First off, thanks so much for having me on your awesome blog, Kris!
There were two major inspirations for SLIP. First, I really wanted to make this book all about family. It’s a story of one family’s struggle against great odds, regardless of whether they live today or far into the future. In this case, they live in a future where they face many challenges.
Second, I wanted the book to highlight and consider a major issue we face today: overpopulation. The world is only so big and many of our resources are of a finite nature. And yet each and every day we see the global population grow higher and higher. It’s not sustainable. But what’s the solution? SLIP highlights one potential way of dealing with the problem, but I’ll let you decide whether it’s the right one.
Can you describe the process of world building for this book?
This world was a whole lot of fun to build. Because it’s set very far into the future, the potential for technological advancements were endless. There were some obvious ones, like automatically driving cars and retinal scans, and some less obvious ones, like floating holographic 3-d ads that tailor themselves to any pedestrians they come in contact with. All in all, the technology and scifi aspects allowed my imagination to run wild and create a world that will come alive on the pages and in the minds of my readers.
What was the most difficult thing about writing Slip?
Structure. My beta readers were somewhat mixed in regards to the structure of the book, which is unusual. Most of the time my team of ten betas are on exactly the same page, which makes it easy to address issues and correct them. But in this case, they were split pretty evenly on where the book should start. Half of them wanted it to start with the main character as a teenager (classic YA) and the other half liked my original idea which was to begin the story with the main character as a child, and they show how he grew up. In the end, I went with the second option, which I think is a more unique take on things and allows me to build up the world from a child’s eyes, which is cool and challenging at the same time. Then later you can see how much the character changes from childhood to teenager.
What was your favorite or chapter/ scene to write?
My favorite scene was when the main character finally leaves home to make his own way in the world. Imagine being a child who has never really left his own house, because the world is too dangerous for him. The world would feel like an alien planet to him. There was tons of emotion boiled into such a short scene that I felt myself getting overwhelmed even as I wrote it. That’s when writers are at their best.
Is there a message you want your audience to take away from Slip?
I always like there to be subtle messages in my books, and this one more than most. I want readers to see that even in the worst circumstances, a family has the chance to support each other and pull through it. Tragedies happen, but we can rise above and seek a better future.
Which authors inspire(d) you?
Dean Koontz, Patrick Ness, Neal Shusterman, Veronica Roth…there are so many awesome authors I look up to. But these four in particular have inspired me to take my craft to the next level.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, which was AMAZING! Highly recommend. And now I’m reading BZRK by Michael Grant, which is really different so far. Not sure about it yet! But I loved his GONE series, so I’m hoping to enjoy this one too.
Do you have a specific time of day you prefer to write?
Yes! I’m a morning writer, and you’ll almost always find me churning out my 3,000-words-per-day goal between 9 and 12 in the morning. That way I can spend my afternoons hanging out with my wife, Adele. We live in Hawaii, so we usually wander over to the beach to go for a swim or read a good book in the sand.
Do you have advice for getting past Writer’s Block?
Hmm, well I’m fortunate that I rarely get writer’s block, but for me the only way I can bounce back from it is to get down to the bare bones of the emotion of whatever story I’m writing. I need to feel some of the emotion in the story so that I CARE about it as much as I hope my readers will. This usually requires me to skip ahead and write one of the more tumultuous and emotional scenes I have planned. It also helps if I listen to a song that brings out the same emotions I’m hoping to translate into words. I’m a very emotional writer, and I quickly lose interest if I’m not connecting with my characters.
What project are you working on now?
Great question! Well, my agent and I are in the process of pitching my new YA post-apocalyptic witch book, BREW, to publishers. I’ve also just finished the sequel to BREW, called BOIL, so I’m working on revising that one. And next I’ll be writing the sequel to SLIP, which is called GRIP. I expect to release GRIP later this year. So, as usual, I’m busy busy busy, loving my new career as a fulltime author. It’s a dream come true!
Thanks so much for all the great questions, Kris! I hope you and your members enjoy SLIP!