Friday, July 26, 2013

Interview with J.S. Frankel, author of Death Bytes

Today, I'm happy to welcome J.S. Frankel, author of newly released Death Bytes, to Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf. He's here today to answer a few questions, so without a further ado...

What are the top three reasons why people should consider buying Death Bytes the next time they see it online?

First off, I think a lot of people would be attracted by the cover. I had a terrific artist named Carmen Waters design it for me, and it suits the tone of the novel completely—a person thrust into a computerized world—and it’s also sort of eerie and attractive at the same time.

The second reason is the play on words. Ordinarily, we think of the expression “Death bites”—and it does—but here it gives the reader an idea of death, computer bytes, and the idea of life after death.

The final reason is an extension of the second reason, in that I think many people are interested in the possibility of life after death, not necessarily in a religious sense, but the possibility of science providing an alternative kind of life to the physical forms we have now. Of course, that’s in the future, but why not explore the concept right now?

Death Bytes tells the story of Sam Benson, so would you share a little about him with us? Also, if you could offer him any advice, what would you say?

Sam is your everyman—or everykid—kind of guy. He’s a high school student, an athlete, a generally bright individual, and he’s stricken by a disease (ALS) for which there is no cure. For someone who’s active, being told he has ALS at such a young age is devastating. To be given no hope at all for your future is devastating and I’ve known some young people who have been in that situation. In the novel, he’s given a second chance at life and that’s something that doesn’t come around too often.

As for advice, I would just say you’re in a new world, go with it, and see what turns up. The idea of consciousness transfer, while nothing new, is something that has always fascinated me. and I’d want to go in it with my eyes wide open. I would advise Sam to do the same thing.

How did the title Death Bytes come to be?

I had the idea of a young man unable to move at all, then modified it somewhat, and then wondered how I’d feel if it happened to me. I remember saying aloud “This bites” and then...since the story was about death and rebirth (in a way) and since it does take place in a computer-generated world, it was only natural to use a pun. Voila—you had Death Bytes.

Do you have a favorite scene or line from the book? If so, what is it? No spoilers, please!

Favorite line? “One hundred percent unfiltered awesome.” Favorite scene? I’ll give you two. The first would have to be when they enter Zombieville. It’s kind of de rigeur to use zombies these days, but after I wrote the chapter out, it didn’t come off half bad and in fact, it showed a lot of humanity in it.

My other favorite scene would be the trip to Tokyo. As I live in Japan (I live in Osaka) Japanese culture is something I know fairly well although after all these years I’m still learning. Writing about the people and places there was fun, and they do play an integral part in the plot.

Death Bytes falls under sci-fi/paranormal, so what inspired you to write in these genres? And are there any other genres you hope you pursue in the future?

Growing up, I was always interested in sci-fi. I’ve always been interested in superheroes as well, and they inspired my first novel, The Tower. I used to wonder at night when I was a kid if there were other forms of life out there—I still do. Writing fantasy allows my mind to explore the possibilities of what could be.

What has been your favorite part of the publishing process? Least?

The favorite part has always been the writing. Once I get an idea, I don’t let it go, keep it rock solid in my mind, and run with it! The least favorite part is the editing. In writing, there's the concept of “show, not tell” and that’s something I’ve been learning all this time. I was fortunate that I had a great editor to work with on Death Bytes. Her name is Priyanka Mehta, and I believe she’s a graduate assistant at Southeastern Louisiana University. She was a total joy to work with and I hope to work with her again one day.

What’s up next for you book wise? Anything else you would like to add?

I’m currently trying to sell three other YA/Fantasy novels, Mr. Taxi, Master Fantastic,and Catnip. We’ll see how that goes. I will have two other novels out next year, entitled Twisted, which is a gender switch action novel, and Lindsay versus the Marauders, a novel which features a young woman as the main character. It’s the first time I’ve ever tried writing from a woman’s point of view and in third-person, and it was a great experience. I hope people will give these two novels a looksee, as they explore certain issues not usually dealt with in society.

Lauren, that’s it for the questions. I hope I’ve done a good job, and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me the opportunity to express myself. I hope all the readers out there will give Death Bytes a read and enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!


About Death Bytes:
Seventeen year-old Sam Benson is dying, and a radical doctor/software developer manages to imprint his consciousness into a chip which is then fed into a computer and he wakes up in a world much like our own. There, he meets Ariel, the doctor's daughter, and before they can get to know each other, Sam finds out his mother and Ariel's have been murdered, they are attacked by a virus bent on crashing the Internet--forever, which would mean Sam and Ariel's death--and in a desperate race against time, have to flee into the inner workings of the Internet in order to find a way to stop that which is unstoppable.


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