Well, I linked to her Facebook earlier, and now here she is: Jessica Keefe is indulging me in my fantasies of a revived cyberpunk genre, and she was kind enough to answer some fanboyish questions from me:
1. So, what got you into writing?
Harry Potter fanfiction. The summer between 6th and 7th grade I spent the entire time writing a huge epic piece of fanfiction about Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley. I have been hooked on writing ever since, but with less HP and more of my own creations.
2. The brief blurb on Goodreads about The Deceiver suggests a Brave New World-style book. Are you, perchance, a fan of Huxley?
Not really. I might get backlash for that, especially since this does sort of follow his Brave New World concept, but I haven’t been too interested in his work.
3. Ok, having answered that pointed question, here’s a more general one: tell me a little bit about the kind of book we can expect with The Deceiver.
There’s a lot going on within the book, but it mainly focuses on the Triad Of Colors, a trio of medical pills created and perfected over the decades. They are used in every day life to maintain a positive attitude. There’s the red pill that regulates heart rate and blood pressure, making the taker more calm and level-headed. There’s the yellow pill that dulls the extreme of any emotion and brings you back to a level of normalcy. And then there’s the blue pill that damages short term memories, essentially erasing them, so that neither the person who took the pill or the LI Coalition can bring them back to the surface and review them at leisure. The government believes that these pills will help control the masses. If negative thoughts aren’t allowed, if they are punished by an inquisition and jail time, then the people won’t itch to kill one another or go to war or even rebel against the government.
There’s the Triad Of Existence, three planets that separate each and every person based on a level they were given at birth. There’s a tattoo engraved on everyone’s wrist, tapping into their limbic system and reporting back to a database of computers the thoughts, emotions, and memories of each person. And then there’s two people who met through a series of rebel incidents, trying to figure out what the murder of one general means and how it will effect the world as they know it.
The novel itself has become a rebellion of men and women who are tired of being spied on, who just want their freedom back. But they are far from the first people to attempt such a thing. Earth is a prison state now and if they aren’t careful they’re going to wind up on its toxic, radiation-filled surfaces with every other person caught by the government’s web of knowledge.
4. Judging by your Facebook posts, we’re dealing with something pretty dark. Do you consider The Deceiver to be dystopian cyberpunk? If so, do you think that cyberpunk is going to make a comeback?
Possibly! It might be a little too far out in the future to be a true cyberpunk novel, but it has the oppressive societal qualities and the dystopian feel. I think only a true cyberpunk fan will be able to tell you that.
5. Is The Deceiver your first novel?
It’ll be my first published novel. In 2009 I participated in National Novel Writing Month and wrote a cute little Christian romance fic-let, but I’ve been too terrified to open the document since I finished. I’ve grown as a writer since then and I can’t even imagine how it would match up to The Deceiver.
6. Are you self-publishing? If so, who are you using as an editor?
I plan to go the self-publishing route, yes. I have a friend who was doing editing for her prior boss who has been reviewing my chapters for me as I go. She is amazing and has always given me great feedback along with editorial changes and recommendations. I couldn’t ask for a better friend or editor.
7. I see that you have predicted December 2013 as your release date; how firm is that?
Extremely firm. The only thing that will change that date is if I get antsy and decide to publish earlier. But I want to do this right and make sure that my novel is both finished and polished before I put it out into the world, so the later the “possible” publication date, the more wiggle room I have just in case.
8. Will you be submitting a copy to us for a review once its done?
Absolutely! My plan is to hand out copies a month in advance to reviewers so they will be able to put up their comments within a week of its digital publishing.