A Sci-Fi Story With a Human Core

Bob      MillerThe Smart Kid is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a political thriller, science fiction, and a mystery as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?

The only concept I had in mind, when I started the novel, was “a sci-fi story with a human core.” It turned out to be less sci-fi and more human. I have the first drafts done for the remaining four books in the series, and they are all that way. Each novel focuses on a real person who gets caught up in the plot by Chrysalis Chronology. But more sci-fi is added in each novel. Although The Smart Kid might not be considered sci-fi by some, the entire series definitely is.

Matt is a smart kid and he uses his intelligence to help the other kids in his school. Do you think that his intelligence can be interpreted as a super power?

Matt’s intelligence could seem like a super power to his peers at school. But remember that Clark Kent had super powers because he lived out of his element on earth. On his home planet he wasn’t any more super than anyone else. It’s the same with Matthew Janson. That’s why the name of the novel is ironic. Matthew only seems smart until you know his secret.

One of the things I enjoyed most about The Smart Kid was your ability to constantly keep the tension high. How did you balance the action scenes with the story elements and still keep a fast pace in the story?

I wanted to have lots of action in the novel, but I also realized that action without meaning is boring. I’ve seen plenty of movies that are stuffed with action that left me asking, “So what?” So the slower parts of the novel, the parts that deal with relationships, trust, love, and loss, add the meaning. Understanding the character makes the reader care when he’s running for his life. But it was a purposeful decision to have plenty of scenes where Matthew is barely escaping. I think that I had a number in mind like “I want to have 5 action scenes in this part of the novel.” Then the in-between scenes are designed to build up to those high points.

I enjoyed that this was a mystery driven action story. What was the hardest part about writing a mystery story; where you constantly have to give just enough to keep the mystery alive until the big reveal?

Parsing out information is certainly one of the main challenges. In the novel, one of the main characters refers to her search for information as finding puzzle pieces. I wanted the reader to put the puzzle together on their own without me building it for them. As I’m writing, I had to continually ask myself, “What does the reader already know at this point in the story?” Then I had to drop the next clue somewhere to keep it interesting.

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Michael Shale looks like a sixth grader. On the outside. Inside, he holds a biological secret, that could change the world. Senator John Perkins, the head of a committee on military development, covets the genetic secret that Michael hides and will not stop pursuing until he’s captured— again. Charleen Therry, the school counselor, befriends the mysterious sixth-grader and uncovers a history of lies, false identities, and a relentless pursuit by a shadowy government organization that covers a thousand miles and the colorful decades of the sixties and seventies. If the Senator captures Michael again, a god-like power may be granted to greedy men who would only abuse it. And Michael would rather die than let that happen. When he’s discovered, Charleen and a special person from his past convince Michael to stop running and to start fighting. If they fail, Michael just may get his death wish. The Smart Kid is a mystery/thriller with the heart of a son who just wants to find his way back home. Buy Now From Amazon.com

About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is a book review website which consists of mostly fiction books, but we do enjoy non fiction works that we're excited about. All reviews are the reviewer’s honest opinion. We love books and read constantly (seriously, it’s an addiction). We're always open to book review requests and have aspirations of one day being sucked into the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where all he wants to do is read, but can’t until the world ends; you know what I mean?

Posted on March 28, 2016, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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