Thursday, November 10, 2016
An Interview with Lisa Koosis, Author of Resurrecting Sunshine
Hallo, fine peoples!!! Need a break from election shouting, crying, cheering, catastrophizing? I've got something more fun here... Remember when I announced Lisa's book release at the beginning of October? Well I read her book and then fired her some questions, so today I am going to share them with YOU!!!
Without further ado, Welcome Lisa!!!
1) So just to give us some background, you allude in the acknowledgments to this being the book that wouldn't die. When was it first written and could you share a little about this topsy journey?
Absolutely! And thank you so much for having me.
I wrote the first draft of Resurrecting Sunshine in 2009, and the draft was so bad that I filed it away, never to be looked at again. And honestly, I didn’t think about it again for a very long time. I went on to other manuscripts, ones that I thought had a better chance of going the distance. But then maybe a year and a half after I’d put it aside, I woke up in the middle of the night one night, thinking about that godawful manuscript and how I might fix it.
It became something of an obsession after that. I rewrote it and rewrote it. Characters were added. Characters were deleted. Characters were added back in. The ending changed twice. Eventually, I called it done and started querying agents. Lots of agents. And I got back plenty of encouragement, some wonderful feedback, and rejections by the bucket-load.
A few times I quit, and I mean quit the whole thing; querying, writing. It wasn’t the first manuscript I’d queried. It wasn’t even the second. I’d watched other people fly by me, landing agents and book deals after having spent, by far, less time in the novel-writing world, and much less time querying. And after a while, it gets exhausting. But I kept coming back to it. And eventually, after yet another round of revisions, and a whole series of domino-like events, I signed with a fantastic agent, and less than a year later I had two offers on the book.
2) You managed a very difficult task. You include real time, memories, dreams, and simulations, all seamlessly. An impressive feat. Did you consciously do anything to keep these all so distinct? Did this create any challenges for you, or things you had to work at in editing?
That aspect actually came pretty naturally. I wanted the book to have a drifting, dreamlike feel, and to have places where dreams and memory and reality blurred a bit. Logistically though, it did present a few challenges in editing, the biggest being just keeping the timeline straight since I was essentially weaving together two stories: the story taking place in the present, and the story of the events leading up to Sunshine’s death.
3) So the major themes I saw here were identity, self-determination, grief, and fate. Did I miss any big ones? Can you speak a bit about how YA, speculative fiction, and "organic process" might have influenced how your themes developed?
I’ve always believed that speculative fiction provides the perfect backdrop for exploring very human themes, because it puts everyday people/characters in extraordinary circumstances and allows us, as writers, to examine them under this sort of literary microscope. To add to this, I think YA takes us to a particularly formative time in life, when everything is naturally intensified.
But that said, a lot of the themes in Sunshine came from a very personal place and definitely emerged through more of an organic process. I had just separated from my husband, and I think without even realizing it, I was exploring through writing the very themes I was experiencing in my own life right then: loss, identity (who do you become when you lose the person closest to you?), personal responsibility, and most of all, trying to understand how you move forward when it seems impossible to do so.
4) So about cloning... I feel like the story you've told is the very personal ramifications, but for the sake of blowing this wide open, if cloning, complete with memory upload were really possible, what do you see as the biggest danger?
If I’m honest, I think there’s no limit to the dangers, both practically and ethically. One of the ideas I’ve always enjoyed exploring in fiction is the idea that what science can do, science will do. Sometimes it feels as if we advance so quickly, that our laws and our morality can’t keep up. I think that’s a truly scary thing.
Follow up: how do you feel about inspiring other works that would like to use this technology? (I have a story idea I'd love to develop, probably novella length--I'd of course give credit)
To think my speculative technology might inspire someone else is incredibly flattering. I’m all for it!
5) If you could be cloned, would you?
Oh lord, no! One of me can get into enough trouble all alone! (Although there is something to be said for having someone else to do the laundry and take care of the day job so I could just write.)
6) If you could clone a deceased loved one, would you?
I feel like this should be an easy question to answer, and yet somehow, it isn’t. I’d like to be able to say no way, that it would be wrong, that I would never even consider such a thing, that it wouldn’t truly be that person anyway. But emotionally, thinking about seeing someone I’ve loved and lost even one more time—particularly if they’d had their memories restored—I’m not sure that the temptation would be as easy to say no to as I’d like it to be.
7) And since 7 is the most magical number, what can we expect from you next?
I’ve always been a little bit superstitious when it comes to talking about what I’m working on, for fear that I’ll rob the project of some of its energy. But I can say that I’m planning to stay in the realm of young adult science fiction, which has started to feel like home to me.
Thank you so much, Lisa! It was great to have you here! And thank you for being so candid!
Author Bio: In high school, much to the dismay of her guidance counselor, Lisa Koosis traded AP English for a creative writing class and a class in speculative fiction. She never looked back. Lisa is a member of the SCBWI, an ambassador for National Novel Writing Month, and an active member of her local writing community. Her short stories have been published widely. When she isn’t writing, you’ll probably find her out walking her dog, or chilling with her cats.