You guys have no idea how excited I am to talk about this! About a week ago I had the pleasure of being part of the Bay Area BFF’s Brunch where 13 bloggers and 13 authors got together under one roof to talk about one thing: BOOKS! And let me tell you, this was one of the best days of life! Not only did I get to meet so many wonderful people who equally love books as much as I do, but I had the opportunity to interview an author as well!
But before I get into the good stuff, I want to give a BIG thank you to Not Your Mother’s Book Club (NYMBC) and Christy & Nancy from Tales of the Ravenous Reader for hosting such an amazing event at Books Inc.
Not Your Mother’s Book Club isn’t REALLY a club. It’s the name of Books Inc.’s Young Adult Author Salon. So really, we’re just an inclusive bunch of PASSIONATE readers who get to hang out with the coolest authors on the scene! We throw parties, eat snacks and read, read, read, read, read… Not Your Mother’s Book Club events go into the Not Your Mother’s Book Club Fund, which Books Inc. turns around and uses to spread the love of reading throughout the Bay Area communities.
During the event I had the pleasure of interviewing Tim Floreen! He is the genius behind two amazing books: Tattoo Atlas and Willful Machines. While I have not read Willful Machines myself, I have read Tattoo Atlas (Spoiler Alert: It’s sooooo good!) and had the opportunity to talk about it with Tim Floreen as well as his journey as a writer!
Tattoo Atlas – Synopsis from Goodreads
A year ago, Rem Braithwaite watched his classmate Franklin Kettle commit a horrific crime.Now, apart from the nightmares, life has gone back to normal for Rem. Franklin was caught, convicted, and put away in juvenile detention for what he did. The ordeal seems to be over. Until Rem’s mother selects Franklin as a test subject for an experimental brain procedure intended to “cure” him of his cruel and violent impulses. Suddenly Rem’s memories of that day start coming back to the surface. His nightmares become worse than ever. Plus he has serious doubts about whether his mother’s procedure will even work. Can evil really just be turned off?
E: What is your writing process like?
T: By nature I am a very slow and careful writer. I want to make sure every sentence is perfect before moving onto anything. As a result it just takes me forever to write anything! I had been making all these notes for a book but had not started to write it. So when I was trying to write my first novel I needed to have something that would snap me out of it to get me writing without constantly censoring myself. And during National Novel Writing Month I forced myself to write around 2,000 words everyday and wrote the rough draft of my book in one month. My first draft wasn’t great and needed a lot of work, but it was better than I thought it would be! I then spent the rest of the year after that to revise it and make it good.
E: Were both Tattoo Atlas & Willful Machines written during NaNoWriMo?
T: That first book actually hasn’t been published! It was the first book I got my agent with, but my first published novel Willful Machines is actually the third novel I have written.
E: So there are two secret novels!?
T: There are! And I would actually like to revisit them at some point because I think both of them have potential.
E: What inspires you to write and how did you come up with the idea for your books?
T: Well I do love science fiction and how it relates to humanity and what it means to be a person and to be alive. My first interest is more in speculative fiction and the questions about consciousness, which lead me to artificial intelligence with Willful Machines. Because as we get closer and closer to developing an artificial intelligence that is comparable to the human brain, all of these interesting questions of what it means being human are being raised. With Tattoo Atlas the idea of thinking this squishy thing in our skull is what makes us who we are is a weird thing to me. Especially through technology we have actually poked and prodded the brain and changed the way the brain functions is such a weird thing and I wanted to explore that in Tattoo Atlas.
E: Did you do any research for your books?
T: For the first one (Willful Machines) I read a lot of articles and books about artificial intelligence. For the medical procedures Tattoo Atlas is based around is entirely fictional but is kind of based on Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS). And that has been used to treat Parkinson’s, but more and more it is being used for mood and psychological disorders. So it’s actually used to treat depression and they can feel happier when the right portion of their brain is stimulated. And so that got me thinking, could that help someone who is a sociopath and is unable to feel empathy?
E: Was it fun to put yourself in the shoes and mentality of a sociopath?
T:Yes, but it was also creepy! What I really wanted to do is write someone who is a believable sociopath but is also, hopefully, sympathetic to the reader. Especially when he receives the surgery that may or may not have made him good, I want the reader to be on one hand to think “is he really good now or is he faking it,” but to also care about the character.
E: In Tattoo Atlas, what was the hardest scene to write?
T: Ohhh. Ok. The climactic scene down in the tunnels. It was really hard from a logistic prospective how everything plays out, but to make Franklin both sympathetic and incredibly scary was very hard. I did a lot of work on that one.
E: If you could go on a road trip with any of your characters, who would it be and why?
T: Cali from Tattoo Atlas! She is such a fun person and she is roughly based on a good friend of mine but I think I would have a good time with her!
E: What do you want people to take away from their experience reading your books?
T: I wanted the reader to question their idea of what evil is and make it clear the line between good and evil is not defined. That there is a little good and evil in all of us.
Tim, if you’re reading this then I just want to tell you I had an amazing time interviewing you and talking about your books! Thank you for everything!❤
Remember to check out the rest of the awesome interviews too! And check out the awesome video recap of the event on the Tales of a Ravenous Reader YouTube channel!
Hannah at NYMBC
Nancy and Christy at Tales of the Ravenous Reader
Hikari at Folded Pages Distillery
Jesalin at JBelkBooks
Alyssa and Addie at San Jose Public Library
Enna at Books, Boys, and Blogs
Amanda R. at Forever Young Adult
Cristina at Girl in the Pages
Joss at Tealreader
Camille at The Young Folks
Alicia at Shooting Stars Mag