Helen Lowe interview at SF Signal

The excellent Helen Lowe, who is a Christchurch spec-tic writing gal like me, recently interviewed me about When We Wake for her regular feature on SF Signal.

I really love interviewers who take the time to read the book and think through some meaty questions – it’s a lot of time and effort, and it’s always appreciated! Helen is one of the good ones.

Helen: In writing When We Wake, how important did you feel it was to get the scientific basis of the story right in terms of the cryonics and environmental change, as opposed to the emotional reality of Tegan’s story—and were there trade-offs between the two?

Karen: I did quite a lot of research on the environmental change, much of which I used, and also a fair amount of cryonics research – much of which I discarded. I wanted the landscape to feel real, and that meant projecting a realistic future in terms of climate change (if anything, I was too kind in terms of negative effects on the country!) But the cryonics is the more fictional aspect of my science fiction. To be honest, I was far more concerned with something that would read as really awesome, rather than as scientifically likely. I know this will turn some people off the book, and I won’t blame them! That’s just the trade-off I made.

When We Wake: Reviews

When We Wake has been getting some awfully nice reviews. Particularly, it is getting nice reviews from sci-fi venues, which pleases me very much, since this is my first sci-fi story.

Kirkus Reviews gave the book a starred review, calling it: “a fast-moving and carefully built science-fiction story… accessible, thoughtful and compelling”.

Publisher’s Weekly says that I managed a: “very persuasive future world… The diversity of the cast is authentic and natural”

Liz Bourke at Tor.com says that When We Wake is: “an excellent YA novel. It’s also really excellent science fiction. … Healey really nails voice.”

Sarah Frost at Strange Horizons says the book is: “exciting and powerful. … [Tegan] is both a believable teenager and an admirable person.”

So that’s all pretty excellent, huzzah!

When We Wake: My Big Idea

Internets, y’all know John Scalzi’s Big Idea feature at the Whatever, right? This is the feature where authors will tell you the Big Idea behind their latest release, also known as The Place Not To Go When You Are Poor And Have Instituted A Book-Buying Ban, Yes, On Everything, Even That Really Cool One, Oh Wait, Maybe Just One Or Two Or Five.

It’s a great feature. Directly responsible for me spending a lot of money on very good books.

Anyway, the point is, I wrote my Big Idea for When We Wake, talking about (naturally) Sleeping Beauties, and why I wanted an action hero with verve to be my leading lady. Go! Read!

WAKE UP: The When We Wake Blog Tour

Time to talk about me!

No, wait, time to talk about MY NEW BOOK.

Internets, When We Wake has been released in North America. I was lucky enough to do a blog tour on five awesome young adult fiction blogs to coincide with this release.

BUT. I didn’t really want to do a blog tour when people ask me questions and then I answer, because I already had lots of that kind of interview lined up. Even though I could happily talk about my process and inspirations forever (which reminds me, I owe you a Sleeping Beauty essay on Captain America) I didn’t want to go around repeating myself.

SO. My awesome publicist was like, why don’t they interview When We Wake CHARACTERS? And I said, yes! Faye, you are brilliant! They can interview characters on topics relevant to the book!

So that’s what we did. Massive thanks to Faye and Little, Brown for organising everything, and even more massive thanks to the bloggers, who really put the extra effort in to come up with compelling, relevant, interesting questions! I am super happy with the WAKE UP tour, which you can read by clicking on the links below.

If you are in the US, you can also enter giveaways for the book!

The WAKE UP tour:

Bethari talks about media and communications at Novel Novice.

Abdi talks about immigration at The Book Smugglers.

Dr Marie Carmen talks about science and medicine at 365 Days of Reading.

Tegan talks about music at Forever Young Adult.

Joph talks about the environment at The Readadventurer.