Threader Author Interview + Giveaway!
I provided a blurb for her book, THREADER. "This story threaded its way into my heard and wouldn't let go! Be prepared for a late night."
Rebekah is also offering 3 copies of her book as a give away! This is for readers in Australia and New Zealand only and I'm sorry to say the book is also only available in Australia and New Zealand, however I think you can order it (see below for a link).
Cover copy: Welcome to the Helios Academy: evolve or die...
It’s the year 2050 and life is increasingly hard for ‘non-citizens’. A slowly emerging young minority has been exposed as ‘talents’; they harbour mutations that give them special gifts – super strength, regenerative powers, psychic gifts or the ability to sink through shadows and travel through time and space. As governments unite to form a global talent registry and powerful corporations step in to take control, a ‘talent’ can be a passport to citizenship and a better life, but there is a cost as Josie Ryder is about to discover.
Take the quiz and find out your talent here: http://theheliosacademy.com/ The website is AMAZING!!!
1.) I loved THREADER and was fascinated by the world you created. What sparked the idea?
I'm a big fan of monster movies, and loved the spin some of those classic characters were given in shows like Buffy and Supernatural. That’s when I came up with the idea of taking it to a future setting, which would allow me to bring in a bit more of a sci-fi spin, with the idea these ‘monsters’ were actually the just an evolutionary change. So I created Talents, people with a genetic twist that gave them abilities. These abilities were great, but depending on the gift, it may make life more difficult for some.
This also gave me a chance to change the socio-political landscape: governments don’t exist, or if they do, have very little power. Corporations have filled the void (or I would argue have created it to begin with) and the world is now a very harsh place for people who are outside of the ‘elite’.
2.) What do you find the most interesting about the main protagonist, Josie? How did you decide to make her a Threader?
I like that Josie is a fighter, something that is instilled into her by her uncle. That no matter what the world throws at you, you can still get back on your feet to fight. She's also someone who was forced by her parents to live off the grid. They knew her potential and based on their own experiences, they feared for her future. As she grew up, Josie could only see more and more what she had lost because of this ‘isolationist’ mentality, and yearned to be able to get access to the opportunities that may earn her a coveted ‘citizenship’. This is effectively a free pass out of the slums and into the clean corporate skyscrapers, where you could get services such as healthcare and fresh food, not the reconstituted bio-synth meat that are available in the satellite communities around the city.
The interesting thing with Josie, is that she could have changed her fortunes at any time. Instead, she respects her father and uncle’s wishes for anonymity, and only reveals herself on her own terms, which as we find out, is never the easy way.
Now, being a Threader makes Josie a rare talent. A sub-set of the Esper category, she has both telekinesis and telepathy as attributes, but the real talent is the ability for her to combine her gift with other talents to augment and strengthen their abilities, while also being able to adopt a measure of that persons gift as well.
While this seems like a powerful ability to have, it is also extremely difficult to master, and the stakes are raised as she’s had no formal training and Josie discovers she could be as much a liability to the Academy as an asset.
3.) Tell me more about Blake and his abilities as a Slider – I thought being able to travel through the shadows was a really unique and cool idea.
The Slider talent was a great way for me to connect our world to the mysterious ‘shadow biosphere’: a dimension that folds around ours, and which may be where all these gifts have originated.
Blake is a Slider, and the eldest of the Galloway family. The Galloways are the founders of Helios Academy and Galloway Industries. They're new players in the Corporate governance, with their fortunes increasing after the last of the Corporate wars and the advent of talents over the previous twenty years. Blake initially rejected his family as an act of rebellion and decided to find his own way. He joined the military and served in missions where his sliding ability came in handy. After he was forced to leave, he found his way back to the academy. While no longer estranged from his family, Blake is still distant, his main goal is to train others with abilities like his. Then of course, he meets Josie, and everything changes...
4.) Do you plot out your novels or are you like me and fly by the seat of your pants?
Instinct plays a big part, but I still like to plot and have guidelines of where I’m going. Otherwise, I have tons of trouble pulling all the threads together. I use the Michael Hauge's Six Stage Plot Structure idea. By breaking down the story and looking for the turning points, it helps me when I feel the plot is bogged down, or a character isn’t working right. I also like to look at popular films to examine structure! Classics movies like Speed, Aliens, Predator and Die Hard are great examples of good plot construction and effective characterization. I even held a workshop with my writing partner, entitled: Beyond Rippling Muscles and Uzi 9mms - Storytelling 101, as learned from 80s and 90s action movies. Funnest. Workshop. Ever.
5.) Did you have to do any special research for this book?
I waded through some scientific articles while creating my world, because having a basis in reality is important. If you're asking readers to take a leap of faith with some of the more fantastic elements of your story, it's important to have some real facts in place to ground it.
I also plotted a history, and at one stage had the 50 years prior to the novels setting mapped including the inciting incidents and the major skirmishes of the Corporate Wars (sorry to the countries I destroyed!), the destruction of the internet and the rise of the Helios Academy on the back of their replacement web and the emergence of Talents. I even had some more sketchy history going back to Victorian England where the Galloway Family (who may or may not be related to the Van Helsing line) first came across and hunted ‘monsters’, people who may have been the first unfortunates to be exposed to the Shadow Biosphere. But that's another story.
6.) How did you become a writer? Is this what you saw yourself growing up to be? Or did it take you by surprise?
I've wanted to be a writer from as early as I can remember. I have rejection slips from when I was in primary school, trying to get stories published (I had no clue - my stories where hand written in pencil with illustrations!). Growing up, television was banned in my house, so I read fantasy novels. And I read a lot. In high school, writing felt like a compulsion to me: I love telling stories! I'd spend my lunch break in the computer lab, writing. Those manuscripts were so bad, but so good. And I love creating new and interesting people to talk to in my head. But it wasn't until after I joined the Queensland Writers Center, that I refined my craft and improved.
7.) Do you have a writing routine? Talk process for a moment, how do the words get on the page?
My writing routine mostly consists of having a steaming cup of tea at my elbow and listening to a soundtrack. This will usually be the same soundtrack, played over and over, so it's almost hypnotic. I can hum the entire soundtrack to Man of Steel. And sometimes, despite the tea and music, the words are very bad, other times they are very good. But I try to get something down, every day.
8.) Office? Closet? Corner of the living room? Do you have a set place to write? A favorite?
My absolute favorite place to write is a coffee shop not far from my house, where they roast their own beans. Even the air is caffeinated. They also have a waiter there who looks like Chris Pratt, and he winks at me when he brings my coffee. Of course, it could just be a twitch in his eye from the steaming coffee…
9.) What else do you enjoy doing besides writing? Interests? Hobbies?
I used to paint, but my time is a little squished with family and work. My interests now include eating exotic ice cream while watching old horror movies (Helloooo big scoop of Burnt Fig and Caramel while watching John Carpenter's The Thing).
10.) What are you writing now? What's coming out next?
I'm currently finishing up a fantasy story that revolves around a mechanically talented girl who secretly races a motorcycle called a Hellcat. It's a story that has been lots of fun to write!
Rafflecopter! Open to Australian and New Zealand readers only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Threader Website - take the quiz and discover your talent: http://theheliosacademy.com/
Author site: rebekahturner.net