1. Tell us a little about yourself.
I'm 21, a mother, a wife, a nap time novelist. My life revolves around the cutest 18 month old in the world who thinks I am the world. I never realized how much I could mean to someone until my son was born. He relied on me for everything. Food, entertainment, comfort, love, warmth, safety, anything and everything he could think of a thousand other things he couldn't. I'm pretty normal though. I watch Duck Dynasty and play Candy Crush Saga, much to my husband's chagrin, since he thinks it's a stupid game even though he's downloaded it too. I tend to read a lot of historical fiction despite my inability to write it myself. My two favorite authors are J.K. Rowling and Philippa Gregory. Through their books I have learned so much about myself and what a good novel looks like. Though we write different genres I hope to one day have an ounce of the amazing talent they do.
2. When did you start writing, and why?
I started reading Harry Potter in sixth grade. During the summer before seventh I was sad that the next novel in the series wasn't out yet, so I spent two months writing fanfiction. I didn't even know what fanfiction was at that point, but that didn't stop me from writing an multi-thousand word epic about Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley. After that I couldn't stop myself. I continued writing fanfiction until I realized that I could create my own characters and my own world and make them do whatever I wanted. That was it for me. That was all I needed. I haven't stopped writing since.
3. What do you write, and why? What do you enjoy about what you write?
I have primarily written Christian romance fiction, including one little fic-let that I actually started and finished in November 2009. The Deceiver is my first attempt at another genre that has been overwhelmingly successful. I don't read much science fiction myself, but I've been told that I'm tapping into that genre, dystopia, and cyberpunk; three areas I've barely touched the surface of as a reader. I enjoy writing it though because it's powerful, people can relate to a world that has gone so far in the opposite direction of Utopia that it might just mimick the direction our own world is going.
4. What is your latest book? Any forthcoming books?
The Deceiver will be my first published book and with the ending already in mind I know that it will have at least one sequel, perhaps even two or three. As a reader I like to read series books because I get to follow the characters through multiple adventures. I'm not going to extend The Deceiver just to continue it, it honestly needs at the very least a second book, but I'm glad that I will get to satisfy other readers who feel the same way as I do about series novels.
5. "Welcome To My Worlds": Tell us a little about the world of your latest book.
700 years ago a nuclear war between the countries destroyed a third of Earth. Scientists and NASA had been sending people to the moons of Jupiter for years. It was decided in the following decade that since Earth was no longer liveable that they would need to terraform another liveable planet.
700 years later they now inhabit three planets referred to as the Triad Of Existence: Sagan-101, Hades-4, and Enovia-23. At birth newborns are tested for their potential. Your potential is decided by a series of tests run by a machine that then sorts you in one of nine levels. Levels 1-3 are the lower class. They have minimal ambition and are extremely dependent on the other two triads. They live on Sagan-101, a planet that's mostly ice and covered in snow. Levels 4-6 are the middle class. They are your average men and women, not destined for great things, but capable of taking care of themselves. They live on Hades-4, a planet populated by volcanoes and in a state of what constant summer would be like. Levels 7-9 are the upper class. They are people of superior intelligence, ambition, strength, and possess all the skills it takes to survive on their own. They live on Enovia-23, a planet made mostly of water that relies heavily on the technology that keeps their man-made islands from sinking. Earth is a prison state now. The only people who live on its surfaces are criminals, which is a major plot point in the novel.
That's not even half of what makes The Deceiver what it is. There's a tattoo engraved on each person's wrist that taps into your limbic system, reporting back to a database of computers your thoughts, emotions, memories, and location. It's used as a way to keep track of every human among the Triad Of Existence as well as keep tabs on the population growth.
And then there's the Triad Of Colors, a cluster of three brightly colored pills that the government created and perfected to keep the masses in line. One that regulates heart rate and blood pressure, making the taker more calm and attentive. One that dulls the extremes of negative emotions and brings your amygdala levels back to a place of normalcy. And one that damages the hippocampus, usually used to distort short term memories so that they are unable to be remembered.
There's a lot going on within The Deceiver, but it works.
6. Introduce us to some of your characters. What do you like about them?
Elia Davenport - She's my fiery red head and the reason behind the title of the story. Deceivers are a job in the new world and she's one of the chosen. Unfortunately she's been relegated to escort duty because of an incident on Hades-4. I love her because she's strong and confident and intelligent. But then she's also manipulative and secretive and always hiding something or another. She's a treasure trove of secret thoughts and bended rules.
Colton Bishop - He's one of the heroes. He lives full-time on Hades-4 as a representative of the Enovia-23 government. A charming, self-effacing man who loved his mother as only a child deeply devoted to his parents can. He trusts easily, but is afraid of breaking the rules of the realm. Unfortunately he has a Pandora's box of secrets that is just waiting to be opened. For a man who doesn't like to break the law, he sure does have a knack for it.
Elric Davenport - Our villain and the father of Elia. He's the reigning general of Enovia-23, a position much like president, but he rules over all three of the planets, not just the one he lives on. His greatest plans are for the Triad Of Colors. He has always liked what they do, but he wants to push them further. Rebels have been popping up for decades, never doing much, but always disturbing the peace. Elric wants the pills to have a bigger hold on the people. And some people, a select few, are terrified of what that means and will do anything to stop it.
7. A fun fact you would like your readers to know about you or your book.
If I don't know what to talk about, I talk about pie. Or cheesecake. It's a wonder I am not fatter because of my obsession with both. The way to my heart is sugary goodness. I even gave that quality to one of the mothers in my novel.
8. Blog/site link, and where your book is available.
The Deceiver is set to be published this December. You can find the Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/thedeceiver.jkeefe. That's where I've been publishing excerpts, general musings about the novel, and accompanying images to set the tone. You can also follow my blog here: http://jessicakeefe.wordpress.com/. It's both about my personal life and my professional life. Because honestly, I'm not one without the other.