It’s rare to find a science fiction series that approaches world building in a truly new, fresh way. But in her series, Project Gene Assist, Allie Potts does just that. The first book in her series, The Fair and Foul, explores the idea of merging the human brain with the internet. Allie Potts weaves complex characters with futuristic technology that is at once highly original, and utterly believable.
In this interview, Allie shares how she went about creating vivid, real characters who inhabit a terrifying but thrilling new world.
What was the original inspiration for your science fiction series, Project Gene Assist?
I had just finished reading an epic fantasy series which featured the classic chosen one locked in an age old battle between the forces of good and evil and found myself wondering how that story line might have played out if the hero didn’t particularly believe in either. I veered somewhat from the original idea, but it helped keep my characters human.
You have created highly sympathetic characters in your tale. How do you approach character development?
Each of my main characters have a guiding motivation and a fear which I establish during the outlining process. These two attributes cause them to make decisions during the plot that aren’t always the best, but are at least understandable under the circumstances, which I believe makes them more relatable. After all, who isn’t guilty of poor decision making sometimes?
Your protagonist, Juliane, has a unique voice. How did you develop her personality?
I read Lisa Randall’s book on Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs to get a sense of a tone (she’s a brilliant mind in the field of particle physics and cosmology) and attempted to channel a few of my professors (both male and female) for mannerisms, but I also found myself sticking my nose up into the air while writing her early scenes. She’s not necessarily the most likable character I’ve ever written, but Juliane doesn’t care if people like her as long as they respect her.
Many of the readers of this blog are self published. Do you have any advice or marketing tips that have worked well for you?
The best thing I have done was to engage with the community. I commented on other blogs. I responded to comments made on mine. I interacted in Facebook groups, offering help and support where it was requested. In short I have focused on the relationships rather than the sales conversions which, in the long run (and face it, writing is a long game) has expanded my reach beyond what I could have done alone.
Also, never ever make a book related announcement on the same day as a Star Wars trailer gets released. In fact don’t compete with anything related to Star Wars. Pay attention to Comic-Con and mark those days on your calendar. I know this from experience.
What is the most unusual thing that has ever inspired your writing?
Probably a fire hydrant. It wasn’t particularly well kept and caught my eye. The next thing I know I’m writing a whole thing about it, comparing it to a garden gnome. The second most unusual thing is probably a paper clip I saw embedded in the asphalt. It made me sad – here was something that would never ever achieve it’s purpose in this world all because someone else was too lazy to pick it up and move it.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?
Hmmm. I can hum and whistle at the same time. Does that count?
If you’d like to learn more about Allie Potts’ novels and get a sense of her funny, insightful writing style, check out her blog.