Friday, September 3, 2021

If The Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith - Book Tour + Giveaway

If The Light Escapes

by Brenda Marie Smith 


GENRE: Sci-fi (post-apocalyptic)



A standalone sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse fried the U.S. grid fourteen months ago. Everything’s gone: power, cars, running water, communications, all governing control and help—gone. Now northern lights have started in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with eighteen-year-old Keno Simms.

All that’s left for Keno, his family and neighbors is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat. Keno’s still reeling from the the death of his pregnant sister. His beloved Nana is ill, Grandpa’s always brandishing weapons, and water is far too scarce. Desperate thieves are hemming them in, yet he can’t convince his uncle and other adults to take action against the threat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him at every turn, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience. If he can’t protect Alma and their unborn child, it will be the end of Keno’s world.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.




A huge sliver of moon rises to the east, lighting up the park and Alma’s face with an orange-yellow glow. We pull ourselves up and sit wrapped together on top of the monkey bars like we rule the planet, gazing into our dark subdivision, on the southern edge of our emptied-out city, in the middle of the scary*** world.

“Keno? Alma?” Bobby Carlisle calls from the street... “Y’all come home. Now! ...

The crickets and tree frogs have gone silent. I hear Bobby cock his rifle thirty yards away. …Alma and I gape at each other, and then we run.

When we reach Bobby in the street… I scan the trees behind the swings and monkey bars, half a football field away. 

Before the sun zapped us, those trees would’ve seemed pretty. Tonight, they’re creepy. I’ve been too worked up about Tasha and Mom to even think about watching the tree line. As bad as things sometimes get around here, I’m still not totally used to life post-apocalypse and the never-ending vigilance.

“I don’t see—”

“Shh!” Bobby aims his rifle... 

I shudder and run my eyes back and forth among the trees. With all the different-sized trunks in the deep shadows, people could be hiding in there and blending in. 

“There!” Bobby hisses, pointing to the north edge of the trees. And I see—what?... Two pairs of feet... Then …metal flashes in the moonlight. Behind me, Alma gasps. I pull my Glock, flick off the safety, and aim. 


Author Interview What is something you’ve lied about? When I was a teen and lied to my mother, she caught me every single time. I am not a good liar, lol. I’ve lied to spare the feelings of others. I’ve lied and said I was fine when I wasn’t. And I’ve lied by omission when I did something I shouldn’t have done and didn’t want my husband to find out. But when he caught me, he was so darned nice about it, and I was ashamed. Most of the time, lying isn’t worth the trouble. Who is the last person you hugged? I’m high risk for COVID, so I didn’t hug anyone for more than a year. Once we were vaccinated, my hubby and I started hugging again, thank goodness. And on Mother’s Day, I got to hug my grown kids and grandkids, so that was amazingly good. And I plan to keep on hugging vaccinated people, though I will be careful about it. What are you reading now? Down the Lane by Paul “Doc” Lafferty, a rip-snorting tale of the seedy underbelly of Niagara Falls. I read a lot of stories from author friends on Twitter: Aden Polydoros, Branwen O’Shea, Laura Creedle, Flor Salcedo, James Fuller. Next up is N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth Trilogy. How do you come up with the titles to your books? Trial and error. For my first three books, I’ve had a working title while I wrote, then I’ve brainstormed long lists of possible titles, narrowed them down to around 10, then asked my critique partners, family and friends for feedback. For the two books in this series, If Darkness Takes Us and If the Light Escapes, the publisher made minor tweaks to my final title choices. Titles I seriously considered but ultimately ditched for my paranormal thriller, Something Radiates: Unhinged, and (drum roll, please) Hyper-Spastic Mind Elastic. No lie, lol. Share your dream cast for your book. For the protagonist Keno Simms, I’d love a fresh face, a lanky, ropy-muscled young man who’s good looking but not too gorgeous, dark unkempt hair, who can show all his wide-ranging emotions on his face and in his body language. For Grandma Bea, Sissy Spacek would be perfect—she’s from Texas, after all. For Uncle Eddie, Charlie Hunnam. For old man Jack Jeffers, maybe Ed Harris or Viggo Mortensen. It’s gonna happen, right? A multi-season series based on both books in this series: If Darkness Takes Us and If the Light Escapes, plus the third book, which is in development? Universe, please make it so.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Brenda Marie Smith lived off the grid for many years in a farming collective where her sons were delivered by midwives. She’s been a community activist, managed student housing co-ops, produced concerts to raise money for causes, done massive quantities of bookkeeping, and raised a small herd of teenage boys.

Brenda is attracted to stories where everyday characters transcend their own limitations to find their inner heroism. She and her husband reside in a grid-connected, solar-powered home in South Austin, Texas. They have more grown kids and grandkids than they can count.

Her first novel, Something Radiates, is a paranormal romantic thriller; If Darkness Takes Us and its sequel, If the Light Escapes, are post-apocalyptic science fiction.

Social Media:


Twitter: @bsmithnovelist





Buy links:



One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

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  1. Thanks for hosting me and my book on your blog today. For some reason, I can't sign in by my name here, but it's me, Brenda Marie Smith. I love your blog and hope to chat with you and your readers.

  2. This book sounds awesome. How long was this idea in your head?

    1. Thank you, Molli. Good question. I had the first book in the series, IF DARKNESS TAKES US, in my head for a couple of years before I wrote it. I wanted to have a grandmother taking care of grandkids in an apocalyptic situation, but it took me a while to find the right kind of disaster, one that didn't kill everyone off immediately and left characters with a chance to survive. I got the idea for a solar pulse from a podcast, and voila. Then the second book came to mind when I was finishing up the first book. I wrote the second while I queried the first. So the whole series has been on my mind and in the process for about five or six years.

  3. This sounds like an excellent read.

  4. This book sounds great, so many creative concepts tucked in there in a way that sure gets your attention!

    1. Thank you Rose-Marie. That's very kind of you to say. I hope you get a chance to read it. Also, anyone with Marie as part of their name must be a good person.


Please try not to spam posts with the same comments over and over again. Authors like seeing thoughtful comments about their books, not the same old, "I like the cover" or "sounds good" comments. While that is nice, putting some real thought and effort in is appreciated. Thank you.