Resistant: A Novel by Rachael Sparks
1- What's the coolest part of the Asheville Museum of Science?
There’s a huge dinosaur in the center! I’m a sucker for him. Photo included.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Write. Revision is easier on actual words. Read other authors in your genre for research. Review harshly works you like — it teaches you what you don’t like.
3- What ignited your passion for writing?
Mostly a love of reading. I knew I wrote well for small stuff but doubted I could finish a novel-sized project. Once I started, it was a tidal wave of ideas coming out that I'd filed in some secret cabinet in my head.
4- Did your degree in Microbiology help when writing Resistant?
Immensely. I will admit, though, I got that degree a wee bit ago, so I still had to research and confirm my education was current. Fortunately, that’s also part of my day job.
5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
@rubyjune34 and I’d love for you to shout out to @JCastleWrites @kristinkaye and @mindytarquini
6- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a medical setting (or surrounded by medical supplies perhaps)?
I don't have one yet but I am now so inspired!!
Here's a collage of Instagram pics from Bookstagrammers.
7- What's up with creepy, but awesome looking, cover logo of the spider-screw thing?
It’s a bacteriophage, a virus that hunts bacteria (yes it’s really a thing)! But you’ll have to read it to understand the cover ;)
8- What are some of your short and long term writing goals?
Short term, I would like to intensively revise the new MS I’ve finished. I have some rules for it I want to achieve. Long term, I’d like to continue producing novels that people enjoy and make it a FT job!
9- What is your favorite book by someone else, what's the author's Twitter handle, and what do you love most about that book? #FridayReads book recommendation time!
Author name: David Walton @davidwaltonfic
Title:The Genius Plague
Love because: Walton thought up a plausible plot device with fungi that invade brains . . . but he really made it magical in the way it manipulates people to its own devices. Great novel.
10- Where did you come up with the Twitter handle @RubyJune34?
34 is my favorite number. Ruby and June were my grandmothers. One taught me elegance and fashion, the other taught me grit and cooking. I joined Twitter when I lived in Austin and it was so new that nobody liked it — and I just took that handle and never used Twitter much again till 2016! It seemed more trouble to change it.
11- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I hope excitement, anticipation, that romantic twist in your chest, and some HELL YEAH moments when things go right. I hope all the scenes resonate with readers!
12- Are there sexist tropes in most post-apocalyptic stories, in your opinion?
Bizarre to admit this - I’m not a reader of post-apocalyptic tales! Maybe there are, but . . . in a truly post-apocalyptic world, a uterus should be the most valuable possession anyone could desire. Themyscira’s matriarchal world order would be the smartest plan if you needed to repopulate the earth.
13- What most helped you to improve your writing craft?
Critiques from other authors, and re-reading work I enjoyed but with a reviewer’s eye. I don’t post reviews online, just ratings, and only if they are good, but reviewing works from Bronte to Cussler to Crichton helped me see what I didn’t want to do.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
One of the protagonists is scarred from a medical experiment, with swaths of dark blue skin crossing his face and entire body. And he’s the love interest!
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? https://diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Army, a main character, is a POC natively from Trinidad, orphaned by the infections and then adopted by a soldier’s family.
16- Which character has your favorite Personality Contradiction?
Army, actually. He’s really funny but he’s also a soldier and very focused. He’s fun to write dialogue for, as I think he views the world through a unique slant.
17- Does your book hold a mirror up to society, and in what way?
Absolutely. It’s literally describing the world I see developing if we don’t stop abusing antibiotics, and it describes exactly how that world came about, through our own irresponsibility.
18- Can you think of any small change in the world you could make to benefit hundreds of other authors or readers potentially?
More books printed in Dyslexie font and available as an option to order alongside every book. As a kid, reading was my lightspeed train to the whole world, and it saddens me that many kids and adults avoid it because of reading disabilities. https://youtu.be/qVaeGOflF7w
19- As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
Covers and synopses win my love. If a synopsis is compelling, won’t the whole book be? I’ve also learned to ignore rankings, even before I had any. One author I adore, whom I won’t tag here, got some shit reviews for a literary fiction novel that left me ugly crying on a plane.
20- Care to share a fun picture or two from your Oct 25 Book Launch Party at the Asheville Museum of Science?
A game we played at the launch party—who got the deadliest germ?!
21- How will you measure your publishing performance?
I’m for books sold, but I’ll settle for one happy fan that wants a sequel or more of my work!
22- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I went with hybrid publishing after immersing myself into learning about all the different types, and deciding that I wanted to have more say and co-invest in myself...NOW.
23- What's the best book marketing strategy you've come across?
Bookstagramming rocks with its visual artistry evoking the book’s setting or the pleasure of reading. Contests—especially Rafflecopter-type ones whose prizes are the book plus a few cool, related items in exchange for a share+follow—often win me over because, seriously, I could always use a new [fill in the blank — who cares, it’s free AND new!].
24- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
What is your favorite pasta? Not limited to Italian. [links to] Photos are encouraged.
25- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Rachael Sparks was born in Waco, Texas, holds a degree in Microbiology, and has pursued a lifelong interest in infectious diseases and the science of human health. She loves to write, make pasta, eat pasta, think about pasta, and read.
"This is a chilling examination of a possible future, filled with lovable characters, excellent pacing, and sharp sociopolitical criticism." –Publisher's Weekly
Resistant: A Novel by Rachael Sparks