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Blog Tour - Author Interview: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

By Mr. Book Wonder @mrbookwonder
I’m so happy to be part of Tracy Deebs’ blog tour for her latest book, Doomed. If you are a technology geek and at the same time a book nerd, then this book is for you! I had the pleasure of interviewing her today in the blog.

First off, I want to say thank you so much to Von for having me on his blog today. I’m excited to be here!

Have you really seen yourself become an author?

Yes. I’ve wanted to be a writer pretty much from the time I realized that letters made words and words made sentences that could tell a story.

Before becoming an author, how did you see yourself in the future when you were a kid?

After I got over wanting to be Wonder Woman (at around the age of seven) I always knew I wanted to write. I wrote my first story in aquamarine marker while I was waiting for my parents to finish up a car loan at the bank. It was about a prince, a rainbow, an evil leprechaun. It might not be my finest work, but it is the one that made me realize just how amazing it was to create something tangible out of my imagination. I’ve never really looked back.

What or who inspired you to be become an author?

My father. He was a computer genius/guru guy back before that was an actual occupation, and he was constantly calling on me to stretch my imagination. He was an amazing storyteller and worked to make me one as well. We would be in the car or sitting in the family room or working on the yard and he would point to something and order me, “Tell me a story about that object, Tracy.” (Things like a shirt or a pen or a rock or a stuffed animal—I’d get three minutes lead time and then I’d have to make up a whole story about it.) He did other things too, like teach me to pay attention to all my senses and not just what I could see—for example, we’d be outside and he’d tell me to close my eyes and be very quiet. Then he’d have me list everything I heard. And maybe most importantly, he never told me that it was impractical to be a writer, never told me I had to have a fallback career or that maybe I should learn some other occupation and write on the side. Instead, he told me if I wanted it badly enough I had to just go for it. And I did.

Briefly describe to us the exact feelings you got before and after you finish your first book—the writing process, getting a call from an agent, getting approved by a publisher, etc.

I cried when I got The Call from my very first editor. I was very lucky because my first book was accepted for publication, but it still felt like a really long road to get there. Majoring in English, getting my M.A. in American Lit and my MFA in creative writing, followed by my PhD in American Lit. In between that, I got married, got a job and had two kids, so my writing got sidetracked for a while.

The phone rang when I was on the way out the door, baby in arms, to go to a pediatrician appointment. I wasn’t going to answer it but then Beverly’s (my first editor) voice came over the answering machine telling me to call her. It’s a good thing my husband was there because I launched myself at the phone as excitement, terror and joy all kind of mixed together inside me. I like to think I wouldn’t have dropped the baby, but I can’t be sure as my husband caught him on the fly as I all but threw him at him and dove for the phone. And when Beverly said she wanted to buy my book, it was so unbelievable, so overwhelming, that I started to bawl.

Writing as Tracy Deebs, your first Young Adult book was a paranormal, how was the switch from paranormal to science fiction? What other genre/s you want to explore?

It was crazy difficult! Doomed was a book my father would have been thrilled with and one I really could have used his advice on since everything that happens is based on the existence of a Stuxnet type worm. But he died when I was twenty-one and I was on my own with this book. I did a ton of research, talked to a lot of experts in subjects ranging from viruses/worms to MMOs to control systems to nuclear power plants and constantly picked the brain of my husband and his friends (electrical, civil and telecom engineers) all in an effort to make sure what I wanted to do was possible—and get ideas on how to make it a reality. Most of my books (after I research them) take me about two to three weeks to write. Doomed took me nearly six months and I nearly ripped my hair out on more occasions than I can count. At the same time, I love, love, love the finished product so it was totally worth it!

Tell us more about your current book, Doomed.

Doomed is a modern-day Pandora story, except instead of opening a box she opens an attachment and harkens technological Armageddon. There’s a stuxnet type worm, an MMO, a real life scavenger hunt and a countdown to nuclear annihilation—just an average day in the life of an Austin teenager. Once she accidentally uploads the worm onto the internet and everything around her starts to fail, Pandora knows she has to find a way to stop the world from imploding—especially since her father is the one who created the worm, and who left clues in an MMO for her to follow in real life to find him.

There are also two guys who help Pandora out on her quest to stop the disaster she’s unleashed. I call them Theo and Eli but they’re really two Titans, Prometheus and his brother, Epimetheus. In the real Pandora myth, she is created by Zeus as a punishment for Prometheus for stealing fire from the gods to gift to man and while he refuses her, knowing something is up, his brother doesn’t and that’s how Pandora gets the chance to originally open the box that lets loose all the evils on the world. In my version, I shift things around a little bit, but the heart of the story is still the same.

What is the most striking or unforgettable line in Doomed?

From the game: “You’ve reached the point of no return. Welcome to the real Pandora’s Box.”

From real-time: “I read once in history class that all civilizations, all people, are just nine meals from total anarchy. I’d thought it was crazy at the time, had argued with my teacher about the absurdity of it, but my father has proven me wrong. The wholesale breakdown of everything we know has sent all of us careening over the edge of civilization and into a yawning void, where there are no rules except survival.”

Did you ever base any of the characters in real life?

No, not really. Pandora’s best friend is named after my agent, because she always wanted a kick ass character named after her, but that’s about it. The main characters are all based on what I know of Pandora, Prometheus and Epimetheus.

Was there a part of the story that was hard to write?

Yeah, all of it. Actually, the most complicated part (besides researching) was piecing together the real-life action with the gaming aspects. In the story, Pandora has to find GPS coordinates in the game for real life places she has to go to to pick up a clue to put back into the game to advance to the next level. Trying to get all of that to work and to flow from one scene to the next perfectly—especially when I had to cut about 30,000 words and a couple of stops on the scavenger hunt in the game (Doomed was originally 170,000 words)—was very challenging.

What advice can you give to aspiring authors (like me)?

Write every day, even if it’s only for five minutes—the more you practice your craft, the better you’ll get.

Read a lot of all different kinds of books. You’ll learn more from them then you will from almost anything else.

Observe the world around you. Watch people—how they interact with each other, what they do and how they look when they’re doing it. Pay attention to the rhythm of conversations and the ebb and flow of human interactions. You’ll learn a lot about dialog and body language.

Believe in yourself. This is a hard business and if you don’t really, really, really believe you can do it, you’ll give up somewhere along the way. Stick with it, no matter how hard it gets.

Thank you so much Tracy Deebs for giving us a little bit of your time to do this interview!

Thanks so much for having me! And don’t forget to stop by my blog to join the online scavenger hunt I’ve put together for Doomed!


Blog Tour - Author Interview: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

RELEASE DATE. January 8, 2012

PUBLISHER. Walker Childrens


Blog Tour - Author Interview: Doomed by Tracy Deebs

SYNOPSIS. Beat the game. Save the world.

Pandora’s just your average teen, glued to her cell phone and laptop, surfing Facebook and e-mailing with her friends, until the day her long-lost father sends her a link to a mysterious site featuring twelve photos of her as a child. Unable to contain her curiosity, Pandora enters the site, where she is prompted to play her favorite virtual-reality game, Zero Day. This unleashes a global computer virus that plunges the whole world into panic: suddenly, there is no Internet. No cell phones. No utilities, traffic lights, hospitals, law enforcement. Pandora teams up with handsome stepbrothers Eli and Theo to enter the virtual world of Zero Day. Simultaneously, she continues to follow the photographs from her childhood in an attempt to beat the game and track down her father, her one key to saving the world as we know it. Part The Matrix, part retelling of the Pandora myth, Doomed has something for gaming fans, dystopian fans, and romance fans alike.

Tracy Deebs

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