Today it’s my pleasure to introduce you to S.J. Kincaid, author of INSIGNIA, the super engrossing sci-fi thrill ride that we all love around here. Yesterday we gave you a few words from S.J.’s editor, Molly O’Neill, and today we have a few words from S.J. herself (follow her on Twitter @sjkincaidbooks).
Which was your favorite book from childhood, and what are you reading right now?
My favorite book from childhood has to be a novel I first read in seventh grade called ‘Legacy’ by Susan Kay. It belonged to my sister, and I picked it up one day and couldn’t stop reading for a couple days until I’d finished it. That novel honestly changed the course of my life. It stirred a fascination with history that completely changed my interests in high school and college.
Right now, I’m re-reading Catching Fire, and getting ready to read Neil Tyson Degrasse’s Space Chronicles.
What is your secret talent?
I can draw faces reasonably well. Mostly when I’m in lectures. And I’m supposed to be listening to whatever’s going on. Actually, I’ve been out of school for about a year, so I’m probably rusty, but as soon as I’m in an enforced sitting-somewhere situation again, I’ll pick it up again.
Fill in the blank: _______ always makes me laugh.
Dogs. They’re just so cute and quirky and loveable.
My current obsessions are…
Michio Kaku. You know a guy is a genius when he can make principles of astrophysics comprehensible to me.
Any gem of advice for aspiring writers?
Persist. It took me seven novels to get published. The mantra I heard that really kept me motivated was this: “The only way to be sure I’ll fail is to quit.”
Finish this sentence: I hope a person who reads my book…
…enjoys the hours they spend reading it.
Tell us more about how INSIGNIA was born.
INSIGNIA came to me in pieces. I had this story I’d started about a gamer kid traveling around with his father, but it was just sitting there alongside maybe twenty other stores with about five-thousand words on my hard drive that I never picked up upon.
I also had this other vague idea about a massive war fought remotely in outer space. I got this one from an article discussing the likelihood future combat will minimize human involvement, and will instead consist of remotely controlled machines battling it out. I was fascinated by this idea, because it reminded me of a video game, and I thought of all the troubling implications that could arise from further distancing the aggressors in a battle from the damage they’re wreaking.
Anyway, INSIGNIA came about at some point when I mentally jointed that story fragment of a gamer kid with the giant World War III scenario. I didn’t plan to write it because I was going to grad school for a year, and it just seemed too big, but I kept getting idea after idea for this world, and then I began to imagine a fortress right on top of the Pentagon we have today.
The last key? My grad school had a lighter schedule during the summer. I realized it was now or never—I could write the story or just forget about it. I already had so many ideas, I couldn’t bear to just flush them away. So I gave it a shot. The rest is history.
Thanks, S.J.! Insignia is on bookshelves now, with a sequel set for next summer– thank goodness!