Monday, July 13, 2015

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Simone Pond, Author

Simone Pond, Author
THE TORRENT
4th book in The Agenda series
Simone Pond introduces us to her recent release, THE TORRENT, the final book (4) of her dystopian series, New Agenda.  She previously joined us to discuss the third book of the series, THE MAINFRAME, which is when she informed us that she writes dystopian novels to let out her “dark side.” In her final book in the series, she seeks to discover how a separated mother and daughter will interact in her future world.

Although a creator of future worlds, here in the now and present Pond says she most enjoys lounging in front of TV watching a movie. She is working on a young adult romance series and considering whether to include a SciFi element. Pond lives in Los Angeles with her husband and Boston Terrier, Winnie.

Q: THE TORRENT is the final book (4) of a dystopian series New Agenda. In a previous interview you said that you “have a dark side that needed to come out.” In THE MAINFRAME, for example, you said you wanted to see how a rebellious daughter would team up with her mother to fight a common enemy, Chief Morray. What were you trying to see in THE TORRENT?

Simone Pond: In THE TORRENT, Ava is trapped inside the mainframe network with Chief Morray. Meanwhile her daughter, Grace, is in the real world fighting her own battles. I wanted to see what would happen if I separated the mother and daughter team. How would they find a way to work together even though they were in different worlds? Would their love be strong enough to break through the barriers of time and space?

Q: How difficult is it to create engaging characters set in a dystopian novel? For characters set in the future, do you need to assign character traits that are different from other genres?

Simone Pond: I loved creating this cast of characters. Though they exist in a far off future, they have the same emotions and desires that we have; only their setting is a lot more complicated. Ava and Grace have unique DNA, which gives them the ability to merge with the mainframe network.

Q: Reviewers enjoy how you cross time in the future and how you “weave within different realities seamlessly.” How do you manage to “weave” in and out of different time periods and “realities” and keep readers engrossed? Does this ploy enhance suspense and/or draw us into your characters?

Simone Pond: My editor once told me to look at each book like a reader’s first time picking it up, regardless of where it landed in the series. They might not have read the earlier books. I make sure to include pertinent information threaded throughout each book, while not going into too much exposition. I use memories or feelings surrounding a memory to weave the history and backstories together.

Q: What do typical readers of dystopian literature expect? How does the New Agenda series meet those expectations? How is it different?

Simone Pond: I think dystopian readers expect the story to have some underlying social commentary. To say something about the future, as a warning or a red flag. Stories with heroes who stand up against the oppressive authorities. I included these elements. My series spans over three hundred years, while linking together many of the same characters. The consciousness upload process is the vehicle that gives me the room to explore multiple worlds – reality and virtual.

Q: How did you build your worlds? Do you create them before you start writing? Do your characters help?

Simone Pond: The city center world came to me by thinking of every modern convenience I could possibly want at my fingertips. I visualized what the future would look like if everything, including people, connected to a mainframe network. For the villages, I used Ojai as my inspiration and incorporating how small towns developed during the late 1800s. A lot more went into the world building, but those were the starting points.

Q: I know that you’ve said that you write your stories primarily to entertain, but you’ve also said that you include some “spiritual themes” and reviewers have claimed they found your books “thought provoking.” Did you include any “spiritual themes” in THE TORRENT? Can you clarify what they are?

Simone Pond: All of my books have the underlying theme of spiritual warfare––the evil forces trying to control and manipulate us on physical and spiritual levels. Pride versus humility. Death and rebirth. Redemption. Forgiveness. To me, Morray represents the oppressive dark forces in life, while Ava and Grace represent God’s soldiers, fighting the good fight.

Q: I’m a fan of cover art, so I need to ask you about your covers for the New Agenda series. Without spoiling the plot, can you tell us the significance of the globe-like circle in the middle of each of the books in the series?

Simone Pond: My designer came up with that idea and I fell in love with it because it visually represents everything I wanted to communicate. Chief Morray wants to live indefinitely, as well as keep society in a controlled bubble. But it also represents a guiding light and the circle of life.

Q: Were you able to use humor to tell your story or develop your characters? How important is humor to develop engaging characters?

Simone Pond: Blythe is my favorite character because she’s such a smart-ass and constantly giving people nicknames that aren’t so pleasant. She was my comic relief.

Q: What’s next? You’ve finished the New Agenda series. Will you be writing more dystopian novels?

Simone Pond: I’m working on a couple of ideas for the Young Adult romance category. I’m debating about whether or not to include a sci-fi twist.

Q: Tell us about Simone Pond. Have you discovered any new fun things to do?

Simone Pond: I’m such a homebody. Seriously, my idea of a fun night is lounging in my pajamas and watching movies on Netflix. Or if I’m not entirely lazy, I’ll put on some clothes and go to the theater to see a movie. I love spending time with my Boston Terrier, Winnie. She’s enough entertainment for me.

About Simone Pond

Simone Pond is an award-winning author of dystopian fiction. Her current series includes The City Center, The New Agenda, The Mainframe, and THE TORRENT. She also has a short story series called Voices of the Apocalypse.

She grew up in Kensington, Maryland - a small town just outside of Washington D.C. As a young girl, she loved writing in her journal and making up stories, but after reading S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders, everything changed. Amazed that a woman could write so convincingly from a teenage boy's perspective, Pond became determined to become a writer as well.

Pond currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their Boston Terrier. Follow her blog at Simone Says... 

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Grace has survived Chief Morray’s attempt to keep her trapped inside the mainframe, but at a terrible cost: leaving her mother behind. Giving up training at the academy in order to wait for Ava’s return. Grace wants to do the right thing, but it’s never that simple. While Ava struggles against Morray in the virtual reality, Grace is left alone in the real world to fight her own battles. There’s a new corrupt authority figure. A regional council to sway. A war to stop. And a promise to keep to a precious young soul. How can Grace save everyone, including herself?

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