Author Chat with Kelsey Josund (Platformed), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Kelsey Josund author of
Read on for more about Kelsey, her book, plus an giveaway!
Meet Kelsey Josund!
Kelsey Josund is a software engineer and author of sci-fi, cli-fi, fantasy, and new and young adult fiction, including a series of forthcoming feminist retellings of classic fairy tales.
Originally from Seattle, Kelsey loves getting outdoors and living in places that allow her to escape to the mountains on the weekends. She cares deeply about the ecosystems that humans impact and that impact them in return. Her writing explores these themes through the prism of the traditional coming-of-age arcs of science fiction and fantasy. Kelsey is particularly interested in stories and characters that complicate the traditional and familiar, leading her to rediscover old tales from new and unexpected angles.
With a passion for storytelling in all its forms, Kelsey approaches writing fiction the same way she approaches writing code: she likes to know where it’s going, but wants to figure out the details as she goes. She believes good software is a lot like a good story—full of neat and clever solutions to tricky problems, beautiful at a granular level but also from a distance.
Kelsey lives and works in Silicon Valley, California with her partner and their cat. She holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University, and is currently plotting her return to the Pacific Northwest and working on her next novel.
For more information, visit www.KelseyJosund.com [kelseyjosund.com].
Silicon Valley in the 2030s is not so different from today, filled with vaguely sexist CEOs, contested inequality politics, and startups that are almost a joke.
After she loses her job when her startup folds and loses her home to California's annual wildfires, Sara joins the latest thing: an unnamed tech giant's quasi-utopian community, floating above the drowned land that was once Monterey.
Alone on the inside with a thousand mysteriously chosen strangers, Sara is insulated by an all-powerful corporation from the turmoil of crumbling governments and a changing climate. Everyone around her seems incredibly thankful, rescued from gig work and student loans and bad news, but she can't find her own gratitude.
As she learns more about her new home, she begins to see the cracks in its perfect facade. She must choose between surveillance and lies from the anonymous algorithms that protect her or face a vulnerable life outside the system to which she has signed away her next five years. Leaving, she learns, may not even be an option.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
The proximate inspiration was a dream—I had a glimpse of a young woman in an unsettling but beautiful hyper-modern place immersed in ocean-front nature, and I knew I had to explore that further. The rest of the story and its themes came to me pretty naturally from there. I work in Silicon Valley and don't often see tech workers portrayed as I know them—as complex people who don't fully buy into all the mythologizing of this place. My own college experiences are very closely reflected in the flashback scenes. Climate change is an existential threat to our society, and so when I decided that this story would be dystopian, that was an obvious place to start in crafting the world.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I've learned hundreds of little things through my many years writing, but the main thing that I have learned is not to take my own writing too seriously. Some scenes that were a joy to write don't actually work in the final story. Sometimes readers will vastly misunderstand a message I'm trying to send, necessitating a revision. I have to be willing to change what I have written in order to tell the story I really want to tell, and if I become too attached to any sentence or character arc or plotline I am only hindering myself.
YABC: What’s on your TBR pile?
My to-be-read list only ever grows—I read very quickly, but I find new books to read even more quickly. Right now, though, I'm most excited about the books that are up next on the lists of my bookclubs: Finding the Mother Tree by Suzanne Simard, which I'll be reading as part of a tree-focused bookclub with coworkers, and Lovecraft Country by Matt Ruff, which is next up in a race- and culture-themed group with some friends.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
The most recent book that I loved is Lab Girl by Hope Jahren. I put it off for years because I don't normally enjoy memoirs, but it was glorious. Her voice is so strong and her career so interesting that I will definitely read anything else she writes. It's so inspiring to read about someone who is successful as both a scientist and a writer, since that's what I hope to do with my own career.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have several manuscripts in progress that I hope to publish soon! Most likely, the next project I'll bring out into the world is a dark retelling of Cinderella, in which I overcome the central problem of her lack of agency by making her a brutal killer set on winning the throne by any means necessary. I'm also hard at work on an epic fantasy series that uses a collapsing magic system as an allegory for climate change, but that one will take more time.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Figuring out the ending for Platformed was very difficult for me. Without giving anything away, I'll just say that I did not want to resolve things fully because Sara's life is meant to go on from whatever ending I chose, but I also needed to offer readers some catharsis. Throughout the book, I push Sara pretty far into desperation, and I don't fully let her climb out. But I don't want her to be too depressed, and making sure the ending presents her as still hopeful was tricky.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Whichever I'm currently doing! I love a first draft, when I'm exploring the world and the people I have created, but I also love watching my story improve through drafts. What I don't like is the very last round of revisions, when I'm hunting out the last few typos--reading my own work when I know I can't change anything anymore is frustrating.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Climate change is the most pressing issue of our time, undergirding just about every crisis out there. If you care about democratic stability or public health or women's rights or indigenous land use or worker power or community resilience or institutional racism, you should care about climate change -- it's only going to make every other issue harder to address. I believe in thinking on both global and local scales, and to that end I encourage people to support their local forests (for me that means groups like Save the Redwoods League) and our bellwether global ecosystems (through organizations like IPAM Amazonia), plus of course supporting candidates who will take political action to rein in fossil fuel use.
By: Kelsey Josund
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Publisher: All She Wrote Productions
One winner will receive a signed first edition copy of Platformed (Kelsey Josund) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*