Blog Tour: Interview with Karen Akins, Author of LOOP (+ Review)

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Karen Akins’s debut novel, LOOP! I finished reading it a couple days before the release and REALLY enjoyed it. I’m thrilled to get the chance to interview Karen about LOOP, released on 21 October 2014 with St. Martin’s Griffin.

KO: Hi, Karen! It’s great to have you here. LOOP sounds fascinating! What attracted you to the genre?
KA: I am a BIG sci-fi geek. Star Trek, Firefly, X-Men, Sherlock (okay, that’s technically not sci-fi, but the fandom is just so awesome), Back to the Future, X-Files, you name it. There’s something about the optimism of sci-fi that appeals to me.
And looking through the list above, I realized that I’m drawn to heroes and heroines that tackle their problems as a team. When writing LOOP and its sequel TWIST, I’ve found that I get a little antsy when Bree and Finn are separated. They’re so much stronger together than they are apart. I think each of them has strengths that balances out the other’s weaknesses. It’s a love story, but it’s also kind of like a buddy cop movie at the same time.

KO: If you could travel back to any time for a day, where/when would you choose?
KA: I would be tempted to go back to my own past and observe special moments (like my wedding or my sons’ births), but at the same time, I wouldn’t want to ruin them in my memory.
I am a history buff, though. I was a psychology major in college, and if I could go back and pick a different major, I wouldn’t choose English or Creative Writing. I would choose History.
One thing I mentioned in LOOP was the idea that some of these artistic representations we have of pivotal moments in history are just straight-up wrong. For example, the signing of the Declaration of Independence. We have it portrayed in the famous painting by John Trumbull [link: http://www.history.org/foundation/journal/Winter11/painting/ ] as this big “Now I shall sign” moment, but apparently, it took place over the course of many days if not weeks, and the painting was reconstructed from several people’s memories. They wanted it to be this reverent, awe-inspiring depiction even though the actual event was pretty mundane.
It would be neat to be able to go back and know with certainty how historical events went down. But at the same time, my guess is that most of those events were either more boring or more terrifying than they exist in my imagination, so maybe I wouldn’t want to do that after all.

KO: If LOOP had a theme song, what would it be?
KA: When writing, I rely heavily on my book playlist to nail the mood that I’m trying to establish in each scene or for each character. Sometimes, in revisions, I’ll even go back and revise the playlist if I realize that I’ve gotten off track, emotion-wise.
LOOP’s playlist is on Spotify here.
If I had to pick a single theme song, it would be “I’m Going to Make You Love Me” by the Jayhawks. It’s one of the few songs that’s stayed the same from the first draft all the way through the publishing process. It contains this hopeful determination that the main character Bree desperately needs and that her love interest Finn naturally has.

KO: What’s next for you?
KA: Right now, I’m waiting on copy edits for TWIST. It comes out March 31, 2015. It’s been an intense few months leading up to the release of LOOP, so I’m going to give myself a bit of time to write for sheer fun. There’s a sparkly new idea gnawing at my brain, and this is the part that I love, when it’s all promise and premise, and I haven’t had to hold it down and pick boogers out of its nose. (Not that I had to do that this evening with my toddler or anything.)

KO: And to wrap up, can we end with a quote from LOOP?
KA: Sure!

The news shouldn’t have surprised me one bit. I mean, I already knew Future Bree was up to her belly button in this mayhem. But for the first time, I wasn’t furious at her, wasn’t angry at all.

I was proud.

KO: Thanks so much!
KA: Thanks again for having me! I hope everyone enjoys LOOP. ❤

Review

Bree is in such a mess with things going wrong at every turn. Her biggest problem being the twenty-first century boy she brings back to the twenty-third century with her. Oops. Her mother’s in a coma in hospital, there’s a gangster on her tail, and an array of untrustworthy teaching staff at the Institute. With a mountain of problems, Bree has Finn along for the ride. Someone’s hiding something, but who?!

There were some major twists in this book and I had blast unravelling the mystery alongside Bree and Finn. The futuristic world was really well imagined. I loved all the little details of gadgets and technology and, of course, the pegamoo (a tiny flying cow kept as a pet!). LOOP was such a fun read with plenty humour and lots going on!