Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Exclusive Interview with Polly Holyoke, author of The Neptune Project + Win a Signed ARC of The Neptune Project (Intl)

Me : What was your inspiration behind The Neptune Project?

Polly : I’ve always loved the sea and wondered if we could possibly live in it someday. I’ve also been fascinated by our rapid progress in genetic engineering. I wondered if in the future we might transform ourselves so that we can breathe water and colonize the oceans which cover 5/6ths of our planet. And then I wondered what that experience would truly be like for the pioneers who went into the sea, especially if they were children.

Me : As a great part of the story is set under the sea, would you like to tell us about your research on underwater life?

Polly : I’ve always been a scuba diver, and I think that helped me to describe the world under the waves in convincing detail. I also spent a GREAT deal of time researching oceanography and talking to dive masters and dolphin trainers. My very favorite moments in researching this book, however, came the day I went snorkeling with wild spinner dolphins in Hawaii and listened via a hydrophone to humpback whales singing. Whale songs are one of the most beautiful and mysterious sounds in nature.

Me : What would be the perfect one line pitch for The Neptune Project?

Polly : When the sea has become humankind’s last hope, a group of teens fight to survive beneath the waves.

Me : Would you like to give us a brief preview of The Neptune Project?

Polly : Here’s a short blurb for the book:

The Neptune Project is set in a future where the seas are rising and wars and famines wrack the surface world. Nere Hanson and her teen companions are shocked to learn that they have been genetically altered by their desperate parents to live in the sea. Protected by her loyal dolphins, shy Nere leads the rest on a perilous journey to her father’s new colony. Fighting off government divers, sharks and giant squid, can Nere and her companions learn to trust each other before their dangerous new world destroys them?

Me : During the writing, what was the most difficult thing you faced, world building or character development?

Polly : I’ve read so much science fiction and fantasy over the years, world building is relatively easy and great fun for me. I did have to spend a lot of time thinking about the characters in this book. I wanted Nere’s companions to include interesting, real and diverse kids with strong personalities which could and would generate plenty of conflict. Along the way, I was delighted when many of the dolphins in the story even developed strong personalities of their own

Me : Tell us about your voyage to publication.

Polly : I was fortunate. Once I signed with a good agent, The Neptune Project sold quickly. I did do my homework, though, and spent hours figuring out which agents to query first with this particular project. The research paid off. It truly is KEY to send your work to agent who likes the kind of stuff you write.

Me : If you were given a chance to change something in the world, what would it be?

Polly : Wow, that’s a tough one! I can think of at least a dozen off the top of my head. I would like us to make the transition away from fossil fuels before it’s too late to keep our planet from overheating.

Me : Would you like to give a message to the readers?

Polly : The oceans matter. They are an incredible source of protein for our over-populated planet, but we need to manage their resources more wisely. Right now we have more fishing capacity than we have fish! And if the oceans continue to warm, phytoplankton (which serves as the foundation of the ocean food chain and absorbs just as much carbon dioxide as trees do) will die. Then our entire planet is in serious trouble.

Many thanks to Polly for time her time and consideration for this interview. Also, a humble thanks to her for offering a signed ARC of The Neptune Project. Please enter via the Rafflecopter below.

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