Interview with Tiffany Rose, (Co)Author of HELLO WORLD

February seems a good month to host asexual authors, so why not one more? Tiffany Rose’s first novel releases one day before City of Strife, and we figured we’d exchange some cool questions!

First, though, here’s a quick peek at Tiffany’s book in case you haven’t run into it yet!

Scott’s skills as a surveillance expert come in pretty handy when he’s breaking down firewalls. But hacktivism isn’t enough; he’s going after the holy grail—UltSyn’s Human Information Drives, human assets implanted with cerebral microchips. While plenty of hackers are trying to save the world these days, all Scott wants is to find his sister.

After following the clues to London, he makes a plan to kidnap the technical marvel heading into town. When this Human Information Drive turns out to be someone unexpected his nerve waivers. The HID, who calls herself Sonia, would be priceless on the market, but born out of joint self-preservation the two team up.

With her contacts, they travel across Europe in the search of personal secrets and leave a trail of industrial espionage all for the sake of misdirection. As the unlikely pair digs deeper into restricted databases, Scott discovers that those who enlist with UltSyn get far more than they bargained for. Not only is this secret HID program is much bigger than he had imagined, students are lining up for a future they only think this biotech wonder company can provide. Even worse, these leads are getting him nowhere closer to his own goals.

Plunged into a world of human trafficking, Scott is determined to find his sister no matter the cost, which tests Sonia’s fragile friendship with him. But when the information reveals the people closest to Scott have been working for UltSyn all along, he has to find them—before UltSyn finds him.

1) Hello World is your debut novel, but you already have a serial on Wattpad, Bone Diggers. How are the two experiences different? Does completing the entire story before you first heard any reader feedback change how you approached storytelling?

I think the main difference between publishing something formally and something that has an edit option means that most things in the second aren’t set in stone. With Bone Diggers, I’m still able correct simple mistakes, or smooth out plot twists that people found a bit bumpy. Wattpad also allows me to add things to play into what readers really enjoyed, which turned out to be mostly Daniel and Lance’s relationship.

With Hello World it’s a lot more akin to holding your breath. It’s presented all at once so there is no real way to gauge reactions chapter by chapter. I have no control on the pacing in which things are given to the audience either. It’s just exhaling and hoping it reads how I meant the first time around. And I think given the plot differences between the books it’s fitting.

2) You’re not the sole author of Hello World–Alexandra Tauber is also one of the two minds behind this. Can you tell us how that worked out? How did your co-authorship function?

Alexandra and I have roleplaying backgrounds, so ownership so to speak of character is divided between us. We both write every character, but sometimes one or the other will be like ‘actually, that doesn’t read right for them, we need to work on this section’. That dynamic results in less forced staging for the sake of plot. It keeps you on your toes and more adaptable to change which overall I think is more true to life. Since even if you plot out your day (or book) it might not end up exactly how you planned because you aren’t the only person living it.

[Claudie’s Note: my experience is that roleplaying backgrounds make for great characters and I’m very excited about this answer!]

3) One of the first things I noticed in your blurb is that Scott, the protagonist, is looking for his sister. I’m a sucker for family relationships! Without spoiling important bits, what can you tell us about their relationship? Will we get to explore it?

I’m an only child, so as much as I’d love to go on about the instinctual need to protect your younger siblings because family™, I don’t think it’s fair for me to claim. However, Scott’s motivations are to protect his sister above all else, and the struggle between that desire and your ability to actually do so.

The book at times talks about them in the past, but the most exploration of the relationships comes from being separated from your family and how things change on you because of that fact.

4) Obviously, I’m also here for the biromantic asexual protagonist! Does Scott’s identity come up a lot in the novel, or is it just an established fact? 

It’s in part established fact, especially in comparison to exploration of identity you can find in Bone Diggers. Scott knows who he is and has very little doubt about that fact. I personally feel like aces will read Scott as asexual from around the start of things, but it isn’t confirmed on page until much later when Scott is prompted to talk about it.

5) How did it feel to be writing someone who shared your orientation? How much of your experience is reflected in Scott’s, if any at all?

A very large part of my queer identity is reflected in Scott’s. I first wrote Scott before I really knew asexuality was an option, and afterwards I realized that a lot of little things had leaked onto the page. It’s been both a gift knowing that no matter what I have complete representation here, and frankly scary to write someone who shares my orientation so closely. While no one can say I did it wrong, people could try to discredit him, or myself, for not meeting their standards.

6) Let’s end with a fun question! Most books have tiny quirks or Easter eggs slipped in them–whether they’re in the names, in inside jokes that made it into the novel, or the result of a real-life anecdote. Can you share one with us?

Whew, we can lighten things up after that last question! Here are some small things you can look for while reading! Terry is Scottish, in part because of a pun. He’s Scott like, but not. Yes, the cake mention is a subtle ace joke inspired by an aroace friend. While different, real life events inspired the porn conversation. Yes, I’m an ace whose debut novel mentions porn. It’s a wild and fun ride.

It sure promises to be! Everyone hang onto their seats until February 21, 2017. Or you can just preorder Hello World right away!

And since we had an interview exchange, make sure you check out Tiffany’s site for her questions on City of Strife and my answers!

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