Published: 19th August 2013
Remy Alexander was born into the elite meritocracy of the Okarian Sector. From an early age, she and her friends were programmed for intellectual and physical superiority through specialized dietary regimes administered by the Okarian Agricultural Consortium. But when her older sister Tai was murdered in a brutal classroom massacre, her parents began to suspect foul play. They fled the Sector, taking their surviving daughter underground to join the nascent Resistance movement. But now, three years later, Remy’s former schoolgirl crush, Valerian Orleán, is put in charge of hunting and destroying the Resistance. As Remy and her friends race to unravel the mystery behind her sister’s murder, Vale is haunted by the memory of his friendship with Remy and is determined to find out why she disappeared. As the Resistance begins to fight back against the Sector, and Vale and Remy search for the answers to their own questions, the two are set on a collision course that could bring everyone together—or tear everything apart.
Interview with K. Makansi
When did you decide you all wanted to write together?
We knew from the get-go! When Kristy (the mom of our trio) first had the dream that sparked The Sowing, she immediately shared it with my younger sister, Elena. The idea fell by the wayside for a few years, but in 2012, she brought it up to me as something she was still interested in working on. I fell in love, and the spark was rekindled. Kristy wrote another chapter, I wrote chapter three, and then Elena joined in and wrote another chapter shortly after that. We all dove in together, and took ownership over the story collectively. It just happened that way!
What has been the best part about writing together?
I think, for me, it’s been learning from the writing styles of my co-authors. I’ve always loved to write, but working with two other talented writers has really honed my skill and taught me how to use different voices and new techniques. I think we’ve all learned a lot from each other both professionally and personally. It’s great knowing that your two collaborators are also two of your best friends and closest relatives!
Did you encounter many difficulties/differing ideas while writing The Sowing?
Actually, no. We’ve all had fairly similar views on the direction of the story, our vision of the world, and the arc of our characters. There have definitely been minor disagreements—and believe me, minor disagreements can turn very quickly into major arguments when we’re all as passionate about the story as we are—but everything has been resolvable. At the end of the day, we all recognize how passionate we are about the trilogy, and respect each other’s ideas because of that passion. We all want to succeed, and in order to do so, we share ideas and learn from each other.
Where did the idea for The Sowing spring from?
As I mentioned earlier, Kristy had a dream years ago that was the genesis for the story. In the dream, a young girl was running through a dark, abandoned city, crumbling buildings around her. Gunfire rattled in the distance and explosions lit up the night sky. The girl had a gun slung over her shoulder and was running from—or to—something. She rounds a corner and comes face to face with a boy, a young man she never expected to see again, a boy she’d once been in love with. She skids to the ground and lies there, helpless. When the boy stretches his hand out to her and their fingers connect, a bolt of electricity flies through her and sends him flying.
It was an intense and visual scene, Kristy says. She knew the stakes in the battle were high, and she knew the two young people had once been lovers. Eventually they became Remy Alexander and Valerian Orlean, the two protagonists of our story. Remy lost her electroshock powers—we decided that idea was a little too cliché—and Vale and Remy both grew up as we wrote the book. But the heart of the scene remains, and the moment when Vale reaches his hands out to Remy is still one of our favorites in the series.
Was there a part of the book that was harder or easier to write than the rest?
I personally had a lot of trouble writing the scenes where Vale attends the Solstice Celebration and makes a critical and incredibly challenging decision (no spoilers!). It was really hard for me to get into his head there, and I had to do a lot of writing exercises to think about how he would have approached that situation. In the end, I actually wrote a Caesar Flickerman style interview a la The Hunger Games where Flickerman asks Vale how he’s feeling about everything that’s going on. That was what enabled me to really see things through his eyes, and the emotional tension behind those scenes finally came together.
Do you have a favourite character from The Sowing?
We love them all! But two of my favorites are Eli and Jeremiah, for totally different reasons. Jeremiah is a clown, incapable of taking things seriously. When he does bow his head and think hard, you know the situation is dire. But most of the time, he’s hilarious, and his light-hearted approach to the world provides some comic relief in dark times.
Eli is great for different reasons. He’s a troublemaker and a hothead with a serious problem with authority. He operates under his own set of rules, and his traumatized past and dark sense of humor make him one of the most interesting characters to write.
What are you currently working on and/or what do you have planned for the future?
So many things! We have a novella from Soren’s perspective, as yet untitled, coming out at the beginning of April. The Reaping, book two of the Seeds trilogy, will be released in late summer or early fall. And I’m working on a solo project called Porous, an experimental work in a genre I’m calling “scientific paranormal”, wherein a girl named Noomi discovers she has paranormal abilities that are rooted in the principles of quantum physics. It’s also darkly psychological, and the reader will spend a lot of time wondering what’s real and what’s not. The story is being released for free in serial installments on my blog and Wattpad.
Thanks for the wonderful and insightful interview, Amira! I'm really looking forward to seeing more of K. Makansi!
Author Bio - K. Makansi
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