Two featured authors in one day?! What is this madness? Well, this one is a competitor in the Inkshares / Geek & Sundry contest, which ends in three days. So, here’s Matthew Gladwin’s Amalgamated Memoirs of a Future Imperfect, which I hope piques your interest as much as it does mine.
When our first encounter with extraterrestrial life finally occurs, and nothing goes according to plan, how can we possibly know what the repercussions will be? Reporter Lillian Chuang has a front row seat, but even she has no idea what to expect next. But as the reader will soon discover she is not alone, as NCO Paul Steiner, branch manager Rojer Hendrix, hunter band-leader Yuri, retired general Administrator Yan and Empress Joyce Regina Delecoix continue to deal with the effects of first contact thousands of years after they come to pass. Laced with critiques on society and exploring multiple themes from rebuilding a broken nation to protecting cultural identity to navigating a series of disasters, this non-linear novel will challenge your sense of perspective and keep you guessing with every page.
Q: Is this your first novel?
A: Yes, this is my first novel, but not my first work of this length. I wrote a community based fanfiction a number of years ago, and although it was only half finished before I left the community, that story was over 300,000 words and featured something like sixty main characters. When I realized I would pass 200,000 words for this book, I had to rework a few scenes and shorten some phrases or else it would have been an even larger book for a first publishing.
Q: What excites you most about your novel?
A: While I’d be thrilled to see people’s reactions on the various opinions it presents and the settings it offers, I’m especially excited about the ending. This book is hard to get ahead of at times, but if you can make it all the way through, you’ll see how it all ties together. I don’t want to spoil anything but let me just say it paves the way for a much, much larger story.
Q: How do you go about keeping track of so many different points of view? [Six points of view!]
A: Compartmentalizing information is key when you jump around with your perspectives so much. What do you know, what is trivial, what’s happened before and after. Even what’s important or not important to each character’s values. So I planned most of the events in the timeline, including the ending, even before I started writing the first page of the prologue. While separating their perspectives by time periods helped a fair bit, I wrote all six characters simultaneously so I wouldn’t get lost trying to remember information from a time period I was done with.
Q: What are some novels that are similar to yours?
A: Obviously, it has some similarities with the wildly popular “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George R.R. Martin in that it has multiple narrators, but its essence is more similar to “Cloud Atlas” by David Mitchell because of the multiple time period aspect. The scale is a bit different though, as the ending will point out.