Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Interview with novelist Linda Andrews

Today's guest, Linda Andrews, is here to talk about her sci-fi novel The Syn-En Solution.

Linda Andrews lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, three children and a menagerie of domesticated animals. While she started writing a decade ago, she always used her stories to escape the redundancy of her day job as a scientist and never thought to actually combine her love of fiction and science. DOH! After that Homer Simpson moment, she allowed the two halves of her brain to talk to each other. The journeys she's embarked on since then are dark, twisted and occasionally violent, but never predictable.

Welcome, Linda. Please tell us about your current release, The Syn-En Solution.
I think the book blurb tells it best:

A woman from the past. A cyborg with no future. They have every reason to mistrust each other but one: survival.

When Nell Stafford passed out it was 2012. When she wakes up naked aboard a starship it's 2138, and she's surrounded by the Syn-En: synthetically-enhanced soldiers with a grudge against humans like her. She doesn't know where she is or what's happened, only that her life has been destroyed and everyone she's ever known is dead.

Their leader Beijing York has just discovered his people's creators--humans--have betrayed them. They were promised freedom and equality in exchange for settling a newly discovered planet at the other side of a wormhole. But the Syn-En have outlived their usefulness.

The offer was a trick.

The wormhole has collapsed, and now both Nell and the Syn-En are trapped far, far from Earth to face almost certain death.

Bei has lost his future, and Nell has lost her past.

But Nell gained something in her 120-year sleep; somehow, she knows everything the Syn-En need to survive. Now she must convince Bei and his people to trust her--as soon as she learns to trust the mysterious intelligence.

What inspired you to write this book?
I read an article in US News and World Report about the next generation of prostheses being tested on injured military personnel. These limbs would incorporate sensors and a computer chip that would allow the brain to interact with the next limb, giving a better range of mobility and finer motor skills than current prostheses. From here, it was a matter of asking an author's favorite question: What if? And before I knew it I had created a group of cyborgs that basically needed to save mankind. Then I drew upon the Knights Templar history and had the humans they saved turn against them in a power play.

Nell is in for a culture shock:

"Is that what you call it?" Nell planted two feet on his knees and shoved away from him. His hold on her breasts remained strong and her action tore at her chest. Pain overloaded her nervous system and static crackled inside her head. The only way she could escape would be if she gave herself a rather excruciating mastectomy. Panting through the sensation, Nell stopped struggling and hung limply between her captors. "Cause from where I stand, you're copping a feel."
Ignoring her sarcasm, the man focused on her chest. A burst of yellow light filled the room, highlighting the caduceus tattooed on his forehead. "You may feel a mild discomfort as the probes enter your skin."
Nell struggled to reconcile the caduceus with her current treatment. Why would a man with a medical insignia torture her? Unless he wasn't out to harm her. Hadn't the Grace Jones wannabe said Nell would get along with a bang? A stabbing pain flared up her chest, then a burning filled her veins like an IV running too fast. Cold air stung her teeth as she inhaled.
"Mild! That hurts like an infected hangnail. Why didn't you give me some sort of local anesthetic to numb the area?"
"It would have reacted with the peroxides." His grip on her breasts loosened, but his attention didn't waver from the damaged skin. "I do not believe you would survive the explosion. You are quite fragile."
Nell snorted. Fragile people didn't survive the pandemic of 2010 or the North American invasion that followed. She was a survivor, yet somehow she sensed that someone had changed the rules, if not the game entirely. "That woman injected something in my breasts to make them explode?"
The doctor nodded. "A peroxide and a catalyst, that when mixed together create a very powerful bomb."
Nell pulled her legs closer to her body, wanting desperately to cover herself or to fall asleep and wake up safe in her bed. "That's just wrong."

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently I'm working on a sequel to my apocalyptic book, Redaction called Melt Down. In it, the people that we met in the first book are trying to make their way out of Phoenix, Arizona to the safety of some abandoned mines in Colorado before the thousands of stored spent nuclear fuel rods begin their melt down, basically sterilizing most of the Earth's surface. If my sarcastic font was working, I'd say the future was so bright it practically glowed. J

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I still don't really consider myself a writer. Probably because I can't make a living off of it, yet. I consider myself a storyteller because I really write to tell the stories and I do it for the love, not the money. Although, I wouldn't be opposed to doing it for the money. I could buy a lot of books with money.

Do you write full-time?
Alas, no. But one day, I know I will.

If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I work as an organic chemist for a water laboratory. I usually write at night when I get off of work but I have an ipad so I can make notes during the day and this helps me focus my hours at night. I used to use sticky notes but then got lost, so the ipad works much better. I try to write on weekends but am not always successful—family and hubby want their time too.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I write extremely intricate plots but I can't plot. If I do try to plot my brain figures I already wrote the story so I can't write the story. And while I have lots of story ideas I can't write until I get just the right characters to bring those stories to life. Sometimes I'm waiting a very long time.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I so wanted to be an Egyptologist, but then I learned I was extremely claustrophobic and there went that. Then I wanted to be a nurse, but my family told me I couldn't because I was too smart. I never understood that comment, as nurses are pretty smart people. In the end I just fell into science and was planning to go into the Peace Corps but I met my husband, married and became pregnant so then I switched to laboratory work. I love bench work and my husband and I may still join the Peace Corps after we retire.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
The Syn-En Solution is on sale for 99 cents for the length of the tour then it will go up to 2.99, so please take advantage of the lower price. Also, I plan to write more books in the series, but it'll be next year until the third book comes out. Until then, I have a question for you: Have you ever seen the future in an invention?

1 comment:

Linda Andrews said...

Thanks for hosting me on your blog today.