Dark Life was on the top of my best reads lists for last year, and the best Dystopian book I've read to date.
How long have you known that you wanted to be an author?
For as long as I can remember I’ve been a daydreamer, running intricate stories in my head for my own amusement. My mind automatically shifts into that mode when I’m driving and as I fall asleep. In high school, I started writing them down and very quickly realized that’s what I wanted to do full-time, write stories, though I wasn’t sure for which medium.
Where did you draw inspiration from for the characters in Dark Life?
Ty was inspired by the protagonist in Old Yeller, a fifteen-year-old pioneer boy named Travis – a character I’ve always loved. Ty’s little sister, Zoe, was based somewhat on my daughter who was eight when I wrote Dark Life. The way Ty interacts with Zoe – well, it’s a lot like what goes on in my house every day.
Dark Life is deliciously descriptive of sea life - where did you get your inspiration from?
I did a lot of research beforehand and then, while I was writing, I kept one particular reference book open on my desk: Ocean: The World’s Last Wilderness Revealed. It’s my favorite of all the ocean books I own, because the pictures are glorious and it has information on just about everything ocean related: subsea geology, currents and waves, the ocean’s flora and fauna… It was my go-to book. I also printed out pictures of sea creatures that I’d downloaded from the internet and made a big collage of them, which I kept propped up near my desk.
I'm looking forward to reading more from you, how many more adventures/books might there be in store for Ty and Gemma?
I’m envisioning three more. There are just so many cool things that can happen to subsea pioneers…
Could you give us sneak peek of what might be in the store for Ty and Gemma in the next book?
Benthic Territory and Ty are still struggling to gain more independence, while Gemma is desperately trying to feel at home subsea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come easily for her. Also, I explore the world a little more in Rip Tide – namely, what’s happening on the ocean frontier’s surface.
When you're not writing, what's your favorite genre to read, and do you have a favorite author?
I love day tripping into new worlds. Love speculative fiction and old school scifi. Anything dystopian or post-apocalyptic will always catch my eye whether a book or film. Do I have to narrow it down to one favorite author? Uhg. I love too many. Here are a few off the top of my head: Ira Levin, Ray Bradbury, Nancy Farmer, Suzanne Collins, and Jack Finney.
Books or chocolate?
Books. Now had you said Twizzlers or jellybeans it would have been a much harder choice for me. :)
Any plans for other books separate to this?
As a matter of fact I’m working on a new one right now. It’s called The Fetch and is the first book in a YA trilogy, which Scholastic Press acquired for publication beginning in Fall 2012.
Many thanks to Kat for taking the time to be interviewed, I'm really looking forward to Rip Tide, Dark Life was a fabulous unstoppable read :) With thanks also to Simon & Schuster UK.