Spacedock19 is part of a new feature where I chat with other sci-fi and fantasy authors.
Today I’m chatting with young adult sci-fi paranormal author, Susan Kaye Quinn. She’s been publishing her Mindjack Trilogy, the second in the series, Closed Hearts, the latest release.
Thanks for joining me in the lounge of Spacedock 19 today, Susan. It’s a pleasure to have you here. Can I get you a drink? Last year’s vintage of Romulan Ale is rather nice.
I prefer a cup of Earl Grey, hot, if it’s not too much trouble. Romulan Ale is one pretty drink, but my tolerance isn’t what it used to be (I guess that’s what being a mom of three kids does to you). 🙂 Thanks for inviting me to Spacedock 19, though! I didn’t know you could orbit this close to a singularity without collapsing the structural integrity of the ship. (You have checked for that, yes?)
Oh, yes, I’ve checked. We’re good. The idea of mindjacking is unique. How does this play out in your world? What advantages and disadvantages does it present?
I don’t think mindjacking is so much unique – mind control is one of the oldest tropes – but I do try to give it a fresh twist in my Mindjack series by creating a world where mindreading is the norm, but only a few people can jack into your head and control your thoughts, emotions, and memories. The biggest challenge in writing about mindjacking is bringing a visceral feeling to what is essentially a mental exercise – creating an experience that no one has actually experienced. (Also: it’s a lot of fun.) The challenge for mindjackers in the story is that society isn’t so fond of having people that control them, so they endeavor to even the playing field by controlling the mindjackers first. That tug-of-war and the larger societal issues that go with it, drive a lot of the story.
What sparked the idea?
The initial idea came for just a mindreading world, and my main character Kira, being the one person who couldn’t read minds. It wasn’t until the story started to unfold that I realized she actually was a mindjacker. (Yeah, I pretty much pantsed my way through that first draft.)
Did the world or the characters come to you first?
The world and the central character occurred simultaneously, in one image: a girl sitting in a classroom filled with mindreaders, but she couldn’t read minds. Everything, and everyone, else evolved from there.
If you were to be transported into the world you created, what attracts you to it the most? Which character would you most want to be? Or would you decide to be someone else not in the novel?
I think I would be terrified in this world, not wanting everyone to read my thoughts or control them. I wouldn’t want to be Kira – she has way too many bad things happen to her (sorry, Kira!). If I was in the world, however, I prefer to be a mindjacker and would probably end up signing up for Julian’s cause. That guy makes a convincing case for revolution. 🙂
What appalls you about the world you created most? What wouldn’t you want to deal with if you were there?
The idea of no private thoughts? The prospect of anyone, anywhere, being able to jack into your head and make you do anything? There’s a lot of horrors there that I haven’t explored, simply because I’d like to keep this suitable for YA. And so I can sleep at night.
What drove you to create this series of novels? Is there a theme behind the characters and drama?
There’s a couple of intertwined themes, and I generally like to let readers take what they will from the novel. It’s endlessly fascinating to me to see just what resonates with readers that review or send me notes about the stories. But one obvious theme is intolerance: the world’s intolerance of Kira when she’s a zero (someone who can’t read minds) and later when she’s a mindjacker (and a threat of a different sort). The way that society deals with the others in their midst shapes a lot of the story and drives Kira’s character through the trilogy.
Thanks for the insights and for stopping by, Susan. It was wonderful to learn more about your series and Closed Hearts.
Thanks so much for having me in Spacedock! Which way to the zero-gravity holodeck? I’ve heard they have a good extinct rainforest simulation. 🙂
Down three levels, then follow the arrows.