Immoral Code by Lillian Clark
1- Should higher education be free, or affordable, to everyone, in your opinion?
I absolutely believe higher education should be affordable (if not free) for everyone who seeks it. The cost of college, especially in America, is a monumental issue. With exorbitant expenses keeping students out and others graduating with astronomical amounts of student loan debt, it's an issue that spans multiple generations now. I'm also a big believer in supporting people who know college isn't the right fit for them and encouraging people to learn trades. We know that investing in education is the same as investing in our future, and something needs to change.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
READ! That's my go to #writetip. Read everything, for what not to do and what to do. Read inside your age rage/genre and without. Read.
3- What ignited your passion for writing?
I grew up in a family that loves books and are always reading, so being a reader was pretty ingrained. But I didn't start writing seriously until I was 20, when an idea popped into my head that I couldn't ignore. I dug into the and never looked back!
4- Stapler! How did the movie Office Space influence your book?
Yes! Stapler! Haha. I love that. Office Space definitely influenced me. I love that movie, especially how they do this serious (illegal) thing inside of a comedy. Nari's plan to skim funds is directly inspired by it (which she mentions when she tells the group about her plan), and there's even a red stapler Easter egg in the book at one point.
5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
I'm @lillianjclark on twitter, and I couldn't have made it through debuting without my fellow 2019 debut friends @erinhahn_author, @JL_Dugan, and @KellyCoon106. Truly, I have met so many amazing people through this process and could list 10 more fabulous people, but these three women have kept me sane. Check out their books You'd Be Mine (out now), Hot Dog Girl (4/30), and Gravemaidens (10/29)!
6- Would you share a picture with us of your book somewhere fun and young? (Or with a Zamboni because it's just not every day we encounter someone who has driven one...)
7- What do you think is the biggest difference in writing for teens and YA today versus thirty years ago?
This is a GREAT question. I'm not an expert on what would've been considered YA 30 years ago, but I think it's changed a lot. For one, the market is enormous now, which has a range of effects on what's written and how it's sold, including the ongoing discussions about who should read YA (whoever wants to!) and who it's written for (TEENS). But apart from that, and while it's inevitably imperfect, I think YA does so much to push boundaries in literature. YA is filled with massively talented voices, increasingly telling stories that need to be told. It's also entertaining and engaging and so wildly creative. All (hopefully) while respecting the experiences, interests, and needs of its intended audience, teens.
8- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Hmm. My mood? Haha. I love to read eclectically, across age ranges and genres, fiction and nonfiction, and I love learning new things, so I tend to pick up whatever strikes my fancy in the moment! My tbr pile is eternally daunting, so I pick up whatever interest me most in the moment. Right now I'm finishing up INTERNMENT by Samira Ahmed (which is terrifying and brilliant), then I'm hoping to read THE TENTH GIRL by Sara Faring next, and I am beyond excited.
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: @thatlauraruby
Title: BONE GAP
Love because: This book is flat-out brilliant. It's weird and beautiful and so incredibly creative. It's one of those books that I never seem to have a copy of because every time I get one, I give it away. And Ruby's writing is the kind that challenges me to be a better writer. I adore it.
Author name: @pronounced_ing
Title: LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE
Love because: This is the kind of book that makes me think "How did she do that??" the whole time I'm reading. Celeste Ng is a master. Her craft is awe inspiring.
Author name: @adriennebooks
Title: SKY IN THE DEEP
Love because: One of my recent absolute favorites, the moment I finished SKY IN THE DEEP, I turned back to the beginning and started reading it again, which is something I almost never do. I cannot wait to read her next book.
Truly, I could go on forever, but these three come immediately to mind.
10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
My mom, haha. This will probably always be true. But, I also received my first fan mail the other day, and WOW. If I could bottle up that feeling and keep it on my shelf, I would. It was magnificent. The reader mentioned especially loving the gray areas in IMMORAL CODE, how what's "right" and "wrong" get pretty blurry and no one is a clear villain. The message absolutely made my day, week, month.
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?
Great question. I've thought about this a lot actually. And while I hope readers laugh and that their hearts race a little, I mostly hope that they leave my book feeling happy. I think the last scene does this. Other than that, I hope readers think about those gray areas from the last question. There's a scene in the middle where tensions come to a head, and I'd love if readers consider what they'd do faced with a similar moral circumstance.
12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
I am perpetually amazed by bookstagrammers. The photos are so creative and beautiful! I especially love CG Drew's paperfury account because they're always so colorful.
13- How do you hope your book will help readers in their life?
Honestly, I hope my book helps readers by giving them a little joy. When I started writing Immoral Code, I'd come off of failing to sell a heavy dystopian manuscript, and I wanted to switch things up and write something fast-paced and fun. So, while I hope readers think about bigger moral questions and issues like the cost of college and income inequality, what I ultimately want is for readers to leave my book feeling good. These characters love and support each other unconditionally, and I hope some of that rubs off.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
Reese's hair!! She dyes it a number of times in the book, often colors to reflect how she's feels about her life and the heist itself.
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Nari is Japanese American (her mother is white and her father is 6th generation Japanese), Santiago is second generation Mexican American, Reese is white and acearo, and Bellamy and Keagan are both white. It's really important to me as a writer to try and reflect the reality that we live in a diverse world. I feel like I'm constantly learning about other perspectives and experiences, continually reminding myself that my point of view is only one small window. Books are such a brilliant way to experience others' points of view, and as a reader I love the opportunity to "walk in someone else's shoes."
16- Who is your favorite Meme?
I am in LOVE with the new Daenerys condescending smile meme from Game of Thrones. I worked in customer service for a lot of years, and I feel like I've made that exact face too many times to count, haha.
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I've always wanted to publish traditionally. For me, it's having a team of people behind me. Writing can be pretty solitary, but publishing with a traditional house means you have an agent and editor and copyeditors and so on all there with you. I love the collaborative aspect of that.
18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?
Reviews are so important! One, because what reader doesn't like to talk about books? And reviews are a great space for readers to share what they loved (or didn't) about a book. Also, reviews are SO helpful for authors. Sites like Amazon use review-based algorithms that impact where that book "sits" on their digital shelves, so the more reviews the better.
19- What is one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
Ooo! Good one! I'd love readers to talk about how they feel about doing the wrong thing for the right reasons. This is the core moral quandary of the book, and I think it's a great one to discuss! Is doing something objectively wrong excusable if you're doing it for the "right" reasons?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Thank you so much for having me! And I hope anyone who's loves multi-POVs, ride or die friend groups, and their heists steeped in moral quandaries, will check out Immoral Code! You can read an excerpt, add to Goodreads, or order from wherever books are sold, right here:
And make sure to follow me @lillianjclark on twitter and @lillianclarkauthor on Instagram for updates on what's next!
Immoral Code by Lillian Clark