Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Interview with Erin Bowman for Immunity

Immunity (Contagion #2)

by Erin Bowman
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 2nd 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Horror
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Survivors of a deadly planetary outbreak take on a new, sinister adversary in the white-knuckle sequel to Contagion, which New York Times bestselling author Amie Kaufman called “gripping, thrilling and terrifying in equal measures.”

They thought their nightmare was over, but Thea, Coen, and Nova’s rescue was only the beginning. After being imprisoned on a ship they thought was their ticket to safety, it’s clear that the threat they left behind isn’t as distant as they’d hoped—and this time the entire galaxy is at risk.

Now that threat is about to be unleashed as an act of political warfare. To prevent an interstellar catastrophe, the survivors must harness the evil they faced on the planet Achlys and learn to wield the only weapon they have left: themselves.

The first installment in Erin Bowman’s duology earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who called the plot “intricate and action-packed,” and fans of Jonathan Maberry, Rick Yancey, and Madeline Roux will relish in Bowman’s tense, high-stakes conclusion to the events of Contagion.

Can you briefly describe the CONTAGION series and their main characters and what’s going to happen in IMMUNITY?

Contagion follows two teens (science intern Althea Sadik and temp pilot Nova Singh) who are working part-time gigs at a research facility when a distress call from a distant mining crew comes in. They're swept up in a search and rescue mission that brings them to Achlys, a dark, tidally-locked and near-uninhabitable planet, where they find that the entire mining crew has disappeared. As they rush to discover who (or what!) could have decimated an entire operation, the titular 'contagion' comes into play.

Immunity picks up exactly where Contagion leaves off, following the survivors of book one as they attempt to keep the contagion they thought they'd escaped from being unleashed as an act of political warfare. The entire galaxy is at risk, so to say the stakes are higher than ever is incredibly accurate.

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

This is a hard question for me to answer because I love all my characters for different reasons. Nova was a big surprise for me, because when I initially envisioned the series, she didn't even have a POV. But she came to life on the page and demanded my attention. I also love Thea because there's a lot of teen me in her—a rule follower, a good student, avoids confrontation (especially with authority figures). I enjoyed writing her quiet strength and watching her find her voice throughout the first book. And of course, there's Coen. I adore writing gray characters and he kept so many secrets hidden just below the surface in Contagion.

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

Contagion was the first book I ever wrote that was inspired by a dream. In this dream (which was actually more of a nightmare), I was part of a crew traveling through deep space when our mechanic started acting strangely. We locked him in an air lock and watched him rapidly deteriorate. It was pretty gruesome. That story kernel, paired with my extreme fear of outbreaks and plagues, served as the main inspiration for the duology.

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I'm going to go with 'Everybody Wants to Rule the World' by Lorde. It fits both books on multiple levels. The creepy, atmospheric melody. Lorde's haunting vocals. Lyrics that speak to multiple characters. Certain lines remind me of Thea and Coen, others Dr. Tarlow (from book one), and the titular line, especially, reminds me of Burke and the Radicals (who readers will learn a lot more about in Immunity) 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

I always feel like I'm cheating when I answer this type of question, but I honestly don't care so long as the actors nail the part and can bring the character to life. And of course, I'd want the diversity of the book's cast to be reflected in the diversity of actors cast in the movie. That is non-negotiable.

Summer is here and we love to go out and enjoy the sun. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Water. Good, clean, bottled water. Sounds boring, but if you've read the book, you understand. If you want to get fancy, maybe make it a bubbly seltzer and toss a wedge of lime in. ;P

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish IMMUNITY? 

If you're one of the few people who hasn't picked up Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff, that would be a natural fit for fans of Contagion. Also, I haven't read these next two titles yet, but they are on my to-read list because they have killer premises that give me Contagion vibes: Sanctuary by Caryn Lix and Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda

What’s next for you?

I'm currently working on my first middle grade project, a fun and heartwarming portal fantasy tentative titled Piper, Invisible. It's set to come out summer 2020 and you can learn more about it over on goodreads.

Erin Bowman is the Edgar Award-nominated author of numerous books for teens, including the Taken Trilogy, Vengeance Road, Retribution Rails, and the Contagion duology. A web designer turned author, Erin has always been invested in telling stories—both visually and with words. When not writing, she can often be found hiking, commenting on good typography, and obsessing over all things Harry Potter. Erin lives in New Hampshire with her husband and children. You can visit her online at embowman.com, on twitter @erin_bowman, or on instagram @heyerin

Erin is represented by Sara Crowe of Pippin Properties.


  1. This book is on my TBR and I need to read book #1 first. I enjoy reading YA fantasy best.

  2. I'm definitely adding to my TBR! YA horror and thrillers are my favorites