*Materials & images provided by Xpresso Book Tours.
~Published: March 5th 2015
~Length: 227 Pages
~Genres: New Adult, Science Fiction
Her name is Sarina Wocek. Her breath is poison. She was not born out of love.
Twenty-three years ago, government officials traced the budding epidemic of hemorrhagic fever HF186-2A in south Florida to the Wocek family and their adorable six-week-old daughter, Sarina. Her father, Gregory, admitted his role in genetically engineering a biological weapon with pride. She was taken to a lab hidden in a rural area of New Hampshire. She hasn’t left since.
Her government keepers could cure her, but they won’t. Genetically engineering a child to be a weapon of mass destruction, that’s unethical. Refining a weapon of mass destruction that someone else created? That’s just being clever.
After twenty-three years of captivity, she escapes. She crosses an ocean to put her father and the lab behind her, but it’s not enough. When she sees the first bleeding sore, she knows she didn’t leave the virus behind either.
The only way she’ll be free is by destroying every trace of the lab. She only has one advantage; she doesn’t care if she makes it out alive.
Megan Carney is an author, geek and amateur photographer living in the Twin Cities. She has ten years of experience in the field of computer security. Her previous short story publications include: ‘Flighty Youth’ in the Raritan, ‘Modern Mayhem’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Swing By Close’ in the Wayfarer, ‘Directions’ in the Bell Tower. ‘Swing By Close’ and ‘Directions’ both won first prize in the fiction sections of that issue. The Christian Science Monitor dubbed her self-published photography book, ‘Signs of My Cities’ as having “youthful zest.”
Her non-literary creations include: a robot to clean the bathroom tub, Zim and Gir costumes, No-Dig tomato stakes, StickFriend the bear bag hanger, and a burning coal costume so she could be Katniss for a night.
This is such an interesting book - how did you come up with the idea?
There was an episode in one of my favorite science fiction series about a geneticist who created a child to spread a terrible disease. In the final moments of the episode (sorry, spoiler!), the mother learns that man she thought loved her just wanted her to carry the child, and that her child is the cause of the deadly outbreak. She kills her own child by smothering it.
Anyway, that last moment of the episode stuck in my head for days. What was the mother imagining life would be like for her child? What if the child had lived? Who would take care of her? Who would try to use her? What would it be like to grow up knowing you had caused so much pain? And the most fascinating question to me, how would a person like that handle the universal desire for freedom? She knows she has to escape, and yet she also knows that just by living she presents a danger to others.
Do you think anything like the situation in your book could happen in real life?
Oh, I doubt it. That’s what makes it fun to write. Doing things as grand as Dr. Wocek’s plans would generally require a team, even if all the science were in place. And that makes it hard to keep a secret. But writing the book did make me think about some of the ethical issues involved with genetic engineering. What Dr. Wocek does is wrong, obviously, but if we could genetically engineer people who were always happy and obedient, should we? What about people who were incredibly smart? And if the technology were only available to the rich, what would that mean for social justice? The playing field isn’t level as it is.
How long did it take you to write this book?
This one wrote itself really quickly, maybe forty minutes a chapter for each rewrite and I didn’t do much outlining. I went through about 3 rewrites, so you can do the math. I try not to think about the time too much, because mostly I write for the enjoyment. Someday, I hope it brings enough income to be a job. But I think I’ll always write regardless.
Is there going to be a sequel, or is this a stand-alone story?
I honestly don’t know. Right now, I have other writing projects that are keeping me busy. I have a series of novels about a computer security geek (Navy Trent) who gets caught up in a CIA operation and ends up joining the agency. I also have a stand-alone story about a Philadelphia detective who ends up stranded in Hong Kong doing dirty deeds for the mob.
In my head, all sorts of things happen to Sarina after the book ends. I just haven’t thought of anything exciting enough to make into a book yet.
Are you planning on writing any other books?
Most definitely. Right now, I’m working on a Navy Trent book (the series is not yet published) where she’s targeted by a North Korean defector. And, after that, I hope to do a novel for Erin Brody, an assassin, one of the characters in the Navy Trent series. She’s one of my favorite characters. I love to roll around in her head because she’s absolutely unapologetic about who she is and what she does.
What are your favorite types of books to read?
I don’t have a favorite genre. Mostly, I love to read books about characters who change. And not always for the better. This wasn’t a book … but I really loved Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog for that reason. I also love to read books about realistic heroines. I think too often authors try to make heroines strong in the way that male heros are strong. And emotionally or intellectually, they can be just as strong as anyone. But physically, it’s not realistic to have a woman whose opponent outweighs her by fifty pounds fight in the same way that a man would.
I also love books that show me new ways of writing. Recently, I read “The Full Ridiculous” by Mark Lamprell, which is written in second person. It was the first time a book written that way had really grabbed me. There’s another lovely book called “Sounds Like Crazy”, which I learned a lot from. The novel is about a woman who has multiple personalities that occasionally take over, and it’s a good lesson in the sublteties of point of view. Another one of my favorites is “The Steel Seraglio”. It’s a story that tragic and wonderful at the same time, a story about the resilience of ideas and how our good deeds can travel down through time, even if we don’t survive our battles.
Another couple of my favorites recently have been “The Mad Scientists Guide to World Domination” and “One Small Step”, which are both sci-fi anthologies.
I read a lot of non-fiction in bursts as well. I tend to get obsessed with learning about a topic. For a while, it was Cold War spy stuff. My next phase, and this one lasted years, was reading books about the psychology of human decisions. It’s fascinating to me because we have these heuristics we use unconsciously that serve us well, for the most part. But in some cases they fail spectacularly. For the novel that includes the North Korean defector, I read six or seven books on life there, including memoirs of people that managed to escape.
What else do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
A little bit of everything. :) I’m always collecting hobbies I don’t have time for. I like hiking and backpacking. I started whitewater kayaking a couple years ago. Every once in a while I get an idea in my head, and I break out the sewing machine again. I also do amigurumi - that’s where you knit little creatures and things.
Are you strictly a writer, or do you have a "day job" as well?
I have a day job, and I’ve found a lot of other writers do as well. I’m lucky because I like my day job.
Unless you make it big, it’s hard to make enough income to live off writing alone. Sometimes I get discouraged by it, but the good part is that hanging out with writers means a lot of interesting conversations. At the first writing conference I went to, I talked with an airline pilot, a massage therapist, and ex-banker and an ex-prosecutor. That range of perspectives is always fun. The massage therapist was explaining to me how he can read a person’s injuries just by the way they walk.
Would you enjoy seeing your book made into a movie?
I guess? That seems like such a far off possibility, it’s kind of hard to answer. I know from listening to other writers speak at conferences that you don’t have much control over the final outcome. It could represent the book well, or you might just end up hoping that the movie gets people to read the book.
Just for fun: what/where is your favorite place in the world?
A cabin in the woods on a snowy day. Preferably next to a frozen lake. Snowshoeing on a frozen lake is one of my favorite things to do.
~ Tour Schedule ~
I had fun with this interview! There's a bunch more fun going on with this tour. Check out the schedule below, and visit other blogs for more info and extra fun stuff!
–Got Nikki? >> Interview
–Weezled >> Review
–Books Can Take You There >> Review
–CBY Book Club >> Excerpt
–Authors You Want to Read >> Excerpt
–4covert2overt ~ A Place in the Spotlight >> Guest post
–Bea’s Book Nook >> Excerpt
–A British Bookworm’s Blog >> Guest post
–Books That Hook >> Excerpt
–Just Us Book Blog >> Guest post
–Glorious Panic >> Excerpt
–Word to Dreams >> Review
–Girls With Books >> Excerpt
–Coffee & All Things Random >> Review
–Mythical Books >> Guest post
–Us Girls & A Book >> Review
–Escape Into A Book >> Review
–Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books! >> Review
–The Bookwhore Diaries >> Review
–Random Redheaded Ramblings >> Review
–Author & Book Spotlights >> Review
–Desert Rose Reviews >> Interview
–The Boundless Book List >> Review
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