Hi Kat! So what are some of your favorite dystopian/post-apocalyptic novels, if any? Did they influence you at all in the writing of Dark Life?
I love sci-fi, so anything even vaguely dystopian or post-apocalyptic will always catch my attention whether a book or film. I think the first novel I read that falls into the niche was Stephen King’s The Stand, followed by Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend (because in an interview King mentioned that it was his favorite book.) Both kept my imagination buzzing long after I’d finished them. Others that I’ve loved since then: Enders Game, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Feed, The House of the Scorpion, the Uglies series, and of course, The Hunger Games & Catching Fire.
They didn't consciously influence me. However, I’ve been an avid fan of dystopian films since childhood – Planet of the Apes, Logan’s Run, Blade Runner, The Road Warrior, 12 Monkeys, 28 Days Later, Children of Men, Sunshine… just to name a few favorites. So I know those images seep into my writing. But the funny thing is I never thought of Dark Life as a dystopia while I was working on it. My conscious influence was the Western. I was trying to capture the courage and vitality of the old west pioneers and the feelings of wonder and fear that they must have experienced, living in the wilderness. One of the recurring themes in Dark Life is that the survival of the group depends on their willingness to accept one another and work together. It’s a theme straight out of Stagecoach.
Dark Life is planned as a series. Why did you choose this format over a standalone novel? And what can we expect from the rest of the series?
Actually the premise for Dark Life came to me during a writing exercise – as a stand-alone book. I’d set myself the task of combining three things that my son loved to read about into one story – pioneers, the ocean and the X-men. But once I started designing the world, I kept coming up other adventures for my characters. I realized it was going to take more than one book to explore all the fun and freaky things that could happen to subsea pioneers.
As in the first book, the maturation of the territory will continue to parallel Ty’s personal growth as both try to achieve some measure of independence.
Let’s say climate change does cause the catastrophic conditions described in Dark Life. What would you personally miss the most? Is there anything at all you’d actually like better about that world?
Ugh, I’d hate living on the Topside in Dark Life. The loss of the forests and wildlife would devastate me. But, if governments and corporations worldwide were intensely committed to funding the research and development of clean energy alternatives – I’d see that as an improvement over our situation today.
Congrats on Dark Life being optioned for film. Have you had any fantasy casting sessions? Who would make an ideal Ty and Gemma?
Thanks! Honestly, I haven’t. Though my 10 y.o. daughter would like the producer to put the project on hold until she’s old enough to play Gemma.
Why do you think dystopian fiction has such a following these days? What’s the attraction?
It does seem to be gathering momentum, doesn’t it? But then, I’ll bet that’s true of speculative fiction across the board.
My humble theory -- our technology changes so fast these days and many people (especially young adults) are adept at learning how to incorporate those changes. Therefore there isn’t much market resistance when a new version of something comes out, especially if it seems like an improvement. I think the interest in dystopian fiction might stem from people’s desire to consider how new technologies and trends could play out in worst-case scenarios. Dystopian stories usually come embedded with a warning, which is why the best are so chilling. For example, it never even occurred to me that the Internet might bring on the apocalypse and then I read M.T. Anderson’s Feed…
Thank you Kat! Find out more about Kat Falls at the publisher's website.
Thanks to the UK publisher, I have 2 copies of DARK LIFE to give away to residents of Europe. Just tell me in your comment what most appeals to you about DARK LIFE and you're entered! I'd appreciate it too if you'd tweet a link or post a link in your sidebar, thanks! This contest will remain open for 2 weeks, until March 10th at 11:59 PM CST.