Mindcull by K H Canobi
1- What's your favorite format to read a book in?
Paper. Some studies suggest that people learn from and remember books better in paper format and I think that’s true of me.
2- Would you please, in 160 characters or less, give a #WriteTip ?
Write, rewrite and don’t give up. Persevere through the knockbacks and self-doubt – revise, edit, and use feedback to make your manuscript stronger.
3- What ignited your passion for writing?
Books thrill me! I have been diving into the magical, exciting world of fiction since I was very young. I find reading good books moving, addictive and inspiring.
4- How have the notes for teachers and offering to speak at schools and libraries impacted your book sales?
Whatever you can do online or in person to get your name and your book out there is helpful. I think teacher notes are expected for sales through school bookclubs, which have been important for Mindcull in Australia. Ford Street Publishing has a strong relationship with school communities, so it usually provides teacher notes for its books.
5- What's your Twitter handle, and do you have two or three writer friends on there to shout-out to for #WriterWednesday ?
@khcanobi . Shout out to @michaeljpryor, @wallysbooks, @joeldeane.
6- Would you share a picture with us of your book in a classic Australian setting?
7- Did being a cognitive scientist help you to write Mindcull?
Yes. My research and teaching in cognitive developmental psychology involved exploring how people learn and change as a result of different experiences. Developmental psychology helped me understand the teenage years as an important time for shaping identity and forming authentic interpersonal connections so I could consider the impact of technology on my teenage characters. My background in cognitive science gave me a head start in thinking about how scientists of the future might use computer modelling and biological and behavioural measures to try to work out what’s going on inside a person’s head. Psychology also gave me a framework for imagining what might go wrong if virtual and augmented reality become so much a part of daily life that people’s virtual and real worlds get intertwined.
8- What most motivates you to read a new book?
Getting attached to the characters. If I really care about a main character, I lose myself in their world and have to keep reading to find out what happens to them.
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: Sarah Epstein @SarahLEpstein
Title: Small Spaces
Love because: It’s a compelling psychological thriller for young adults by a talented Australian debut author.
10- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
My kids have been keen on Mindcull from the first draft and very supportive.
My daughter likes Eila, because she is a strong, flawed female main character and they all enjoy high-concept thrillers and like Mindcull’s fast pace.
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 worked hard on making the book suspenseful so readers feel compelled to turn the pages to see what will happen next. The scene I put the most time into was the opening scene because that was my first opportunity to draw readers in. I tried to recreate that feeling from a nightmare where someone is chasing you and you are not quite sure who they are, but you know you have to get away. And no matter how fast you run, they keep gaining on you.
When a friend of mine who does not usually like sci fi novels messaged me to say that she had been up until 1am reading Mindcull because she had to find out what would happen next, I felt like I had done my job. There are places in Mindcull where I want readers to laugh, smile, feel sad or get angry but I think I worked hardest on building tension.
12- Do you have a favorite #bookstagram image or account/ profile?
The #LoveOzYa community that celebrates Australia’s youth literature.
13- How do you hope your book will help readers in their life?
I hope Mindcull will help teenagers who are struggling to work out who they are and develop meaningful relationships in a world where technology can be used in powerful ways to escape reality and distort reality. I hope that entering Eila’s world might help them to think critically and creatively about our lives now and about what is to come.
14- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
The memorable thing about my main character, Eila is that the disconnect between how she appears in the virtual world (popular, spontaneous, funny, successful) and who she really is (disconnected, shy, anxious, serious.)
15- In what ways are the main characters in your book diverse? diversebooks.org #WeNeedDiverseBooks
Eila’s best friend, Mei has a Chinese family background and Pita Henare, who is the CEO and founder of Pearl (the global tech company that runs the competition that shortlists Eila’s virtual reality clips) is Maori. Each of the short-listees in the Pearl competition is from a different continent. The most important of these to the plot is Hugo, who is Columbian. The issue of neurodiversity is very important in Mindcull and impacts on various characters in different ways.
16- Who is your favorite book review blogger?
chemicalbookdragon.blogspot.com and shaylaurent.com
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I like the way small publishers seem more open to taking a chance on an unknown debut author.
18- Why do you think readers should write book reviews?
Book reviews are a great way to share your joy in a book (or air your concerns). They help readers find good books and help authors and others in the book industry understand more about their readers.
19- Do you have one question or discussion topic which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
The tagline for Mindcull is, “Who can you trust when nothing is as real as virtual reality?” and the world is a lot like our own but people rely on virtual reality headsets for entertainment and communication the way we rely on smartphones now.
If you think about the way technology has changed our lives in the last twenty to thirty years and how being a teenager has changed over that period, what do you think it will be like to be a teenager in twenty or thirty years?
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Eila is in the running to star in a global marketing campaign for a new virtual reality skinsuit. But now a fierce battle is raging for control of her mind. Secrets and deceptions abound. Activists reveal a murderous plot then someone fills her head with a stranger’s thoughts. Who are Eila’s true allies and how far will she go to protect innocent lives?
K H Canobi is a cognitive scientist who writes fiction for young adults and children. Her debut novel, Mindcull, a futuristic thriller for young adults, came out in June, 2019 with Ford Street Publishing. Prior to writing Mindcull, Katherine worked as a researcher and university lecturer in developmental psychology in Australia and the UK, completing a PhD and postdoctoral fellowship at Melbourne University where she is now an honorary fellow. Visit her online at http://khcanobi.com.
"Mindcull is clever, with twists that feel organic and unpredictable. . . . Tech-savvy readers searching for sophisticated YA science fiction with a contemporary cyberpunk twist will find Canobi’s debut a must-read." Catherine Moller, Books + Publishing ★★★★☆
"Mindcull is a fast-paced, intelligent, high-concept science fiction novel that is completely impossible to put down." Marie Alafaci, Magpies Magazine
"Mindcull is a great young adult future thriller with a touch of romance. It is an exciting and fast paced book with a strong, flawed female protagonist and deals with issues such as family loss, technology addiction and mental health." Libby Boas, Reading Time, Online Journal of Children's Book Council of Australia
The cover art is by @KAIllustrations
Mindcull by K H Canobi