Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Author Interview: SJ Kincaid previews Insignia

For my spotlight on upcoming dystopian/post apocalyptic fiction series, I interview authors with novels coming out in the genre in 2012/13. These are exclusive first looks at exciting new works. Enjoy!

Debut Author SJ Kincaid introduces us today to INSIGNIA, coming out with Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins) on July 10, 2012. (Pretty soon actually - I'm excited!)

Here's the summary:

More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology. 

The cover:

And the interview:

Why do you think people are drawn to "dark" stories?
I think dark stories are compelling because they allow people to step outside their comfort zone and experience situations they’d strive to avoid in real life, but can appreciate from a distance. I think dark stories also give characters a fantastic forum for showcasing their strength in a way that is more difficult to pull off in mundane, everyday settings.

If INSIGNIA had a theme song, what would it be and why?
Written in the Stars by Tinie Tempah. The words just work.

What fictional character from another book would your main character chose as his/her best friend and why?
I think he'd totally gravitate to (and probably have a ridiculous infatuation with) Tris from DIVERGENT or Rose from VAMPIRE ACADEMY. Those strong, steely, kickass girls do it for him. Whether they'd have the patience to put up with Tom Raines, well, that's another question!

What are your top 5 Dystopian lit recs and why?
It's so hard narrowing this down to just five. I'm going to stick to YA (and the YA definition of 'Dystopian') here.

ACROSS THE UNIVERSE- This surprised me in a good way. I hadn't read a novel like this in the YA genre before, but the level of thought put into the ship, life within the ship, the dynamics between the people in the society really impressed me. I also felt such an intense sensation of suffocation on the ship along with Amy, and that's impressive.

THE HUNGER GAMES- because, come on. I had the good fortune to wait to read this until just before MOCKINGJAY came out. This was a book I was ready to dislike because everyone else liked it, and surely all that hype meant it would be overrated. It wasn't. When I bothered reading all the way to the end of the first chapter, suddenly, I realized I couldn't stop reading it. Then my friend picked it up and couldn't stop reading. Then my mom picked it up and couldn't stop reading. How many books have that quality, hmm?

DIVERGENT- again, because, come on. I love how unapologetically badass Tris is. I think there's something fantastic about having a female protagonist who isn't a gentle, self-sacrificing person who lives to fall in love, and who is unapologetically badass.

HELPER12- This one is really unsettling. It's set in a future where only the very wealthy are allowed to be 'real people' in a way, and everyone else is tracked from birth into a role of service to them. The world is incredibly well fleshed out and it feels like a real glimpse into a frightening future. The main character also rings very true psychologically as a girl who grows up as one of the subhuman, lesser people in this scenario.

CINDER- It's just a lot of fun, and such a creative world. What a clever way to remake Cinderella, too!

What's on the top of your to-do list before the world ends?
Go skydiving, feel no guilt about massive quantities of chocolate. And, of course, tell my loved ones I love them and reach spiritual enlightenment etc. The usual apocalypse stuff. But mostly, the chocolate thing.

How does your novel stand out from others in the genre?
INSIGNIA is a futuristic thriller, and it certainly has its moments of (very, very pitch black) darkness, but it's a lot more fun and humorous than people seem to expect going into the book. There is quite a lot of darkness in the genre, and INSIGNIA is, for the most part, a bit of a change in pace from that. I hope people have fun reading it.

Thank you SJ!

Visit the author's website
Visit the author's blog
Follow SJ on Twitter: @sjkincaidbooks


Beth S. said...

I got the ARC of this book at NCTE but haven't read it yet. Definitely want to!

Charmaine Clancy said...

This book is definitely tempting me!
Wagging Tales

Rebecca said...

I'm LOVING apocalypse month—thanks for the great reviews and interviews!

Jana said...

I can't wait for this book! It just sounds so awesome!

Zibilee said...

I have been on the lookout for books that would appeal to boys, and this one sounds like it would be perfect for my son! I am so glad to have seen this feature today, and will be looking into it. Thanks Lenore, and SJ!

S.J.Kincaid said...

Thanks again for sending the questions, Lenore, and thanks to you guys who posted!

Jasmine Stairs said...

I was excited for the book before, but if it has HUMOUR, well then sign me up! :D (I love funny/dark books.)

Evie said...

I like her to do list before the world ends. I think I'd eat a lot of chocolate too :)
It's great to have a guy as the main character.

Kulsuma said...

This sounds so great! I love action, so I know this must have plenty of it.

Vivien said...

This sounds very intriguing. I'm interested in reading it for sure!

Llehn said...

Whoa. Looking forward to Insignia!

Lynsey Newton said...

This book is AWESOME and you all need to read it! I've just finished the ARC and it's so good, I'm ordering the finished hardback :)