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Exclusive Author Interview: SJ Kincaid

On this latest stop for the Dark Days of Summer tour, SJ Kincaid joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her latest book Insignia.

Can you tell us a bit about Insignia in your own words?

Insignia is the story of Tom Raines, a teenaged video gamer who’s recruited to become a government weapon in a future world war fought over resources and territory in space.

Tom Raines is gifted at virtual reality gaming. Are you into gaming? Did you have to do much research for the subject?

I’m not a gamer myself, but my best friends in college were (and still are) very into videogames, so I definitely drew a lot of my inspiration from them. I had a lot of fun making up the scenarios for the videogames featured in the story.

In your future Earth, countries are at war in space, instead of traditional wars fought with a huge loss of life. How did you come up with this vision of the future?

I actually came up with it after reading the article that gave me the idea for Insignia. I was reading about likely future technological developments, and one development mentioned was the increasing use of unmanned drones, especially for warfare. This image came into my mind of two great powers fighting a vast battle with fleets of these unmanned drones, and it struck me that with the human element removed, it was almost like a videogame. I wondered exactly what two superpowers would have to fight over in the future, and immediately concluded it would have to be resources and territory in the solar system. Why? Because it makes sense, and because it’s much more awesome.

Are there any sequels planned for Insignia?

Yes! I have a contract for three books.

What’s next for you after Insignia? Any other stories on the horizon?

I get ideas now and then, but I’m someone who thinks obsessively about the manuscript I’m working on, and I can’t really put any mental energy into anything else until I’m done with my current love. I’m always writing, though, so I assume there will certainly be something after Insignia.

Tell us a bit about yourself and your experience in writing.

It took me a while to get published—seven manuscripts in fact. I’m very grateful it was such a long, difficult road, because I feel I appreciate this opportunity far more than I would have, had I hit a homerun my first manuscript. I’m also far more confident about my writing than I was starting off.

What inspires you?

Everything does. A lot of the ideas I had for Insignia I had while studying the human brain in a class. When my brain’s occupied with something completely unrelated, I seem to have this steady stream of ideas for fiction.

Who are some of your favorite authors? What books do you love?

There are two authors I love above all else: Susan Kay, who wrote a fantastic Tudor novel called Legacy, and Joseph Heller, who wrote Catch-22. It’s not for everyone, but for me, it’s pure hilarity, and strangely moving, too. In YA, I’m enjoying the Divergent series by Veronica Roth, and I really enjoyed Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead.

What do you do when you’re not writing? In your spare time?

Waste tons and tons of time on the internet.

Thanks for your time! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Thank you for featuring Insignia, SciFiChick!


Insignia releases from Harper Teen on July 10th.