Where did the idea for being "slated" come from? Did you do any research into memory science and the idea of forced emotional control, or did it just develop organically into what made sense for you and your story?
Hands up that I honestly don’t know where the concept of Slating came from, other than to say my murky unconscious! I began writing it after a dream I had: a terrified girl, running, afraid to look back at what chases. That is the scene in the prologue, and the story grew from there.
But that isn’t to say I didn’t do any research. I have a good general science background, and have studied brain structure and function at university, so I had a feeling for what could be involved. But I also researched memory and the brain, dreams and memory, and dissociative identity disorder. Not that much of it appears in the story – it is more a kicking off point.
Did you use real-world examples in creating your totalitarian, dystopian society? Or, did you come across any startling bits in your research that make Kyla's future not seem like to much of a stretch?
Backstory to the society in Slated involves economic collapse in Europe, the UK pulling out of the European Union, and widespread civil unrest and riots in the UK. When I was coming up with this in 2009, sure there were economic problems arising but really it was all fabrication. Over the last few years elements of this have started to feel real, with the economies of several European countries on the brink. But particularly with the riots in London and elsewhere that took place in August 2011 (for anyone under a rock at the time, here is a BBC link about it). That was really freaky. Actually TBH it creeped me out enough that at the time I didn’t want to work on Slated and had to take a break from it.
The idea of being "slated" is a pretty scary concept, but the beauty/horror of a good dystopian concept is that you can see the advantages and how a given practice would be accepted initially - in your mind, are there any pros to being slated?
Without wanting to give too much away from the story – it is the whole idea of whose fault is it when a young person commits a crime? When are they legally responsible: 18 ? 16? even younger if the crime is bad enough? What if they were abused, groomed to commit a crime they couldn’t understand, but are so damaged by what happened to them that they’ll never get over it? How appealing would it be to have a sentence option where an adolescent who has committed a horrific crime could just start over again, with no memory of what they’ve done: a clean slate? Sorry for answering a question with a list of questions! But to me this is the fascination of dystopian YA fiction today: the questions it raises both in context of the story and also in the world we live in now.
What was the hardest part about creating Kyla's futuristic/dystopic world? What was the most fun?
I found one of the hardest things with a future world setting is giving what the reader has to know when they have to know it, and avoiding giving too much at once.
I think the fun of this type of setting is the twists on reality, the way things are different. In a near future dystopia like this one there is much that readers should recognize and relate to, so putting in the quirks that surprise is the fun part.
Slated is the first book in a series, if I'm correct. Avoiding spoilers, can you tell us anything about the next book, or when we can expect it?
I’m working hard on the second book now: Fractured. It is a roller coaster for Kyla, who has to make a stand for what she believes in…once she works out what that is. There is a seriously badass boy in it, and a nice one or two to make things confusing. There is more action and the stakes are high… enough said. It will be out in May 2013 in the UK and Australia. In the US and Canada, Slated is planned for early 2013 and Fractured for later in 2013, but the dates aren’t definite.
Favorite book as a child:
Can I have a tie? Lord of the Rings trilogy and Anne McCaffrey Dragons of Pern series.
Most exciting part of being an author:
That people review my book! I get such a thrill out of someone taking the time to read and say what they think of it, even if it isn’t all positive. It’s a privilege to be on the page.
And holding my book for the very first time.
Least exciting part of being an author:
Checking page proofs (word by word checking of every sentence, every bit of punctuation - nearly 400 pages… ouch)
Book-in-a-tweet: Slated in 140 characters or less:
Oh this is SO hard! How about this:
Kyla's memories were erased for crimes she cannot remember: she has a 2nd chance, a new life. But echoes of the past haunt her dreams..
If you were sentenced to be slated, it would be because you...
…said the wrong thing at the wrong time. Something I do regularly now, but foot in mouth would be dangerous if Lorders were listening!
If Slated were being made into a movie and you could cast 1 character, which character/actor would you choose?
I know you said Quickfire – sorry! – longer answer coming. Characters in my stories are real breathing people to me. In my mind’s eye I know exactly what they look like. So it is impossible for me to picture, for example, who would be the perfect actress to play Kyla: she wouldn’t be how I see her no matter who it is. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t love it if Slated did become a movie! Just that I’d probably keep out of casting. I’d be trying to match what I see I my mind and that probably isn’t the best way to go.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Teri!
As for the rest of you, make sure to check out my review and giveaway of Slated, both up today!
Teri has lived in France, Canada, Australia and England at more addresses than she can count, acquiring three degrees, a selection of passports and a silly name along the way. The footpaths and canal ways of the Buckinghamshire Chilterns where she now lives inspired much of the setting of Slated. She hates broccoli, likes cats, and has finally worked out what she wants to do when she grows up.
Slated is published by Orchard Books in the UK on 3rd May 2012, and in the US and Canada in early 2013 by Penguin imprint Nancy Paulsen Books.
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