Hey everyone! I’m really excited to have Jessica Shirvington, author of Disruption (October 4, 2016 – HarperCollins), here for an interview. First, here’s more about the book:
What if a microchip could identify your perfect match?
What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?
Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.
Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it. Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan.
But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?
In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.
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And now here’s the interview! Enjoy!
Question: Describe your book in ten words or less. Go!
Answer: Scary world! People are rated before we even say hello.
Question: Congrats on the release of Disruption! Any funs plans to celebrate?
Answer: Thank you! Sadly, I’m incredibly boring. I had a couple of small celebrations when some of my other books were released but I haven’t planned anything this time. Maybe my husband will take me out to a nice romantic dinner (without the kids!).
Question: Your books release internationally first, then follow-up with US releases 1-2 years later. How does it feel celebrating a book birthday twice? Have you noticed any similarities or differences in the way international readers celebrate versus US readers?
Answer: I’m an Aussie and live in Sydney so I have generally published first in Australia and then around the world from there. It’s fun seeing the books come out at different times, sometimes with different covers, different languages, and sometimes even with a slightly different edit. In the end, books are all about the readers and I find you get a range of responses in every country, so it is pretty even.
Question: In general, people are very dependent on technology. Disruption shows the way technology can take over – and control – our lives. What inspired this story? In what ways is it relevant to today’s audience?
Answer: The idea for Disruption began when I was walking through a busy city square with a friend. She was telling me tales of her internet dating disasters and making me laugh. We were surrounded by all of these people walking through the city square and of course, they all had their heads down looking at their smartphones. I remember saying to my friend: ‘Imagine if you could just walk past someone and get a rating and know if they were compatible with you. You could just get a text message or something. It could say: STOP WALKING! True match to your left!’
Naturally, this only made us laugh more. But that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about the idea of technology advancing in that direction. I was fascinated by the idea that the next step could be acutely personal. Currently we are obsessed with the internet and apps for anything and everything external. But imagine if we had apps for everything internal – medical issues, DNA, location, identification, wealth, and … the ability to rate anyone we crossed paths with.
That was where it began.
I think the story draws on many concerns for the direction technology is taking us. To start with, I wrote the draft before the Apple Watch was even released, so that felt pretty eerie. Often I worry what is ahead when I can stand in a room and not one person is truly interacting, because everyone is on their phones. If we put all our faith in technology, it is giving an awful lot away.
Question: Have you done a Dream Cast for any of your books? Pick one and tell us who you’d love to see portraying your characters on the big screen!
Answer: Honestly, I have no idea. I’m going to be terrible and skip this one. I have tried so many times to work out who would be good matches but the truth is the characters are almost too ingrained in my mind. I see them so clearly – as I imagine them. Putting an actor’s face on them is really strange!
Question: Craziest thing you’ve had to Google for a work in progress?
Answer: There have been so many, it is ridiculous. I’m fairly certain I’m on some kind of ‘watch’ list just because of my search engine history. I’ve looked up everything from how to blow up planes, how to overdose and then create and antidote, how to break into government facilities, how to evade metal detectors, conspiracy theories, what to do in the event of volcanic eruptions, black wedding dresses and … how to glue up bullet wounds. Some of these you will recognize in disruption. I love my job!!
Question: What’s your biggest writing quirk? Three must-have items when you sit down to write?
Answer: I set my stories in new locations every time and I visit every location I write about first. So I have been to London, New York, Rome, Florence, Paris, Boston, Washington DC, Arlington, New Orleans, Turin & Milan all for the purposes of research! I’ve also tracked down a CIA agent in the middle of nowhere and spent time with a fairly intense cult in Italy. Have I mentioned I love my job!
1. My notebook with my chapter breakdown and research.
3. Socks! I love to wear socks when I write (weird, I know).
Question: What books would you recommend to a reader who loved yours, and wants to read something similar?
Answer: I wouldn’t presume to compare my books to anyone else. But I can say I always enjoy books by Richelle Mead, Melissa Marr, Maria V. Snyder & Victoria Aveyard (to name a few).
Question: What book are you currently reading?
Answer: I just read Glittering Court by Richelle Mead. It was great.
Question: Are you working on anything new?
Answer: I sure am. It is about a girl called Abigail who has always lived in self sustainable communities (or cults) until her entire community is murdered and she is left on the run with eight year-old Luca and two strangers from the mainstream world. Now she has no idea who to trust or how to function in the outside world but she’ll have to work it out fast because soldiers are hunting her and Luca and she is going to have to figure out why.
I’ll leave it there for now ;-)
About the Author:
Jessica Shirvington lives in Sydney with her husband of ten years, FOXTEL presenter and former Olympic sprinter Matt Shirvington, and their two daughters. She has previously founded and run a coffee distribution company, Stella Imports, in London, and been involved in managing the restaurants Fuel Bistro, Tow Bar and MG Garage in Sydney.
She is currently a full-time mum, author and co-director in the company MPS Investments Pty Ltd.
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