Blog Tour- The Summer The World Ended [ Interview & #Giveaway]

The Summer the World Ended by Matthew S. Cox 

Published by: Curiosity Quills Press
Publication date: June 29th 2015
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult


As far as Riley McCullough is concerned, her best friend getting ‘dragged’ off to Puerto Vallarta for the first two weeks of summer vacation was the end of the world―at least until the bombs fell.

Life in suburban New Jersey with her mother has been comfortable, not to mention boring, to an introverted fourteen year old. As if her friend’s surprise trip wasn’t bad enough, her expectations for the ‘best summer ever’ disintegrate when she gets sent across the country to stay with a father she hasn’t seen in six years. Adjusting to a tiny, desert town where everyone stares at them like they don’t belong proves difficult, and leaves her feeling more isolated than ever. To make matters worse, her secretive father won’t tell the truth about why he left―or what he’s hiding.

Her luck takes an unexpected turn for the better when she meets a boy who shares her interest in video games and contempt for small town boredom. In him, she finds a kindred spirit who might just make the middle of nowhere tolerable.
Happiness is short lived; fleeing nuclear Armageddon, she takes shelter with her dad in an underground bunker he’d spent years preparing. After fourteen days without sun, Riley must overcome the sorrow of losing everything to save the one person she cares about most.

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Interview with author Matthew S. Cox

Tell me a little about yourself and your writing career.

I have spent most of my life physically in NJ, but mentally in other worlds. I am a cat person. I am fond of video games (used to be obsessive about it, but I’ve turned that obsessiveness toward writing). Writing had been an on-and-off hobby of mine for quite a long time, though geared toward the hobby end of things. Specifically to the creation of worlds and plots for roleplaying games I designed. A couple of years ago, a former supervisor at my day job asked if I’d ever considered writing. I said something noncommittal like “yeah, sorta” or “sometimes.” His suggestion needled at me for a few weeks, and I eventually told myself I was going to finish a novel.

My first book (and most of them thus far) have been science fiction with cyberpunk and paranormal elements. After querying my first book resulted in a lot of generic “this is great, but I’m not the right agent for it” replies, I received a suggestion to try querying a publisher (Curiosity Quills) directly, and I did.

Tell us about your book The Summer The World Ended?

This is a tricky question. I mean, it’s not a trick question – it’s a tricky question to answer without spoilers. 

TSTWE is a peek into the life of fourteen-year-old Riley McCullough as she begins the summer between eighth grade and freshman year of high school. She’s all sorts of jazzed about getting to spend time with her best (only) friend Amber, play video games, hang out, and enjoy not having a care in the world.

Riley’s summer doesn’t go as planned. First, Amber’s parents decide to surprise her with a trip to Puerto Vallarta for two weeks, thus cutting into the girls’ hang time. Not too long after the “tragedy” of her friend going away for two weeks, a real tragedy strikes. Her mother experiences a sudden debilitating illness, leaving her unable to care for Riley, and destroying her comfortable suburban world.

She hasn’t seen her father since she was eight, and he disappeared without even saying goodbye. Social services manages to make contact with him, and Riley winds up going to live with him out west in New Mexico, in a tiny little (fictional) town where everyone stares at them with suspicion.

As Riley struggles to come to terms with the drastic change in her life, she meets a local boy who, despite his humble environs, shares her interest in video games and has plans of escaping “nowheresville” for college.

Soon after Riley wonders if the barren nothingness around her might not be that bad, nuclear war breaks out, and her father whisks her to the protection of an underground bunker to weather out Armageddon.

Describe your Protagonist Riley in 140 characters or less.

A shy 14 y/o girl with a big heart, and atrocious luck.

Why the post apocalyptic genre?

In 1983 or 84, I got my hands on a computer game by the name of Wasteland, for the commodore 64. Ever since, I’ve had a special fondness for that setting. A while ago, I wrote another YA story (Caller 107). The original cover wasn’t going over well, so I asked someone I know who makes awesome covers for books what he would do for that story. Rather than advice (which I was expecting), he sent me a cover. I loved it, but CQ didn’t think it fit the ‘feel’ of Caller. They said it evoked a post-apoc or zombie feel, so they passed on it for that story. I felt bad he’d put so much time into it, so I stared at that cover once I had time, until the plot for Summer hit me.

I’m a much bigger fan of post-nuke-apoc survival genre than I am zombies, and the original cover had radio elements to it, so it all swirled around in my head until I had the story for TSTWE.

Why should we pick up The Summer the world ended?

For every person who doesn’t read it, a kitten loses its wings. (No, that isn’t supposed to make sense.) This book will appeal to readers who enjoy strong emotional stories, and like to accompany a character on a journey that leaves them different as a person from where they started. I’ve written close to twenty books now, and this one so far is the only book where I’ve had to take a break to clear my head and recover from the emotional load I put in the character’s head.

It’s for anyone who’s ever had their entire life turned upside down and twisted inside out. People who’ve been the outcast, the one who didn’t fit in, but the one who finds the strength to somehow keep going.


Born in a little town known as South Amboy NJ in 1973, Matthew has been creating science fiction and fantasy worlds for most of his reasoning life. Somewhere between fifteen to eighteen of them spent developing the world in which Division Zero, Virtual Immortality, and The Awakened Series take place. He has several other projects in the works as well as a collaborative science fiction endeavor with author Tony Healey.

Hobbies and Interests:

Matthew is an avid gamer, a recovered WoW addict, Gamemaster for two custom systems (Chronicles of Eldrinaath [Fantasy] and Divergent Fates [Sci Fi], and a fan of anime, British humour (<- deliberate), and intellectual science fiction that questions the nature of reality, life, and what happens after it.

He is also fond of cats.

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Giveaway is International and ends 27th August 2015

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