Rick Overwater is a longtime Calgary-based writer and musician. He likes guitars and short sentences.
With ten young adult and middle-grade fiction books to his credit, Simon Rose has been a fixture in Calgary’s literary scene for 13 years now. Simon isn’t one to hide in the shadows, toiling over a keyboard—he’s easy easy to find at book and entertainment events, or speaking at your local school.
His latest book, Future Imperfect, published by Tyche Books, captures the story of a boy and a girl caught in a deadly cyber conspiracy that will determine whether a boy will ever see his father again, and whether a cold dystopian future awaits us or not.
More on Simon can be found at www.simon-rose.com In the meantime, here’s a brief chat with Simon where he tells us a bit more about the new book, and himself.
A lot of youth-centred books are dystopian these days. Future Imperfect has all the tension you’d expect from one of those but you opted for a more grounded, relatable world. Tell us a bit about the creating the world of Alex and Stephanie.
The two main characters had to have a technical background in
order to be able to engage in the activities portrayed in the novel. It was
also important to have them live in a part of the world where there are
technology companies in abundance, hence the Silicon Valley setting. Not only
that, it was crucial for them to be connected to the hi-tech world through
Alex’s father’s job at Castlewood Dynamics.
The high-tech aspects of Stephanie and Alex interests and skills seems “awesome” yet accessible. Did you start with an idea for the kids’ interests, or did you sit down and scratch your head over the setting you wanted after fleshing out the charachters? Put another way, what came first?
Much of it emerged at the same time. I had the basic premise for the story and knew that this would entail the main characters having high-tech skills and an interest in all kinds of gadgets, even developing some themselves. The exact setting, general plot, and the secondary characters came after that, once I had the story idea and the main characters.
Alex is thrust into a situation where he has to reconcile how he might act as an adult, and what he thinks the proper course of action is as a kid. Is this a thinking point you were very calculated about including, or did it just evolve in the process of plotting out the book and characters?
This evolved during the writing process due to the nature of the story. Alex was clearly always going to have to make several important decisions but this is also complicated by the identity of the person he’s dealing with, not wishing to give too much away. Working out some of those aspects was sometimes challenging, but it was also always a wonderful experience during the creative process with this novel. Those kinds of challenges are often excellent reminders regarding why writers love to write.
What did you feel needed to be emphasized the most to appeal to young readers?
Apart from the technology aspects mentioned earlier, readers need to be able to relate to Alex and Stephanie as characters. They may both be technological geniuses to some extent, but they’re also ordinary kids that find themselves in extraordinary and even dangerous situations. This is very important in stories for young adults, as is the need for the young characters to solve problems themselves. Adults certainly appear in the story but Alex and Stephanie are the ones that make the most vital contributions to the story. This all helps the reader to identify with the characters and hopefully thoroughly enjoy the novel.
Is this your first book with Tyche?
This is my second novel with Tyche. My paranormal novel, Flashback, was published in 2015 and two sequels are coming out next year, one in the spring and the other in August. I also hope to start work on two sequels to Future Imperfect. The novel has proved quite popular so far so I want to explore the possibilities of further adventures for Alex, Stephanie, and the other characters that appear in the novel.
This isn’t your first book aimed at younger readers. Has your approach to young readers evolved?
Future Imperfect is my tenth novel for young adults. The first novel, The Alchemist’s Portrait, was published in 2003. All the novels are of course featured on my website and have been in the science fiction and fantasy genres. They’ve also included themes that I’ve always been interested in such as history, the paranormal, mythology, ancient mysteries, folklore, comic books, and so on. I think we all evolve as writers as we progress and hopefully we improve. The books continue to be popular so I guess I must be doing something right. The more recent novels have sometimes had darker themes and are written for a slightly older reader too.
How do you differ in your approach to adults?
The books I’ve written for adults so far have been writing guides. Having said that, quite a few children have read The Children’s Writer’s Guide and enjoyed it since there are plenty of great tips in there for all aspiring writers. All the articles I’ve written over the years have also been aimed at adult readers. I don’t find it that difficult to switch to writing for adults. I think it’s probably tougher for experienced writers that have never written for children. I’ve heard that it can be quite a challenge for them to learn how to compose text for younger readers or for writers to say what they mean with far fewer words than they’re used to employing.
What are you working on now?
I completed a science fiction trilogy about a parallel universe earlier this year that will be published soon. I’ve had the concept for quite a while, but it’s one of those stories that continually improved as it was being written. I’m currently working on a historical fiction adventure set in seventeenth century England. I’m also continuing to work with other writers in all genres, not just those writing for children and young adults, as an editor and writing coach.
Simon’s Social Media links:
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