Hey everyone! I’m so excited to be a part of DK Mok’s blog tour for her novel, The Other Tree (January 2014, Spence City)! For my blog tour stop, I have an interview with DK. First, here’s some more information about The Other Tree:
Family. Truth. Immortality.
It’s been four years since Chris Arlin graduated with a degree that most people think she made up, and she’s still no closer to scraping up funding for her research into rare plants. Instead, she’s stacking shelves at the campus library, until a suspiciously well-dressed man offers her a lucrative position on a scientific expedition.
For Chris, the problem isn’t the fact that they’re searching for the Biblical Tree of Life. Nor is it the fact that most of the individuals on the expedition seem to be fashionably lethal mercenaries. The problem is that the mission is being backed by SinaCorp, the corporation responsible for a similar, failed expedition on which her mother died eleven years ago.
However, when Chris’s father is unexpectedly diagnosed with inoperable cancer, Chris sees only one solution. Vowing to find the Tree of Life before SinaCorp’s mercenaries, Chris recruits Luke, an antisocial campus priest undergoing a crisis of faith. Together, they embark on a desperate race to find Eden. However, as the hunt intensifies, Chris discovers growing evidence of her mother’s strange behaviour before her death, and she begins to realise that SinaCorp isn’t the only one with secrets they want to stay buried.
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And now here’s the interview! Hope you guys enjoy it!
Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Outcast botanist searches for Tree of Life in fantastical adventure.
Question: What scene do you most regret having to cut?
Answer: Thankfully, none of the scenes I loved ended up on the cutting room floor. If possible, I would have liked to fill the story with even more fascinating and improbable plants, but then it would have turned into a mythical botanical compendium.
Question: On the flip side, what was your favorite scene that got added during edits?
Answer: There’s a scene near the beginning that I was originally going to adjust to make the point-of-view transitions smoother. I ended up adding a chunk of new material, which had some really nice character moments, plus I squeezed in a Loki reference.
Question: Why the Tree of Life? Why Eden?
Answer: It was actually my sister who gave me the idea. She’s an avid reader, as well as an author herself, and she mentioned one day that she’d love to read a story about someone searching for the Tree of Life. I’ve always been intrigued by the themes in Genesis: mortality, knowledge, free will, and the choices we make. I’m also fascinated by botany, archaeology and ancient civilizations. Writing this story seemed like a great opportunity to fuse those things together in a sprawling adventure. And I couldn’t resist writing a novel with a botanist hero.
Question: Was it difficult balancing real Biblical events with the fictional parts of the story?
Answer: It’s always a challenge balancing different aspects of a novel – trying to remain authentic and accurate, while giving yourself artistic license to tell a particular story. For me, the most important things are being respectful to my readers, and writing the story I’m trying to tell.
Question: If you were to write another Biblical story, which Biblical event would you select and why?
Answer: I’m not sure if I’d write another story with Biblical elements. The Other Tree was such a particular story for me, about these specific characters and their individual journeys. I tend to be guided by which story is calling to me the strongest, so I just have to see where my writing takes me.
Question: After reading The Other Tree, what’s one thing you hope your readers come away with, or one lesson you want them to have learned?
Answer: One of my main goals as a writer is to create stories that are entertaining and heartfelt. Books have always been a great source of comfort and inspiration for me, and I’ve always loved stories that take me to amazing places, plunge me into thrilling escapades, and introduce me to people I can’t bear to let go of when the last page turns. I hope my readers finish the book feeling like they’ve just been on a fantastic adventure with good friends.
Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: I don’t know if I can pick the craziest, but there are certainly plenty of fascinating things I’ve learned. One of the fun and challenging things I had to research for The Other Tree was figuring out if it was biologically possible to create plants that can run around at human speed…
Question: Biggest writing quirk?
Answer: Notepads and pens. Everywhere. I always have them on hand in case I have an idea. If I don’t write it down straight away, I’m liable to forget.
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: I’m very much inspired by Terry Pratchett’s books. I love the way he blends quirky humour with meaningful themes, and creates such imaginative fantasy worlds, while ensuring that his characters are grounded in empathetic and believable situations. I strive to strike the same kind of balance between fun, fantastical stories, and thoughtful, emotional journeys.
Question: What are three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: Thesaurus. Silence. Snacks. Lots of snacks.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I’m very excited to be in the editing stages of my next novel, an epic fantasy standalone called Hunt for Valamon. It’s another fun adventure, but just a touch darker. It’s being released by Spence City in February 2015.
About DK MOK:
DK Mok lives in Sydney, Australia, and writes fantasy, science fiction and urban fantasy novels and short stories. DK’s debut urban fantasy novel, The Other Tree, was released in 2014 by Spence City (an imprint of Spencer Hill Press), and her short story ‘Morning Star’ (One Small Step, FableCroft) was shortlisted for an Aurealis Award.
DK grew up in libraries, immersed in lost cities and fantastic worlds, populated by quirky bandits and giant squid. She graduated from UNSW with a degree in Psychology, pursuing her interest in both social justice and scientist humour.
She’s fond of cephalopods, androids, global politics, rugged horizons, science and technology podcasts, and she wishes someone would build a labyrinthine library garden so she can hang out there. Her favourite fossil deposit is the Burgess Shale.
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