Forever People (Author Interview)    

Forever People looks like a great science fiction book.  Any plans to turn it into a series?   
I’m sure Forever People is a complete story. As much as I love the characters and the world, I don’t think it’s the right candidate for a series.
What will readers get out of your book?    

A lot of readers told me that Forever People offered a preview of possible future technology and its ramification for society. Some reviewers have said Forever People challenged their views of morality and the afterlife.

Forever People is a tale unique to our near future. It’s the story of what happens to a life-altering technology once the creators of the technology are long gone. Who steers the car when the driver dies? My goal was to have readers think about that question.

I also want my readers to love my characters because I love them.

            Forever People has an interesting concept. What inspired you when writing it?    

I read an article on emerging technology meant to help people with Alzheimer’s disease. The technology will store their memories in a digital format so the memories can be accessed after the disease progresses. The tech brought up so many questions – What’s the difference between a person’s memories and their consciousness? If memories can be stored, why not a whole mind? And what would the world look like if we could save our minds forever?

The last question led me to develop Forever People. I wanted to explore what society could look like if we were a digitally immortal. I realized the creators of the afterlife tech would have had to create a system to pass down once they were gone.

When did you decide to become a writer?

I’ve been writing stories since I was a small child. I wrote my first book when I was seven, it was about a girl whose imagination was so strong all her dreams became real. Fingers crossed; you know.

When writing Forever People did anything stand out as particularly challenging?   

The character Cody has a secret. Everyone knows he’s hiding something, and each character has their own theory about what it is. They’re all partially right and partially wrong. This was a tough tightrope to walk.

How did you come up with/create the dilemma between the afterlife and the ethical repercussions?   Did technology in our modern world inspire it?

While the tech was inspired by Alzheimer’s science, the ethical system, called the Node Point System, was inspired by a mix of some religious beliefs and social currency.

The whole idea of heaven and hell breaks down when everyone is guaranteed a computer-generated eternal life, so something had to stand in its place. So, my idea was the threat of everlasting poverty versus the promise of infinite wealth.

What do you like to do when not writing?

I’m a professor of English and Communication, so I spend time in the classroom. I have two sons, and I’m devoted to my family. I also enjoy cooking and baking. I run, hike, practice yoga, and meditate.