29 June 2012


Today I am really excited to have author Anderson O'Donnell joining me on the blog to kindly answer a few questions about his debut dystopian novel Kingdom. You can read my review here on the blog tomorrow or you can head on over to Amazon to grab yourself a copy. Be sure to check the bottom of the post for the links!

You have a new book called Kingdom coming out, tell us a little bit about it?
KINGDOM is a gritty, bio-punk myth. Its genre fiction at its finest—violence, sex, and dystopian madness reign supreme. Unlike some other genre fiction, however, KINGDOM asks some big philosophical questions, and refuses to be “just another genre novel.” Specifically, KINGDOM explores the possibility that there is a gene for the human soul—a gene that cannot be reproduced by genetic engineering.

What sparked the ideas for Tiber City?
Tiber City is my love-letter to all those dystopian metropolis with which I grew up: Gibson’s Sprawl, O’Connell’s Quinsigamond, Shirley’s San Francisco, Ridley Scott’s vision of LA in BLADE RUNNER...even Stephen King’s Derry. I wanted to capture the dark energy and sense of awe and possibility that ripples through those cities, while putting my own spin on them.

What kind of research did you need to carry out before writing Kingdom and how long did it take you to write?
Well, KINGDOM addresses some pretty heavy bioengineering issues and, given that I was an undergrad English major, I needed to do some research. But at first, I went a little too far—some of the explanations/expositions overwhelmed the flow of the narrative. But after a fair amount of trial and error, I think I struck the right balance.

Who was your favourite character to develop and write for in Kingdom?
Without question, Campbell. His quest for redemption became quite personal, and it was fun to play with the classic “noir” anti-hero archetype.

What intrigues you about the Bio-punk genre/theme?
I love that it’s still evolving—that its revitalizing so many of the Cyberpunk genre’s questions and themes: What does it mean to be human, and how does technology impact our definition of humanity. I think Cyberpunk lost a little steam when the Internet turned out to be, at the moment anyway, more or less a glorified toy. Where are all the virtual reality databanks, right? Anyway, Biopunk is making the Cyberpunk genre relevant again, because the concerns expressed by Biopunk are happening, and they are happening faster than anyone could have anticipated.

If you were to 'sell' Kingdom using a single quote or line from the book, what would you choose?
"Dylan was dreaming of giant reptiles—dinosaurs whose names as a child he could rattle off on command, names he had now forgotten—attacking great cities of the West, a blur of leathery wings, scales, and fire, atonal screeching ricocheting off steel skyscrapers as terrible Behemoths descended out of the nothingness, plunging toward the hearts of these cities, rendering cathedrals and skyscrapers an indistinguishable rubble."

Do you prefer to plan out the plot-line and scenes or do you just write and see where you end up?
Generally, I have an idea about a scene: I know what I want to accomplish that that scene, and the gist of where it takes place, when, etc. The rest comes as I write (hopefully!). This way seems to provide enough structure that I can get started and that I don’t wander too much; the prose can stay focused and move along. But its not so overly structured that it suffocates the creative flow.

Which authors or characters inspired you when you were growing up?
William Gibson, Bret Easton Ellis, Jack O’Connell, Stephen King, James Ellory and Jack Kerouac. Those are my big six, and I can’t overstate how important their work is to me, both as a writer and a man.

As a debut author, what one particular element to the writing and publishing process has been the most exciting?
Without question, having other people read—and react to—KINGDOM. After spending so much time preparing the manuscript, its been incredible to see the story have an impact on some people. After all, that’s what its all about: art, even genre fiction, has an intrinsic value, sure, but, at the end of the day, its about challenging/influencing how people feel…and if KINGDOM can do that, then all the hard work is worth it.

Thank you so much Anderson for taking time to answer my questions! If you would like more information on Anderson or his first book Kingdom, you can find it here: 

Anderson's Website where you can download the first 4 chapters of Kingdom.


Jamie Gibbs said...

Thanks for the interview; Kingdom looks like an interesting read - looking forward to the review!

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