- Who is your favourite character in Recoil and why?
Ooh, this is hard. I really like and admire my heroine Jinxy James, but I often find that subsidiary characters can be more fun to write. In Recoil, I had a great time writing Sarge and Bruce, and I like the friction and drama created by having them rub Jinxy up the wrong way. Of course, I always fall in love with my heroes, and as this series progresses, I’m loving Quinn O’Riley more and more!
- Why did you choose to set the story in the USA as opposed to South Africa?
For both practical and artistic reasons. On the practical side, it’s very difficult to sell books set in South Africa to international readers, and I quite like to earn enough from my books to, ya know, buy the daily bread. But for this story in particular, the main reason was that I wanted to explore the societal and political ramifications of a terrorist-spread bioweapon, and that idea just wouldn’t work in South Africa. For one thing – who would want to attack us in that way? For another – I think our political scene would shift to the left in that scenario, but I wanted to explore a repressive shift to the right, with the concomitant erosion of personal rights and individual liberties, because that’s what I see happening in the world today, in the name of keeping us “safe”.
- After writing a book of this nature, do you think there should be an age restriction on gaming!?
I think that boat has sailed, lol. But it does worry me how immersed people have become in digital life, at the expense of “real life”. Presumably, the effect would be more powerful on young, still-developing brains. Lift your heads from your phones and look around, sometimes people!
- In our review, we mention that we heard “whispers of Orwell’s classic work 1984”. How salient do you think his themes are in today’s world, considering that 1984 was published in 1949.
I think George Orwell was a genius. I think here, in South Africa, we are living in an Animal Farm made horribly manifest. There are so many Orwell quotes I could have used (and was tempted to use) at the start of these books, but they would have given the plots away. If you haven’t read Animal Farm and 1984, please do yourselves a favour and do so quickly! Kudos to 1001 Bookish Things for picking up on these political themes – not everyone has.
- What is the one absolute nugget of wisdom that you hope readers of Recoil take from reading the book?
Stay woke! I think we should be should be alert to what our governments do, and how they do it in the name of serving our best interests. When your party or government tries to pass a law, ask yourself how this could be used and abused in the hands of your worst enemy? Demand transparency in the dirty business of those who fund politicians, and the benefit they derive from it. Young people have to live longer under the systems that politicians create, so they should be extra aware. Understand that the political is personal. In summary, as Mad-Eye Moody said, “Constant vigilance!”
- Any teasers you’d like to mention about Refuse, the book that follows Recoil?
Oh dear, just when you thought things couldn’t get worse for Jinxy James, they do. Just when you think the pawpaw couldn’t hit the fan harder, it does. Just when you thing you think you’ve figured out who’s who and on team Good or Bad, think again! In my opinion, Book II is better than the first. It made me laugh and cry and get enraged. I hope it does the same to you!