Saturday, 7 February 2015

Interview with Kat Ross

Today I have an interview with Kat Ross, author of Some Fine Day. This was one of the books orphaned when Strange Chemistry went under. From memory I think it was two weeks from publication when it was cut. I had already read and reviewed it when the news broke. Since then, Some Fine Day was picked up by a new publisher, Skyscape (an imprint of Amazon's publishing arm), given a new cover and is slated for release in a week and a half (on 17/2/2015). I've included the new cover and blurb below, followed by the interview and, right at the end, some information about a giveaway, so be sure to scroll all the way down.

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A generation ago, continent-sized storms called hypercanes caused the Earth to flood. The survivors were forced to retreat deep underground and build a new society.

This is the story that sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist has heard all of her life.

Jansin grew up in a civilization far below the Earth’s surface. She’s spent the last eight years in military intelligence training. So when her parents surprise her with a coveted yet treacherous trip above ground, she’s prepared for anything. She’s especially thrilled to feel the fresh air, see the sun, and view the wide-open skies and the ocean for herself.

But when raiders attack Jansin’s camp and take her prisoner, she is forced to question everything she’s been taught. What do her captors want? How will she get back underground? And if she ever does, will she want to stay after learning the truth?
You can check out the book trailer here.

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First off, the obvious question: why hypercanes? Where did the idea come from? (And how many hypercanes are there in the Southern Hemisphere? I have to know!)

I started thinking about mega-storms after reading an amusing piece in the Onion about a hurriphoonado wreaking a path of destruction across the planet. Of course, it was more amusing seven years ago, before Typhoon Haiyan and Hurricane Sandy and all the mounting evidence that our climate is going seriously haywire from the burning of fossil fuels. Anyway, I sat on the idea for a while but I always had it in the back of my mind. When I stumbled across a theoretical class of extreme storms called hypercanes, I thought, hmmmm. What if this actually happened? And what if they didn't go away? How would we cope? I have a little page on my website about them here.

I liked that your society wasn't as extremely totalitarian as it could have been. As one of the characters says, it's "vaguely fascist" but I think that makes it more realistic. What led you to that choice, rather than something more extreme?

Yes, Jansin's world is tottering on the brink when the story takes place. There's still an illusion of civil liberties, but they're being steadily eroded. And I think that's how it often happens. There's no coup d'etat or military takeover or single dramatic event. It's more of a slow slide into the abyss. The story doesn't have a cult of personality; there's no single bad guy at the top. The underlying problem is a scarcity of resources underground and competition for them with other prefectures, which is not an easily fixable problem.

Underground is not a very common setting, can you tell us a bit about the research you had to do to write it?

I did a lot! You have to think about every single aspect of life, especially the basics: where does the food come from, the water, the air? What about Vitamin D deficiency from never seeing the sun? What if there's a fire? Or an earthquake? What kind of jobs would there be? How do people organize themselves differently underground? A big one was the temperature increase as you go deeper into the earth's crust. I initially had set the prefecture very deep, mainly because it sounded cool (I'm on a magnetic bullet train speeding through the darkness at four hundred miles per hour, and that train is about six miles beneath the Earth's surface…) but in one of my later edits, I realized that it would be way too hot at that depth. For every 328 feet [100 metres — T] below ground, the temperature increases about 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit [3º C]. So I revised it to a little more than a mile down (which is still WAY deeper than I would ever want to go!)

Will we be seeing more of the post-apocalyptic world? (From the ending of Some Fine Day we have some idea of where the next book will probably start, but after that...?)

I really hope so! I do have about 50k words of the second book already written, and would love to finish if I get a greenlight from my editors. Hopefully I will have more concrete news on that in the next few months. Avoiding any major spoilers, I can say that most of the action in the sequel takes place above ground, in the continental U.S. I really wanted to explore what it could be like nearly 100 years from now if runaway climate change continues: we're talking massive wildfires, record-breaking tornadoes, basically a giant desert from the Mexican border to the Rockies. And there's definitely some surprises in store about who lives up there!

Thanks, Kat, for those interesting answers! You can find out more about Kat and her books on Twitter (@katrossauthor) or at her website.

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And now for the giveaway! To celebrate the launch of Some Fine Day there are five awesome prizes up for grabs:
  • Grand Prize: Kindle Paperwhite with custom cover, preloaded with Some Fine Day
  • Second Prize (2): Signed copy of Some Fine Day
  • Third Prize (2): CD audiobook of Some Fine Day
This contest runs from February 7 to March 7 and you can enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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