Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Stone Relics by Katy Walters

What works have you released? What are they about? So far I have released Stone Relics and am soon to publish Return to Rhonan, a tempestuous romance of two couples stretching across two centuries, a story set against the Irish Famine of 1845 – 49 and the present.
Stone Relics is a science fiction set in the near future,  2065. It is a Sci-fi murder mystery with a love interest.

Chief Superintendent  Ben Tobin Super Cop is an enigma, his true identity known only to the           few. Working as an undercover agent for MI8, Ben is monitored by a secret organization buried in the bowels of Whitehall. He heads an investigation into the gruesome deaths of young women left with putrefying snakes covering their bodies an ancient stone relic of a Prehistoric Snake-Bird Goddess relic wedged at their feet. Other young women are abducted chosen to become sacred prostitutes to a prehistoric Goddess.
Ben suspects this is the work of a sinister cult. They take victims from London, France, Germany and America.
At the start of the investigation, to his horror Ben develops a crippling phobia of snakes threatening the investigation, his job, his life. Desperate, he turns to a psycho-neurologist, a titian haired beauty. Because she is a rebel she is unlikely report him to MI8. Reluctantly she agrees to help him, only to be drawn into a love relationship fraught with danger.
In a world of clones, cyborgs and hybrids, things can go wrong - mutations, psychosis and perversion.
How did you get the idea for your work? What lured you to your topics? In my psychology degree part of the course was on Artificial intelligence. I was fascinated with the strides being made in computer and robotic technology. I thought about how human relationships would fit into an age of future technology. Was a cyborg, half-human - half computer capable of deep emotions, love?  How would a fully human react to such a relationship.  How would be cyborg feel?  What kind of questions would be raised. Was there in these future forms, of clones, cyborgs and robots, room for the deep relationships as we know them in a human family, of mother and child, father and son?  Man and wife?  Would this near future world even think in these terms? 

What scene, topic, or section was the most intense (or visual) for you to write? It was the one early in the novel, where Lucy questions Ben and receives his answer. I cannot go any further as it would spoil the story.  But that was the most intense and emotive.  Ben’s yearning drew me to tears as I wrote.

In the event that your novel became a screenplay, who would you like to see included in the casting? I would like Keeanu Reeves as Ben and Angelina Joli with titian hair as Lucy.  Both have the natures at least on screen that suits the characters.

If you could meet anyone or see anything (characters, locations, events, abilities, creatures, etc) from your novel, who or what would you choose? Ben.  He is charismatic even though he is distant even cold in his demeanour. Underneath there is a warmth and understanding, a yearning that touches the soul.

How did you go about selecting your cover? After two disastrous attempts I was fortunate at last to find Ronnell D. Porter, someone referred me to his web site and I was entranced.  He has a certain film noir that I love.

Do you have any upcoming projects? When can readers expect them? Yes I am writing a trilogy as referred to above.  It is about the Great Irish Famine and the people who suffered and fought in that time.  It is also tribute to my Irish family who were caught up in those horrific times leading to their forced emigration to various parts of the world. A shocking time that caught my heart.

Why did you become an author (or start writing)? I began writing an early age.  My sister who was seventeen months younger than myself was hospitalized for most of her childhood and adolescence.  My way to trying to cheer her up was to write her stories and poems.  I think it stemmed really from there.

What do you love the most about being an author? Writing itself, it is like a flow and one rapidly gets caught up in the zone. It is really another state of consciousness, of calmness, of partial and sometimes complete unawareness of time and place. It is a time of euphoria when it is going well, quiet joy, intense sadness, exultation, sorrow, all brought about by the characters on the page. I live with them and in them.  It is another world or reality really.

What or who inspires you to write? In the first place an idea which brims or drifts up in my mind often quite incidentally of what I happen to be doing at any one time. Then the first character appears, then  another until I am caught up in their new world or their ongoing world I should say.  My stories are definitely character driven.

What is the top cause you champion? Compassion.  I live by the Buddhist premise, ‘never be the cause of other people’s sorrow. Yet to get that over I could be writing a crime thriller.

What advice do you have for anyone who is interested in becoming an author? Be passionate, disciplined. Write from the heart whether it be romance, crime, supernatural or historical and the writing art will never leave you.  

What is one thing your readers should know about you? I don’t know really.

If you could do anything (for a career), besides being a writer, what would do? A painter.

Aside from writing, what are your hobbies? Painting, reading, walking the dog.

What is…?
…your favorite author?  I don’t have one as I am an eclectic reader. I love authors form different genres. As a child it was Jeffrey Farnol. Now, it could be Dean Koontz, Phillip K. Dick, W.B .Yeats.
…your favorite book or series?  Favourite book Pride and Prejudice and Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep.

Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what artists? Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Black Eyed peas.  

Which, if any, character do you feel has the most of your characteristics (behavioral or otherwise)? Lucy I should say.  Some of them

Thank you for participating!

Thank you for such an interesting interview I have really enjoyed it.

Title: Stone Relics
Author: Katy Walters
Publisher: Oakwood House Publishing
Format: PDF eBook
Source: Author + Tour
Description: Stone Relics is a high octane thriller. Packed with brilliant concepts – of genetics and mind-blowing technology, it shocks and inspires. Chief Superintendent Ben Tobin, a Super Cop is an enigma, working undercover for MI8, his true identity known only to the few.
In a world of humans, clones, cyborgs, things can go wrong - mutations, psychosis and perversion. It is 2065; megalomaniac business men hold the mining rights to vast outlets on the Asteroid belt. The world’s resources are crumbling as these corrupt men hold the Earth to ransom.
Police are faced with a spate of vicious murders and abductions. Young women are discovered with snakes draped over their bodies, a stone relic carved with a mysterious star system, left at their side. A cryptic message points to a sinister cult. To his horror, Ben experiences phobic attacks along with rage, human emotions alien to him. Desperate he turns to American psychologist, Dr Lucy Roberts, a psychologist/psycho neurologist and a rebel. Forced to reveal what and who he is, Ben has to trust she will not expose him. Lucy agrees to help only to be drawn into a relationship fraught with danger. Can she help Ben to experience love? Archaeologists advise the Stone Relics date back 2.5 million years, before the first Homo Erectus. Who carved the star system? How are these early Earth inhabitants linked to the cult?

I don't typicallly read science fiction, and even rarer do I step outside of my beloved young-adult book bubble (unless its an acclaimed literary fiction, a specific recommendation, required reading, or an abnormally alluring paranormal release). But in this case, I am very glad that I did. Despite being so different from what I'm used to, it reminded me of how refreshing it is to try something new once in a while. My bookie "reset" button was in need of attention, and this was the perfect piece to do it.

Like the heart-pounding build of a roller-coaster's ascent, Stone Relics begins in a tense calm - a few sentences of "off" serenity, before immediately lurching into a sci-fi thrill ride that never slows down. From the very beginning, it's very well written  and decently paced. The writing is plenty abstract for the equally abstract concept of the novel, and even more so fitting to the scenes. In addition to the alarming ease of the voice in this uber-creepy environment, the writing maintains a swirling consciousness, very visual - as if written as a film (definitely channeling a Twilight-Zone quality) rather than a novel. The tone is so natural and the descriptions so talented that the reader very much feels like a part of this insane otherness to its world. Even the dialogue is enjoyable and realistic, and there are aspects of simplicity in the characters' words that represent them in amazing ways that surge the plot forward. The main character, Ben, is likable from the beginning - even when he outright denies the capablity to love  - and his yearn to keep his own dark secrets hidden from the brutality of his world is fascinating and sympathy-inducing at once. His counterpart, Misty, holds a similiar capitivity over the reader: sympathy and curious facination.

Although a personal computer that takes verbal directions seems awesome, and the insanely unique inventions (with everything from bar-code tattoos to super brainiac computers) are completely worthy of envy, the world and the workplace of Ben are really "freaky", to say the very understated least. Imagine that any emotional mistake - any deficiency, any failure, could mean meeting an immediate, untimely, and horrifying death. The idea of such a control being held over a person is terrifying, and that unfathomably fathomable fear is part of the many aspects that drag the readers into the piece. Accompanied by a series of disturbing events, a sense of duo-reality, and an abrupt address to touchy topics (like organ harvesting, grotesque murder, humanity's inadequacy, or even the warped concepts of a tragic future without feeling) -- it's estranged but engrossing, and impossible to put it down.

It's definitely no secret that I adore 1984 (attributed to the infamous pen-named "George Orwell"), and I definitely see similar qualities echoing in this piece in a curious, haunty sort-of-way. It also made me excited to read other sci-fi works acting as "dusty reads" on my shelf, like Clone Codes by Patricia Mckissack and Across the Universe by Beth Revis.

My only complaints about the novel are that, first: the POV switch, while clever in that it adds a fantastically unique dynamic, is a little confusing at times. Although I can distinctly see how the italicized, nightmarish dream scenes are effectively elusive in that the abstract writing adds to suspense of a curling, fantastic mystery, it was still really foggy and off at times, leaving the reader feeling just as misplaced as forewarned Second, the eBook formatting (at least in the format I received, read PDF via Kindle Fire) jumps between different fonts seemingly at random, and its extremely distracting.   

I recommend this unique pick for all lovers of science fiction! If you're looking for something new and you don't really fall into that group - this is a great choice to stir things up a bit! *Just keep in mind that  this is an adult novel so there is cussing and a few, ah, "sexier scenes" than the books I usually review - so younger YA readers should be weary of that.*


Laurie said...

Loved the interview! Thanks for your insightful review, too.

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