Please welcome Lauren C. Teffeau to The Qwillery as part of the 2018 Debut Author Challenge Interviews. Implanted was published on August 7th by Angry Robot.
TQ: Welcome to The Qwillery. What is the first piece you remember writing?
LCT: A horrible fantasy novel in my early teens. It was full of wish fulfillment and the worldbuilding was illogical at best, nonexistent at worst. I’m happy to say I’ve improved dramatically since then.
TQ: Are you a plotter, a pantser or a hybrid?
LCT: I’m a plotter, though how strict I am depends on the project. I want to ensure even when I have the entire story worked out in my head that there is some space for the unexpected, for the story elements to breathe, and in some instances surprise me.
TQ: What is the most challenging thing for you about writing?
LCT: In the past year, I’d say it’s been the difficulty in tuning out the noise of the larger world. I have lots of projects I’d like to work on or revisit, but it’s been harder than usual for me to quiet my mind to focus for long periods.
TQ: What has influenced / influences your writing?
LCT: I took a screenwriting class in college. I was a bit of a film buff and wanted to see how things worked on the other side of the camera, so to speak. The emphasis on structure, dialogue, and action have been extremely formative and have provided the backbone to just about everything I’ve done since.
TQ: Describe Implanted using only 5 words.
LCT: Cyberpunk, adventure, gadgetry, couriers, and communication
TQ: Tell us something about Implanted that is not found in the book description.
LCT: There’s a romantic subplot that I’m rather proud of.
TQ: What inspired you to write Implanted? What appeals to you about writing Cyberpunk?
LCT: I’ve always enjoyed cyberpunk as a genre, but while those stories made me think, they didn’t necessarily make me feel welcome. I wanted to write something that wasn’t as emotionally sterile as other entries in the cyberpunk genre but still present an interesting examination of technology and where it’s taking us.
TQ: What is Cyberpunk and in your opinion what elements are essential to a Cyberpunk story?
LCT: Cool tech, some sort of mystery (often originating in the corporate or government sectors of society), and some implicit or explicit commentary on technology and humanity’s relationship to it.
TQ: What sort of research did you do for Implanted?
LCT: Lots in bits and pieces over the years. I researched art nouveau and sustainability practices to get a better handle on the architecture of my domed city. I took a look at cybersecurity practices. I also included a lot of worldbuilding assumptions that can be mapped back to my social science background in information science, data curation, and mass communication as a graduate student and later on as a university researcher. I also never turn down the opportunity to consume the latest espionage thriller, no matter what the medium.
TQ: Please tell us about the cover for Implanted.
LCT: The cover was created in consultation with Angry Robot’s Marc Gascoigne and the rest of the graphics team at Argh! Nottingham. I think cyberpunk as a genre is particularly hard to represent well on covers given the abstract nature of the concepts. In the case of Implanted, we wanted something captivating and landed on the human eye (that hopefully readers can’t stop looking at) and hint at some of the gadgetry you’ll find in the book thanks to the eye’s digital overlay. Combined with a bold and compelling title font, I hope it not only signals the cyberpunk genre to readers but that it's an exciting read as well.
TQ: In Implanted who was the easiest character to write and why? The hardest and why?
LCT: My main character Emery was easily the hardest. She valiantly fought me over the course of successive drafts. Sometimes I had trouble uncovering her motivations or pinning down her voice, but I eventually brought her to heel. I am the author after all. One of the easiest and (most enjoyable) character to write was Emery’s handler Tahir. He seems like he’s bit stuck-up and by-the-book but underneath his prickly exterior, he's a big softy.
TQ: Does Implanted touch on any social issues?
LCT: Besides technology and sustainability, I also delve quite a bit into inequality. Not simply in terms of who has money and who doesn’t, but what that money can buy—in particular neural implants and access to the network they're connected to that dictate just about everything in the domed city.
TQ: Which question about Implanted do you wish someone would ask? Ask it and answer it!
LCT: Why blood as a data transmission vehicle? Well, for starters, recent research shows that tons of information can be encoded in DNA (frex: https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/03/dna-could-store-all-worlds-data-one-room). So it seemed like using blood could be a practical solution in a world where information networks can’t be trusted. It was also a way to inject something fundamentally human into a high-tech future.
TQ: Give us your favorite non-spoilery quotes from Implanted.
Rik simply lets the silence build, the connection between us alive with feeling. Synching can be surprisingly intimate, depending on how a user customizes their implant settings. The length of delay between thought and message. Whether or not nonverbals should be broadcasted. The priority of the interaction over other tasks and contacts. We’ve become so attuned to one another over the years, now our connection practically vibrates with what’s left unsaid. My doubts, his certainty, yes, but also a desire for more – a strange sort of friction as we run up against the limitations of our current configuration, like a snail that’s outgrown its shell.
TQ: What's next?
LCT: I’m hard at work on a few sekrit projects, which may or may not include a sequel to Implanted. My website laurencteffeau.com is the best way to stay up-to-date with what’s going on with me.
TQ: Thank you for joining us at The Qwillery.
LCT: It was my pleasure!
Angry Robot, August 7, 2018
Trade Paperback and eBook, 400 pages
The data stored in her blood can save a city on the brink… or destroy it, in this gripping cyberpunk thriller
When college student Emery Driscoll is blackmailed into being a courier for a clandestine organisation, she’s cut off from the neural implant community which binds the domed city of New Worth together. Her new masters exploit her rare condition which allows her to carry encoded data in her blood, and train her to transport secrets throughout the troubled city. New Worth is on the brink of Emergence – freedom from the dome – but not everyone wants to leave. Then a data drop goes bad, and Emery is caught between factions: those who want her blood, and those who just want her dead.
File Under: Science Fiction [ Under the Dome | Blood Courier | Disconnected | Bright Future ]
Lauren C. Teffeau lives and dreams in the southwestern United States. When she was younger, she poked around in the back of wardrobes, tried to walk through mirrors, and always kept an eye out for secret passages, fairy rings, and messages from aliens. Now, she writes to cope with her ordinary existence. Implanted is her first novel.