Please note that the excerpt uses language that may not be suitable for (or enjoyed by) all audiences.
I confess to you that when I read books I tend to be a little dichotomous: one part of me is reading as a reader and one part is reading as a writer. So when I was reading both Nexis and Redux, I was very much admiring the worlds that A.L. Davroe built as much as her great descriptive writing. I don’t know whether these would be questions typical readers would ask, but they are for this dichotomous one.
Thank you so much to A.L. for being my very first interviewee here on the Microcosm! Welcome!
Sascha Darlington (SD): First, I am amazed by your world-building. How did you go about doing it? How much time did you spend on it? Did you do up an outline?
A.L. Davroe (ALD): You know, I really didn’t put much thought into the world-building in the Tricksters series at all. I’m a “pantser” – meaning I fly by the seat of my pants when I write. I got the idea to write a sort of futuristic Cinderella story where she loses her leg instead of her shoe and just sort of ran with it. This was before Marissa Meyer’s CINDER was even announced on Publisher’s Marketplace, so we just happened to come up with similar hook ideas. Clearly, we went in different directions with them. I sat down to write and had a novel after just a few months. The editing on NEXIS was pretty light, so what you read is pretty much what came out of my head. You can say that a lot of my influences went into that book. If you’re a big fan of SF/F books, shows, movies, anime, or gaming, you might see a lot of little elements that leant to the world-building. Nothing is entirely its own, especially when you adhere to actual science and try to predict our current path as human beings. But, I can say that the final product is something that doesn’t exist in any other media and I’m very proud of it.
SD: I read in your afterward that Nexis flowed far more easily than Redux. Did you write it spontaneously or plan it?
ALD: As mentioned above, I just came up with NEXIS as I wrote. That was the beautiful gift of that book, LOL! It wanted to be written. REDUX, not so much. I think it’s mostly because, when you aren’t the sort of creator who is disciplined and outline oriented, things don’t flow as well. Even though, by the time NEXIS was sold to a publisher and coming out on the shelves, I had a pretty solid idea of where I was going with the sequel (I’d had to hand in a summary for the sequel to my editor when we first pitched NEXIS) it didn’t want to do what I wanted it to do. As mentioned in the afterward, REDUX went through many transformations before it became something I was pleased with.
SD: Were you thinking ahead to Redux when you were planning events for Nexis?
ALD: I wasn’t! I wrote NEXIS entirely without a concept for following novels in mind. By the end of it, I knew there had to be more to the story. NEXIS clearly ends on a “ship-cliff” as one of my friends calls it, and I knew I had to clear that, and the situation Ella creates in NEXIS, up.
SD: Are we going to get a third Tricksters novel?
ALD: When I handed the summary for the rest of the series in to the publisher, I did so with three books in mind. I wrote and handed the first draft of REDUX in with three books in mind. The original summary plotted a very different path for The Tricksters. However, after discussing the series and options for strengthening REDUX with the editor, we decided on just two books for the time being. That’s not to say I don’t have more to say. I very much would like to write another book or two in the Tricksters world. I’m dying to write a companion novel about Zane and Clairen and another about Delia and her beau ;D. And I wouldn’t mind a follow up to REDUX – I’m dying to continue on with Taurus, Stormy, and the slaves. For now though, my contract is only for two books and that seems to be what we’re sticking with. Perhaps if sales demand it, then another will come. Don’t worry though, I have other series if readers want more!
SD: Do you have a background in computers or did you have to do a lot of research to make these novels happen?
ALD: I actually have no more of a background in computers than most people do. The extent of the science and technology in both novels comes from my own exposure through the media and my own research. While I know some of the technologies have not yet been realized, I tried to utilize things that I knew were plausible given our current scientific path and our condition as humans. By doing this, I’d hoped to build a world that was relatable to readers. I can’t stand reading a dystopian and thinking to myself, “perhaps in a parallel world, but not in this one.” That’s a shame, because while it allows us to examine broken systems, it doesn’t make us fear what we could become. Without that we’re less likely to consciously police ourselves. I hope that people will read this series and think to themselves, “Yeah, that could happen.” I’m not saying that I set out to change the world or start a revolution, but I certainly thought about making a book that said something because I believe that that’s one of the back-bone elements of SFF.
Excerpt from Redux
From A.L. Davroe: So, I’m trying this new thing where either the reviewer or I pick out an excerpt and then I take a few lines to explain it. In this way, I feel like readers can get a little bit of a “directors cut” view on REDUX. Hope you don’t mind!
“I glance over my shoulder at Delia, once my best friend.
She notices me watching her. Now that the holo-mask is gone,
recognition dawns in her expression, and suddenly she seems
to be unable to stop staring. There’s a bubble of hope inside
of me, a desperate desire for her to come running at me in
laughing relief. But her face, alien and strange as it is under
those Mods, turns sour, the meaning clear. Hate, resentment,
betrayal. All those emotions are there, aimed at me.
She must wonder why, if I was alive, I didn’t come to
her. Why I didn’t heed all those messages she sent me in her
darkest moments. Instead, I let her suffer without me, let her
turn herself into one of them just so she wouldn’t be alone
anymore. There’s no way she would know that I couldn’t go
to her no matter how much I wanted to. I had been cut off
from the outside world, imprisoned in one small room with
only Meems to keep me sane. Even in the moments when my
ability to hack my habitation unit proved useful, I still couldn’t
go to her. I couldn’t run away for the simple fact that I didn’t
have legs to run on. One can be a prisoner, even in their own
body. Perhaps it’s too late for her to understand that, perhaps
the damage is already too deep, the hate too strong.
Heart falling, I turn away and stare at the floor.
Perhaps I’ve lost Delia for good.”
This excerpt is part of Ella’s first interaction with Delia, her best friend who she’s been separated from for the past year. They’ve both gone through so much and become different people. There’s a huge disconnect and betrayal felt on both sides. Ella’s thoughts embody something that is often so common between two people in a relationship – the inability to put oneself in another’s shoes in an effort to understand why they hurt others. It’s always so easy to just assume, but it’s not always so simple. Ella doesn’t know what Delia has gone through and vice versa for Delia. I chose it specifically because I’m a huge proponent of including strong, non-romantic bonds in novels – specifically between women. I’m clearly aware of the Bechdel Test and I’d do a huge disservice to my characters, both male and female, if I didn’t make them well rounded, complex human beings. Delia is just one of the many characters that Ella builds strong bonds with in this series, but this is the one relationship that I secretly champion the most in my head…Perhaps because I know just how dark Delia’s mind actually is.
A.L. (Amanda) Davroe writes both YA and adult speculative fiction. She prefers revisionist tales in paranormal, romance, Steampunk, and fantasy. She is the author of Salvation Station (adult psych horror), The City Steam Collection (adult psych horror), For Your Heart (YA Paranormal Romance) and her YA Sci-Fi novel, Redux, the second in the Tricksters series, is coming out with Entangled Publishing March 21, 2017!
By day, Amanda lives in Connecticut with her two feline hench-creatures and makes cheese. She’s a terrible blusher, has a weak spot for cuddly animals, loves Laffy Taffy and Cadbury MiniEggs, and she’s a huge advocate of alternative healing methods. Amanda also wears purple shoes and corsets…Though not always in the same ensemble. She’s a Capricorn, a Hufflepuff, a bit gothic, and a few nuggets short of a Happy Meal.
The domed city of Eva
Book Title: Redux
Author: A.L. Davroe
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Genre: YA Science Fiction
Author Email: ALDavroe@gmail.com
Author Website: http://www.ALDavroe.com
Author Blog: www. ALDavroe.com
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/aldavroe
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ALDavroeFanPage
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5212441.A_L_Davroe
nescence is in ruins. With nowhere to go, prodigy hacker Ellani “Ella” Drexel and a small band of survivors flee to the Undertunnel below their city.
To escape the wasteland she unknowingly created.
But sanctuary is hard to find. With malfunctioning androids and angry rebels at their backs, the group hopes to press on for the neighboring city of Cadence. But Ella’s chosen path is challenging…life-threatening, even. Worse, the boy she loves is acting distant, and not at all like the person she first met in Nexis.
But then Ella learns a secret…and it changes everything.
Ella knows she needs to turn back and make a stand to reclaim her home. She’s determined to bring a new―and better―life to all who’ve suffered.
Or die trying.