I’m very happy to share an interview with Amped author Daniel H. Wilson below. We learn where Amped came from and just how much Wilson drew from history the familiar prejudices we see in the novel.
A lot of Amped is inspired by my own background growing up in Oklahoma around trailer parks, and by the time I spent in graduate school in Pittsburgh. I wanted to use those locales and bits and pieces of familiar people from my past to build a believable world in which normal people are under attack for the technology in their bodies.
2. What made you use/write the news articles/blogs at the end of each chapter? I’ve seen something like this recently, where the narrative is interrupted by a different POV.
In Robopocalypse there was a lot of high-level mapping between each chapter, which I felt gave the narrative an epic feel. The interstitial news articles in Amped serve the same purpose — they give the reader a glimpse of the larger world.
3. You really put your characters through the wringer. Once Owen started sliding down, it was an avalanche. When you started writing Amped did you plan to put him through so much?
Oh, sure! I’m not content to let my characters sit around and pontificate. If it’s quiet for too long, my instinct is that somebody needs to get punched in the face. And there is something so stark about a regular guy like Owen being subjected to sudden violence. It’s sickening to think that the civilized veneer that keeps our hands from curling into fists could evaporate so suddenly.
4. The apprehension and fear and eventually outright panic gone violent response that “regular” people had to those that were amped was terrible familiar and terrifying. Did you mean to make comparisons to rights’ struggles throughout history or was it just an amazing effect of great writing?
Unfortunately, there is a lot of historical precedent for people discriminating against each other, dehumanizing each other, and generally depriving each other of basic human rights. Some history I was riffing on in Amped included the internment of Japanese-Americans in WWII, the pre-war period in Poland when discrimination toward Jewish citizens was building, the 1960s civil rights struggle in the United States, along with women’s suffrage, gay rights, and even the Occupy Wall Street movement.
5. What was your favorite part of Amped to write? Your least favorite?
The first and last chapters were my favorite to write. They were the first things I wrote, and I just got this feeling that I had totally f*cking nailed it. My least favorite bit was when Jim died, because it was hard to convey what the work site looked like and how a mass riot would go down there. It took a lot of work.
6. If you could tell your readers one thing, what would it be?
If you love a book, be sure to review it everywhere you can — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, iTunes, or wherever. Trust me, authors appreciate a good review from any reader who is willing to put two words together. We have to let our work speak for itself and only readers have the power to drown out all the haters and trolls. For those who have reviewed, you’ve got my heartfelt thanks!
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Thanks again to Daniel for taking time to do the interview, and if you want to learn more about his work, visit his site here.