Many of you know Laura DiSilverio from her mystery series. I got a chance to catch up with her recently, and was fascinated to hear about a new series she is working on, a YA triology. Welcome back to the Wickeds Laura! Tell us about your new series!
My oldest graduated from high school last May and her gift was a family trip to Universal Studios in Florida. Our actual destination was Hogwarts and the wizarding world of Harry Potter, because those books captivated Lily from the time I read The Sorcerer’s Stone to her as a bedtime story. As we walked into Universal’s meticulously detailed version of Diagon Alley on a hot, muggy Florida morning (is there any other kind?), Lily paused in the middle of the cobbled street, and teared up. “I grew up here,” she said, voice quavering with emotion and wonder.
That simple statement brought tears to my eyes and convinced me the outrageous price for a couple of days in the theme park was worth it. It also made me think about the worlds writers create and how, if we’re lucky or good (or both) they become real and meaningful for readers.
I had my first go at building a new world while writing my young adult dystopian trilogy. (The first book, Incubation, is available now on Amazon.) It took a lot of thought and research, a lot of pulling at ideas to examine all the ramifications. My world is North America at the end of this century. A flu pandemic has killed off the birds and decimated the human population to the point that survival of the species is at risk. The United States and Canada have merged to form Amerada; there are fewer than three million people alive on the North American landmass. With the demise of the birds, insect populations exploded, and swarms of locusts created famine and made it impossible to grow food outside. (I had great fun thinking of ways that the government and scientists might have tried to get rid of the locusts once they grew resistant to pesticides: they engineered spiders with extra sticky silk, hoping they’d trap more locusts, they created bigger bats, etc.). That’s what I mean by “pulling at ideas.”
The government that rises to power in Amerada is called the Pragmatists, or Prags. They’re all about being practical, rebuilding the population by any means necessary. Wombs are in short supply, so women are pressed into surrogacy service. The nation can’t afford to feed people who can’t contribute to its rebuilding, so scientists manipulate DNA to implant embryos that will be scientists, doctors, engineers . . . people capable of rebuilding the society. Artists of all kinds are devalued, and people with disabilities are a drain on society, so . . .
I had to think through things like “What is the role of religion (if any) in this society?” “How does this society feel about homosexuals?” “Do they allow women in the military?” It was a grand and exciting undertaking to try and make this world as internally consistent as possible. I will definitely be doing this again.
What books have swept you away to new worlds (even if just “new to you” and not fantasy or sci fi)? Do you look back on any childhood books and think, “I grew up there?”
Here’s a quick blurb about Incubation:
Bio-chemistry whiz Everly Jax wants one thing: to know who her parents are. Raised with other repo kids in InKubator 9, she has pinned her hopes on Reunion Day, the annual event where sixteen-year-olds can meet or reunite with their parents. When her Reunion Day goes horribly awry, she and he pregnant friend Halla escape the Kube, accompanied by their friend Wyck who has his own reasons for leaving.
In a world where rebuilding the population is critical to national survival, the Pragmatist government licenses all human reproduction, and decides who can–and must–have babies. The trio face feral dog packs, swamp threats, locust swarms, bounty hunters looking for “breeders,” and more dangers as they race to Amerada’s capital to find Halla’s soldier boyfriend before the Prags can repo her baby and force the girls into surrogacy service.
An unexpected encounter with Bulrush, an Underground Railroad for women fleeing to Outposts with their unlicensed babies, puts them in greater peril than ever. Everly must decide what she is willing to sacrifice to learn her biological identity–and deal with the unanticipated consequences of her decisions.
Want a free PDF of Incubation in return for an honest review on Amazon and/or Goodreads? Email me and I’ll send you one! ldisilverio at gmail dot com
A retired Air Force intelligence officer, Laura DiSilverio is the national bestselling author of 15 mystery and suspense novels (including the Swift Investigations series, the Readaholics Book Club series, and the Mall Cop series). Her standalone suspense novel, The Reckoning Stones, was a Library Journal Pick of the Month and is currently a finalist for the Colorado Book Award. A Past President of Sisters in Crime, she pens articles for Writer’s Digest, and teaches writing in various fora. She plots murders and parents teens in Colorado, trying to keep the two tasks separate.