The Next Big Thing

I've just been tagged in The Next Big Thing, a way for writers to share their upcoming projects, by my friend and writing teacher Merridawn Duckler, an accomplished writer and senior fellow at The Attic. You can read her post about her upcoming work here.


What is your working title of your book?
The Last Firewall. For a long time it had a pretty generic working title, but then I had a contest on Facebook to name it. Given a three sentence summary, my niece came up with this title, which I'm quite happy with.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I'm writing a series of novels set in the same universe. Each tells a unique story, but the books are set ten years apart. Part of my goal is to explore the future of technology: What will the work look like in 2030, 2040, 2050?
The idea for this particular story came from my love of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Matrix. I wanted to blend the two in a cyberpunk story. 
What genre does your book fall under?
I called my first two books (Avogadro Corp and A.I. Apocalypse) science fiction, but readers labeled them technothrillers. There's a fine line where the technology is believable and not too distant, where a book can cross from science fiction into a technothriller. The Last Firewall is set in a future where robots and artificial intelligence are commonplace, and although I think it's a realistic prediction of what life will be like in twenty-five years, I suspect readers will label it science fiction.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is a great question. The protagonist is a nineteen year old woman, who is smart, independent, and scrappy, but she gets in over her head. Whoever plays her has to be able to be strong and vulnerable at the same time, and because of the age, she's doing to be someone who is just up and coming now. Any suggestions?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
When a flawed nineteen year old girl is all that stands between a powerful AI and its quest for world domination, she must come to terms with the power she's always had but never known.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I'm represented by Bernadette Baker-Baughman of Victoria Sanders & Associates. This is a change for me as my previous novels were self-published.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
It took about nine months from the time I started until I typed the closing line, and then I've had another year of editing since finishing the first draft.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It has elements in common with Ramez Naam's Nexus, older cyberpunk like Hardwired and Neuromancer, and modern stories about artificial intelligence like Daemon and my own A.I. Apocalypse.  

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

In fact, if you look at a lot of the classic cyberpunk stories, like NeuromancerHardwired, and Snow Crash, they have female sidekicks that are fascinating characters, but they just never get front-stage. I wanted to write a modern cyberpunk Buffy.
This week and next, please check out some other fantastic writers who will share their projects with you:
  • Brad Wheeler is the author of Fugitives from Earth, a classic space opera novel. Another indie writer here in Portland, he's also one of the founders of NIWA, the Northwest Independent Writer's Association. Check out his website
  • Tonya Macalino is the author of The Shades of Venice series, and another local writer. She also teaches classes on marketing and platform building for authors. Check out her website
  • Gene Kim is the author of The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win, a novel about business and IT that programmers and ops folks will love. Check out his website
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