All in Interviews

I first “met” Alanna Blackett a few years ago, when both of our favorite NBA teams, The Trail Blazers (me) and the Hornets (her) were looking to take names and kick butt. (Yeah… that didn’t really pan out, sadly.) Being that the internet sports world is dominated by a lot of male voices (though there are loads of female sports fans—don’t let anyone tell you any differently), we would regularly chat on Twitter about basketball.

Naturally, when I found out she was publishing a novella, Unsecure Connection, with Decadent, I bought it as soon as it was available. But it’s always a little stressful reading something written by someone you know—even if it’s just through the series of tubes that makes up the internet. This was amplified that I’m very science fiction-phobic, and Unseure Connection is science fiction. But I fretted needlessly—I quickly blew through the novella in an evening and loved the story of a pair of misfit hackers in a grim, gritty future version of New York City. The other thing that struck me is what a female-positive story Unsecure Connection is. Riley is tough and smart and crafty, and in surprising ways. It’s definitely a story I’d recommend for anyone looking for something different.

So, I thought I’d invite Alanna to chat with us about about her novella and books and reading in general. And sexytimes. Ahem.

{Pro Tip: Be sure to read all the way to the end of the interview.}

I’d love to hear a bit about Unsecure Connection, its plot, characters and gritty, creative setting in your own words.

It’s a cyberpunk romance novella featuring two hackers who are kind of stalking each other around Interspace, which is basically a virtual reality internet. When the story opens, Riley’s hacking into a database and she realizes someone’s tracking her. That person is CJ, who used to be a top-tier hacker until he got caught by the Evil Corporation. So now he’s being forced to work for them as a high tech bounty hunter, trying to catch his old friends and colleagues. Riley doesn’t really trust CJ (with good reason), but they have so much in common that she can’t help liking him. This all takes place in a future where New York City is controlled by corporations and has expanded to take over much of the lower half of New York state. I had fun writing it.

If you’ve ever checked out our policies page, you’ve probably noticed that we generally don’t take part in blog tours and cover reveals—it’s just not our thing. However, Amy Spalding made us a pitch we couldn’t refuse, in which she mentioned that both Friday Night Lights and Something Like Normal are favorites of hers. And then she told us her story of art directing the cover for her own book, The Reece Malcolm List. We’re all extremely interested in cover design (and have a lot of opinions about it), so it was great to chat with Amy about this project. We’ll be revisiting Amy on the 13th to see what the final cover looks like. 

First off, I know your book, the Reece Malcolm List, won’t be released by Entangled Teen until next year, but I’d love to hear a little bit about your debut young adult contemporary novel.

Absolutely! The Reece Malcolm List is about Devan, who—after the death of her father—is sent off to Los Angeles to live with the mother she’s never known. And, oh right, who’s a bestselling and semi-reclusive author. Figuring out her new family situation is tough, but at least she’s attending a performing arts high school where she lands one of the leads in the fall musical. And of course there are new friends, enemies, and boys to deal with, as she tries to figure out the seemingly impossibly-complicated Reece Malcolm. 

Verse author Gabrielle Prendergast left the most awesome comment in the (not-so-long) history of Clear Eyes, Full Shelves, 

This post
Like lemonade popsicles
I search for them
In freezers
and dingaling ringing ice cream trucks
At the water park on hot summer days
But only ever find them
Dripping sweet white
Icy cold summer
On my fingers

Gabrielle Prendergast

So, naturally, when she inquired about getting involved in our little celebration of novels in verse, we jumped on the chance to chat with her about why she loves the format and, um, Tim Riggins…

Gabrielle is the author of the middle grade novel Hildegarde (Harper Collins Australia), which was also made into a feature film, starring Richard E Grant. Her middle grade sports novel Wicket Season was published by Lorimer Publishers in March 2012. She lives in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and daughter.

Why do you write in verse?