A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Today is our second book birthday on Author Allsorts – yay! Emma Pass‘s ACID is out from Random House today. To celebrate the release, I’m interviewing Emma about ACID, dystopia, and what inspires her to write.
2113. In Jenna Strong’s world, ACID – the most brutal, controlling police force in history – rule supreme. No throwaway comment or muttered dissent goes unnoticed – or unpunished. And it was ACID agents who locked Jenna away for life, for a bloody crime she struggles to remember.
The only female inmate in a violent high-security prison, Jenna has learned to survive by any means necessary. And when a mysterious rebel group breaks her out, she must use her strength, speed and skill to stay one step ahead of ACID – and to uncover the truth about what really happened on that dark night two years ago.
Hi, Emma! How does it feel knowing that ACID is out there in the wild?
Exciting! Terrifying! And a little surreal. I mean, this is a book I wrote in snatches of spare time on my dented laptop, sitting on my sofa, hardly daring to dream it would be published. And now it is!
Can you tell us a little about the book?
ACID is a dystopian thriller about a girl with a mysterious past, who must battle a sinister police force to find out the truth about what happened to her.
Would you switch lives with Jenna for a day? What would it be like to be her?
No, I wouldn’t! She has a tough life in a tough world, and also has to rely on herself for everything – because of the things that happen to her, she doesn’t know who to trust.
What should we expect when we open ACID?
Thrills, kick-ass action, mystery and a dash of romance!
Why dystopia? What do you love about the genre?
I’m fascinated by the question ‘what if’? What if a sinister police force ruled the country and watched everything that everyone did? What if you were accused of a crime you couldn’t really remember committing? There’s so much terror and unhappiness out there in the real world – dystopian fiction allows us to explore terrifying scenarios in a safe way, and (usually) inject a smidgen of hope.
What other dystopian titles would you recommend and why?
Ooh, there are so many! PURE by Julianna Baggott is a favourite of mine – it’s so beautifully written. I also love Malorie Blackman’s NOUGHTS AND CROSSES books, Scott Westerfeld’s UGLIES series and THE HUNGER GAMES (of course!). They’re all thrilling reads and pose important questions about the way we live our lives in the present-day, real world.
What inspires you to write?
I can’t NOT write. It’s in my DNA. As for what inspires individual books… many things. I might see a picture, or overhear a conversation, or get an idea for a character… it’s learning to recognise these sparks when I find them that’s the important thing!
Do you have any advice to share with aspiring writers?
Keep going, even if all you seem to be getting is rejections and knock backs. That ‘yes’ from an agent or an editor could be just around the corner – but if you give up, you’ll never know.
What other projects do you have in the works?
I’m currently working on another standalone thriller for Random House called THE FEARLESS, which is out next year. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel with a smattering of horror, about man-made monsters, secrets, courage and love.
Can we end with a quote from ACID?
Certainly! How about this?
I bring my arm up and pivot sideways so that, as Creep tries to grab me, he’s thrown off balance and staggers against the worktop. Before he can recover I spin and kick out, planting my left foot squarely in his stomach. He doubles over with a strangled-sounding Oof. Then, as he tries to straighten up and get hold of the edge of the worktop, I lace my hands together and bring them down hard on the back of his neck. He pitches forward onto the floor, catching the tray with his outstretched fingers and showering himself in watery blood and lumps of meat. As he cracks his chin on the tiles at my feet, he gives a yelp of pain which tails off into a whimper.
‘I tried to warn you,’ I say, my throbbing skin and thumping head momentarily forgotten. ‘Maybe you’ll listen to me next time, huh?’
I push my foot into his neck to emphasize my point. Coughing, he rolls onto his back, trying to twist away from me. Blood – his own – is streaming from his mouth; he must have bitten his tongue when he smashed his chin against the floor.
‘What’re you in here for, anyway?’ he mumbles thickly, spitting red froth.
‘You really wanna know?’ I say.
I lean down until our faces are so close we could kiss.
‘I killed my parents,’ I murmur, and watch his eyes go wide.
© Emma Pass 2013. All rights reserved. Please do not reproduce without permission.
Thank you, Emma. Happy book birthday!
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, will be published on 25th April 2013, followed by another stand-alone thriller for young adults in 2014. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and dog in the North East Midlands.