Today we're excited to chat with Tonya Kuper, author of Enigma. Read on for more about Tonya and her book, plus an excerpt & giveaway!
1.) Who is your favorite character in the book?
My favorite character is Josie. She's nerdy, smart, feminine, and physically strong, but she isn't perfect - she deals with anxiety and self-doubt, and doesn't always do the right thing.
2.) Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came before the title. The general plots of ANOMALY & ENIGMA were formed before I came up with the terms used in the story. Anomaly & Enigma are both quantum physics terms and the duology is based on Schrodinger's theoretical cat experiment, quantum physics.
3.) What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I'm most proud of the secret cave scene. I don' want to give too much away, but this is where we get to see a more vulnerable side to Reid. Josie and Reid grow closer in this scene, it's a pivotal moment in the growth of their relationship.
4.) 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 that though traditional publishing is a business, as an author, I can't forget my why. Why do I write? Why do I care about telling this story? Why do I enjoy connecting to young adults, why am I so passionate about young adult literature? The why is my motivation, my inspiration, my purpose in this industry.
5.) What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like the fact that they used the same model on the cover and she's standing on the cover of ENIGMA, rather than crouching on the cover of ANOMALY. Kind of like, bring it!
6.) What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2017?
This is difficult! There are too many to choose from, but one is The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber. It just released and I can't wait to dive in!!
7.) What’s up next for you?
I'm starting a secret young adult project and I'll continue teaching Writing Young Adult Literature Writer's Workshop at the University of Nebraska at Omaha as an adjunct professor where I use and assign YA novels in the curriculum.
8.) Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
The scene with Josie, her little brother Eli, and her mom (who she has a strained relationship with) toward the end of the book. Again, I don't want to give too much away, but it was an emotional scene for Josie. Since I had to put myself in her shoes as I wrote it that scene, it was emotional for me, too. I had tears in my eyes as I typed.
9.) Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
I enjoy drafting more because I have more freedom to create. When I'm creating a new world and characters, downloading music that embodies the feel of scenes/the book/the character, everything feels magical.
Meet Tonya Kuper!
Worst. Road Trip. Ever.
Escaping with Reid Wentworth should have been fun, but how can I enjoy it when I just (accidentally) killed someone, my mom and brother are in danger, and the Consortium is trying to enslave humanity? (Yeah, they aren't fooling around.) So feeling something for Reid Wentworth was not part of the plan. Trying to help unite the Resistance against the Consortium means I can’t be distracted by hot boys.
The Resistance secret hideout isn’t exactly Hoth's Echo Base. A traitor there wants me dead, but we have no idea who it is. And with both the Resistance and the Consortium trying to control me, the only one I can trust is Reid. If we’re going to have any chance of protecting my family, controlling my unstable powers, and surviving the clash between the Oculi factions, I’m going to have to catch this traitor. By using myself as bait.
Excerpt from ENIGMA, Entering the Resistance Hub, Reid’s point of view:
And now I was basically taking a girl home to meet the fam. Not that I’d ever done that before. I’d only had a few brief relationships on the road since I’d left the Hub to train around the country. If I could even call those relationships. I mean, they were Planck girls; I had to lie about everything. But taking Josie home, someone special, where someone might try to kill her or her family? Yeah, that was a whole other level of anxiety. I probably didn’t have the typical worries about taking a girl home.
The last steep ridge came into view. Accelerating against the grade, the motor revved under us.
I slowed the Jeep once we reached the Dead End sign. From this point on we’d be continually watched. From an aerial view, the vegetation completely camouflaged the entrance in the mountainside. The overgrown trail and rusted mining equipment weren’t visible from the closest road, miles away, either.
Josie’s brows arched as the Jeep crawled toward the mining tunnel. The headlights illuminated multiple signs.
Trespassers will be persecuted. Unsafe mine—Stay Out, Stay Alive. Danger.
Concrete framed the entrance, 1893 stamped at the top. Most of the other original stamped lettering had eroded away. Wide, worn boards covered the opening, in front of a wall of massive boulders.
“Let me guess,” Josie said. “This is more of the illusion to keep Plancks out. But this is where we go in.”
Long ago some smart-ass Oculi named ordinary humans after Max Planck, a famous Nobel Prize–winning theoretical physicist, who came up with Planck’s Constant, which was used in physics equations. By definition, the constant was unchanging; it was boring.
Jumping out of the vehicle, I took two steps to a rusty control panel. With half of the sky now dark, the bugs sang at full volume. I yanked the control box open and touched the top right screw in the back panel. A shiny metallic pad came toward me for a retina scan. I moved my head forward, and the laser passed in front of my eyeball. Two seconds later, the green light flashed. I typed in my passcode, closed the cabinet door, and climbed back into the Jeep.
Now I’d be able to Retract the wall of boulders and boards at the entrance without being escorted off the grounds by a Ranger—Resistance in disguise—who would have been “checking on the site due to recent vandalism.”
I Retracted, blinked, and the entrance was clear. The boulders, the wood, gone. Easing the gas pedal down, I pulled the Jeep into the black of the tunnel.
If a Planck somehow made it into the shaft entrance, this would be as far as they would get. Hub troops would’ve been escorting Plancks away by now.
The front tires hit the rails of the old mining track system. I Pushed boulders back in place, blocking the entrance behind us. The rock wall in front of us slid sideways in one solid mass. “Time to get out.”
I shut off the motor but kept the headlights on. Leaning forward, I saw through the windshield two
red dots near the ceiling. Cameras. Josie inhaled and reached for her door handle. “Hey.”
She twisted toward me, startled and stiff. “We’ll get help finding the mole. We got this.”
She faked a smile and nodded. I hadn’t said it just for her.
We walked to the front of the car. It smelled like an old, dank basement. Dust and mildew. Josie stared at the rusty, cage-like elevator. A hanging light blinked on, and the wall slid closed behind us.
I motioned to Josie to follow me to the elevator. The metal door moaned as I pulled it open. A dim, fluorescent light flickered on and off inside the elevator.
Josie’s head swiveled to me. “Total horror movie vibe. This is the part where I usually yell at the people not to take the elevator.”
“It’s safe. I promise. Security already knows we’re this far because of hidden cameras and alarms.” “Okay. But if I die in this elevator, it’s your fault and
I’m so haunting you.”
I smiled and urged her forward, my hand on her back. It wasn’t an affectionate touch because I knew cameras were already on us, recording our every move.
I dropped my hand before it looked suspect. Josie faced me, hesitancy in her eyes. I lowered my mouth to her ear. “You are smarter and stronger than anyone in here,” I whispered. “You have nothing to fear. I’m always right behind you. You are not alone. Okay?” If we weren’t being watched, I would’ve kissed her. Not that she needed a kiss to reassure her, just because I wanted to. Maybe I needed it.
The elevator bell shrilled. She whirled forward wearing a stoic mask, but intensity burned in her eyes. Steel gears grated and the cable screeched out, echoing wails like someone screaming, warning us. We moved downward. Once we were at about twelve feet under the surface, the iron oxide–stained rock in front of us transitioned to smooth concrete. The elevator stopped when we came to the shiny metal door at the Hub level.
The door slid into the wall and the elevator door groaned open, creating a definite line between the dimly lit elevator and the dark hallway. With every breath of the cool, damp air in the mine shaft, fear stung my lungs—fear for Josie’s life.
Josie took one step out of the elevator, into the darkness, her hands balling and flexing at her sides. Her one step cracked through the fear that had controlled me the last thirty seconds. I would give whatever it took to keep her alive and safe.
By: Tonya Kuper
Release Date: July 3, 2017