Hi guys! I have some exciting news! I did an interview that is going to be printed in a book! Yes, an actual book! A few months ago, Jennifer Brody (who is super amazing) asked me to do the questions for the Q&A that will be featured in the back of The United Continnuums, which is the last installment in her award-winning The Continuum Trilogy, which is also my favorite series (and TUC is the best book and one of my top 3 favorites!). The United Continuums releases tomorrow July 11th, 2017, and I urge you to get it or enter the giveaway for a signed copy below! I definitely recommend reading all three books because they are so awesome! If you need reasons why to read them, check out my three reviews below! Now, to celebrate the release of TUC, Jennifer, her publisher, and I have agreed to release this exclusive interview excerpt, along with a giveaway of her book!
And thank you so much, Jennifer, for letting me do these questions and featuring me in your book. It is certainly a dream come true and an amazing honor to do the interview for The United Continuums, which is one of my favorite books of all time. I’m so happy for you that the series is finally complete!
Warning: There are some spoilers in a few of these questions below, so I will give a *SPOILER ALERT* before these questions!
About The United Continuums
In the epic conclusion to the award-winning Continuum Trilogy, Aero leads a group insurgents from the Second Continuum to overthrow his rival Supreme General Vinick and unite his space colony s military forces, while Seeker takes on a secret mission back to her home colony to reinforce Earth’s defenses and defend the First Continuum against an even greater threat. Meanwhile, Myra s nightmares have become a reality as the Dark Thing hurtles toward Earth with designs on eradicating the planet s fledgling populace. The only thing standing in the way are the three Carriers and those who would join them to fight against a second coming of the Doom.
What inspired you to write The Continuum Trilogy?
Originally, I came up with the idea during the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. I was sitting at home and watching the TV news coverage of the oil spreading over the top of the ocean and suffocating birds and fish. As I stared at the dark sludge, feeling horrified, I started to wonder what would happen if we couldn’t live on the surface anymore. I couldn’t shake the idea. I kept asking myself more and more what if questions. In this way, the idea for the Continuum Universe started to form in my mind. At first, I thought of having underwater colonies, but quickly realized that we would build Continuums in multiple environments to maximize our chances for long-term survival—underwater, underground, and in outer space. In this way, the idea kept growing bigger and bigger, until I knew the story needed to expand into three books.
Your books take place throughout many of the Continuums, and each one had a different history and culture to it. How did you build each Continuum so uniquely?
Exactly, the original concept involved putting different societies into extreme isolation and exploring how they evolved differently. I had the idea for the underwater Thirteenth Continuum first (due to inspiration from the BP oil spill). I’ve always been fascinated by the deep-sea environment and how we know more about the surface of Mars than our own ocean trenches. Often when I’m worldbuilding, I rely on historical allegory to guide me. In this case, I based the history of that colony on the Dark Ages. I was interested in exploring how we went from a pinnacle of civilization with the Roman Empire and fell into a dark age, losing knowledge and technology. I also wanted to show how a democratic society modeled on the United States of America could devolve into a totalitarian state ruled by an oligarchy named the Synod. That’s why I included the constitutional amendments in the beginning of the first book.
For the Second Continuum—the lone surviving space colony, or so we think—I wanted to make them a military colony ruled by discipline and order, very different from the religious, superstitious Thirteenth Continuum. So, I turned to ancient Sparta for guidance on how to build that colony’s world. I realized along the way that while they had advanced technology and remembered their history, they still suffered in a different way. Their overreliance on logic and systemic organization led them to suppress their emotions and revile romantic love.
With each colony, each new environment, came a chance for me to build a different society. The underground Seventh Continuum devolved significantly, living in complete darkness with no technology. In their desperation to survive, they even turned to cannibalism. Influences included Lord of the Flies and also Gollum from the Lord of the Rings (who is also a devolved hobbit). This aspect of the trilogy that involves the different colonies really makes it stand out.
Why did you decide to include flashbacks, excerpts, records, and quotes throughout the books? What impact do you think it made to the overall storyline?
Great question! When I originally conceived of the Continuum books, I needed a way to lead the survivors back to the Surface. Thus, the Beacons were born. I didn’t want to rely on a map or something that felt old-fashioned. I had the idea for a device that was given to each colony—and worn by a young Carrier—that would bond with them and preserve their memories and history, as well as serve as a homing beacon to lead them back to the First Continuum and the trove of life and information preserved there. This gave me a way for Myra to learn the history of her colony through the first Carrier Elianna Wade, who we first meet in the prologue. By making the memories interactive, I think it gives the reader the experience of learning the history of the Doom along with Myra. Those chapters are some of my favorite parts of the first book.
The quotes—from many of my favorite works of literature—and the historical records and documents cut to the core of the book’s main theme. What do we choose to preserve? What do we save from the Doom? What matters most to humanity? What happens if we lose our history, art, and culture? These inclusions stand as a warning—here is what we stand to lose if the Doom happens. Here is how we could devolve from a democracy to a totalitarian religious state.
Practically, they also speak to Noah’s role in the Continuum Project. He’s a supercomputer, and his name stands for the National Operation to Archive Humanity. It’s also clearly a biblical reference to Noah’s Arc. The historical records come from Noah, who is tasked with preserving our history for the future recolonization of the planet. The famous saying goes, “Those who cannot remember history are doomed to repeat it.” (Santayana, but often repeated).
Your books switch between different POVs of many of the main characters, including Myra, Aero, Seeker, Jonah, and others. Who was the easiest to write? Who was the hardest? Which character was your favorite?
When I started working on this story, I knew it had to be told in rotating POVs to properly explore the full expanse of the huge universe. The main POVs in the first book belong to Myra and Aero, but we also hear from Sari Wade, Professor Divinus, the Synod, and briefly Seeker in the epilogue. As the books continue, the POVs expand to include more characters. The most challenging to write was Seeker, who really comes to life in Return of the Continuums. Because she’s so devolved, I had to work extra hard to make her relatable. Also, she undergoes a major transformation. I knew the book would either live or die with her voice. I’m pleased that she came out so strong, in my humble opinion.
I love all the characters in different ways. Surprisingly, writing antagonists like the Synod and Commander Drakken was really fun. I also loved writing Jonah, Myra’s father. I’m glad I was able to continue following his journey through all three books. Some of the characters who I absolutely adore, but that don’t get their own POVs (yet) include Tinker, Maude, and Wren.
*SPOILER ALERT!!!!! THIS QUESTION CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS!!!!*
When writing your series, did you shock yourself? Were there some scenes and possible character deaths that surprised you?
Yes, many surprises came in writing the books. One of the first big ones came at the end of the second book when Myra and Aero finally connect in person and reach the First Continuum. I realized pretty quickly that Noah would deactivate the Beacons after they had served their purpose. And then it dawned on me that it wouldn’t be the sparks flying romance I had first imagined. Without the Beacons to connect them, Myra and Aero were really just strangers. Furthermore, they came from such drastically different colonies that they had little in common. So that was a fun surprise to explore to what extent the Beacons shaped their feelings and connection, and to what extent they really did love each other.
Another surprise came in the third book when I realized that Vinick was going to slaughter the Forgers. It was a really difficult scene to write, since I love the old Forgers so much. Later in the book, when I was writing the confrontation on the bridge with Vinick, I realized that Danika was going to kill him, something I also hadn’t expected. Another tough one was destroying the Second Continuum, courtesy of Commander Drakken. It helps to raise the stakes in the book. I realized at a certain point that it had to happen, but that didn’t make it easy to write.
*SPOILER ENDS!!!! NO MORE SPOILERS!!!!!*
As I was reading your books, I felt like I was watching a movie! Did your background in movies affect how you wrote The Continuum Trilogy?
Yes, for sure. I care a lot about the structure of my books, which is something I learned working on screenplays in Hollywood. I also tend to write very visually, especially since I build such expansive worlds. I have to be able to envisage a scene in order to write it. It has to feel real to me—like a fully imagined world. I think that’s part of why Hollywood has always been so interested in adapting my books for the big screen. The exciting news is that we’ve just attached a director, and we’re moving forward with making them into films. It’s a long road to actually make the movie, but this is a huge step forward. So keep your fingers crossed!
Many of the main characters progress and change throughout the trilogy as they learn new things about the world and people around them. How would you want your book to change and impact your readers?
Like most dystopian authors, I hope my books serve as a warning of what could happen if we continue down certain dark paths. As much as I love the fictional world of my books, we don’t really want to be living in isolated Continuums because we destroyed Earth, right? I also hope that my books inspire empathy for other people who come from different backgrounds. At heart, we are all part of humankind. I hope we can remember that.
Out of all the quotes you used before each part, which one was your favorite and why?
Wow, that’s a hard one! I chose so many from my favorite writers and placed them throughout all three books. I love the epigraph at the beginning of this book. One is from Einstein, and the other is from J.K. Rowling. I still get chills when I read them again.
How does it feel finishing writing The Continuum Trilogy?
Both exhilarating, but also sad at the same time. I love writing the end, but then I always go through a mourning process where I miss my worlds and characters. Through the process of working on the books, a process that consumes years of my life, they become like my friends. Myra and Aero have been with me for years. So, it’s a bittersweet experience. But I also feel really proud of this trilogy and how it came together. I think this third book is my favorite. It was also the hardest to write. I was juggling so many POVs and having to pay off so much.
In your opinion, what makes a YA dystopian novel stick out from other books in that genre? What would you say makes The Continuum Trilogy stand out from other dystopian books?
I would say that my books are actually post-Dystopian. They show how we emerge from the dystopia and rebuild our world. I always say that tonally, they’re more like Star Wars than some other dystopian works. They have hope at their core always. My characters always have hope, even as the obstacles pile up. They never stop believing they can survive and make the world a better place. My books also read more like science “faction,” incorporating real science. Also, it’s not a game—the stakes are real. I find a lot of recent books involve elaborate constructs.
What can we expect from you in the future? Will we see more of the Carriers and the Continuums?
Yes, I sure hope so! I’d love to write a prequel series about Professor Divinus and the Carriers at some point. I think it would be fun to explore the rich backstory more. I’d also like to write some subseries set in other colonies, like the Third Continuum (the Mars colony). It’s worth noting that I did leave the door open at the end of The United Continuums to explore what happened to other colonies. But in the meantime, I’m already working on a new book idea. It’s in the same genre—YA science fiction—and involves a lot of outer space elements. I’m excited to start writing it later this year. I’m also focused on packaging the Continuum Trilogy for film.
Thanks so much again, Jennifer, for letting me do the interview for The United Continuums! I love it so much!
This week’s prize is a signed copy of The United Continuums!
Here’s a few rules:
- You must be 18 or older or have your parent’s permission.
- No giveaway accounts! If you’re Twitter account is a giveaway account, you are disqualified.
- US residents only.
- You must be truthful! All entries will be checked!
Now, here’s the giveaway link! May the odds ever be in your favor! (Haha, get that reference?)
You do NOT want to miss getting this book! It’s so good!!! You will love it like the first two!
Do you have any thoughts or questions? Want to chat?
Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!