I first met Jadah at UTopYA, and got to know her more at this year’s UTOPiAcon. We bonded first over our common last name (even though McCoy is my married name) and I was excited to buy her book, ARTIFICIAL, the first in the Kepler Chronicles, at the Curiosity Quills Press booth. It has an amazing premise:
In 2256, the only remnants of civilization on Earth’s first colonized planet, Kepler, are the plant-covered buildings and the nocturnal, genetically spliced bug-people nesting within them: the Cull. During the day, Syl leaves her home in the sewers beneath Elite City to scavenge for food, but at night the Cull come looking for a meal of their own. Syl thought gene splicing died with the Android War a century ago. She thought the bugs could be exterminated, Elite city rebuilt, and the population replenished. She’s wrong. Now she must find a cure and stop the person responsible before every remaining man, woman, and child on Kepler is transformed into the abomination they fear.
For Bastion, being an android in the sex industry isn’t so bad. Clubbing beneath the streets of New Elite by day and seducing the rich by night isn’t an altogether undesirable occupation. But every day a new android cadaver appears in the slum gutters, and each caved-in metal skull and heap of mangled wires whittles away at him.
Glitches—androids with empathy—are being murdered, their models discontinued and strung up as a warning. Show emotion, you die. Good thing Bastion can keep a secret, or he would be the next body lining the street. Now Bastion must help Syl escape before he becomes victim to his too-human emotions.
What first acquainted you with the UTOPiAcon and what do you love most about it?
I love Utopia!! Actually, my friend Crystal Bryant was telling me I should attend UtopYA 2014 several years ago, but I was working through some social anxiety issues at that point, so I didn’t. But I am SO glad I decided to attend last year’s con! I met so many amazing people. I love that it’s a huge group of people I can just be myself around. I’ve never met a group of people so understanding, welcoming, and nurturing. It feels like home! I definitely recommend the con for all writers, readers, bloggers, and BookTubers!
It is a great con, and I’ve found so much inspiration there. Speaking of inspiration, I love the Terry Pratchett quote in the beginning of ARTIFICIAL: “Maybe the only significant difference between a really smart simulation and a human being was the noise they made when you punched them.” In what ways, if any, did this influence the story as you wrote it?
I think Mr. Pratchett’s quote kind of sums up the deeper theme of ARTIFICIAL. What is the difference between man and machine, especially when the machine itself is so human? The quote basically says to me that maybe there is no difference. Maybe the only difference is the sound of a fist on flesh versus the sound of a fist on metal. And if you’ve reached the point as an abuser where you know the sound of each, does it matter if the thing you’re abusing is human or simulation?
An excellent question, and one your book addresses very well. I also love the cover! How much collaboration was involved in the design?
Thank you! Regina Wamba with Mae I Design did my cover. A lot of collaboration was involved, actually! I filled out a few inspiration sheets, mapping out my thoughts on what I liked, didn’t like, wanted, and envisioned. We came to the final design fairly quickly, because from the first mock up I knew I was going to love it!
I’m so glad you were able to see your vision realized. What are some of your current projects?
Book 2 in the Kepler Chronicles is in the pipeline for May 2017, and Book 3 will be out sometime in 2018! I’m also currently working on a contemporary novel, the first I’ve ever written! It’s a very ambitious project, dealing with depression, suicide, and world travel. But it’s a story I felt I had to write, no matter how difficult it would prove to be. Lots of good things coming!
Can’t wait! Thanks, Jadah, for such a great interview!