Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Interview with Lillian Clark for Half Life

Half Life

by Lillian Clark
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 9th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
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An overachiever enrolls in an experimental clone study to prove that two (of her own) heads are better than one in this fast-paced, near-future adventure that's Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli.

There aren't enough hours in the day for Lucille--perfectionist, overachiever--to do everything she has to do, and there certainly aren't enough hours to hang out with friends, fall in love, get in trouble--all the teenage things she knows she should want to be doing instead of preparing for a flawless future. So when she sees an ad for Life2: Do more. Be more, she's intrigued.

The company is looking for beta testers to enroll in an experimental clone program, and in the aftermath of a series of disappointments, Lucille is feeling reckless enough to jump in. At first, it's perfect: her clone, Lucy, is exactly what she needed to make her life manageable and have time for a social life. But it doesn't take long for Lucy to become more Lucy and less Lucille, and Lucille is forced to stop looking at Lucy as a reflection and start seeing her as a window--a glimpse at someone else living her own life, but better. Lucy does what she really wants to, not what she thinks she should want to, and Lucille is left wondering how much she was even a part of the perfect life she'd constructed for herself. Lucille wanted Lucy to help her relationships with everyone else, but how can she do that without first rectifying her relationship with herself?

Can you briefly describe HALF LIFE and its characters?

Hi Patri! Thank you so much for having me!

Half Life, pitched as Black Mirror meets Becky Albertalli, follows Lucille Harper, an ambitious young woman who struggles with a constant worry that she isn’t measuring up. As her life falls apart—broken friendship, unrequited crush, divorcing parents—she’s approached by a mysterious company offering her the “opportunity of a lifetime.” She signs up to be a beta tester for an adult human cloning program and things get…interesting, to say the least.

Beyond Lucille, we have Lucy (the clone), Cass (the childhood best friend), Bode (the crush), Marco (the new crush), Dr. Thompson (the lead scientist at Life Squared), and Isobel (a mystery), alongside a small host of others.

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

This is tough! I love all of my characters for different reasons, but I think I’m the teensiest bit more partial to Lucy. And Isobel. They were really interesting and challenging to write. I also have a very special place in my heart for Lucille.

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

Originally, I pitched the idea for Half Life as a YA re-telling of the 1990s movie Multiplicity, but the longer I worked on it, I realized the comedy-plus-tightening-spiral-of-hijinks just wasn’t working. So, instead, I took that core of a person spread too thin getting a clone to help manage her busy life and layered in a mess of bigger themes like the subjectivity of truth and the (unachievable and often directly opposed) expectations society places on young women.

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

I actually have the perfect answer for this!! I love thinking about a single song that sums up how I want my books to make people feel, and so I already have one picked out: “I See You” by MISSIO. (If anyone is curious, the song for my debut Immoral Code is “Trees” by twentyone pilots!)

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

Lucille and Lucy are so solidly the focus of the whole book that I’ll just cast them, and I think Kaitlyn Dever could pull it off magnificently.

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

Not so humbly (haha) my debut Immoral Code! If you like Half Life, I feel pretty confident that you’ll also like that. As for books not by me, I’ll forever recommend books by Shaun David Hutchinson and Caleb Roehrig. Caleb has a new title coming out in July, The Fell of Dark, and it’s magnificent. VAMPIRES! Need I say more?

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

ALL OF IT. (Kidding, well, sort of.) This book was a struggle. Most authors seem to feel the same about second books. It’s difficult to write something under contract for the first time, usually on tight deadlines, while also promoting your debut. But more specifically, it took me three full drafts to get to the heart of Lucille’s character. I kept chasing false threads. But once I found the core of her, I fell in love with her story and this book.

What’s next for you?

Right now I’m working on a few projects, but none with any solid plans for release. I’ve been revamping my first, formerly-shelved manuscript about a young woman who’s stolen by a megalomaniac in another world, and a second manuscript that follows a high school couple deciding whether or not to break up before college…then they get sucked into a revolving door of alternate universes (I clearly adore portal fantasies, haha). I hope to have more news soon!

Lillian Clark, a graduate of the University of Wyoming, grew up riding horses, climbing trees, and going on grand imaginary adventures in the small-town West. She's worked as a lifeguard, a camp counselor, and a Zamboni driver, but found her eternal love working as a bookseller at an independent bookstore. Now living in Teton Valley, Idaho with her husband, son, and two giant dogs, she spends her time reading almost anything and writing books for teens.

1 comment:

  1. This book is already on my TBR and sounds exciting to read.