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Tuesday 13 September 2016

ℚ♫ Descent: The Dream Protocol [1] - Adara Quick

Today we have the pleasure of meeting up with author to talk about Descent (, Adara Quick, 154 pages), a Young Adult Dystopian Novel, book one of The Dream Protocol series.

“Breathtaking action and spellbinding suspense! With brisk prose and fluid pacing, Adara will keep you reading late into the night. These teens are rebels with a cause in classic dystopian fashion.” -Parker T. Geissel, author of The Fell Hound of Adversity

“Anyone with a love for sci-fi or high fantasy wanting a really fast read would adore this one!” -Kayla of Kdrewkthebookworm

Author Q&A | Synopsis | Teaser | About the Author | Giveaway

A very warm welcome to Adara Quick; thank you for joining us!

Here at BooksChatter we love music; do you have a music playlist that you used in Descent, or which inspired you whilst you were writing it?

"I’m a huge electronica fan, both vintage and modern. So, I often wrote late into the night to my downtempo lounge tracks. A few of these and other favorites are below. Hidden in here are a few Easter eggs for the story!"
What was the inspiration for Descent?
"My story is about a world in which the aging face banishment. How did I get the idea for my story? Here is how it happened. We were in the grocery store line and I was glancing at the women’s mags. And every single headline was about how to lose weight or how to reverse aging. And I thought: ‘is this the value of a woman? Like a car that depreciates the second you drive it off the lot?’

As I’ve gotten older, it’s been difficult to confront the realities of aging as a woman. I felt like I “peaked” at about 35 and it’s been downhill from there. (Hint, 35 years of age shows up in the series!) I wanted to create my story for young women. Especially my niece. So that she can see that her value comes from what’s inside - from her hopes and dreams and thoughts. Not from the superficial things that other people see. ’

Also my story is a world in which no one has dreamt their own dream in over a thousand years. All of the dreams are produced by the Dream Makers and sold to the citizens by the corporate state. I think too often people get their life dreams from the things that other people think are important. So I wanted to really take that idea to its full realization. In my world no one has their own dreams, its all content that is bought and sold."
How much of yourself is reflected in this book, and how?
"I am a visual artist in addition to being a writer. I paint dream-like landscapes in the style of abstract realism. So writing a story about dreams was a natural fit for me. As an author, I get to paint pictures with words. The dreamscapes in my stories are the most imagination-rich parts of my work. Also, being a Dream Maker is kind of like being an artist and so my artistic practice was a huge inspiration for the story."
The first thing that draws me to a book is its cover. Can you tell us about your cover for Descent - why you chose that concept and who the artist is.
"When I saw the digital collage work of the artist (who goes by the name Mirabella) I just fell in love with it. I wanted an image that would give the reader an instant emotional reaction and I knew I found the image as soon as I saw the artist’s portfolio. And then my cover designer at Creative Digital Studios fell in love with it too. When you are designing a cover for a book, you want to choose a design that has the felt sense of the story; this has more staying power for the viewer than an actual scene from your book. The emotional tone of the blue girl on the front of my book is what my main character seeks. Deirdre Callaghan lives below ground. She has never seen the sky or felt the wind on her face. In her world there is no color, everything is grey and drab. As she travels her arc in the series, she becomes more and more like the girl on the cover – filled with color and free under a beautiful blue sky. And, you will see her again in different poses for the next books in the series! ’

And I also wanted to bring in classical steampunk elements so we added in gear works and the mechanical cicada. Mechanical insects figure in quite broadly in my world. For example, every adult over 16 is fitted with a mechanical spider at the base of the skull that transmits the dream content to them during sleep. And when a Dream Drone is attacking someone with a ‘Mare who is under 16 and carries no arachnoid, they arm a mechanical locust and it travels to the victim to deliver the dream payload. So, we really wanted a mechanical insect on the cover! I’m super happy with the cover and I never tire of looking at it."
Why should we read Descent and the Dream Protocol Series; what sets it apart from the rest?
"So I had an idea, what if a corporation created an artificial intelligence with the sole purpose of playing upon our aging fears to make money? And what if that corporation figured out a way to turn those fears into downloadable dreams that could be bought and sold? And that is the premise of The Dream Protocol – a corporate state out of control and a world in which dreams are produced by others and sold for a price. And don’t forget the part about corrupting the data stream so that no one can sleep without a download to put you under. Now that’s dystopian!"
Can you tell us something quirky about Descent, its story and characters?
"My niece Deirdre is the inspiration for the current series, The Dream Protocol. I started writing it when she was around 13 and now she is just turning 16, which is when the story is set in Deirdre Callaghan’s life. So, its kind of perfect that its coming out now. Her parents had just split up and it was a really hard time for her. So I wanted to write a story for her where she could save the day. And, most importantly, feel good about herself."
Who would you recommend Descent to and what should readers be aware of (any warnings or disclaimers)?
"My book is great for female fans of dystopian literature, teen and adult. There is enough complexity to hold the attention of adult readers and the characters are simple enough for teens to understand. There is a love story, and its not the typical teen “insta-love” because I tried to build romance out of a friend relationship that became something more. There is very little sex and the violence is more implied than explicit so it’s great for all ages. “Teens love it. Mom approved!”"
If you could / wished to turn Descent and the The Dream Protocol series into a movie, who would be your dream team?
  1. "Deirdre Callaghan: Chloe Grace Moretz (Because I loved her as Hit Girl in Kick-Ass and Deirdre is tough.)
  2. Flynn Brennan: Taron Egerton (Because he had that good boy/bad boy thing down so well on The Kingsman.)
  3. Sean Callaghan, Master Dream Maker: Benedict Cumberbatch (Do we need to say anything else?)
  4. Breck Callaghan: (Elle Fanning who seems the corruptible innocent)
  5. Minister of Dream Justice: Mads Mikkelsen (Could he have been any scarier in Hannibal?)
  6. Siobhan Callaghan: Morena Baccarin (A good mother figure with a touch of mystery.)
  7. Dylan O’Brien: Alan Tudyk (One of my favorite actors from Firefly, Alan would by the consummate company man as the Minister’s Second-In-Command)"
What do you like to write and read about? Do you stick to a particular genre or do you like to explore different ones?
"My writing journey started in California. I was working as a psychotherapist in private practice. But I didn’t feel inspired about my life. I spent 8 hours a day helping others to follow their dreams and live authentically. But I wasn’t doing that for myself. It was a dark night of the soul when I confronted my fear-based choices. So I left all of that behind and followed my creativity. It never feels like work when you are doing what you love! ’

My niece Deirdre got me reading all the modern “classics” like the Hunger Games and Divergent. I’ve loved science fiction since I was a kid and so developing a dystopian world was a natural fit for me. I just focused on the things that worry me about our world today, magnified them a little, and voila, dystopian society!"
What is your writing process?
"I write my stories entirely by long hand. The internet is so distracting that I find it extremely difficult to create new content on my laptop. So, I do everything on paper with a pen. This includes a master outline of scenes and a mini-outline of each scene. Then when I have assembled enough notes, I take out new paper and generate about 1000-2000 words a day. Since I have first drafts written for the next two books in the series, I have huge stacks of hand-written sheets on my bookshelf. When I get stuck, I take a walk or talk to someone in my writing group about what I’m trying to work out."
What is in store next?
"Currently, first drafts of the next two books are written and in the editing stage. So exciting! Book 1 does end on a cliffhanger (don’t hate on it!) but all of that will get resolved with the rapid release of the next two books. The subtitles for the next works in The Dream Protocol series are “Selection” and “Academy”. I won’t give anything away about book 3, but in “Selection,” Deirdre, Flynn, and Antrim go through selection on their 16th birthday. ’

Here is an excerpt from “Selection” to get you all excited! ’

     I open my eyes to find myself lying on a medical exam table. I look around and see the Selection Room empty of everyone, even Drones and medical personnel. I must have nodded off. I wonder where everyone is. I swing my legs over the side of the table and land lightly on the floor. That wasn’t so bad; I didn’t even feel the arachnoid. Maybe I can sneak out of here before anyone notices.
     Stealing out of the exam room, I make my way down the long hallway, looking for an exit or someone to show the way out. I finally come to a door with the letters EXIT over the top. Almost to freedom. I throw my weight on the latch, but it won’t give. Another hard push, and it finally pops open. I stumble through, slightly off balance.
     Righting myself, my eyes are drawn to the only spot of light in the dark room. What I see there makes me freeze. All the moisture dries up in my throat. Deirdre and Antrim are strapped down to two chairs in the center of the room. Both of them are slumped over, their bodies held tight by straps on their neck, arms, and ankles. Why aren’t they moving? The spotlight overhead casts a ghostly light that multiplies into contorted human shadows on the floor. It is as silent as midnight in winter.
     I rush forward to unbind them, but I run straight into a force field and it holds me a few feet away. I travel in a circle around the barrier feeling along the edge of the field with my fingers, looking for any weaknesses. But I find nothing, and end up back where I started. Desperate, I call out, “Dee! Antrim!”
      “They can’t hear you,” booms a voice that seems to come from everywhere at once.
     I jump at the sound and whirl around. “Who’s there?” I call, looking frantically into the darkness.
      “Why Flynn, I am Skellig City,” the voice hisses."
Fantastic - thank you!

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’ve talked about my writing journey and shared that it started when I was working a typical career job in California. But I should have called that the beginning of my recent writing journey. My actual beginning was when I was in the 7th grade and I joined the school creative writing club. I was reading a ton of fantasy at that time and for our first story assignment, I wrote a story about a young girl who found a unicorn in the forest. So we turned in our stories (without names), traded them around, and gave them ratings. So, my story got a 6.8 our of ten. But my language arts teacher went into a tantrum when it was time to discuss my story! He railed about how bad it was, how could all of you given it such a high score, etc. Fuss, fuss, fuss.

So I dropped out of the creative writing group because I was too ashamed for anyone to know that I wrote the story about the unicorn. Then I never wrote again. Until I was sitting in my therapy office telling a patient my unicorn story and the consequences of being afraid to follow your dreams. And I thought to myself, if I can tell other people to follow their dreams, then I should too. And I decided to write for a living.

Another quirky thing about me is my pet Siamese, Haku. He is named after an anime character in Miyazaki’s masterpiece, Spirited Away. And I named him that because we helped each other, just like Chihiro and Haku in the movie. Love this little guy!"
Hello, Haku, you gorgeous little one! Love your belly :-D
Thank you for sharing Haku with us :-)

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Anonymous said...

Loved being here on bookschatter! You asked some great interview questions and it really gave me the chance to think about my work and the inspiration for it all. Glad you love Haku! I do and he'll be glad to know he has some fans out there. Thanks for having me. -Adara

Anonymous said...

Loved being here on bookschatter! You asked some great interview questions and it really gave me the chance to think about my work and the inspiration for it all. Glad you love Haku! I do and he'll be glad to know he has some fans out there. Thanks for having me. -Adara