Christine Manzari, the author of “Deviation”, a young adult dystopian novel, was kind enough to respond to my interview questions. My questions are bolded, Christine’s responses are in regular font.
What’s the hardest part of being an author?
For me, the hardest part of being an author is promoting myself. I love writing, but I hate marketing. It’s time consuming to reach out to bloggers and to research ways to get my book noticed. Like a lot of writers, I’m an extreme introvert and would prefer to just write all day long.
Can you give us a short synopsis of Deviation?
Deviation takes place a little over 30 years in the future after the worst terrorist attack in United States history. It was called Wormwood. From the rubble and desolation of 29 million American deaths, the Program was born. Genetically altered Sophisticates were designed to be smarter, faster, and stronger—and as orphans raised by the Program to fight the War on Terror, they answer only to the Program itself.
Cleo is a Sophisticate. Like all Sophisticates, she doesn’t know who her parents are. She is a Vanguard Sophisticate who has a knack for languages and is an expert at hacking computers. But Cleo has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Fiery things. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.
When she accidentally causes her room to explode in a fit of anger, her secret is discovered and she’s sent to St. Ignatius to train as a Mandate and become a human weapon for the Program. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her. She’s part of a group called the Deviant Dozen and she’s not the only Sophisticate with a deadly skill. Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust.
Ozzy, the golden boy of the Program who has perfect aim is determined to win Cleo’s loyalty and attention. Although there is an undeniable attraction between them, Cleo isn’t sure if she can believe in him, or if she will find herself a target caught in his crosshairs.
All Cleo knows for certain is that she wants her freedom.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve always loved super heroes and characters with unusual powers, but I didn’t want to do the same powers for my characters that had been done in movies and comic books. I did some research on animals with unique defense mechanisms and skills. Once I discovered some of the amazing things that some animals could do, the Deviant Dozen were born. All of the code names and powers of my characters are based on real creatures and the incredible things they can do. My favorite creature that one of my characters is based on is the Indonesian Mimic Octopus. It is seriously cool.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
I usually write between 9 pm and 2 am, although some of that time is spent researching or marketing. On average, I’d say it’s closer to three hours a day that I actually have an opportunity to write.
Name your top five favorite books.
This is really hard since I read obsessively and love a lot of books. I’m going to cheat a bit on this list.
1. The entire Harry Potter series
2. Anything by Colleen Hoover, but specifically Slammed.
3. Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire
4. Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi
5. The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski.
6. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
What are you working on now?
I’m working on several projects now, but I’m really excited about the new adult book I’m writing that takes place in Venice Beach. The title of the book is Hooked and it’s about a snarky, adrenaline junkie, skater girl named Cat who is obsessed with 80s movies and graffiti. Love isn’t really Cat’s thing and she doesn’t trust easily, so when she meets Huck, a confident and rich pretty boy who is her complete opposite, she thinks that a one night stand with him could be fun, but harmless. However, when all of the secrets they didn’t share are revealed, Cat and Huck discover how easily a one night stand could ruin everything. The problem is, they’re hooked on one another.
Author: Christine Manzari
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Being a Sophisticate of the Program seems like it’d be a pretty sweet deal: a little genetic alteration and anyone can be smarter, faster, and stronger. It’s a dream come true. All you have to give up is your freedom.
Cleo is a Sophisticate and she has a bright future in the Program. But she has a secret. When she gets upset, bad things happen. Explosive things. Things she can’t control.
When her secret is discovered, she’s sent to the Academy to train in the military branch of the Program. She’s destined to be a human weapon in the war that’s been going on since Wormwood occurred nearly 30 years ago. She soon learns that although her ability is unique, there are others like her — other Sophisticates with lethal skills and odd code names like Archerfish and Mimic Octopus.
Immersed in a dangerous game of supernatural powers and dubious motives, Cleo doesn’t know who to trust. Ozzy, the annoyingly attractive cadet who has perfect aim in weapons class and deviant lips behind closed doors, begs her not to use her powers. He’s the golden boy of the Program, but can she trust him? Or will she find herself a target, caught in his crosshairs?
The first thing Christine does when she’s getting ready to read a book is to crack the spine in at least five places. She wholeheartedly believes there is no place as comfy as the pages of a well-worn book. She’s addicted to buying books, reading books, and writing books. Books, books, books. She also has a weakness for adventure, inappropriate humor, and coke (the caffeine-laden bubbly kind). Christine is from Forest Hill, Maryland where she lives with her husband, three kids, and her library of ugly spine books.
Deviation on B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/deviation-christine-manzari/1116503777