The first spark of an idea came from a magazine article I read about twins who had some kind of a psychic link. At the time people were talking about space opera a lot, and I really liked the idea of combining my telepathic twins with all the fun of futuristic space travel. As a typical magpie author, I get bits of inspiration from everywhere, but I know in writing this book I was influenced by Joss Whedon’s Firefly series.
2. Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
In writing about teenage girls, I definitely draw from my own memories of being one, but I don’t think I actually base any of my characters on myself. Sometimes bits of how I talk sneak into things they say, though–family members who’ve read my book say sometimes they can hear my voice in it!
3. Speaking of which, I’m absolutely terrible with names. How did you come up with the names of your characters?
Ha, I’m terrible with names too! I end up writing the alphabet all over pieces of paper trying to work out the right letter for names to start with. I often know the sound I need, or the shape of the name, but it’s really tricky getting it right. And for the name of the planet on which LINKED is set, I had to enlist the help of my daughter and one of her friends–and they were really helpful!
4. Your novel has been described as fantasy, paranormal, science fiction, dystopian, and thriller because of its plethora of unique plot attributions. How would you describe it?
Most of the time I was writing it I said its title was Telepathic Twins in Space. Which I think sums it up pretty nicely. The thriller aspect was really the brainchild of my agent. She saw an early draft and suggested some changes to the pacing. As a reference, she mentioned The Bourne Identity–how it turns into a complete breakneck chase, where as soon as the hero gets away from one threat, he’s hit with another–and that totally inspired me. I revised the first half of the book very heavily, with my agent’s suggestions in mind, and keeping that Bourne Identity feel to the chase scenes helped me so much with the pacing–and ended up making it feel more like a thriller than it had to begin with.
5. What do you hope readers take away from your debut?
Mostly, I just hope to give readers one of those books that you can’t stop reading, that you lose yourself in. That, to me, is what books are for, and when I find a book like that I can’t stop talking about it! I wouldn’t mind if it made people think serious thoughts about how society works, too, and about how if you allow yourself to think of some people as "other" you can treat them without normal compassion without feeling bad about it. But mostly I just want people to enjoy the book and look forward to the sequel!
6. What is your next project as the release of LINKED is growing near?
After Telepathic Twins in Space (plus the sequel, Telepathic Twins Save the World–otherwise known as UNRAVEL–out in 2014), my next project is Cheerleaders in Space. Except it’s sort of turned into "Cheerleaders on a flying ship in the sky, with underground mutants". I told my daughters about it and they looked at me as if I was crazy.
7. Have you ever celebrated the summer solstice?
I haven’t. But now I want to write a book about a planet called Solstice, so thank you for the name suggestion!
8. How would your characters celebrate the summer solstice?
My characters live on Sekoia, which is a hot, mostly desert planet. I think the summer solstice is probably a pretty dangerous time, because that’s when the planet could be at its hottest. So they probably celebrate by staying indoors with their air-conditioning on, and by hoping that the heat won’t reverse the planet’s terraforming process and kill them all off.
Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere.
Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes.
Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed.
Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world.
Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.