Featured Author, News

Featured Author: Lane Northcutt

Meet Lane Northcutt, author of Rejected.

About Lane Northcutt

A Kentucky native, currently resides in Brooklyn, NY with his wife and ideal reader, Shannon. Rejected is the sequel to his debut novel, The Delivery Co. and the second in the trilogy. When not writing, Lane is an actor, photographer, and enjoys bouldering at his local rock gym. In addition to The Delivery Company series, Lane is working on other books, screenplays, and more.

So let’s talk a bit about Rejected.

First things first, tell us a little bit about Rejected:
Rejected is the sequel to my debut YA Dystopian novel, The Delivery Co. and was quite the undertaking. Overall, this book continues the story of Ahna and her group as they face new problems in their main goal to dismantle and destroy The Delivery Company and all it stands for. It’s only when they try to do so again that she realizes that not everybody will survive, and not everybody has.

When did you start writing Rejected? What inspired you to write it?
I started writing Rejected pretty much right after I published The Delivery Co. which would be around January of 2021. I wrote the first draft of the novel in the first few months, then put it away for the summer before returning to completely rewrite and edit it in time for publication for Feb. 22nd, 2022. (Twos-Day, 2/22/22 which was a fun thing to do since this is book 2!) A lot of what inspired this series stems from my own journey with Crohn’s and ADHD, but chronic illness/disability is only one of many themes recurring throughout the series.

Who is your favorite character?
My favorite character since the beginning has been Scorcher. I feel that he is a lot of me, but also just an interesting and mysterious person overall. However, I will add that Felan has quickly become one of my favorites as well because I was able to put the parts of me that aren’t in Scorcher into her. If I could say to read two characters to understand me from my books, it would be Scorcher and Felan.

What was your favorite part to write?

There’s a chapter late in the book that became one of my favorites from the first inkling of the idea. Without saying too much about it, it’s about a newer character and a big change for them personally. I guess I can give away the number of the chapter, thirty-three. That and chapter eight, but for very different reasons. I think I prefer these parts primarily because it is focused more so on the characters themselves and less on trying to move the overall plot. I like the more intimate character driven moments the best.

What is the general message you hope readers pull from Rejected?

I think the general message of Rejected is the same as the series as a whole: who you are is ever-changing and your family can be as well. Just because you live with a disability or chronic illness doesn’t mean you aren’t still able to make a difference. Sometimes, the smallest action can mean the world to someone, but sometimes you are someone’s world. Either way, you are who you are and there’s nothing wrong with you, regardless of what you might be told. The Delivery Company may reject you, but I guarantee that there’s a whole group of people out there just like you who will accept you no matter what.

Can you give us an out-of-context spoiler?

Waterfall. This word is a spoiler for both The Delivery Co. and Rejected in a different way.

What is ONE reason readers should pick up Rejected?
One reason that readers should pick up Rejected would be to get to know Felan. She was introduced at the very end of book one, but they get to know her so much more in book two. I think that she’s worth meeting, for sure.

Since Rejected is a sequel, what is something you think readers will be most excited about?

I think that readers will be most excited about seeing how the world outside Deliverance was affected by everything before and just how bad things are getting with The Delivery Company as a whole.

I can’t wait to dive back into the world of the Delivery Co. But first I would love to hear more about YOU!

So, tell us a little about yourself.

Why do you write?
I write because it’s what I do. I have so many stories and characters in my head that can’t be kept hidden away. I constantly create, always thinking of new and exciting ideas, and can’t stand to not have them out in the world. I have been telling stories as a writer and actor for so many years that storytelling is just in my DNA, it’s who I am.

Do you have any hobbies outside of writing? Do they influence your writing in any way?
I am a HUGE gamer. I have played video games almost my entire life and still do most days. Mostly, my interests lie in RPGs and rogue-lite games. I play mostly RPGs because of their stories. Gaming not only helps me to relax a lot of days, but constantly inspires me. Sometimes, I feel very inspired by their settings and sometimes it is a specific character or quest that will spark an idea. A lot of the time, I write to the soundtrack to one of my favorite video games of all time, FrostPunk. Gaming has and will always inspire and influence my writing and life.

What does your writing routine look like, if you have one?
I think one thing that may surprise some of my readers, but certainly not any of my close friends, is that I have no true routine. My ADHD and various other things have kept me from establishing much of a consistent routine. Often, I find myself hyper focusing on a chapter only to avoid writing the book altogether for days at a time. Then, my thoughts will sometimes be so scattered or I’ll have sudden bursts of inspiration or something and I will try to take the story or a certain character in a totally different direction. While that may be sometimes beneficial, I would say that it can hinder my progress quite a bit as well. However, while I have no concrete routine, I do tend to do the same few things when I do sit down to write: noise-cancelling headphones, FrostPunk soundtrack on low, and have outline of the current chapter I’m writing off to the side. Then, I crank out however much I can during the time that my brain decides I’m interested. Sometimes, that is a long time and I write two or three chapters and other times it is only a paragraph that I edited as I wrote. There’s no telling which way it will go most days, but I’m never upset with the progress. Afterall, any progress is still progress. As they say, ‘you can’t edit a blank page.’

What have been some of your biggest successes as an author?
One of the biggest successes I have had as an author has been one of the first few reviews I received from a total stranger after releasing my first book. The reviewer left an amazing review, which I always appreciate, but also had messaged me just to say how much they appreciated my writing of a specific character. They said that it made them feel ‘seen’ and that The Delivery Co. had become one of their favorite books they had ever read. Hearing that was probably one of my greatest achievements in my author career so far. Even if I only impact one person, I’ve done my job as an author. That, to me, is success.

If you could give one piece of advice to your past self, what would it be?
If I were to tell my past self anything, my advice would be: Write. Write whatever you want and don’t worry about whether it will be any good. Stop editing in the moment and try to let the story and characters just be. Getting the story out of your head is the best first step, so do that. Don’t worry about it being perfect, just make sure it is able to be.

Check out Rejected below…and be sure to follow Lane Northcutt to discover more of his work!

Book Review

The Delivery Co. – Book Review

Book Rating: ★★★★★ (5 / 5 stars)

Rejects are wrong. Replacements are good. This message has been woven into Ahna’s thoughts for as long as she could remember. But, after taking a fall for her friend over a seemingly minor offense, Ahna finds herself rejected and left in a junkyard. When Sticks finds her, Ahna’s life is thrust into the world of the rejected…and discovers the secrets The Delivery Co. has been hiding from everyone.

In a story with elements of The Giver, The Hunger Games, and Mortal Engines, this debut young adult novel by Lane Northcutt teaches us above acceptance, and above all else, how imperfections define humanity. With Ahna’s naivety and Sticks’s perseverance, we are shown these elements of humanity. Ahna just wants to be accepted; Sticks wants to fight. Ahna was raised as a ‘perfect child’; Sticks is considered imperfect and wrong. Yet, are they really that different? No. They’re one in the same, and understanding this will help bring and end to the horrible practices at the Delivery Co.

I’ve been looking forward to Northcutt’s debut novel since I interviewed him back in June. Personally I’ve always been a fan of dystopian novels that feature this sort of dichotomy; perhaps it is because it is a mirror of our own society, and a vivid reminder of what we need to stand up for injustices – such as mistreatment of the disabled, of the LGBTQ+ community, of different races – that leave anyone feeling inferior. This theme already drew me into the story. What made me stay was Northcutt’s ability to tell an exciting story with unique, almost humorous characters, that are one thing: adolescents fighting for their future. Ahna and Sticks both get stuck in their head, making snarky comment and producing inner dialogue that help us get to know them while fighting for what they believe. You’ll understand their heartbreak when they lose their friends, and their exuberance as they discover their survival.

Northcutt does a phenomenal job though in the ending the story on a note that makes you want more. If I had to critique anything, it would be that I want more! I would have loved to explore the Tent City more, or the Delivery Co., as well as witness Ahna as she grew stronger and more determined. But, I’m always the type who wants to dwell longer in certain areas of the book. Ultimately glossing over some of this did not detract from the whole story, nor did it stop me from wanting the next book. Questions are still riddling my head as I write this review! Who was going to adopt Ahna? Why did she really get rejected? What is with all of Seemore’s secrets? How will everything that happened affect Sticks? And where are they going now?

The Delivery Co. is phenomenal book that is hard to put down. I read it basically in one sitting this morning…and it’s not a short book! I just could get away from Ahna and Sticks, as well as Scorcher, Rollin, Sarah, and the rest! They are all so unique and endearing!

Audiences of all backgrounds will enjoy this book. So I implore you to check it out…it’s worth it! I promise.

Note: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What’s it about?

Rejects are wrong. Replacements are good.

In a world where the government has sought to create the ideal children, The Delivery Co. was born. In a lab, they create the perfect child for families who have lost kids or cannot have them. These children come in different varieties, but are all flawless. They are known as Replacements.

Children born with a disability of any kind are deemed a burden on society and discarded into the wild. These children are known as the Rejected.

Ahna was raised in the world of the Replacements.

Sticks was raised in the clan of the Rejected.

When Ahna finds herself Rejected, she must learn to trust Sticks and the others within the group of the Rejected. Joining forces, Ahna will aid them in dismantling the very system that created them. Together, they hope to gain equality for all and bring an end to The Delivery Co.