Latest News

Chris Howard: The World of ROOTLESS … and the Hidden Histories Within

YA Highway is thrilled to have a visit by YA sci-fi author Chris Howard today. His first book, Rootless, debuted on November 1. He's here as part of the Rootless blog tour to talk a little bit about the world behind his book. There's also a giveaway, featured at the bottom of the post. Welcome, Chris!

When writing ROOTLESS, I wanted to create a world different from anything readers had experienced before. As the story began to take shape, I pictured Rastafarian warriors and punk rock pirates… mutated cornfields and flesh-eating locusts… corporate agents all dressed in purple… and of course, a young man building scrap-metal forests on the dusty plains. I always knew it would be Banyan, our tree builder, who'd guide readers on a journey through this world - a world where the oceans have been churned into the impassable Surge, and where genetically engineered corn is the only remaining source of food and fuel. And, though Banyan makes plenty of discoveries in the book, I wanted the reader to only ever know what Banyan knows, so I held back on extra details and backstory that weren't relevant to his story. I'd created histories for the Salvage Guild and the bootleggers, the pirates and poachers, the GenTech agents and the Rasta armies… but a lot of these histories weren't necessary to tell my story (at least in Book One). So… what if you want to know more? What if you're curious about how the Soljahs claimed Niagara as their kingdom, or the secrets of the Salvage Guild? Well, then you should explore my website ( and find the seven "easter eggs" (visual clues nestled inside the unique pages). Click on them and you'll uncover things about Banyan's world that even Banyan doesn't know!

Now, I promise - no spoilers! But my website was built to be an extension of the book, "a part" of it, rather than just "about it". And, as a BOOK BLOG TOUR EXCLUSIVE, I'm going to give you one of the seven "secret histories" that are stashed within the site. If you want to find the others. then come on over! In fact, every week I send a signed hardcover of ROOTLESS to someone who emails me the names of all seven!

To get you started, can you find the "flag" image on my CONNECT page ( )? Find it, click on it, and here's what you find out…

The Army of the Fallen Sun

The pirates say Major Mathangi came from the other side of the South Wall, rallying troops with music and rhymes, and uniting bands of strugglers from all across the plains. When her army was thousands-strong, she led it to the walls of Vega, and there she demanded to meet with GenTech’s Executive Chief.

Legend has it Mathangi entered the city and bargained for access to the GenTech corn, offering to put her people to work in the cornfields so they'd not be forced to starve in the dust. But Mathangi was tricked by the Executive Chief and poisoned with Superfood, her dead body hung from the top of GenTech Headquarters for all to see.

Mathangi’s forces then became embroiled in the Plains War, as they fought to protect what was left of their homeland from the might of GenTech. After six years of fighting, the plains were nothing but a wasteland, and the Army of the Fallen Sun had been broken, reduced to the scattered pirate tribes that remain.


As part of the Rootless blog tour, we're pleased to have the following prizes for one international entrant!

  • 1 t-shirt (please specify color (purple or red) and size when you enter)
  • 1 personalized, signed copy of ROOTLESS
  • bookmarks!

Enter using the RAFFLECOPTER below and follow Chris online for extra entries!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Connect with Chris!

To follow the rest of the tour and get more chances to win ROOTLESS swag, check out ttp:// 
Phoebe North

Phoebe writes stories about aliens for teenagers. She loves both Star Trek and Star Wars and doesn't believe you should ever have to choose. She is the author of Starglass and Starbreak, both from Simon and Schuster.

Posts by Phoebe

website twitter instagram facebook

  • Blogger Comments
  • Facebook Comments


  1. Cannot wait to read this book!

  2. Like Xan just said, I can't wait to read this book!!! I'll make sure to go to Chris web in search for the remaining six =D Thanks for share this one with us!!

  3. This is an awesome giveaway, and it sounds like an awesome book! The shirts also rock!!

  4. This sounds like a great book!! I can't wait to read it : )

  5. This smells cool.

    Also, it is written by a guy with a guy POV. Whyever are those so rare in YA - dystopia in particular?

  6. Great post and giveaway! Thank you for the chance,

  7. Unique premise, can't wait to read it!
    Kathrine, I agree that there needs to be more. The YA dystopian novel I'm writing now has a male main character, POV.

  8. The premise of this book looks really interesting, can't wait to get my hands on it! :D

  9. This sounds like such an awesome world!!

    Love Banyan :)

    Thank you:)

  10. I'm looking forward to reading this book!

  11. Extra little things on your website as an addition to the book is a super awesome idea :]

  12. Can't wait to read this! I love reading about genetic engineering!


Comments are moderated on posts two weeks old or more -- please send us a tweet if yours needs approval!

Item Reviewed: Chris Howard: The World of ROOTLESS … and the Hidden Histories Within Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Phoebe North