Around the World in 80 Days – Ingrid Jonach’s When the World Was Flat (AWWIL) Blog Tour

YA and children’s author Ingrid Jonach is here talking about identity and how it features in her upcoming YA fantasy When the World Was Flat (and We Were In Love), published by Strange Chemistry in September!


∩( ・ω・)∩ The Search for Identity in SFF

I believe all science fiction and fantasy novels challenge our sense of identity by taking us to other worlds that are so close and yet so far from our day-to-day worlds. Think Brave New World and Children of Men.20130806-134846.jpg

Think Harry Potter. Each of these novels provide us with an alternative view of the world, whether it is a futuristic world (in the case of Brave New World and Children of Men) or a hidden world (in the case of Harry Potter). In these alternate worlds, the characters are often outcasts from the outset (Harry Potter) or at least cut from a different mold from others in their world (Bernard Marx in Brave New World and Theo Faron in Children of Men).WTWWF Blog Tour_Guest Post_Jet Black Ink_6 August 2013_IMAGE HP

My main character in When the World was Flat (and we were in love) is a social outcast at school. She is also distanced from her own mother, referring to her as Deb instead of Mom. Lillie uses photography and hoarding to hold onto a sense of self, but this starts to slip away when she experiences reoccurring nightmares of being murdered.

Excerpt from When the World was Flat (and we were in love):

Jo continued to tidy my books, followed by my photos, stationery, shoes, clothes, etc. “You have so much… crap,” she complained.
“Thanks,” I said sarcastically.
“You know what I mean. You have a sweater from when you were like five years old on the floor of your wardrobe.” She held it up against herself and peered into the full-length mirror on the back of my door. “Hey Sylv, I think this is your size.”
“Hilarious,” Sylv said, rolling her eyes.
“And when have you ever skated?” Jo asked, picking up a pair of ice skates that used to belong to Deb, proving she had been into materialism once upon a time in a land far, far away. The leather had split and one of the blades was bent. “I think you need to do some serious spring cleaning.”
“I like my crap,” I pouted. Each pen, each book, each photo represented a moment in time, a memory.

I had no need to hop from hobby to hobby like Deb. I knew who I was when I looked under my bed and saw the hundreds of empty film canisters from seven years of photography. Or opened my desk drawer and found pens out of ink from years of homework.

It was like having a ball of twine to guide me through a maze.

That was what I loved about photography. I could follow the ball of twine back to second grade by walking into the living room where Deb had hung my school photo next to her Feng Shui good fortune coin. Second grade was the year she had been into henna. I could tell, because there was a spray of stars tattooed across my right cheek. And within an instant I could revisit the first year Deb had baked a tofu turkey for Thanksgiving and had accidentally used silken tofu instead of firm. I had set the camera on a timer and the photo shows us sitting around a table eating a four-bean salad, Jo and her dad included.

“You used to be tidy,” Jo complained, tossing worn-out sneakers into a tub labeled “shoes”. “I think this summer has fried your brain.”
The summer, or the nightmares? I wondered, watching her wrinkle her nose at a sock before throwing it into my laundry basket.

The nightmares, coupled with the arrival of Tom in her small town of Green Grove, force her on a journey of self-discovery.

Excerpt from When the World was Flat (and we were in love):

These dreams, or nightmares, were taking their toll. Last week, I woke up with my own hands around my throat. Yeah, I know. A psychiatrist would have a field day. Even Jo had commented that my dark circles were looking black, instead of their standard shade of gray. I wanted to tell her about my dreams, but she was no dreamologist, or psychiatrist come to that. I knew her answer would be to pop an Ambien.

Being a young adult novel, most of the characters in When the World was Flat (and we were in love) are in their teens, which means they are at a point in their lives where they are searching for their own identity anyway (my own search ended with me getting a perm, which I will never live down). This search for identity is highlighted by an art assignment with the theme of ‘Identity’ (ironic, I know). At this point, Lillie has completely lost her identity due to the nightmares and the surfacing of seemingly repressed memories, as well as the development of new personality traits.

Excerpt from When the World was Flat (and we were in love):

To tell the truth I was a product without an ingredients list at the moment. It was kind of hard to hold onto your identity when you had died about forty times in the past four months, even if it was just in your dreams.

WTWWF Blog Tour_Guest Post_Jet Black Ink_6 August 2013_IMAGE WIZARD OF OZLike Frodo had to carry the ring to Mordor and Dorothy had to make it back to Kansas, Lillie has to discover her identity in When the World was Flat (and we were in love) , which brings us to Tom and the hidden world that he reveals to her (but I am not going to go there because it is a spoiler!).

That being said, identity is not just the boon in When the World was Flat (and we were in love). It is also used as a plot device to hint at the hidden world. This is not just through Lillie, but through the sudden change in character with her best friend Jo. Jo transforms not only her appearance overnight, but also her personality. This also shows how identity can be used like genre. When you establish a character you enter into a contract with the reader stating that the character is sensible, smart, sarcastic, but likeable (in the case of Jo), and if that character suddenly starts breaking that contract there should be a very good reason (cue hidden world!).


∩( ・ω・)∩ About  a million thanks to Ingrid for her brilliant post, complete with sneaky snippets from the book, which I know I can’t wait to read. If you’re still not convinced, check out the blurb below :

Looking back, I wonder if I had an inkling that my life was about to go from ordinary to extraordinary.

When sixteen-year-old Lillie Hart meets the gorgeous and mysterious Tom Windsor-Smith for the first time, it’s like fireworks — for her, anyway. Tom looks as if he would be more interested in watching paint dry; as if he is bored by her and by her small Nebraskan town in general.

But as Lillie begins to break down the walls of his seemingly impenetrable exterior, she starts to suspect that he holds the answers to her reoccurring nightmares and to the impossible memories which keep bubbling to the surface of her mind — memories of the two of them, together and in love.

When she at last learns the truth about their connection, Lillie discovers that Tom has been hiding an earth-shattering secret; a secret that is bigger — and much more terrifying and beautiful — than the both of them. She also discovers that once you finally understand that the world is round, there is no way to make it flat again.

An epic and deeply original sci-fi romance, taking inspiration from Albert Einstein’s theories and the world-bending wonder of true love itself.

There is also an awesome giveaway being hosted by Rafflecopter – the fancy java image of which WordPress won’t let free sites host, so please follow the link and earn one or all your chances to participate in this fantastic competition! a Rafflecopter giveaway

∩( ・ω・)∩ Giveaway Details ∩ ( ・ω・)∩

Enter below for your chance to win one of two awesome prize packages as part of the Around the World in 80 Days Blog Tour for When the World was Flat (and we were in love).

There will be two winners worldwide. Each prize package includes:

• a signed copy of When the World was Flat (and we were in love)
• a pair of silver plated key-shaped earrings in a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) gift box}
• a When the World was Flat (and we were in love) bookmark. 

The competition will run until 21 October 2013 and the winners will be announced on this page and via

When the World Was Flat (And We Were in Love) is released on September 3rd in the  US and Canada, and September 5th in the UK, from Strange Chemistry, Check out the Goodreads page and make sure to add it to your TBR list – review coming soon!

Once again, major thanks to Ingrid – below is her bio so you can find out more about her, and please check out her website hereafter!

Ingrid Jonach writes books for children and young adults, including the chapter books The Frank Frankie and Frankie goes to France published by Pan Macmillan, and When the World was Flat (and we were in love) published by Strange Chemistry.

Since graduating from university with a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing (Hons) in 2005, Ingrid has worked as a journalist and in public relations, as well as for the Australian Government.

Ingrid loves to promote reading and writing, and has been a guest speaker at a number of schools and literary festivals across Australia, where she lives with her husband Craig and their pug dog Mooshi. Despite her best efforts, neither Craig nor Mooshi read fiction.


One thought on “Around the World in 80 Days – Ingrid Jonach’s When the World Was Flat (AWWIL) Blog Tour

  1. Pingback: Blog Tour: Identity in Science Fiction and Fantasy | Ingrid Jonach

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