Series: Replica Trilogy #1
Publisher: Tor Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Breathtaking new YA SF from the author of the Faeriewalker series
Sixteen-year-old Nadia Lake comes from a high-class Executive family in the Corporate States. Her marriage has been arranged with the most powerful family in her state, which means she lives a life of privilege but also of public scrutiny, followed everywhere by photographers, every detail of her private life tabloid fodder. But her future is assured, as long as she can maintain her flawless public image — no easy feat when your betrothed is a notorious playboy.
Nathan Hayes is the heir of Paxco — controller of the former state of New York, and creator of human replication technology, science that every state and every country in the world would kill to have. Though Nadia and Nate aren’t in love, they’ve grown up close, and they (and the world) are happy enough with their match.
Until Nate turns up dead, and as far as everyone knows, Nadia was the last person to see him alive.
When the new Nate wakes up in the replication tanks, he knows he must have died, but with a memory that only reaches to his last memory backup, he doesn’t know what killed him. Together, Nadia and Nate must discover what really happened without revealing the secrets that those who run their world would kill to protect.
I was a huge reader as a kid. I was pretty severely bullied in school, and there were problems at home, too, so my life was often made more bearable by the books I escaped into. I think it's only natural that I would want to be an author after that.
My biggest piece of advice for people wanting to write across genres is to write what you love to read, which is basically what I did. Writers are often encouraged to create a narrow "author brand" by sticking to the same genre as much as possible. However, I certainly don't read only one genre, so I've never seen any reason to only write one. I love reading both fantasy and dystopian YA (and adult) so it seemed perfectly natural to write both.
At the time I wrote the Replica series, I worked for a company that developed software for the elections industry, which meant I spent a lot of time around techie people--and a lot of time making sure I always had backups of my work. Even when we were very careful about backing up our work, when we ended up needing to restore from backup, there was always some amount of work that had happened since the last backup had occurred, and restoring sometimes felt like going back in time. Yes, you have a backup, but it's not exactly the same the work you just lost, so it's very imperfect. Perhaps normal people don't jump from something like that to thinking about making backups of people and having those backups be imperfect, but writers' brains don't seem to work quite like other people's do.
Backup copies of human beings. (That was surprisingly easy!)
I always loving playing with questions of ethics in technology, and this series gave me the perfect opportunity to do that. There are plenty of ethical questions around the creation of Replicas of human beings, but there are other ethical issues I got to tackle as the series went on. (Ones I can't talk about in too much detail without spoilers, so forgive the vagueness that's to follow.) Even if you accept that creating these Replicas and going on with life as if no one ever died is okay, it turns out there's a pretty big price being paid for the technology to even exist. Since the corporate state that created the Replica technology derives much of its income from it, they have a very strong interest in keeping the project going, even as the price gets higher and as the secret starts being revealed.
I can absolutely see myself in Nadia. Nadia is a hyper-responsible girl, who always feels like she has the weight of the world on her shoulders, and that was very much how I felt as a teen, though for very different reasons. I felt that way because my mother was an alcoholic and divorced from when I was very young. There were only the two of us, and thanks to the alcohol, I often had to serve as the adult in my family--thinking about consequences in ways my peers didn't have to do at such an early age--throughout most of my childhood and teens. I put Nadia in a very different situation, but she still is more responsible than you would expect a sixteen-year-old girl to be--sometimes to her detriment. I always thought it was a fun contrast to have her be so responsible and Nate so irresponsible, with each of them needing to be a little more like the other to get through the events of the story.
My next YA project will be a horror series. The first book is currently scheduled to come out in spring of 2016, and I've had an absolute blast writing it. Most of my books have some pretty dark themes in them, so it was fun to kind of let myself go and let the darkness out. I scared myself a few times writing it, and definitely gave myself the creeps, so that hopefully means I'm on the right track.
Be born middle class! The upper class (executives) have lives very restricted by societal expectations and actually have very little freedom despite their privileges. The lower class (Basement-dwellers) live in poverty and misery, so they have choices, but they're all bad. The middle class (Employees) have the best of both worlds without the pitfalls. Do what's expected of you. The Replica world is not kind to those who buck the system. Don't go in for your backup scans! People might not be as careful with your life if they know they can just restore a backup if something happens to you. Me wedding day. There were a few less-than-perfect moments, but overall it was very much my romantic fairytale come trye. The day I sold my "first" novel. It was actually the 18th novel I'd written over my 16-year quest to get published. It's hard to describe how special that day was. There had been so many times when I'd thought it would never happen. What glaciers calve in Tierra del Fuego. My mom and I went on a cruise in South America, part of which included cruising through Tierra del Fuego at the very tip. One morning, we all sat on the desk (it was a small ship) sipping coffee and watching these enormous glaciers calving. Each time the glaciers cracked, it sounded like thunder, and the ship would rock when the waves from the glaciers hitting the water reached it. It was totally breathtaking, and one of the best travel memories with my mother. From Replica: "He's nothing but a spoiled brat with an enormous chip on his shoulder and a deeply rooted conviction that he's God's gift not just to women but to the universe itself." From Resistance: She felt like someone had blindfolded her, shoved her into a mine field, and ordered her to walk. From Revolution: It was a community of cutthroats, thieves, and drug lords, but it was a community of sorts.