Q&A with Vivien Jackson!
Posted July 22, 2017
When Vivien Jackson found out that we were going to be discussing her book in our Paranormal Romance Book Club, she offered to answer a few questions for us and give a few (non-spoilery!) hints as to what we can expect from the series.
Galaxy Bookshop: How would you describe Wanted and Wired to new readers?
Vivien Jackson: Wanted & Wired is a cyberpunk romance with a Texas twang and a feminist sensibility. Some people have called it postapocalyptic or dystopian or even steampunk, but it's not quite any of those. Structurally, it's a romance, and the other genres just sort of hang off that.
GB: How many books are planned in the Tether series so far?
VJ: The series was contracted as a three-book set, and those are all written and turned in. I may or may not write fanfic in this universe, but if I do it will probably just be for my newsletter subscribers.
GB: Will we get to keep following Heron and Mari in later books?
VJ: Mari and Heron appear in all three books, but books 2 and 3 each introduce a new couple and their story.
GB: Will Chloe and Garrett get a book?
VJ: They're book 3, which doesn't have a title yet.
GB: I liked that you created a free-fae collective that had taken human form and had vital characters ranging from fully human, cyborg and completely robotic, but were very definite about giving them pronouns besides “it”. Can you tell us a bit more about where that came from? Did you intend for these characters to blur the definitions of humanity?
VJ: So, well, there's the Borg in the Star Trek universe and the Replicators/Asurans in Stargate SG-1 and Atlantis and Jane in Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead. Those probably meshed to form my original concept of Chloe, though of course she veered off into Chloe-land. To the last question: yes! Characters in this series come at the question of "what is it to be human" from all different angles. Chloe's definition of humanity, for instance, is very different from Heron's or the queen's or Vallejo's or mech-Daniel's or Yoink's (Kellen's cloned, bioenhanced cat). When those definitions conflict, we have sparks.
GB: Innocent or sexually inexperienced heroines have been a popular romance trope for decades where sex is a tool to help demonstrate the depth of connection between the couple. How important was it to you that a pre-existing sexual history and a high sex drive formed part of Mari’s character?
VJ: It was super important. for me, for all the women in this series to own their sexuality, because I think/hope that's where we are headed as a society. I grew up reading those inexperienced-heroine books, and I love them, especially in historicals. But I don't think that mind-set works particularly well in a futuristic setting.
GB: And yay for having a major character with gay parents while keeping that information definite, but subtle. Maybe in the future when Wanted and Wired is set, homosexuality will be that much of a non-issue.
VJ: The Tether books are all about the labels we assign to ourselves and each other. They're just different labels. The ones we're fighting past now, hopefully, will not be points of conflict in 2059.
GB: What bioenhancements (if any) would you choose for yourself?
VJ: Honestly, I've never thought about it. I love the cybernetic technology being developed right now -- implanted glucose monitors and insulin dispensers for people with diabetes, filters for people with kidney disease, amazing tactile prosthetics. If I could download information directly into the appropriate brain space, like Neo in The Matrix, that would be so awesome!
GB: Who are your favourite authors?
VJ: So, so many. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, John Keats, Haruki Murakami, Brandon Sanderson, Neil Gaiman, Darynda Jones, Jacqueline Carey, Mary Balogh, Sherry Thomas, Gillian Flynn, Theodore Sturgeon, Ursula LeGuin, Joss Whedon. I should stop now.
GB: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
VJ: I spend a lot of time momming, wife-ing, and gaming. We do old-fashioned paper-and-pencil roleplaying and board gaming as a family, but I have to limit my time with computer games because if I didn't I'd never get anything done! I can dive deep into something like Dragon Age or Fallout and not come up for hours. Erm, possibly days.
GB: And lastly, can you give us a few hints as to what we can look forward to in the rest of the series?
VJ: Book 2, Perfect Gravity, is about Kellen and Angela. Book 3 is Garrett and Chloe (and should have a title really soon!). Mech-Daniel and Dr. Vallejo feature prominently in both. I think books 2 and 3 are much more emotional and character-driven than Wanted & Wired. A very bad thing happens in Perfect Gravity and another very bad thing happens in book 3, and both times I got teary-eyed when I was writing. I really, really hope readers connect with the characters as much as I did on those two books. Also, there's a really cool submarine and a research station in Antarctica.