Finding strength through the female lead
Sargent said she came across the dystopian genre for the first time while recovering from COVID-19. She found herself drawn toward plots centering on main characters surviving in a harsh setting while pursuing romance.
Sargent’s book, “Protecting Tova,” follows the story of 18-year-old Tova, a strong, independent female protagonist who grew up “abused as a child in more ways than one.” In the midst of the mayhem surrounding her life, she becomes romantically drawn to Pierce, a 20-year-old man who Sargent describes as “protective in nature and not willing to back down.”
The first book of the series is set in post-apocalyptic Georgia, 100 years after a great extinction event, which Sargent said wiped out a large chunk of the human race and animals.
The story takes place in a mountain territory called Iron Mountain, inspired by Sargent’s travels in Blairsville, Georgia. Sargent said Tova and everyone else in her community lives in a space encompassing thousands of acres and protected by a thick forest and stone wall. Beyond the protagonist’s home lies mutated beasts and people “living with no rules or sorrow for killing another human being.”
“She’s (Tova) got to overcome the demons that have haunted her in the past,” Sargent said. “There’s this love interest, and she thinks she’s not worthy of him. The whole story line is: Can love survive in the midst of all the craziness going on? And can she overcome everything that happened in her past and not let it define her future?”
Out of the characters in her book, Sargent feels the strongest connection to Tova, with whom she says she shares similar personality traits, like quirkiness. She said the protagonist’s two friends, Dani-Jo and Adi, are near copies of her best friends growing up. As for Tova’s love interest, Pierce, Sargent considers him her “book boyfriend.”
I definitely see a lot of my husband in him,” she said.
When people read “Protecting Tova,” Sargent said she hopes they finish it feeling motivated to stand on their own two feet and not let obstacles stop them from living a fulfilling life.
“I want any person that reads this that had to deal with crap growing up and crap right now to say, ‘I’m not going to let something that’s completely beyond my control dictate what happens to my future,’” Sargent said.
The author has already started writing her second book in the series called, “Defending Pierce,” which she aims to publish in 2021.
If she could give one piece of advice to those considering writing their first book, Sargent said she would tell them to “not wait until tomorrow.”
“You’re never going to have time,” she said. “I never had time, and I made it happen. I carried around my laptop with me and any given moment I had, I typed as much as I could.”
To purchase “Protecting Tova,” visit Amazon.com.