Giant Squid Books recently released Abigail Borders’ sci-fi YA novel The Burned Bridges Protocol, available here, and you need to buy it. Now. That’s how good it is.
Ms. Borders and I share a publisher, and as much as I was looking forward to reading her novel, I had no idea how much of an adventure I was in for. This is a cinematic, emotional tour-de-force of a book. I became an immediate fan if this wonderful new writer.
I was lucky to land an interview with Abigail Borders, in which she answered my writer-to-writer nosy questions.
ME: Abigail, congrats on a terrific book! What was the spark of the idea for Burned Bridges Protocol?
AB: The Burned Bridges Protocol actually started out as a dare. I was working on Watchlings, sequel to Cyrion (Cyrion is an MG fantasy novel which will be published by Muse It Up Publishing this spring) and I was telling a fellow writer that I didn’t think I could write science fiction. I am and have always been a humanities person. Ask me to create a political and social hierarchy with a hypothetical economic and philosophical system to keep the whole thing running – no problem. Ask me to add even a modicum of science, and I’d be lost.
He told me he had absolutely no doubt I could write science fiction if I wanted to. After that, our conversation resembled the Bugs Bunny duck season, rabbit season cartoon. Somehow the conversation got flipped around to me insisting I could write it, and him laughing at me, saying I could not. I guess I just got so annoyed that I just started writing the first three chapters, just to prove him wrong. By that time, The Burned Bridges Protocol kinda took on a life of its own, and I just went on writing it.
ME: What distinguishes The Burned Bridges Protocol from other SCI FI and YA novels about there? How is yours different?
AB: One difference, is that in The Burned Bridges Protocol (BBP), the tech does not take center stage. The story is about people. Or, given who Lemon is, sentient beings. It’s about human interactions. The characters in BBP are not fighting against the big faceless evil, David has a face and a personality. The tech in BBP merely highlights the impact of characters’ decisions.
I’d also like to think that I leave my readers with some lingering thoughts of what it means to be a good person. Is it better to follow what you’ve been raised to do and believe (like Balsaine and Liliane) or to strike out based on your own internal beliefs (like David and Lemon)? What does freedom mean to sentient beings? The first thing Lemon did after he was freed, was plot to destroy himself. Granted, it was to save his team, but how is that different from the suicide bombers of 9/11 who believed they were striking a blow to save their faith and way of life? Where is the line dividing right from wrong, good from evil? I really like that BBP is morally problematic and there is no one right answer.
ME: What sorts of things and people inspire you right now?
AB: I’ve been watching a lot of Dr. Who and playing The Last of Us, so at the moment, they count as inspiration material-wise. I also try to attend writers’ group meetings and critique other writers’ works. these motivate me to keep writing, to keep trying to be a better writer. i am relatively new to this craft. I’ve only started writing about three years ago, and I know I have a lot more to master.
ME: What are you working on now?
AB: I’m currently working on the Watchlings, the sequel to Cyrion, and Sins of our Fathers, the sequel to BBP. I’m also working on a story about a New Yorker and two snarky fairies. I’m a bit stuck on the fairy story because right now because I can’t find a genuinely ugly flower. I mean a truly hideous flower. Every flower I’ve seen has *some* aesthetic merit, but I have an ugly fairy that needs to be attached to an equally ugly flower. Do you know of an ugly flower? Just one…? Hmm… tumbleweeds are ugly. I wonder if the flower is ugly too…
How many times can I use “ugly” in one little paragraph? Let’s see… LOL
ME: How AWESOME is the Giant Squid Books team?! Anything to say about the independent press movement we are a part of right now?
I *adore* the GSB team. They are beyond awesome. I am so grateful and blessed that they’ve picked up BBP, my little test-tube baby.
As I’ve mentioned above, I am really, really new to writing, much more so this end of it – the publishing and marketing bit. But I know I like how the independent press movement is giving a platform for people like us – new writers with new voices. I am happy and proud to be part of this revolution in the writing world.