It's here! One of my most anticipated books of the year; it's the follow-up to Emily Suvada's immensely successful debut 'This Mortal Coil', and it has one of the most unforgettable covers (another great design thanks to Regina Flath).
You MUST read This Mortal Coil before you read This Cruel Design, and I will be (and have been) the first person to shove it into your hands so you'll read it. And this may be categorized as YA, but it has to be some of the smartest science-fiction that I've read in some time, so I'd recommend it to anyone who wants a fast-paced, intelligent dystopian read full of twists all the way through to the end.
Read on, because TODAY, to celebrate the release of This Cruel Design, I have posted the Q&A that I had the chance to have with Emily.
Thank you, as always, to The Fantastic Flying Book Club for having me on this blog tour!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR, EMILY SUVADA
Emily Suvada was born and raised in Australia, where she went on to study mathematics and astrophysics. She previously worked as a data scientist, and still spends hours writing algorithms to perform tasks which would only take minutes to complete on her own. When not writing, she can be found hiking, cycling, and conducting chemistry experiments in her kitchen. She currently lives in Portland, OR, with her husband.
ABOUT THE BOOK
'This Cruel Design' by Emily Suvada
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: October 30, 2018
Genre: Young Adult -- Science Fiction
Cat thought the Hydra epidemic was over, but when new cases pop up, Cat must team up with an enemy to fix the vaccine before the virus spirals out of control in this thrilling sequel to This Mortal Coil, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman says “redefines ‘unputdownable.’”
The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.
Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.
When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.
But when confronted with lies and betrayals, Cat is forced to question everything she knows and everyone she trusts. And while Lachlan is always two steps ahead, the biggest threat to Cat may be the secrets buried in her own mind.
I'm so thrilled to have been able to give these questions to Emily, as I'm a superfan of hers, so ENJOY!!
Q&A with Kat's Books
- After the huge success of This Mortal Coil, how does it feel leading up to the release of This Cruel Design? What’s different this time?
First – thank you for such a lovely question! There are a lot of things that feel different when releasing a second book – the biggest being that while it’s still stressful, a lot of the fear and worry that I felt as a debut is gone. I think most of us worry when we don’t know how something is going to feel – and that’s definitely true for debut authors. Debuts aren’t sure if readers will notice their book releasing, or if people will like or hate it, and they don’t yet know how to talk to booksellers or other authors. Once you’ve launched a book, though, you realize that life is going to continue – there will be wonderful things you didn’t expect to happen, and also things you hoped for that didn’t eventuate – but in the end life keeps moving and you need to keep moving as a writer, too. In the lead-up to This Cruel Design the strongest feeling I has is excitement to share this book with the readers who’ve loved This Mortal Coil, and to draw more readers into the series. I can’t wait to hear people’s reactions and get yelled at for all the horrible things I’ve done to my characters :D
- I’ve been completely fascinated with the fact that you are a data scientist (and an incredibly smart lady), and reading your books it’s obvious when reading them that your background plays a role in your writing these books.
Can you explain how writing algorithms turned into writing books, and in this case, writing streams of DNA sequences?
I’ve always been both a creative and a methodical thinker. I come from a family of artists, and while I’ve been drawn to math, coding, and data, it’s the creative side of those fields that truly held my interest (and yes, math can be extremely creative and expressive!). Similarly, when it comes to creative fields like writing, drawing, or music, I’ve always taken a methodical approach to them. My writing, for instance, follows strict algorithms and structures which I build spreadsheets to manage. I keep track of tension, arcs, and revelations throughout the book, and all of those elements follow fairly mathematical rules which govern the pace and flow of the story. So even when I’m writing – I’m really doing math! As for the DNA sequences – I’ve always loved codes and puzzles, and I couldn’t stop thinking about a way to hide a message for readers in This Mortal Coil. The DNA-encoded message came about as a fun way to encourage readers to try coding, and to get a poem as a reward!
- What kind of research did you do into the world of testing vaccines, recoding humanity, and any other medical research? Your books lean heavily on knowing a lot about the body, which is a far cry from all those numbers and a degree in maths.
I’ve always read broadly about science and new breakthroughs and discoveries, so I’ve come across a lot of information about the human body, about DNA, and about medicine over the years of randomly googling things, watching movies and reading nonfiction, and keeping up-to-date on science news. The thing is that my brain kind of grabs hold of anything I find interesting, and I tend not to forget those things. I don’t have a photographic memory, but if I came across a cool science factoid when I was 11, you can bet I still remember it clearly. So if you take years of nerdy reading, combine it with a love of sci-fi and a lot of hours googling and browsing things on the internet, and throw in the fact that I remember basically everything I’ve read about DNA and biology, then you’ll end up with an incomplete but fairly broad and imaginative understanding of genetic engineering – which is exactly what you’ll find in my books!
- Have you run up against preconceived ideas about you and your writing (before someone may have read your books), being a woman writing a novel that is firmly in the science-fiction genre?
Honestly, not really at this point – at least that I’m aware of. I’ve heard from readers of all genders that they’ve loved the story and the world of This Mortal Coil, and to my knowledge I haven’t really had anyone writing me off because I’m a woman. It’s something I’ve encountered a lot in person throughout my life – people will challenge my credentials and intelligence because I don’t always present as a stereotypical nerd - I wear make-up and I’m very bubbly, which I think clashes with a lot of people’s preconceived ideas of how a ‘smart’ person should look and act. Since publishing This Mortal Coil, I have had a couple of people ask me questions like “So you studied bioengineering?” in a pretty loaded way, as though they expected me to fumble a reply that I didn’t, but when I say “No, I studied theoretical astrophysics – what about you?” we usually move along pretty quickly.
- 5) Does your writing come from a place of fear that the world is going to turn out this way? Or is this a pure fantasy going on in your head?!
Haha – it’s really a bit of both. More than anything, I want to outline the nightmarish scenarios that I think we could face if we’re not careful so that today’s young readers, who will be tomorrow’s scientists and leaders, grow up thinking about genetic engineering and development as both a wonderful and terrible thing. That’s something we all understand on a basic level, but it’s fiction’s role to take those instincts and transform them into characters and worlds for us to explore. I want my novels to present readers with realistic situations in which there is no right or wrong answer, and encourage them to form their own opinions about what the best approach to scientific development is.
- Cat is a really dynamic character; she is so smart, and brave, but she is put to the rest countless times, not just physically, but also in terms of relationships (Lachlan, Cole), so she really develops as a person as we get to know her. Do you have someone who is an inspiration for the character of Cat?
I think Cat is an amalgam of a lot of personality traits – some are from me, but many are from other people and characters that I admire. A crucial part of Cat is her vulnerability – she is brave and strong, and willing to risk herself for the greater good, but she is also doubtful and flawed, and vulnerable to being tricked and manipulated. I think we’re all afraid of being duped and controlled, and so that vulnerability speaks to a lot of readers. But I hope Cat’s hope and resilience also speaks to readers, as she’s often down, but definitely not out.
- What’s next for you after This Cruel Design? Have you already got another project on the back burner or written?
I’m currently working on the third and final book in the Mortal Coil series! I’m very excited to share this conclusion to the series and to dive into some of the themes and arcs that the novels are based on. There are still a lot of questions left open in This Cruel Design, and a lot of truths left to uncover.
~ Thank you, Emily!!
(PS. See you in Portland at the PDX Book Festival, AND here in Seattle with Fonda Lee, soon!)
YOU have the chance of winning one of the 2 prize copies of This Cruel Design by Emily Suvada (USA only) by ENTERING HERE!
And to ORDER THE BOOK, click on these handy-dandy links:
First, ADD to Goodreads
Order on Amazon
Order at Barnes & Noble
Or through Book Depository (International, Free Shipping *they have the UK edition with the cool DNA coil down the side)
I'm at the very end of this blog tour, but here is the link for the whole BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE!
I really hope you pick this one up, as well as This Mortal Coil, if you haven't had the chance to do that yet (you NEED to before you read this installment).
This is an excellent sci-fi series that will leave you breathless, and keep you guessing, and turning those pages deep into the night. I can NOT wait for the next, and final book in the series!
x ~ K