Kat Ross’s brand new book, SOME FINE DAY, will be out on July 1st, but in the meantime, I sent a few questions her way about it and more, and she kindly answered. Please give her a warm welcome!
So…hypercanes and ferocious amphibian/primate hybrids…will you tell us more about your new book, SOME FINE DAY?
I’d love to! Timewise, it’s set about seventy years from now, when all the worst-case climate change scenarios have come to pass. In fact, it’s gotten so unliveable that the rich and powerful have moved to fully self-contained underground cities. My main character was born into that life; the fake weather and rigid hierarchy of their society are normal to her. It’s not until she gets a chance to go to the surface that she realizes what she’s been missing—and that things topside are a lot more complicated than she’s always believed. There’s a ton of action in the story, but it’s also about that awkward process of figuring out who you are and your place in the world.
You have a background in journalism and from your bio, I get the sense that you’ve always enjoyed creative writing. What’s one of the first things you can remember writing? What inspired you to begin writing SOME FINE DAY?
I have to thank my mom for reading the entire LoTR trilogy to me when I was young. It took a couple of years, but (as they did for so many people) those books opened a big, shiny door to a whole other realm of possibility. One of my first stories was a blatant Narnia knockoff called “The Tiger, The Queen and the Rain,” about a “majic witch” who was “a pale old thing, and was not VERY NICE.” I still love writing characters who are not very nice. They’re the most fun. I ended up putting my fiction writing aside for many years, but I never stopped reading. And I always knew I’d come back to it eventually.
The ideas in SOME FINE DAY had been brewing in the back of my mind for a while, but the setting really coalesced when I read a morbidly funny Onion piece called Hurriphoonado Cuts Swath Of Destruction Across Eastern, Western Hemispheres. And I thought, hmmm, what if that actually happened? The Onion truly is America’s Finest News Source.
In all seriousness, though, SOME FINE DAY pushes the boundaries of climate science but doesn’t break break them, which is probably the scariest part about it.
What do you like best about your protagonist, Jansin Nordqvist, and why do you think readers will root for her?
It’s funny, this is the first book I’ve written in first person and I was a little nervous, but Jansin’s voice just popped straight into my head and I felt like I knew her from page one. I like that she pays attention to what’s going on the world instead of being overly self-absorbed (a little complaint I have about some YA books with girl narrators). I like that she knows how to have a good cry and also how to fight and shoot. She knows when she needs to speak up, and when it’s better to just suck it up and deal. Despite her conditioning at an elite military academy, she has an innate decency towards other people. And a capacity to learn from her mistakes. I think she also has a pretty good sense of humor, although I ended up cutting some of the parts I thought were funniest because they didn’t do a whole lot to move the plot along. I always save bits like that though. Sometimes you can sneak them into new stories…or even the sequel.
Don’t suppose you’d like to tell us a little more about Will…?
Oh, Will was hard! Now I feel like I finally get him, but compared to Jan, I’ll confess, he was an enigma to me for a long time. His character evolved through a lot of different incarnations in early drafts. Super nice, hostile, nice again… When I finally stopped thinking of him less as her *love interest* and more as an actual living, breathing person, he started to click. Will went through some pretty bad things as a kid, and then had a lot of responsibility thrust on him as the group’s medic. So he’s not much of a typical teenaged boy. He’s strong, but in a different way than she is. I think they complement each other a lot, when they’re not bickering. It’s a strange relationship in many ways, and it only gets stranger in the next book.
What did you enjoy the most about writing ONE FINE DAY?
Besides the characters, who I just love so much now they seem real to me, I enjoyed the research. Asking questions like, exactly how do you build an underground city? Where does the air come from, the food and water? Are hypercanes possible (the answer is yes)? If all the icecaps melted, how much would the seas rise? What would that look like for the Eastern Seaboard? I read about amphibians and I read about sailboats and I read about the natural signs that a hurricane is blowing in. The fight scenes were a whole other beast. My boyfriend teaches krav maga, so he helped choreograph them. Thank God, because I really wanted them to be authentic, since Jan is supposed to be uber-trained, and my last slappy altercation was in first grade. So I was lucky enough to have him *demonstrate* many armbars and chokeholds on me. Did I mention he’s 6’2″ and 200 pounds? Afterwards, I was like, I should have just Googled this stuff.
You’ve got a pretty comprehensive list of fave books on your website, but what are you currently reading? Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to this year?
I keep a tottering pile on my bedside table, and I’m usually reading two or three at a time. Just finished DOROTHY MUST DIE (love so hard) and THE FIFTH WAVE (need the next book, like, yesterday). I’m almost done with THE CARBON DIARIES and am really blown away by the characters and the amazing dialogue and how frighteningly real the story is. THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE just made me fall even more madly in love with Jonathan Stroud than I was already. Next up is OBSIDIAN MIRROR by Catherine Fisher. Time travel, fairies… can’t see how this one could go wrong.
I’m a huge John Connolly fan too! If you could only pick only one of his books to take with you to that fabled desert island, which one would it be?
Oh, easy one: THE GATES. I have a major weakness for books containing “In Which…” chapter titles. The Demon Mrs. Abernathy and Nurd, the Scourge of Five Deities, are just so perfect. It’s a tough call, though, because the INFERNALS had me blowing spouts of coffee out of my nose as well. And then there’s THE CREEPS. Can I cheat and bring the whole series on one volume?
What’s next for you?
Right now I’m about halfway done with the sequel to SOME FINE DAY. Assuming my wonderful editor at Strange Chemisty likes it, we’ll plan on a summer 2015 release. The book was originally written as a potential standalone, but I do leave it on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I still had so much story to tell, I just couldn’t walk away. There’s so many other parts of that world I wanted to explore, like what the continental United States is like in an extreme future climate change scenario, which the first book doesn’t get into much. Without giving the store away, I’ll leave you with one word: Twisters!
I also have a brand spanking new idea that’s still in the dreamy stage, but I can say it has elements of Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, with a little romance, magic and mythology thrown in. I’ve had to force myself to leave it alone for now, because I think I’d be perfectly useless at writing two books at once. But part of me is dying to get started…
About SOME FINE DAY:
Sixteen-year-old Jansin Nordqvist is on the verge of graduating from the black ops factory known as the Academy.
She’s smart and deadly, and knows three things with absolute certainty:
1. When the world flooded and civilization retreated deep underground, there was no one left on the surface.
2. The only species to thrive there are the toads, a primate/amphibian hybrid with a serious mean streak.
3. There’s no place on Earth where you can hide from the hypercanes, continent-sized storms that have raged for decades.
Jansin has been lied to. On all counts.