Her new adult science fiction novel HEARTSICK comes out on February 16, 2015!
Here's what HEARTSICK is about:
Quinn is looking forward to her senior year. She has big plans to hang out with her best friend Mandy, flirt with cute boy-genius Rashid, party at her favorite dive bar, and figure out what she’s going to do after graduation with her not-so-useful art major degree. But that's before she meets Luke, a hot townie who moves back home to help take care of his dying sister. And it's before the weird epidemic that starts sweeping campus in which people’s eyes mysteriously turn purple.
Is it an odd side effect from a new party drug? Is it a rogue bacteria that was developed in a campus lab? Whatever it is, tensions are heating up as the town starts blaming the university, and the student religious group is convinced that it’s the mark of the devil. Quinn and Luke are caught in the middle, especially when Quinn learns that Luke isn’t just a happy-go-lucky, redneck boy-next-door—he's a detective—a fact that triggers Quinn’s phobia of guns and memories of her deceased uncle.
In spite of herself and her desire to remain unattached and independent, Quinn finds herself falling for him. But when town and gown relations heat up even further, and Quinn’s friend Danny mysteriously falls to his death, Quinn vows to discover the truth behind the epidemic. As she searches for the people responsible, she realizes that sometimes to gain your independence, you have to be willing to give a little bit of it up.
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Caitlin has agreed to answer some questions, so without further ado...
Tell us a little bit about you and your book. Where did you get the idea for Heartsick?
I have a morbid fascination with contagions and quarantines. After watching Contagion I got to thinking about how the fear and panic was almost as horrible as the disease. I wondered if there was a way to dig into that issue further with fiction and perhaps even take out the “disease” part of the equation by making the condition something positive. Would fear and panic still ensure? Originally, I planned to do a global take on it, but ultimately decided that using a college town as a microcosm would actually be a better way to really zero in on the dynamics in play.
What was the biggest challenge when writing it?
I think the biggest challenge with writing anything, for me, is not being afraid of “wasting time.” It’s so hard to find time to write, and writing a book takes so long, that any scene that’s crappy, any plot line that isn’t working, any character that ultimately isn’t needed, just seems so inefficient. But, creatively, I can’t work like that. I’m trying to remember that “wasting time” is part of the process.
The sense of place is very strong in HEARTSICK. Have you been to all the locations in your book and what made you choose them?
Only in my mind. The story is set in a fake Virginia town, Allan. But I based that fake town on several real towns in Virginia, including Lexington, Charlottesville, and Williamsburg. I have been to all of those towns a few times and lived in Williamsburg while I was in college, so it was fun to recreate some of the aspects I love about them in a fictional setting.
Who is your favorite character in HEARTSICK and why?
Well, it’s got to be Luke. He’s probably my favorite love interest that I’ve created so far (don’t tell the others!). He’s rough and tumbly and cuddly, which juxtaposes with his position as a detective, where he often needs to be stiff and serious.
New Adult is still a relatively new age category -- why did you decide to write NA?
I enjoyed reading NA novels and I like that period of life. There’s so much growth and learning and, therefore, it’s fertile ground for some interesting stories.
HEARTSICK is NA Science Fiction. Are you a science person, or did you have help in keeping the science accurate?
I’m not a scientist, but I’d say I’m a science enthusiast. I did have my sister, who has a biology degree, read it with special attention to the science facts, but, honestly, I really played with and twisted around what’s actually possible, so I wouldn’t say the science is “accurate.” That’s the fun of science fiction! But hopefully I provide an interesting take on some “real world” science.
Can you tell us about your road to publication? Have you written other full length manuscripts?
Yes, I’ve written three books and am working on my fourth. HEARTSICK was my second manuscript. My first MS, DENALI IN HIDING, sadly didn’t get me an agent. However, I’m self-publishing it on Wattpad right now and am loving all the reader feedback and interaction. I think it’s the right place for that story, and it’s made me realize that each of my books will likely have different publication paths. And that’s okay! :-)
What are you working on now?
I’m working on another speculative NA, though, honestly, it’s been hard to focus on it between my contractually obligated projects. But I’m hoping the dust will settle soon and I’ll be able to really dive in. I also have a couple of ideas for YA novels that I’m looking forward to fleshing out.
Caitlin Sinead is represented by Andrea Somberg at Harvey Klinger, Inc. and her debut novel, HEARTSICK, will be published by Carina Press in 2015. Her writing has earned accolades from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Glimmer Train, and Writers & Artists, and her stories have appeared in multiple publications, including The Alarmist, The Binnacle, Crunchable, Jersey Devil Press, and Northern Virginia Magazine. She earned a master's degree in writing from Johns Hopkins University.
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