Karri Thompson is the author of the new series The Van Winkle Project, a young adul, sci-fi series about a girl who is awakened in a world 1000 years later. So far, Thompson had published with Entangled Teen Mirror X (book one) and Ascendancy (book two), the latest been published just this Monday.
I had the pleasure to talk personally to her for this interview and she, kindly, answer all of my questions -they are a lot -. To know more about this Sci-Fi Young Adult writer keep reading this interview.
You will find news about her third book in The Van Winkle Project, and what could be the title for the said book.
How long did it take you to write Mirror X and Ascendancy?
I’m actually a pretty fast writer. Once I have the basic plot in my head, I go straight from there. I never make an outline first. It took me about three months to write MIRROR X and about two months to write ASCENDANCY. I’m talking about the first drafts, of course. After that, each took about two weeks to self-edit. Then after receiving feedback from my critique group, it was probably another week or two for me to make changes. Then with every manuscript, there are three rounds of edits with my editor. That takes months. Then it goes to line edits and then copy edits. It’s a long process.
What was your inspiration for The Van Winkle Projects? How did you come up with the idea?
There are many people I wish I had met, but they are no longer alive. But if they were cloned, I could see what they were like in real life. That’s how I came up with the idea for MIRROR X. Cloning a person would need to take place in the future like it does in my books, since we don’t have the technology to do it now. Until then, seeing a passed celebrity in wax is the closest alternative.
Did you know it would be a trilogy from the moment you started writing Mirror X?
I actually wrote MIRROR X as a stand-alone novel, but Entangled offered me a three-book deal. I couldn’t pass that up. I love my characters so much. It’s going to be sad for it to end with the next novel. I’ve already stated writing book three. The working title is RELEGATION, but I’m not sure if my publisher will keep that title.
Mirror X talks about cryogenics and really advanced technology. How do you do your research for those topics?
I did do a lot of research. Thankfully there is enough information about cryogenics and cloning available on the internet, so I didn’t have to spend hours in the public library. I’ve always been interested in science, so both of those topics intrigue me, and I actually enjoyed learning about them and incorporating the information in my book.
Did you get writers block in the world-building process?
I did occasionally, but not for too long. I just had to keep thinking about what was futuristic enough to take place 1,000 years from now with it still being practical and believable. Due to the plague, the world was just getting out of a technological recession, so nothing could be too over-the-top like what we see in Star Wars and Star Trek.
Do you think that what happens in the book might happen in the future?
Yikes. I hope not. As bacteria becomes more resistant to our antibiotics, it’s not unfeasible to believe that there could eventually be some type of flu pandemic that could wipe out part of the population. We just have to hope that more aggressive antibiotics are developed before that happens. When it comes to L-Bands, some of that is happening right now with the Apple Watch and Samsung Smartwatch, but I don’t think it will ever come to all of the citizens being tracked and monitored by central computers. For that to happen, it would take the reestablishment of new governments around the world after a devastation as great as the plague in MIRROR
Now that Ascendancy is published. Would you change anything?
I haven’t really thought about that, so I guess that means no. I think if I re-read MIRROR X right now, I’d probably think things to myself like, “Oh, I wish I had a bit more description here,” or “this sentence would sound better if I used this word instead” – little things like that. In terms of the basic story line and how the characters have developed, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve just recently re-read ASCENDANY, and I love it the way it is.
What surprise you the most about the publishing process, so far?
I was surprised to find out that not every book that gets published gets on a shelf at every book store in the country. Until my first book was acquired, I didn’t know that publishers pay for a book to be displayed on a front table, on an end cap, or in a window, etc. And publishers only do that for their biggest authors. Shelf space islimited, and there are so many books being published every year, and so many classics that don’t got out of print that shelf space is limited. MIRROR X is at my local book stores and Barnes and Noble, but that’s it. Maybe someday one of my books will be in the front window at the Barnes and Noble in Times Square. That would be the ultimate.
Did you have any say in the final cover of both books? Btw, they are awesome.
Thank you. I didn’t have a final say. Entangled had me fill out an information sheet where I could give suggestions and list other books that had covers I liked, but that was about it. Basically, I received an email with the jpeg attachment that read: “Here’s your cover. We hope you love it as much as we do.” And I do love them, so I’m totally happy with what my publisher came up with.
Which character do you most identify within The Van Winkle Project? I would choose Magnum,because he is my kind of genius.
I love Magnum! I would have to choose Cassie. She doesn’t take any crap for anyone. I’m not quite as strong as her in that respect, but I don’t let myself get taken advantage of – at least not now that I’m an adult. When I was a kid though, I was very submissive, never wanting to create waves, so I pretty much agreed to anything and never gave my opinion. I’m so glad I’m not like that anymore.
Would you choose to be cryogenically frozen, or die in a natural way?
Wow, that’s a tough question. I don’t think I could make that decision until I talked to someone who had been frozen and then was brought back to life. I’d want to know what it was like. Did they dream? Did it feel like they fell asleep and woke up the next morning even through it had really been years? I’m not sure if our technology will ever reach the point of it actually being possible. After I was already dead, I wouldn’t mind being frozen though because if I could never be brought back to life, it wouldn’t matter because I was already dead.
Do you have anything in common with Cassie?
Cassie is very much into science. She worked alongside her paleontologist mother on digs and now she wants to work with Michael to develop the Van Winkle Project on Tasma. Even though English was always my favorite subject, science was my second. I didn’t like dissecting animals in biology class, but I loved learning about the science of things.
Would you make the same decisions she made?
I think I would have made the same decisions that Cassie made. Like I said, I don’t let people push me around anymore. I am still very diplomatic and sensitive to other’s feelings, of course, just like Cassie is, but I value my freedom, and the last thing I’d want are obscura’s recording my every move and the government forcing me to participate in a program in which I had no say. Some people think Cassie might be a bit selfish, but it had everything to do with them not asking – but telling her what she had to do instead.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In high school, I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t begin writing my first manuscript until I was an adult. There was no time during college and when I started my teaching career. I got married and had a baby – still no time to write. Then finally when my son was about four years old, I found the time while he napped.
Which writers inspire you?
I am a huge fan of Charles Dickens. I love his writing style. I love his characters. My writing style is nothing like his, but I try to develop memorable characters. Dickens did just that. Who doesn’t remember Pip?
What are your favorites memories of reading as a …child/teen/adult (so far)?
When I was in elementary school, we’d get the Scholastic Book Fair Flyer and order form. I’d pick out a dozen books, and my mom would order them for me. It was so exciting at school when the books would arrive and the teacher would pass out the orders. I’d bring the books home and stack them next to my bed. I’d read in bed every night, one book after the other until I finished all of them. My love for reading grew during those years and has continued to do so.
Why Young Adult? Why now?
I decided to write YA because I’m a high school English teacher. I feel like I’m pretty up on how teenagers behave – what they say, how they react, etc. When I write, I can ask myself, “What would my students do in this situation?”
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
Actually, I am also a high-school English teacher, so if I wasn’t writing, that’s what I’d be doing. I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature. If I wasn’t a teacher or a writing, I’d want to play a role in some aspect of the publishing business – maybe be an editor.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
When I’m at my computer writing, I have the television turned to either HGTV or Food Network. I don’t really watch it. I keep the volume low, so it doesn’t distract me. When I take a quick 30-second break or stop to compose a sentence in my head before I type it, I’ll glance at the screen, but that’s it. I don’t know why I have it on. It’s kind of just a habit now.
What does your family think of your writing?
My family loves it. They come to all of my book signings and events. They are very proud of me, so they never complain about how much time I spend writing. And now that my son drives and is seventeen, he doesn’t need mom that much anymore, so I don’t neglect him with my writing.
What piece of advice you would give to a new writer who just finished her YA book and wants to get published?
Research how to write a query letter and query an agent. There’s tons on information on the internet that will tell you what to do. And when (not if- everybody gets them) you get a rejection, don’t give up! I know that’s a cliché, but it’s true. This business is so subjective. Just because one agent or editor doesn’t like your manuscript, it doesn’t mean that the next one won’t like it either. In addition, attend writing conferences. Some offers have editors and agents there who will read the first few pages of your manuscript and give you advice. No one ever stops learning. And once you do have something written, find a critique group and join it. Writers can learn a lot from each other.
So, to close this interview, Ascendancy is the second book in The Van Winkle Project Series, and I’m quite sure one more is on its way. Could you tell us a little about what we can expect for the next book? There is title a title already? Can you share it with us?
The title I have for the third book is RELEGATION. I don’t know if my publisher will keep it or change it. They have the final say. I can tell you a little about it. Cassie and Michael are going to return Region One and make things right when it comes to President Harrington. And I will also say that VW3 does make an appearance 🙂
If you would like to find out more about Karri Thompson and read her books, take a look at her website. You can also follow her on Twitter here.
About the Author
Growing up in San Diego, California, Karri Thompson spent much of her years at the beach, reading novels, tanning, and listening to music. At SDSU, she earned a BA in English, MA in education, and her teaching credential. As a wife, mother, and high-school English teacher, she began writing novels, giving all of the compelling plots and unique characters in her head a home. Victorian literature rocks her socks, and when she’s not writing, jogging, going to concerts, or watching her son play football, she’s reading Dickens.
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This interview wouldn’t have been possible without the collaboration of two amazing people. Mario @ Entre Páginas and Angela @ Ángel Entre Lineas. They both are peruvian booktubers and they give me the ideas for some of the questions. Thank you guys!
See you in the next post!