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Thursday, 21 July 2016

ℚ♫ The Compendium: The Variant Conspiracy [2] - Christine Hart

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about The Compendium (13 July 2016, Soul Mate Publishing, 247 pages), a New Adult Science Fiction Romance, book two of The Variant Conspiracy series.

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | The Series | About the Author | Giveaway & Tour Stops


A very warm welcome to Christine Hart; thank you for joining us on BooksChatter!

As we love music, Christine has shared with us her music playlist for The Compendium - enjoy!

What was the inspiration for The Compendium and The Variant Conspiracy?
"Ideas for The Variant Conspiracy trilogy came from several sources, most notably, my personal sense of unease about the future of our planet from an environmental point of view.

I'm an optimist and I have faith in humanity, so I wanted to weave a love story into a vision of how we all overcome the challenge of balancing our growth as a species with preservation of our environment.  To me, there's nothing worse than reading a story about how the world ends - or how miserable things are for survivors. The Variant Conspiracy shines hope into dark places.

Book 2, The Compendium, was just released July 13th and I’m excited to share it today!"
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"My personal philosophies and beliefs definitely affected the story I chose to tell.

I think my main character Irina is probably a version of me between ages 18 and 24.

But I think where my hands-on knowledge is strongest for The Variant Conspiracy comes through in the settings, particularly Vancouver and Seattle.  I rarely use a setting I haven’t visited in person because authenticity is important to me.  I made several exceptions for this trilogy, most of which are in The Compendium.  I’ve never been to Oregon, California, Nevada, or Utah."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for The Compendium - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"Because The Compendium is the sequel to In Irina’s Cards, it was important to me that the same couple appear in the art.  Given the apocalyptic threat dominating much of the story, I wanted a dark feel, which I think Ramona [Lockwood] captured nicely."
Why should we read The Compendium and The Variant Conspiracy; what sets it apart from the rest?
"The Variant Conspiracy is going to take you on a rollercoaster ride, I promise.  Twists and turns plunge into paranormal and sci-fi elements woven into the fabric of our current reality.

A review for In Irina’s Cards described the story as a cross between The Fantastic Four and Divergent.  I hadn’t thought that myself, but once I read those words, I thought it was fairly accurate.

In The Compendium, readers get to follow a band of renegade mutants on their race to stop a catastrophic engineered earthquake and a virus with the potential to kill every non ‘variant’ in the world."
Can you tell us something quirky about The Compendium, its story and characters?
"The strangest character in The Compendium is Adelaide.  She’s a strikingly beautiful Danish-born half cephalopod; picture a centaur, but with octopus tentacles instead of horse legs for the bottom.

Adelaide is a complicated woman.  She’s highly educated, wealthy, and extremely deadly (see blue-ringed octopus), but she needs a wheelchair and a blanket to go out for groceries or see a movie.

Like most paranormal and sci-fi humanoids portrayed in popular fiction, my variant culture is fiercely secretive, remaining hidden from mainstream society at all costs.  To some readers, it might seem convenient, but to anyone on the receiving end of judgement and hate, I think it makes a fair amount of sense."
Who would you recommend The Compendium to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"Most of my readers are women.  Before The Variant Conspiracy, a New Adult series, I wrote stand-alone YA titles.  Given the more mature content in this series, especially in The Compendium including violence, alcohol and sexual scenes, I’d say ages 18 to 25.

That said, I have some readers in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s who enjoy the stories too."
If you could / wished to turn The Compendium and the The Variant Conspiracy series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
"I may be in the minority as an author in that I don’t picture my stories on the big screen.  But if it did happen one day for The Variant Conspiracy, I think Chloë Grace Moretz would make a great Irina.  Nicholas Hoult would be a good fit for Jonah.  And it goes without saying Joss Whedon would be my first choice for director.  Because how could the director of Buffy, Firefly, and The Avengers not know exactly what to do with my variants."
Can't argue with that! :-D

What do you like to write and read about?  Do you stick to a particular New Adult Science Fiction Romance or do you like to explore different ones?

"I like to read and write speculative stories.  But that covers a lot of territory.

I like the supernatural world, but in a relatable magic-realism sense.  I like to picture surreal and amazing things just out of reach in the world around us.  I like cliff-hangers, moments of dread, rewarding outcomes, moving sacrifices, and best of all, a satisfying kick-the-bad-guy-where-it-counts denouement.

In terms of contemporary authors, I love Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Suzanne Collins, J.K. Rowling, and Stephen King.  Going back a bit farther, add John Wyndham, Ray Bradbury, J.R.R. Tolkien, and H.P. Lovecraft to the list.  Although my personal list of amazing writers is miles longer, those are the really recognizable names among my picks for speculative masters.

In my own writing, I use speculative stories to talk about bigger issues, everything from abusive relationships and personal loss to environmental peril and the role of corporations in modern society.  I often include an epilogue as well, because I like to get one last look at my book-children before they head off into the sunset."
What is your writing process?
"Once I have an idea for a story, I flush out my characters and get to know them for awhile.  This may take a few months or a few years, depending on the complexity of the story and number of titles planned.

I’m an avid outliner.  I’ve written everything from a picture book and a graphic novel to the trilogy I’m promoting now.  Whether it’s 1,500 words or 240,000, I need my beginning, middle, and end in sight before I start typing prose."
What is in store next?
"The world of e-books is an amazing place.  All three instalments of The Variant Conspiracy will be released this year.  In Irina’s Cards came out May 4th, The Compendium was just released July 13th and Terra Nova is coming September 14th.

Afterwards, I should have a Middle Grade title coming out next year about a girl being haunted by a past life.  I won’t get into too many spoilers there.  I’m also hoping to find a home for the above-mentioned graphic novel.  And I’m in the world-building stage on a series of five children’s fantasy novels which may be my weirdest yet."
And as a final quirky thing, to get to know you a little bit better... do you have a pet or something that is special to you that you could share with us?
"I think the quirkiest thing about me is that I make upcycled jewellery and sell on Etsy and in local boutiques.  I use mostly watch parts, computer parts, and electronics.  My alter ego there is Sleepless Storyteller.  So if you see me giving away steampunk or industrial jewellery on my web site, I did make it myself.

The shot below is me at a gallery event called Art Attire.  I look a little queasy because I was about four months pregnant, but it was a fun night even without the wine."
I will make sure to check out your Etsy shop!  Thank you for sharing and I hope you are having a great tour!

The Compendium
Available NOW!

purchase from Amazon.co.uk purchase from Amazon.com find on Goodreads

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