Today, I’m happy to share with you all my interview with Cheryl Davies, author of Automaton! And since Cheryl has yet to provide me with a picture of herself, I’m inserting a picture of the TARDIS. I’m using the TARDIS because she is from the U.K. and because WHO DOESN’T LOVE DR.WHO?!
Now onto the interview!
The Bookworm: So tell me where the inspiration for this story came from?
Cheryl Davies: It came from my own obsession with reality TV – fascinated as I was by a certain summer show, I found myself happily watching the participants even as they sleep! It really got me thinking about our TV and gaming society, and just how far an obsession with either might go. In the book, Amelia takes the baton of such obsession, and really runs with it.
The Bookworm: Some authors model characters after people they know. Is anybody you know lurking as a character in your book?
Davies: Funnily enough, all the characters within the pages are the namesakes of my family and friends – I didn’t want to spend time agonising over name choices, so I just went with names I knew. I had every intention of going back over the work and changing the names, but, er, didn’t really get round to it. But are any of them based on the personalities of my family and friends? No, not really. With the one exception of Cameron, who was based on a lovely guy I dated at University.
The Bookworm: In my opinion the innate bond between Dean and Lily is the heart of the book. Was there ever a draft or time when this relationship was fundamentally different?
Davies: I always intended them to be a happy, committed couple. Although (spoiler alert) I did have a different ending for them in my initial draft – I wanted Dean and Lily to escape GameWorld, to live happily ever after in the real world, but when I was trying to write it, it became obvious that it just wasn’t realistic. I couldn’t find a way out for poor Dean, and actually cried when I wrote his final chapter.
The Bookworm: The relationship between Luke and Amelia is in a way an inverted mirror of Dean and Lily’s relationship with Dean and Lily’s being the more sane/rational one. Was this a way of showing the reader how modern society is losing control to the entertainment aspect of our lives?
Davies: Well, I would love to sound super intelligent, and say ‘yes,’ when in actual fact I was just trying to portray the possible insanity of obsession via Luke and Amelia, but I love your take on it! It’s fascinating and brilliant how we all take different things from a book.
The Bookworm: Well don’t worry about sounding super intelligent, because now I feel like one of those snotty English majors that I went to school with! Snotty English majors aside, What do you read for pleasure?
Davies: Anything by Dean Koontz, so long as he’s not being too long-winded, when sadly I skim-read to get to the action. But most of the time his writing is simply scrumptious. Holidaying a few years ago, I got so into Demon Seed that I didn’t leave the hotel room for an entire day, and my despairing partner had to go exploring on his lonesome! Steven King is a favourite too.
Since I started reviewing for Indie authors last summer, I’ve discovered a whole new world of totally amazing authors, many of whom have blown me away with epic debuts!
I love anything sci-fi, set in sparkly Space, or in an imaginative, speculative future. I also love anything that makes me tingle with trepidation, although I scare easily, so can’t manage real horror.
The Bookworm: What book/character/scene do you wish you had written?
Davies: Recently I read and reviewed the amazing story Erasure, by A.T.H Webber – about the thrall of the Internet and the effect of it upon our spiritual afterlife, I read it and literally thought, ‘Damn, I wish I’d thought of that!’
Just for Fun
The Bookworm: Favorite literary character?
Davies: ‘quIRK,’ the quantum super-computer in T. Gregory’s The ABACUS Protocol: Sanity Vacuum. With a humble wish to see a tree, ordering kittens off the Galactic equivalent of the Internet, he made me cry, made me laugh, and made me think.
The Bookworm: Favorite Jell-O flavor?
Davies: Orange, preferably in my mum’s homemade trifle at Christmas. (hehe, had to check on the Net that Jell-O is what we call ‘jelly,’ or that might have been one weird answer!)
The Bookworm: James Bond, Jason Bourne, or Ethan Hunt?
Davies: Perhaps shockingly, I don’t know who the last two are, so it’d be Bond. But if it were a no-bounds choice, it would be Nicolas Cage every time!
The Bookworm: Guilty pleasure?
Davies: Can I say Nicholas Cage again? No? OK, reality TV. I’m a Celebrity, Big Brother, X-Factor.
The Bookworm: If you could live in any period of time in any part of the world, where would you live and why?
Davies: I’ve had to spend a couple of days thinking about this one. Right, I would live in the present, because when I think about the past, it’s always in black and white (does anyone else do that?), like a newspaper world. Strange, I know. And when I think about the future, it’s too bizarre, with disembodied heads ‘living’ in tanks, the sky blackened from some chemical incident or whatever, and it’s too unfamiliar. So where would I live? I love my little IOM, but would like to move nearer to the sea – with hermit aspirations, I dream about looking out the window and seeing nothing but a blue expanse. Doesn’t that sound nice?
I just want to add my thanks, Erin, for taking the time to support debut novelists like me. Your interest really means a lot. And thanks for coming up with the best questions ever!