Last year, I featured Tim Floreen’s first book, WILLFUL MACHINES, and loved it. His new book, TATTOO ATLAS, debuts next week, and it has a great premise. Have a look:
A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.
Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over.
Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?
Then, as part of Franklin’s follow-up testing, he and Rem are brought face to face, and Rem discovers…Franklin does seem different. Despite everything, Rem finds himself becoming friends with Franklin. Maybe even something more than friends.
But when another of their classmates turns up dead, Rem’s world turns upside-down yet again. Franklin insists that he’s innocent, that he’s cured, but Rem doesn’t know what to believe. Is someone else responsible for this new murder, or is Franklin fated to stay a monster forever? And can Rem find out the answer to this question before the killer, whoever it is, comes after him too?
In our last interview, you said that while in graduate school, you learned how to separate yourself from your writing and not take it personally when someone else pointed out something that wasn’t working. In what ways, if any, has this translated into your professional writing life?
SO MANY WAYS! When you get a novel published, not taking things personally becomes about as important to your health as eating and sleeping. First of all, you’ve got your editor at the publishing house, whose literal job is to tell you what’s not working in your book. Then once the book gets out in the world, you’ve got critics and book bloggers and Amazon reviewers and tweeters all sharing their opinions, and you have to learn how to take in the constructive criticism while accepting the fact that your book can’t possibly appeal to every reader.
A good thing to remember, but rest assured, your books have plenty of appeal. TATTOO ATLAS follows a teen sociopath who receives an experimental brain surgery that gives him a conscience. Which part of this was most fun to write about, and what kinds of moral issues are connected with manufacturing a cure for evil?
To prepare for writing this book, I did a lot of research into the relationship between mental illness and crime, and I found it FASCINATING. I discovered there’s a huge amount of controversy surrounding the subject. Should we exonerate people who break the law if they suffer from a form of mental illness that makes them more violent, for example, or less able to feel empathy? If so, where do we draw the line? How severe does the illness have to be? If we really were to develop a cure for these kinds of mental illnesses (and believe me, the technology in my book is VERY CLOSE to becoming a reality), would that also take away a person’s guilt? These are tough questions with no easy answers.
And I’m glad TATTOO ATLAS explores them. I also love the TATTOO ATLAS tattoos. Where did you get the idea for this, and how can readers get a hold of them?
I love the tattoos too! When I was trying to think of ways to promote TATTOO ATLAS, the idea of temporary tattoos seemed so obvious I couldn’t NOT do it! To get some, just preorder TATTOO ATLAS before release day (October 18) and DM me on Twitter (@timfloreen) or email me via my website (timfloreen.com) with a screenshot of the proof of purchase and your address. I’ll send a bunch of tattoos right away!
Wonderful! What are some of your current projects?
I’m currently working on a novel—another YA sci-fi thriller—that I hope to finish very soon. I can’t say too much about it yet, except that it’s set in San Francisco (my home town!) and Tic Tacs play a very important role. I’m also contributing to a “collaborative novel” project called FERAL YOUTH. It comes out in fall of 2017 and is being edited by the amazing Shaun Hutchinson. I love the concept: The book will focus on a group of ten kids at a wilderness camp for troubled teens who hold a contest to see who can tell the best story. Each author is responsible for creating one of the characters and writing the story that character tells. I had a blast writing my chapter.