Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Interview with Katya de Becerra for Oasis


by Katya de Becerra
Publisher: Imprint Macmillan
Release Date: January 7th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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The oasis saved them. But who will save them from the oasis?

Alif had exciting summer plans: working on her father’s archaeological dig site in the desert with four close friends . . . and a very cute research assistant. Then the sandstorm hit.

With their camp wiped away, Alif and the others find themselves lost on the sands, seemingly doomed . . . until they find the oasis. It has everything they need: food, water, shade—and mysterious ruins that hide a deadly secret. As reality begins to shift around them, they question what’s real and what’s a mirage.

The answers turn Alif and her friends against one another, and they begin to wonder if they’ve truly been saved. And while it was easy to walk into the oasis, it may be impossible to leave . . .

Katya de Becerra’s new supernatural thriller hides a mystery in plain sight, and will keep you guessing right up to its terrifying conclusion.

Can you briefly describe OASIS and its characters?

OASIS is a desert survival thriller with a supernatural twist. It’s Twilight Zone x Lost x Donnie Darko. It tells a story of six people who are stranded in the desert during a sand storm and then encounter a mysterious oasis that saves their lives. Kind of. 

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

I love all my characters, but Alif, the narrator, is my favorite. She’s brave and smart, and determined to keep her friends safe (with varied success), no matter how bad things get. 

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

I’ve always had a soft spot for archaeology. Though my own studies took me on a slightly different path, and I ended up getting my degrees in cultural anthropology, archaeology will always be my first love. I think I was always going to write an “archaeology book”. I remember visiting Dubai years ago and falling in love with the place. After that, things just fell into place, and here we have an archaeology book set in Dubai. 

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

I wrote Oasis while listening to Nightcall by London Grammar pretty much on repeat. 

Conscious by Broods is another song I think reflects the mood of this book perfectly. 

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

Fresh water with ice enjoyed by the side of a swimming pool on a hot summer day.

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

Roadside Picnic by the Strugatsky brothers. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (and his entire Southern Reach Trilogy). The Aleph, The Writing of the God (and other short stories) by Jorge Luis Borges. The Rift by Rachael Craw

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

I think, writing is in general a very difficult process. It takes a lot of you, messes with your mind, and torments you with self-doubt. For me personally though, it’s juggling multiple characters’ motivations and bringing it all together in the end that’s most difficult, while also the most satisfying. 

What’s next for you?

My plan is to get better at what I do and to write about things that personally matter to me and things that intrigue me. I also want to write books across genres and for different age groups. I’m currently working on several non-YA projects as well as some new YA, of course.

Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, lived in Peru, and then stayed in Australia long enough to become a local. She was going to be an Egyptologist when she grew up, but instead she earned a PhD in Anthropology and now works as a university lecturer and a researcher. Katya is a short version of her real name, which is very long and gets mispronounced a lot. What The Woods Keep was her first novel (out now), which is followed by another standalone Oasis in 2020. She has also authored and co-authored academic articles, book chapters, guest posts and opinion pieces.

1 comment:

  1. Trapped in an oasis with a cute research assistant: what a horrible fate!