I am pleased to invite fellow Torontonian and author of External Forces, Deborah Rix to be interviewed for the Acting Balanced Behind the Author segment as part of her Pump Up Your Book tour!
1. Tell us a little bit about how you write your books:
So, here’s the thing. I was completely frustrated with another big part of my life (rebuilding a virtually condemned building – you can’t beat City Hall, it’s true.) I was desperate for a feeling of control so I sat down one day and started fooling around, something about being able to make my characters do exactly what I told them to do. Of course it doesn’t turn out that way. The characters just stormed in and took over and told me not to sleep, or do laundry, or take my kids to school. They became very demanding and did surprising things. I was writing one night when all of a sudden I squealed and covered my mouth. My daughter rushed over, “what’s wrong?” “You would not believe what Charlie just did!” was my stern response. True story.
2. How long have you been writing and what do you love about it?
I’ve been writing for about two years, and as mentioned above it was an act of desperation. But I do love it, all of it. Well, okay, not the part when I wake up after a virtual all-nighter and I think I’ve done some great work as I stagger around and get the kids sorted out. Then I read it and delete 10,000 words. I’ve done that. Actually, I love that part too. I love the freedom of writing and immersing myself and then being able to say, “crappity crap” and hitting that delete button. And no one knows how terrible it was, except for me. And then I write something brilliant, it just needed to percolate by coming out as crap first. I just wish it didn’t take all night. Sleep deprivation? Not so good.
3. What hobbies/interests do you have?
Since I started writing? None. Haven’t even watched the last few seasons of Breaking Bad, how’s that for obsessed? Before that I was a fairly social person. My background is in the music biz, mostly. My husband too. So music is a large presence around these parts. I’m big into community, so I’ve been involved/instigated a lot of things in my neighbourhood. I held a Transit of Venus party last summer, and we played the theme from A Space Odyssey really, really loud as Venus first crossed in front of the sun. I am the proud founder of The Trinity Bellwoods Ladies Scrabble League – about thirty gals who ditch their families once a month and eat and drink and occasionally get a Bingo! I just went to an ‘I fucking Love Science’ event here in Toronto and haven’t laughed so much in a long time.
4. Something people would be surprised to know about me is…
I have ADD. I can appear very together and can organize incredible events, but paper is not my friend. Neither are bills. There’s this secret cupboard where all the paper goes…
5. If you could invite 4 people (real or fictional, living or dead) to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve?
Mathematician and ‘inventor’ of gravity Sir Isaac Newton, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield and the current Pope. I’d serve cheeseburgers and ask them if they believe in God. Then I’d grab the ketchup bottle and sit back.
6. I can’t live without…
7. Tell us a little about this current book - what was your favorite part about writing it?
EXTERNAL FORCES is the first in a trilogy, The Laws of Motion (Newton again). I never thought of it as a trilogy as I was writing, it is one story. But it turned out to be a long story so I had to chop it up. It’s a bit frustrating when readers comment on something that bugs them and I want to say, “yes, but in book 2…” Secretly I know they’ll say “ah-ha” when they get there. Patience is a virtue, you know? The story is about identity, in all its permutations. Who or what decides who we are? Do we have a choice? It’s an eternal question, especially for teenagers, but it’s redefined in the context of the genetic revolution that we are experiencing. We don’t have to be who we start out as. Conversely, someone else can decide exactly who we do start out as, not just superficial things like eye colour, but the fundamental building blocks of humanity can be altered.
My favourite (excuse the Canadian spellings) part of writing it was getting to do all of the things I wished for in the science fiction I read as a teenager. I hated it when there was some unexplainable super-invention that could do impossible things. I did way too much research and had actual scientifical people vet my science to make sure it was at least plausible. There are things I took out, or rewrote, because the real future caught up with my future and it was happening right now. Like that mix of tense? – Well that was how it felt. I’d make something up and it would come true before I could get to the next chapter.
8. What's next for your writing?
I am currently rereading the mess of a first draft of book 2, Acceleration. The essence is there, but I’ve learned a lot from working with Howard Mittelmark, my editor. Apparently I’m not allowed to be lazy and I’m supposed to pay attention to grammar and punctuation as I write it the first time. Who knew? Seriously, I’m really excited about diving right in and getting it done. I’ve started waking up in the middle of the night again, thinking about what needs to happen. That’s a good sign. I think.
9. How can your fans stay up to date with what you are doing?
www.deborahrix.com is my super-fantastic website where they can sign up for my infrequent newsletter. Which means, when I have nothing to say, I won’t say it. When I do, I’ll send out a newsletter. And there’ll be contests and all that jazz along the way on the External Forces facebook page.
More About the Author:
Deborah Rix’s favourite position for reading a book is head almost hanging off the couch and feet up in the air with legs against the back of the couch. She’s been reading too much from Scientific American for research and ideas and needs to get back to some fiction. She has a long standing love of science fiction, some of her favourite authors include William Gibson, Philip K Dick, Kurt Vonnegut Jr, Douglas Adams, Iain M Banks. A bit old school.
Deborah enjoyed a successful career in entertainment publicity, live music promotion and event management. Which means she slogged through muddy fields for music festivals, was crammed into concert halls with too many sweaty teenage boys and got to go to Tuktoyaktuk (that’s in the Arctic Circle) for a Metallica concert. She lives with her family in Toronto, Canada, where she is the proprietor of The Lucky Penny, a neighborhood joint in Trinity-Bellwoods.
External Forces is her first novel.
Visit her website at www.DeborahRix.com.
Connect & Socialize with Deborah!
About the Book:
A lot can happen to a girl between her first kiss and her first kill.
It’s 100 years since the Genetic Integrity Act was passed and America closed its borders to prevent genetic contamination. Now only the enemy, dysgenic Deviants, remain beyond the heavily guarded border. The Department of Evolution carefully guides the creation of each generation and deviations from the divine plan are not permitted.
When 16-year-old Jess begins to show signs of deviance she enlists in the Special Forces, with her best friend Jay, in a desperate bid to evade detection by the Devotees. Jess is good with data, not so good with a knife. So when the handsome and secretive Sergeant Matt Anderson selects her for his Black Ops squad, Jess is determined to figure out why.
As her deviance continues to change her, Jess is forced to decide who to trust with her deadly secret. Jess needs to know what’s really out there, in the Deviant wasteland over the border, if she has any hope of making it to her 17th birthday. Because if the enemy doesn’t kill her first, the Department of Evolution probably will.