Thursday, July 9, 2009

Joel Shepherd

Joel Shepherd's first trilogy--Crossover, Breakaway and Killswitch--features Cassandra Kresnov, "an android, but unlike anything Hollywood’s ever seen. She was created from technology that copies human beings in synthetic form, with appropriate improvements. So she’s basically human, only made of different stuff. The "improvements" are that she’s death on legs, the ultimate killing machine. The catch is that the same added intelligence that makes her the most deadly of her kind, also makes her more emotional, more vulnerable, and sends her in search of a life free from violence (that bit doesn’t work out so well for her though)."

From Shepherd's Q & A with Robert Thompson at Fantasy Book Critic:

Q: Since your Cassandra Kresnov novels have been completed for a few years now, let’s reflect. What was the most challenging part about writing the series, the easiest, and if you could go back and change anything, what would it be and why?

Joel: The most challenging part was simply coming up with an interesting, comprehensible plot. My plots tend to be a little complex, so making them all work logically wasn’t as easy for me back then (it’s easier for me now, everything improves with experience). The easiest bit was the characters; they’re strong enough that they tended to write themselves. If I could change anything...possibly I could do a few things differently with plotting, but not much. I haven’t thought about it much.

Q: In other interviews you mentioned how you wanted to play around with certain stereotypes in the Kresnov books, such as the ‘android cliché’, making your leads female, and I also liked how the futuristic setting was utopian rather than the much more common dystopian backdrop and how you made Cassandra accountable for her actions. Were there any other tropes that you were trying to break down in the series?

Joel: Not really. Though I’m not sure I’d describe the series as utopian, more just as not dystopian. I think the trend of human progress has been generally to the positive, with some nasty hiccups, and I don’t expect that to change. I also think some of the attraction of dystopian worlds is that a lot of writers either aren’t interested in politics, or can’t see a way to use it excitingly in their plots. Dystopian worlds usually preclude politics as we understand it’s a bit of a cop out.

Q: Politics, religion and ethnic diversity all play an important role in the series. How much of this comes from your own life and what do these elements bring to your books?

Joel: [read on]
My Book, The Movie: Crossover.

--Marshal Zeringue