you to write them? What is your relationship with the world of teenagers?

Lory:  I was inspired to pen the type of books I write by reading what could be considered the early dystopian and post-apocyliptic books from the 1940’s, 50’s and 60’s.  Brave New World, The Crysalids, 1984. But the book that really made me want to write futuristic stories was William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. That’s because it can be read by young teens to mature adults, giving both enjoyment and stimulating thought-provoking ideas, whatever the age.  As for my relationship with teens . . . I was one. And while I was forming the ideas for these books, my children were teens and young adults. I had the pleasure (and frustration) of watching them grow from know-it-alls to thoughful, interesting people.

Maria Grazia:  Your characters travel from the year 2347 back to 1347. What lesson do they learn living in such distant time?

Lory:  They learn so much.  First of all, they learn the satisfaction of providing for yourself. No matter if you are a paleolithic hunter gatherer, a medieval peasant, or a 24th century citizen, where the living is easy, it’s healthy to be able to stand by yourself. As well as being independant, they also learn that people in society have to learn to work together, for everyone’s good. Finally, they learn that, as the people alive today, we are responsible for the future. All this sounds pretty heavy, so I’d like to point out that there are lots of sword fights, battles, religous intrigue, poisoners, love affairs gone bad, and a whole lot of adventure in my stories too.

Maria Grazia:  Dystopian societies are quite popular in YA fiction (i.e. The Hunger Games, Divergent) . Why do you think that is?

Lory:  Dystopian stories alway include lots of destruction, fighting and lost loves. After all, story IS conflict. As well, I believe that dystopian stories are societies way of trying to avoid the tragedies they portray from actually happening. It’s like running of worst-case simulation on paper, so it doesn’t happen in real life.
In my POST-dystopian stories, where the world is in balance, one would think it would be hard to create conflict. That’s why I take the characters back into the past. Sword fights anyone?

Maria Grazia:  Being Italian,  I must ask you:  why did you choose Verona as the setting of your young heroes’ adventures?

Lory:  I love Italian art and arcitecture.  As well, by placing the action in medieval Verona, Italy, it allowed me to include allusions to the Romeo and Juliet story, when Hansum falls in love with Master della Cappa’s daughter, Guilietta.
I’ve been so pleased to get many reviewers pointing out the clarity and accuracy of my descriptions of the old city; its walls, streets, buildings, churches, food and life style. I did several years of research, and then spent four days in Verona, after finishing the first draft of The Lens and the Looker.  As well, we’re just preparing to add all the photos I took for my research in a new e-book versions of The Lens and the Looker. It will be  an added bonus at the end.

Maria Grazia:  What can teenagers learn about themselves reading your trilogy?

Lory:  They say that experience and failure are the best teachers. However, learning from other people’s mistakes is also valid, and a lot less costly. I’m a person who’s learned most things the hard way, by making mistakes.  Some of these mistakes cost me years of digging myself out of trouble. Finally, I learned that one can learn from others, and a good source of learning that way is reading stories which have real-life situations in them.  So, even though I write a type of science fiction, I try to use my life experience to create characters who ring true, whether they are a 14th century medieval ruler of a city, a holographic aritificial intelligence, a teen from the 24th century, or a verse-speaking time traveler from the 31st century.
So, what will teens learn (or adults for that matter) from reading The Verona Trilogy? That’s up to them. Some just want the adventure, some dig deeper. It’s all very individual.

Maria Grazia:  Is there any other special message you wanted to convey to them?

Wow. These questions are deep. I like them. I’ve already talked about many of the ‘messages’ I hide between the lines of my action. I guess another one to mention would be that humans have to realize, as animals, that we’ve outstripped our biology. That is, nature gave us a reproduction rate large enough for our species to survive a high infant-mortality rate. But since we invented agriculture and medicine, our population exploded out of control in just 10 thousand years. The idea of showing a future world with only 300 million people in it, is to show how we must learn to control our population. But again, all this is simply shown within the action. Readers who want to pursue these questions can do it on their own, or go to my website 
( www.lorykaufman.com ) and read the BACKSTORY tab, where I talk more about my themes. That’s where you’ll find the other ‘messages’.

Maria Grazia:  What kind of reader are you? What genres and authors do you prefer?

Lory:  I love historical fiction, dystopian fiction, non-fiction on the subjects I’m interesting in for my books.  I’m a lover of art, so I read art books, and I listen to lots of audio books while I’m at the gym or in my car.

Maria Grazia:  What are you up to now? Any new series coming out soon?

Lory:  I’m half way through my next book, tentitively entitled Between Two Rivers. It’s an expansion on the same time-travel series, in that it features a teenage boy from the 24th century, about ten years after The Verona Trilogy ends.  The book contains a whole new set of characters, and instead of the action taking place in 14th century Verona, its set in 2350 BCE, Mespotamia.
The word Mesopotamia mean “Between Two Rivers” in Greek. So, I have a 24th century teen, Tammond, taken back to the time of King Sargon, the historical personage known for being the first person to create an empire.
As for a love interest for Tammond, it’s complicated. The 31st century time traveler who takes Tammond back has been there before. In fact, she became a lover of King Sargon and had a daughter, Enheduanna. This is also a real person in history, whom among other things, was the first author in history whose name is known today. So, Tammond is in love with a girl who has one foot in the past and one in the far future. And just for fun . . . it’s unrequited love.
Maria Grazia,  Thanks so much for taking the time to ask me these questions and post them. As for your readers, thank you for reading this interview, and . . . I wish everyone happy reading. –  Lory Kaufman

Meet the Author 
"I write Post-Dystopian fiction. After society’s collapse, which is imagined in so many great dystopian stories, humans will either fade into history, with the dinosaurs, or, if it learns the right lessons, society will go on to construct a civilization to last tens of thousands of years. The books of THE VERONA TRILOGY are the exciting adventures of young people doing the latter.” -Lory Kaufman

On the artistic side of Lory’s career, he’s written, acted and directed children’s theatre and musical theatre. He enjoys art, especially sculpture. He loves science fiction and historical fiction and he has been deeply involved in the green movement all across North America. All this shows through when you read his work. Lory has three grown children and works and lives in Kingston, Canada.
Author website: www.lorykaufman.com

Connect with Kaufman on Twitter and Facebook.


The LENS and the LOOKER 
BOOK #1 of The Verona Trilogy

It’s the 24th century and humans, with the help of artificial intelligences (A.I.s), have finally created the perfect post-dystopian society. To make equally perfect citizens for this world, the elders have created History Camps, full sized recreations of cities from Earth’s distant pasts. Here teens live the way their ancestors did, doing the same dirty jobs and experiencing the same degradation. History Camps teach youths not to repeat the mistakes that almost caused the planet to die. But not everything goes to plan.

In this first of a trilogy, we meet three spoiled teens in the year 2347. Hansum almost 17, is good looking and athletic. Shamira, 15, is sassy, independent and an artistic genius. Lincoln, 14, is the smart-aleck. But you don’t have to scratch too far beneath the surface to find his insecurities.

These three “hard cases” refuse the valuable lessons History Camps teach. But when they are kidnapped and taken back in time to 1347 Verona, Italy, they only have two choices; adapt to the harsh medieval ways or die. The dangers are many, their enemies are powerful, and safety is a long way away. It’s hardly the ideal environment to fall in love – but that’s exactly what happens. In an attempt to survive, the trio risks introducing technology from the future. It could save them – or it could change history.

Book #2 of the Verona Trilogy

What could go wrong in the 14th-century for three time-traveling teens? How about – EVERYTHING! 

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln, three teens from the 24th-century, are trapped in 14th-century Verona, Italy. They’ve survived many deadly experiences by keeping their wits about them and by introducing futuristic technology into the past. Principal among these inventions is the telescope, which brought them to the attention of the rich and powerful.

But standing out can get you into unexpected – situations. The nobles of Verona now believe Hansum is a savant, a genius inventor, especially after he brings them plans for advanced cannons and black powder. Being the center of attention is great, but the potential for trouble is now exponentially greater because people are watching Hansum’s every move.

Meanwhile, artistic genius Shamira has fallen for a Florentine artist with bloody and disastrous consequences. Lincoln, considered an incompetent back home in the 24th-century, has blossomed – at least until he’s shot in the head with an arrow. And Hansum, after secretly marrying his new master’s beautiful daughter, Guilietta, is offered the hand in marriage of lady Beatrice, daughter of the ruler of Verona. To refuse could mean calamity for all the teens.

Amazingly, none of this is their biggest challenge. Because a rash illness is spreading across Verona – and it is threatening to consume everyone. Do they have a future in this past?

The LOVED and the LOST
Book #3 of The Verona Trilogy

A quest for lost love. An adventure of many lifetimes.

Hansum, Shamira and Lincoln are three 24th-century time travelers desperate to return to 14th-century Verona and reclaim their medieval family’s shattered lives. It is a mission fraught with danger and the risk of unexpected consequences for themselves and their worlds. For all three, it is a matter of the heart. For one, though, it is truly the only thing that matters, as the fate of his eternal love and the life of their unborn child is the prize to be won – or lost forever.

In this, the final book of The Verona Trilogy, our three time travelers go on the boldest adventure of their lives. They will face hardship, tragedy, and threats from sources they couldn't have imagined – all in an effort to wrestle a future from the steely grip of an unforgiving past.

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lorylory said...

Thanks for the great interview. I enjoyed answering your questions. I look forward to sending the winner of your contest the three volumes in The Verona Trilogy. Cheers, Lory

Maria Grazia said...

Thanks to you for being such a kind and generous guest, Lory.

Unknown said...

i wanna try new genres of book. :) maybe i could give this a shot.

Daenielle said...

I like this kind of genre, so i hope I win this one. Cheers!