Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Author Interview: Kat Falls

Kat Falls is the debut author of Dark Life - a fantastic story set under the sea, which is published in the UK on 5th August. My review will be up next week, but for now, here's the author herself to tell you more about her book. Thanks for answering my questions, Kat!


Dark Life
is an unusual and exciting story. Where did the idea originate from?

I came up with the premise for Dark Life during a writing exercise. I’d set myself the task of combining three things that my son loved to read about into one story – the ocean, Old West pioneers, and the X-Men. Suddenly, the world of the story took shape in my mind and the plot came together fairly easily after that.

It seems difficult to fit into any one genre. Would you describe it as dystopian?

You could say the Topside in Dark Life is dystopian with its overcrowded stack-cities, but the story really takes place out on the ocean frontier, which is still a wilderness. The two genres that I intentionally mixed were science-fiction and the western. So I have pioneers, outlaws and other western tropes but the story is set in the future. Like a space-western… but underwater.

Why did you decide to have Ty narrate the story, rather than Gemma?

I did briefly consider having Gemma as the narrator because it’s easier as a writer to describe settings if the character is new to the environment. If the first-person narrator looks a room every day, he’s not going to think about its arrangement. But I really wanted to have a teenage boy as the narrator because for a while my son would only read books with male protagonists. (Hunger Games sure changed his mind on that issue.) While girls seem more willing to read about protagonists of either gender. I didn’t want to alienate half of my audience at the get go.

Also, Gemma’s reactions to the subsea world wouldn’t be that different from our reactions to it. So her thoughts wouldn’t be particularly surprising. While getting inside Ty’s head forced me to think like someone who has spent most of his life underwater. The things he doesn’t say, his feelings and reactions, often surprised me as I was writing and that’s always fun.

If you could choose, would you rather live topside or underwater?

Underwater, no question. I couldn’t live in a place without nature or wildlife.

Is there a particular dark gift you'd like to possess?

Being able to emit an electric shock could be useful in certain situations…

Do you have an educational background in marine science, or is it just an area that's always interested you?

No, I never formally studied marine biology. But I’ve always loved the ocean and love reading about all the amazing creatures that live in it. So I did lots of research – everything from marine life and geography to undersea architecture and future technology.

Who would be your ideal cast to play your characters in the optioned Dark Life movie?

No idea -- since the leads are fifteen and sadly, I can’t name a single actor in that age range.

Can you tell us anything about what we can expect from Dark Life's sequel?

Well… Benthic Territory and Ty are still struggling to gain more independence, while Gemma is desperately trying to feel at home subsea. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come easily for her. Also, I explore the world a little more – namely, what’s happening on the ocean frontier’s surface.


More info: Simon & Schuster Children's


Kate said...

Superb interview. I imagine being able to emit an electric shock could be very useful!

Carla said...

Fab interview. I'm still trying to decide whether i'm a bit freaked out that Kat would like to live underwater or if that is something I find highly cool. Fabulous!!

Lauren said...

Loved reading this interview! I have to confess the idea of living under the ocean doesn't appeal to me - way too claustrophobic - but having read Dark Life it's interesting how Ty would clearly feel that way about living Topside. That sequel sounds like one to look forward to!

Becky said...

Ooh, I am very excited for the next book. I loved the whole underwater world of this. Really interesting that Kat had no prior knowledge into marine biology. I want a dark gift!