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Title: I Heart Robot
Publication date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Month9Books, LLC.
Author: Suzanne van Rooyen
Sixteen-year-old Tyri wants to be a musician and wants to be with someone who won’t belittle her musical aspirations.
Q-I-99 aka ‘Quinn’ lives in a scrap metal sanctuary with other rogue droids. While some use violence to make their voices heard, demanding equal rights for AI enhanced robots, Quinn just wants a moment on stage with his violin to show the humans that androids like him have more to offer than their processing power.
Tyri and Quinn’s worlds collide when they’re accepted by the Baldur Junior Philharmonic Orchestra. As the rift between robots and humans deepens, Tyri and Quinn’s love of music brings them closer together, making Tyri question where her loyalties lie and Quinn question his place in the world. With the city on the brink of civil war, Tyri and Quinn make a shocking discovery that turns their world inside out. Will their passion for music be enough to hold them together while everything else crumbles down around them, or will the truth of who they are tear them apart?
Watch the trailer here.
When did you start writing?
As a kid, I guess, I was forever making up stories and dictating them to my mom. Then, as a teenager, I wrote really awful, angsty poetry. I only started taking writing more seriously once I was in university and realized I could actually get some of my stories published, and possibly maybe even earn some money from it.
What makes you want to write?
An overactive imagination, the voices in my head, and the escapism being able to delve into fictitious worlds of my own creating provides.
Do you ever get writer's block and what do you do to get over it?
Oh yes. I try to exercise and get some fresh air, change up my routine or try something new – be it a new sport, a new recipe, visit a new country (when the writer's block gets really bad). New experiences really help to kick-start my Muse. I also often turn to music or art and try to think up stories to go with certain songs or artworks I love.
Do you have a special way of going about writing?
Not really. These days, I write when I can. I generally use music to get into the zone of whichever novel/story or specific scene I'm working on and then try my best to immerse myself in the story and become the POV character. Although I'm still a pantser at heart, I've discovered just how helpful outlines can be especially when I don't have that much time to write, so I try to create rough outlines for my novels before I jump into the actual writing.
Do you have any works in progress?
Always, and usually more than one! Right now, I'm working on something different for me – a YA fantasy novel inspired by my home country, South Africa.
What are your hobbies?
Wall climbing – which often leaves me with very sore and tired fingers when it comes to typing. I also enjoy playing piano and teaching myself guitar. I have a shiba inu, Lego, and I try to get out as much as possible with him whether it's for long walks through the forest or weekend getaways to nearby islands or nature reserves. I also watch far too many TV shows.
How did you choose the character names for I Heart Robot?
Well Tyri's name ties into the main plot of the story so that I can't reveal ;) but for the rest, I tried to find more reasily pronounced Scandinavian names to provide regional flavour without making it impossible to read. With the robots, I wanted their names to be single syllable and easily tied to their identifying acronyms. To be honest though, Quinn was always Quinn so the android 'tag' system was somewhat devised to suit his name rather than the other way around.
Who is your favourite character in I Heart Robot?
That's like asking a parent who their favourite child is! I love all my characters but I had a particularly fun time writing Kit, the snarky android, and Asrid, Tyri's sassy best friend.
How did you get the idea for I Heart Robot?
It sort of popped up out of the blue and arrived as a sentence in my mind: “What if a girl fell in love with a boy but didn't know he was a robot?” It was that question that formed the foundation of the book. That and the seminal works by Asimob, particularly I, Robot. I immediately envisaged the comma as a lopsided heart and so I Heart Robot was born.
What was your favourite part of writing I Heart Robot?
The music! I loved being able to work in musical references. As a musician myself, I got to express my passion for classical music through my characters and that was highly enjoyable.
What are you currently reading?
Trigger Warning – the newest short story collection from Neil Gaiman.
What is your favourite book?
I hate this question. I've even typed and deleted an answer to this question several times now! It's so hard! But okay, fine, my favourite book and one I'm happy to reread time and again is Lost Souls by Poppy Z Brite. I also adore and have reread in parts The Sandman series of graphic novels by Neil Gaiman. But my favourite book series right now is The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater.
Who is your favourite author?
This is tricky because I love different authors for different reasons. However, the only author whose books I will buy regardless of category or genre and don't even need to read the blurb for before I click on 'buy now' is Neil Gaiman. The other author whose work I usually adore is Maggie Stiefvater.
What is your favourite film?
This is so hard! I've narrowed it down to four, okay... Sunshine starring Cillian Murphy, Mr Nobody starring Jared Leto, Imaginary Heroes starring an ensemble cast led by Sigourney Weaver, and The Crow starring the late Brandon Lee.
What is your favourite TV show?
This changes depending on my mood and the TV season. I love Game of Thrones (what SF/F geek doesn't?) and Penny Dreadful, but I'm also a sucker for procedurals and have become a big fan of shows like White Collar (sadly ended), Stalker, and most recently, the amazing How to get Away with Murder.
Chocolate or ice cream? Ice cream.
Paperback or ebook? Ebook these days – so much easier to travel with a Kindle.
Dogs or cats? Dogs for sure!
Go out or stay in? Stay in.
Summer or winter? Hm... tough one. But considering it's been a long Scandinavian winter I'll have to go with summer right now.
About the Author
Suzanne is a tattooed storyteller from South Africa. She currently lives in Sweden and is busy making friends with the ghosts of her Viking ancestors. Although she has a Master’s degree in music, Suzanne prefers conjuring strange worlds and creating quirky characters. When she grows up, she wants to be an elf – until then, she spends her time (when not writing) wall climbing, buying far too many books, and entertaining her shiba inu, Lego.
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