Ever wonder why people write about drones? Wonder no more. The next few months, I’ll be interviewing authors about their interest in the future, the influence drones could and do have on our culture, and where they might go next.
This week, Jackson Dean Chase stopped by the blog to talk about his own fascination with drones in his novel, aptly titled, Drone.
- What inspired you to write your YA novel, Drone?
Jackson Dean Chase: Drone was inspired by my love of science fiction. It plays with the tropes of modern dystopian novels while combining them with a Star Wars sensibility. By that, I mean lots of action. I don’t want to waste pages talking about technology or with my heroine sitting around moping about boys instead of saving the world. Where’s the fun in that?
- What made you decide to write in the science fiction genre after writing in the horror genre? Was it harder or easier? Why?
JDC: Although I’m a passionate horror fan, I don’t want to be thought of as a “horror author.” I want to be thought of as an author, period—one who delivers stories that transcend genre and category. But switching from horror to science fiction was difficult. It’s hard to keep the technology straight and to rely on science to explain things instead of the supernatural. Fortunately, that’s what editors are for.
- Are there elements of horror in your YA dystopian series, Beyond the Dome?
JDC: Absolutely! The first time my heroine has to kill an enemy is horrific, and when she has to look at herself in the mirror afterward—knowing what she has become—that’s horrific too. I don’t shy away from the violence or how it affects my characters. There’s a mad scientist, organ harvesting, arranged marriages and forced pregnancy, not to mention people dropping dead when they hit their genetic expiration date. But for me, the real horror is the future society’s “Elite” vs. “Drone” caste system and the ruthless corporations that run it.
- Do you connect better with your horror series or dystopian?
JDC: I connect with story. A great story will work in any time period, any genre. Star Wars does it by combining the western and samurai film with sci-fi. John Maddox Roberts transplanted hardboiled and noir into Conan the Rogue, brilliantly combining Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon with Conan the Barbarian.
- Did you find it challenging to capture the perspective of teen girl in Drone? Why or why not?
JDC: If you’re going to grow, I think it’s important to write outside your comfort zone. But at the same time, you need to find ways to stay within it, because that’s what you know best and have the most passion for. So I’ll take a genre I love, like horror or science fiction, and instead of writing it from my male point of view, I’ll write it from the opposite.
- What is the theme that links all of your books together? Where did it come from?
JDC: Wish fulfillment is the theme, usually from the plight of the Outsider. It’s brought on by pain, by loneliness, and the desire to escape, to shine—no matter the cost. The pain you read on the page is my pain, my experience, filtered through the eyes of my characters and their reality.
I wasted a few decades being depressed and angry. It wasn’t until I started writing that I learned to love myself, to forgive my mistakes, and move on. The beauty of having overcome my darkness is I can still feel it, still tap into it without trauma, without pain. It’s a tool now, fodder for my fiction, where it belongs.
- Why do you think dark and edgy, fantasy-based books have become so popular amongst young adults?
JDC: I think they’ve always been popular, they just haven’t been accepted into the “YA” category until the past decade or so—at least not in any numbers. Before that, you had teens reading about teens in adult books like Flowers in the Attic or The Basketball Diaries, but there was no “YA” equivalent. What finally opened the floodgates to the new tide of dark YA was the increasingly desperate, post-911 world we find ourselves in. Horror and suspense thrive in uncertain, dangerous times; consuming fantasy horror and suspense provides a safe outlet for that fear.
- Has writing horror ever affected your mood? Have you ever not been able to snap out of the emotions you engage when you write haunting scenes?
JDC: A few times, but only when I was being affected by unpleasant real life events—ones I hadn’t had time to process. But the mood doesn’t last long; I won’t let it. After all, I want to write about horrifying events, not live them. [laughs]
JDC: Sure! I’m writing Warrior, the sequel to Drone and getting ready to publish Hard Times in Dronetown, which is a short story prequel. You can check out my current and upcoming books at www.JacksonDeanChase.com. If you go now, you get my Starter Library free.
I’m an author and poet who specializes in Young Adult fiction. While much of my initial work falls within the Dystopian and Horror genres, I plan to add fantasy, science fiction, and thrillers throughout 2015 and beyond. I will also be releasing adult novels and poetry collections.
I hail from vampire country. No, not Transylvania—the other one in Washington state. I grew up wandering the rain-swept wilderness hoping to find the magic portal that would take me home. I never found the portal, but I did find another way out… through writing.
I’ve always loved science fiction, fantasy, and horror, but it wasn’t until I combined them with pulp thrillers and noir that I found my voice as an author. I want to leave my readers breathless, want them to feel the desperate longing, the hope and fear my heroes experience as they struggle not just to survive, but to become something more.