Johan Twiss is the author of I am Sleepless: Sim 299 and Arianna was given the pleasure to interview Mr. Twiss and see what made his book come alive and draw her (Arianna) in from the first sentence.
Interview Conducted by:
1. What was your inspiration for this book?
Star Wars meets Enders Game meet X-Men. There are many subgenres in Science Fiction and I pulled from some of my favorites as I wrote I Am Sleepless: Sim 299. I brought in a little of the Military SciFi, mixed it with some Space Opera and added Comic type super powers.
But originally the idea for I Am Sleepless came after I had a dream about kids with super powers, but they all had physical handicaps. Around that same time, I was also thinking a lot about how much I could accomplish in life if I never had to sleep. Mash those two ideas together and the story for I Am Sleepless sprang to life.
2. Who is your favorite character in your book?
Ooooh, that's tough. Part of me loves the Director because he's crazy and I have some fun stuff planned for him in book 2. But even so, I have a soft spot for Fig. A lot of my natural humor and sensibilities come out in Fig's character.
3. What is your favorite meal at the Cheesecake Factory?
I've had a few dinners at the Cheesecake Factory, but surprise surprise, I really I go there for the Cheesecake. And my favorite cheesecake is Chocolate Peppermint Bark, though the Tuxedo Cream is a close second.
4. What is your favorite scene in your book?
The trials in the castle, specifically when they face their fears. Those scenes wrote themselves and my fingers couldn't keep up with my mind as I wrote them. Not only were they fun to write, but they brought more depth to Aidan, Zana and Dixon's characters.
5. How long have you been writing?
Three years. It took me two years to write my first book, which is currently a trunk novel and needs a total rewrite before it's close to being publishable. But I learned so much in the process of writing that first book. When it came time to start I Am Sleepless, I felt much more confident and comfortable in my writing. So much so that instead of taking two years, I finished the first draft in 3 months.
6. If you had to be one person from the novel, who would you be and why?
Aidan. Not only does he have multiple powers, but he's just a nice guy. He still has a sense of humor, but he can also be a leader and keep calm in tense situations.
7. What is your favorite of the prime types?
Agulators, hands-down. I came up with the name from the word coagulate, which means to change to a solid from a liquid. The way Agulators can change their density and weight, and how they use it to fight and fly through the air is just an awesome Prime power.
8. How did you come up with the ideas you used in your book (i.e. the aliens, animals, etc.)?
At the time I was writing this, my kids were watching a lot of Avatar: The Last Airbender and Avatar: The Legend of Korra (which I probably enjoy as much as my kids). They had all of the mixed half-breed animals in the show and I jokingly started coming up with my own mixed-species animals like the Hippophant, Corcobull, Spidergeese, etc... These were quickly added into the plot and will have a more important role in the storyline for book 2.
The alien Splicers were written to be the antithesis of the Primes in their powers and strength. Book 2 and 3 will go more into their background as the conflict between them grows.
9. Any other interesting facts/info you would like to share about you or your book?
Interesting facts about me
1. I play a mean blues harmonica, along with guitar, bass, piano, a variety of hand drums, and the trombone.
2. I once met the Yankee Hall of Famer Joe Dimaggio in a Martinez, California mall parking lot. I was only 8 years old and my dad pointed him out to me as we were getting in our minivan. Naturally, I snagged my dad's softball mitt out of the back of our van and ran up to Jumping Joe, who was in his eighties at the time, and asked for his autograph. He was amazed I knew who he was, gave me a big smile as he shook my hand, and happily autographed the glove. Sadly, the signed softball mitt was later stolen. There went my college fund.
3. I've visited 46 of the 50 United States of America.
Thank you Mr. Twiss for your support of our blog and we cannot wait to read and review your next books!