I have enjoyed Resa's fantasy books and now her new book as well, All of Us Were Sophie. You can check out my review of her new book on the blog. Please do as it's new and different from her previous book. Well done!
I do hope you learn a bit about the book in this interview, and it sparks a curiosity to take a look at it.
Please give a warm welcome to Resa...
M: Hi Resa! It is a pleasure to have you back to the blog once again.
I’m thrilled to announce you have a new book out, the center of your current tour – All of Us Were Sophie. Would you like to share a little about the new book with the readers?
RN: Sure! Thanks so much for that warm welcome. All Of Us Were Sophie is a murder mystery with a science fiction premise: human duplication is possible. Not cloning, which is essentially growing a baby that has your exact DNA. But making exact copies of yourself in an instant, complete with your personality and life experience. Kind of like making real-life photocopies of yourself except they’re human, not paper. That’s what my main character Sophie does because she knows someone is trying to kill her and she believes making copies of herself is her best choice. But she also knows that the process of duplication will kill her. Once that happens and the copies of Sophie are created, they must figure out what’s happening, escape the killer, and find out what’s happening and why.
M: Resa, I know you throw yourself into your work. You usually ‘try’ or talk too many about what you are writing. I think this is amazing as it really helps make the actions feel real.
There is detective work here. Both professional and unprofessional. We have a cop that is trying to solve a crime then we have the Sophie’s trying to solve who is trying to murder them. Did you have a lot of research to make it feel so true from the detectives view?
RN: I did a couple of things. I wrote the first version of this book 25 years ago, and at that time I interviewed a Boston homicide detective. It was fascinating, because I sat in his office and he answered all incoming calls during our interview. Just listening to his conversations gave me a lot of insight. But I also had a big list of questions, and his answers made me look at things differently. The first version of this book sold to a major publisher who later dropped the deal, and I gave up on the book. When I realized how I could rewrite it to make it more fresh and relevant, I decided to change the setting from Boston to a fictional bedroom community on its outskirts. This time I interviewed a detective in a small town, and the difference between the two experiences was jaw-dropping. Years ago, I dated a Boston cop and gained some insight from him, as well. Also, I’m a huge fan of the ID TV channel and series like The Closer, which a minor character mentions watching in my novel.
RN: I drew mostly from my own experience. Whenever I needed to figure out a way to make something work, I would think about my own idiosyncrasies. For example, within the past few years I’ve realized that I’ve always had my own unique way of communicating with myself – and that not everyone else does this! And it’s all about visual things. For example, if I need to take something with me when I leave my home, there’s a specific place where I’ll put it because I know that for some reason I also look at that place. If I put things anywhere else, I’m likely to walk off without them. Another example: last weekend I decided I wanted to eat the last bit of an Ethiopian lentil stew I’d made for breakfast. But I’m a creature of habit. I knew that I had to do something to remind myself or else I’d go on autopilot and make my regular morning oatmeal. So I took a bag of uncooked lentils out of my kitchen cabinet and put the bag on the countertop where I make breakfast. Sure enough, a couple of hours later when I started to make oatmeal, I saw my reminder and heated up the stew instead. I don’t know why I’m like this. I can’t explain it. It’s just how my brain is wired. And especially because I’m dealing with multiple versions of the same character, I felt that my best bet was to make Sophie as much like me as I could bear!
Resa, I think we all have our own idiosyncrasies. It's great to really focus on them and use them in the book.
M: The Detective, Jeromy, touches on memory loss with his suspect. And there is an explanation of why the Sophie’s don’t remember the last two weeks. Did you do a lot of training on memory and memory loss for the book?
RN: It’s a combination of things. In college my required courses included human biology, human physiology, and human anatomy (including dissection, which I initially dreaded but ended up loving). I also have a degree in sociology and a keen interest in psychology. Plus for many years I’ve been reading books about the brain just because I think it’s interesting. So there were a lot of things I already knew and understood about memory, but I also did some research. But most of the credit goes to my consultant, Dr. Geoffrey Landis, who is a scientist and a terrific science fiction author. When we’ve talked about the possibility of human duplication and how it would work, Geoff is the one who theorized that the duplication process would cause short-term memory loss.
M: In this new book, you touch on science fiction. But, the nice thing, it creates the plot of the story yet is not overwhelming to people who love a great mystery story. Do you feel this book falls more in the mystery section?
RN: Thank you so much for saying that! That’s exactly my intent. I’m a huge fan of mysteries, and I want this book to be easy to read for mystery readers as well as science fiction fans. My goal was to put in just enough science so that you can understand the most important things you need to understand. I think there’s a grand total of about four pages of science fiction spread throughout the book, and the rest I consider pure mystery.
M: Did you find it easier writing of your local area as you went? Or more of a challenge to keep a close to home, real feel?
RN: I’ve lived in different parts of the United States, and I feel that this country is more like Europe in that different regions (or even states) have their own culture. I once read a novel where one of the main characters was supposed to be the city in which it took place, but the authors did very little to describe the city or what made it unique! That’s what I thought about when I wrote this book, because I want anyone who has never lived in New England to get a glimpse of what it’s like – and it made the writing easy because I had a goal. I kept thinking about the culture shock I’d experienced when I first moved to Boston as well as all the things I love about it and the surrounding area. My goal is that no matter where you live, when you read my novel you’ll see my vision of what makes this region unique.
M: Resa, thank you for stopping by. I wish you all the best in words and pages. And look forward to having you back by in the future, many times.
RN: Melissa, thank you so much for hosting my blog tour and for asking such great questions! I’m so happy and grateful that you read All Of Us Were Sophie and enjoyed it. Thanks for the kind words, and I’m already looking forward to coming back!
What if the only way you could save your own life was to kill yourself?
Someone is trying to kill Sophie Rippetoe, and she has no place to hide. But Sophie has a unique option. Her husband designed and built a duplicator machine to make exact copies of complicated and sophisticated machine parts. She knows how the duplicator works.
Will it work for people? No one knows.
There’s just one problem: the duplication process destroys the original. The only thing Sophie knows for sure is that trying to make copies of herself will end up killing her.
Sophie isn’t sure who’s trying to kill her or why – but she has her suspicions and has gathered some evidence. Before she takes the leap of faith to use the duplicator on herself, she creates a trail of clues, hopeful that at least one of the Sophies she creates will figure it out in time to save herself.
Resa Nelson’s first novel, The Dragonslayer’s Sword, was nominated for the Nebula Award and was also a Finalist for the EPPIE Award. This medieval fantasy novel is based on a short story first published in the premiere issue of Science Fiction Age magazine and ranked 2nd in that magazine's first Readers Top Ten Poll. The Dragonslayer's Sword is Book 1 in her 4-book Dragonslayer series, which also includes The Iron Maiden (Book 2), The Stone of Darkness (Book 3), and The Dragon’s Egg (Book 4).
Resa's standalone novel, Our Lady of the Absolute, is a fantasy/mystery/thriller about a modern-day society based on ancient Egypt. Midwest Book Review gave this book a 5-star review, calling it "a riveting fantasy, very highly recommended."
She has been selling fiction professionally since 1988. She is a longtime member of SFWA (Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America) and is a graduate of the Clarion SF Workshop. Resa was also the TV/Movie Columnist for Realms of Fantasy magazine for 13 years and was a contributor to SCI FI magazine. She has sold over 200 articles to magazines in the United States and the United Kingdom.
Resa lives in Massachusetts. Visit her website at http://www.resanelson.com and follow her on Twitter @ResaNelson.
Resa’s website: http://www.resanelson.com
GoodReads giveaway (10 signed copies, U.S. only): https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/77022-all-of-us-were-sophie
Ebook ($4.99) and trade paperback ($12.95) are available directly from Mundania Press at:
http://mundania.com/book.php?title=All of Us Were Sophie
(get a 10% discount at checkout with the coupon code MP10)
Paperbacks and ebooks are available also from Amazon, and Barnes&Noble:
Amazon: All of Us Were Sophie
Barnes & Nobles: All of Us Were Sophie
Book Depository: All of Us Were Sophie
Blog tour schedule: http://www.resanelson.com/all-of-us-were-sophie-blog-tou/