Mary Ann: Becca, I really loved your book, Riser. I thought it was a unique idea and I loved the futuristic quality. I'm excited to get to interview you at All Things Writing! What prompted you to set Riser in the future?
Becca: Thank you so much! I’m so happy you liked it! The seed for Riser started when I read an article about a scientist at Cambridge University that claimed he’d have the “cure” for aging in ten years time. It got my mind going, thinking of how much I wanted him to succeed, but also what the consequences would be in a world where people could live forever. The only way to truly show those consequences, in my opinion, was to have it take place in the future. That way it gives the world I created with Age-pro in it enough time to turn into what I call a utopian-dystopia, lol.
I love Chelsan's character. She is still your typical teenager worried about boys and dates while balancing this incredible gift. How difficult or easy was she to write?
Chelsan was very easy to write, because she’s basically me with superpowers. I was always an awkward teenager. I had secret crushes on boys I’m absolutely positive didn’t even know my name, lol. Drawing on my memories of my high school days, I was able to put some humor into Chelsan’s awkward moments, because we’ve all been through that. Having her power to control the dead only made her life more complicated than a normal teenager. That was where I was able to have the most fun, using her power to put bullies in their places.
Riser deals with voodoo and I think you gave it an interesting twist. Was this a subject area that you had to do much research in?
Yes. I had to do a lot of research on voodoo. Although the spells and rituals are pure fiction in Riser I wanted to give it a foot in reality. I actually found spells that supposedly raise the dead, and from there I tried to create a world with a mixture of science and black magic. It was a lot of fun.
Jill was a great "nasty" villain. Did you have any Jills in your life that inspired you to create this character?
Oh yes. It’s funny because an old classmate of mine contacted me through facebook and had read the book and she asked me the same question. I told her no because I knew she was still friends with some of the girls that were mean to me. In fact, she was one of the girls. What’s crazy is that so many years have gone by no one ever remembers being a bully. Or if they do they don’t admit it. It’s such a stigma today and rightfully so. Let’s just say I had a lot of experience to draw on when dealing with girls being mean to me.
What's next? Is there a sequel? What is your next writing project?
I’ve actually already released the sequel to Riser, it’s called Reaper, and the third and final book in the trilogy will be out this fall. My next writing project will be another trilogy in the Riser universe. The main character is a character I introduce in the third book, Ripper. She’s a three hundred year old assassin, so it should be pretty fun to write!
Do you have an agent? If so, what has that experience been like?
I actually don’t have an agent. I’ve had them in the past and in my experience, I still had to do all the work, lol.
What have you learned the most from the publishing world?
The number one thing I’ve learned from the publishing world it not to be offended if someone doesn’t like my book. It’s like watching a movie with your friend. The two of you can have the same opinion on 9 out of 10 movies, but on that 10th movie one of you hates it and the other one loves it. People have their opinions and what speaks to some may not speak to others. You can’t control what others like and don’t like, so I just enjoy the good feedback and accept the bad as gracefully as I can.
Thanks for being with us today! I look forward to reading more of your work!
Okay, not only did I get to interview Becca Smith about her book Riser, but I get to review it as well. Ah, some days I'm just too spoiled….
So let's get to it. Here is the book synopsis.
Black swirling holes churning madly in the center of every corpse. This is how eighteen-year-old Chelsan Derée sees the deceased. Her ability to connect to the black spinning holes allows her to control every dead thing within a four-mile radius. But that's the least of her problems. It's 2320 and Chelsan Derée has to survive another year of high school, which for her is pure and utter torture, mainly due to the fact that her schoolmate Jill Forester's favorite activity is making Chelsan's life a living hell. If that isn't enough, Chelsan's impossible crush on Ryan Vaughn makes her brain do somersaults on a regular basis, especially since she is positive he doesn't know she exists. And being eighteen Chelsan has to deal with the pressure of whether or not she should take a little pill called Age-pro, which cures aging, making the world eighteen forever and highly over-populated. When Chelsan's mother, Janet, is brutally killed, along with everyone else in her trailer park, Chelsan finds out that she was the intended target. Chelsan must use her power to raise and control the dead to save herself, protect her friends and take down the man responsible for murdering her mother.
Riser rocked. That's all there is to it. It's a fast paced, futuristic YA that touchs on something many people worry about at one point or another in their life: aging. In Ms. Smith's future, they've created a handy dandy little pill called Age-pro which if you take it at the right age makes you look around nineteen or so forever. Pretty sweet, right? Um….well, kind of. Like anything Age-pro has its drawbacks as Chelsan (our heroine) discovers. But then again, aging is the least of Chelsan's worries. She has an extraordinary talent for raising dead things--and not just dead people. Dead spiders, dead plants, some really pissed off bees, and cockroaches are just a few of the things she works with.
I thought this was a clever idea and a new twist on necromancy. All the characters are well developed, and the bad guy is pretty darn bad. The world the author created (futuristic L.A.) was creative and I suppose if you are from that area, it's filled with landmarks the reader would recognize. As someone who just released a book that deals with voodoo, I thought it was interesting to see how voodoo might be used in the future.
The other thing I liked about this book was the eye catching cover. Nice work!
This one is a keeper! Here is the Amazon buylinks!
And here is how to find all things Becca Smith.
Becca's Website www.therisersaga.com/
Becca's Goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4201733.Becca_C_Smith
Becca's Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Riser-Saga/140711422626243
Becca's Twitter https://twitter.com/#!/beccacsmith