OK, that didn’t so much explain the story as make you want to read the story. So here’s the story. Across America, flocks of birds have been launching themselves at airplanes. This does not go well for either human or fowl. Then lead character Reese and her friend David are involved in a crash when birds fly into her headlights. When she wakes she is miraculously healed. Along the way to figuring out how there just might be a female love interest and a vast global government conspiracy.
Malinda has been so kind as to offer up a signed copy of “Adaptation” for giveaway to a lucky kitten. But before we get to that, here’s a little more from the author herself. I chatted with Malinda about the book, its concept and the gay stuff – of course.
Q: So what prompted you to make the, albeit not enormous, switch from fantasy to science fiction with Adaptation?
A: I had a dream! Seriously, one night I dreamed that I was in an airport while birds started falling dead from the sky. It was very creepy and very vivid, and when I woke up I rushed to my office and wrote it down in my writing journal. I don’t usually write down my dreams, but this one immediately seemed like it could be the beginning of an awesome story. I don’t think I even paused to think about the fact that I’d be switching from fantasy to science fiction. I’ve written all sorts of stuff (much of it unpublished) and I’ve never been loyal to one genre. I’m poly-genre-ous at heart.
Q: Where did the idea for Adaptation come from? Was it all those birds dropping from the sky we had a bit ago?
A: I checked my journal, and I had that dream in January 2009. The latest big rash of birds falling dead from the sky happened in January 2011, so I had the dream a couple of years before. However, mass animal die-offs are not unheard of. They do happen with some regularity, and I can't guarantee I hadn't heard of one at some point before I had the dream.
What I think is more likely, though, is that the idea of animals falling dead from the sky came to me from The X-Files. In one episode, “Die Hand Die Verletzt” (which actually is set in a high school and involves teens and a creepy teacher), a bunch of frogs rain down from the sky. I was a big X-phile, so I bet that idea stuck with me subconsciously.
Q: This is part of a duology, so did you see the whole story before you started writing the first book?
A: Yes. I initially thought this was going to be a trilogy, and I wrote a detailed outline for book 1 and proposals for books 2 and 3 when I submitted them to my publisher. However, they thought it would work better as a two-book series, so then I had to re-outline the story. I actually agree that it works better as two books; it’s one big story now, cut in two parts. Adaptation is the set-up, and the sequel (coming next fall) is hopefully the pay-off.
While the details of the plot did change (sometimes significantly) during the writing of the two books, the beginning and the end have always remained the same. I always knew what the central mystery was; the problem was just figuring out how to reveal it.
Q: Can we expect more changes with Reese’s personal life and relationships in the sequel?
A: Absolutely. Like I said, Adaptation is part 1. Her story is not over yet. There’s lots to come in the sequel! (And I mean lots.)
Q: How important was it for you to keep the LGBT element in this series, your first two books obviously have that as well.
A: It was very important. I’m well aware that there are still comparatively few stories published or produced that feature LGBT folks as main characters. So far, the book ideas I’ve had have all been about queer girls, and I’m lucky to be published by a mainstream publisher that has been 100% supportive of my work.
In terms of Adaptation, I felt that I had kind of done the fairy tale lesbian thing before (I can hardly believe I can say that!), and I wanted to try something else. There are very few bisexual characters in YA fiction, and Adaptation gave me an opportunity to write one. There are other queer characters in the book too: a gay boy and a lesbian. I mean, it's set in San Francisco, which we all know is the Gay Mecca! I think these might be my queerest books yet.
See, now you really, really want to read it. Well, you’re in luck. You can pick it up today on book store shelves everywhere. Also on the series of tubes. And one lucky winner will win a signed copy. So if you want to enter please put your name and email in the comments below. I’ll announce the winner next Tuesday on Twitter. Happy reading.
p.s. Yes, international friends, you are welcome to enter, too! In fact let me know where you're from in comments. I always think that is neat to know.
EDIT: Contest is now closed, thanks for entering.