Broken Melody follows Sunshine as she struggles with addiction while avoiding a dealer she owes a lot of money to. This is a change from your normal SciFi books, what inspired the change in genre?
I actually wrote this book originally when I was struggling with addiction myself. It was the first full-length novel I really took seriously, but I just didn’t publish it. I wasn’t ready yet. It was one of the few stories that my best friend Casey was actually intrigued by. The smiley face you see in the dedication page was one that she drew on the original many years ago after she ‘stole’ it from me. I re-wrote it when I got sober as a sort of therapy and after some heart wrenching events, to honor her. I only wish that I would’ve done it sooner.
I might revisit topics like this, but in different ways. The rawness of this took a lot out of me.
How much of this book was informed by real life and how much was fiction?
There’s a bit that’s embellished, but a lot of it is real. I pulled a lot, if not all, of Alana’s cocaine addiction and undiagnosed mental illness struggles from my own, first-hand experiences. However, a lot of the more ‘hardcore’ stuff, like owing the biggest drug dealer in town a bunch of money, is fiction.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about addiction?
That only ‘bad’ people can become addicted to drugs. That it’s only a certain group of people that can fall victim to it. It can be anyone. It can be you. You probably love someone who is suffering from addiction and don’t even know it. So, reach out to your friends, let them know you’ll support them, and tell them you love them.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m actually going back to my roots. 🙂 I’m working on the Experiment X Prequel, which is told from Jack’s POV. I don’t have a date yet though…sorry.
Broken Melody was a way to heal old wounds and hopefully help people understand addiction and mental illness without any fluff.
Broken Melody is a contemporary fiction novel that follows the life of Alana, alias Sunshine, and her assorted friends. Nikki Haase drew motivation for writing this book from Casey Clayton, her friend’s journey of addiction, recovery and death. The book is a voice for those struggling with drug addiction, depression and other mental illnesses. Alana was the perfect daughter and student, acing her grades and making her parents proud. But deep down she was fighting monsters that only she knew of.
Nikki Haase has an enthralling way of introducing fascinating characters to readers. This book is an invitation into the mind and life of a young person struggling with addiction. It is heart-wrenching to see the potential in a person slowly chipped away at.
The main theme of the book is drug addiction. Nikki Haase has captured the struggles and raw emotions that most addicts grapple with, and I appreciated the unfiltered view we’re given. Alana’s journey is a sad one, although not a completely lonely one as she has her friends like Skylar and Xavier and her girlfriend Casey. The prose captures the voice of new adult angst and gives the characters an authenticity that makes them endearing and their stories all the more tragic. I think that by the second or third chapter I was interested in Alana’s character, by the mid point I wanted to know more, and by the end I was desperate to know more. Will she survive her addiction? Will her friends stick with her throughout the process? Will Casey love her beside all her inner demons?
The author shows the importance of friendships and speaking out when going through hard times in life. The story seemed too real to be cliché and the author has done a good job of incorporating supporting themes like mental illness, love and friendship. Nikki Haase has a unique way of bringing out serious issues through humor. The other unique thing about Broken Melody is that the author shows the other side of addiction, one that most people do not know about. For instance at the end of the book, readers are introduced to the other side of Rabbit. Throughout the book, Rabbit is known to be a hardcore drug dealer but he does something at the end that surprised me. I would recommend the book to fiction lovers, people struggling with substance abuse and those living with addicts.
Pages: 302 | ASIN: B08B2Q5YDP
Tags: addiction, author, book, book review, bookblogger, Broken Melody, contemporary, ebook, fantasy, fiction, friendship, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mental illness, new adult, Nikki Haase, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, story, writer, writing, young adult
Experiment X: Revolt finds Dr. Thaddeus bombing landmarks and vilifying Karen and her friends. What were some ideas you wanted to explore in this book that were different from the first two books?
I simply wanted the battle to move outside of the Lab and to show how easily war can appear in someone’s backyard. You never think it’s going to happen to you, but it could.
Karen’s narration was exceptional in exploring the anxieties and discomfort she felt. What were some challenges you set for yourself as a writer in this book?
First off, thank you. So, you know when Tony Stark has a panic attack and he has to deal with anxiety? Well, for some reason, seeing a super hero go through this helped me a lot with my own struggles. I wanted to give my readers the same thing. Knowing that having anxieties, fears, discomforts, etc. doesn’t make you weak can be a powerful thing. If these super soldiers can feel this, then why can’t you or I, right?
The science inserted in the fiction, I felt, was well balanced. How did you manage to keep it grounded while still providing the fantastic edge science fiction stories usually provide?
I wanted to keep it as realistic as I could. This isn’t a story that’s meant to be set in the future, but the present. It’s merely the beginning of a potential dystopia, a sci-fi world placed directly into our own.
What plans do you have for the series in book four of your Experiment X series?
There is no book four as of yet. However! There will be a prequel trilogy to the series told from Jack’s point of view. This trilogy starts when Jack is about eighteen, and it dives deeper into the horrors of the Lab. You’ll also learn things about the Subjects that they don’t talk about in the original trilogy. Plus, you’ll get to meet more Subjects from Experiment A.
Nothing will stop Karen Turner this time. Doctor James Thaddeus is attacking her once peaceful hometown; he’s bombing beloved landmarks, killing hundreds of innocent people, and smearing the names of Karen and her friends. Karen now has complete control over her Fire Element powers, and she is more determined than ever to burn the infamous Lab to the ground once and for all!
Jack Cortex, her best friend and mentor, once again steps up to the plate, splitting a large group of the super-powered Subjects into teams with a plan to finally gain their freedom—and keep it. Karen knows that if the Lab—and Thaddeus—aren’t destroyed for good this time, the other Subjects of the Experiments will continue to be abused and tortured until they take their last breaths. Doctor Thaddeus thinks he’s safe, but she’s coming for him.
Not everyone will make it out alive.
The hunter will become the prey.
Experiment X: Revolt by Nikki Haase is a dystopian science fiction novel about the lives of the Subjects, creatures with special powers that were created in the Lab. These Subjects realized they were being manipulated by the malicious and charming Doctor James Thaddeus who has the ulterior motive of creating his own army and ruling the world. Once these Subjects have escaped and are out in the real world, they soon realize it is no longer a battle of Subjects vs Thaddeus. Rather, due to Thaddeus’ connivance, the whole world views them with suspicion and judgement. After a botched mission, the media furthers the fear mongering surrounding this group. However, if they wish to save the ones they love, they must find a way to take down this despot.
At the center of all this is the narrator Karen. She offers a wonderful window into the lives of the Subjects: their anxieties and discomfort in this world that they are unaccustomed to. The plot, which follows the superheroes as they are framed for wrongdoing by a charming sociopath, is well-executed and moves at the perfect pace. It’s not a series of jam-packed action scenes. Rather it takes the time to develop characters and their complex dynamics. However, the narrative was not at all difficult to latch on to.
If you missed any of the previous books in this series, starting here would be like starting any of the Marvel movies midway: even if it’s a lot of names and superpowers to remember, you can pretty much immediately understand what is going on.
The perspectives of different people throughout the story were explored very well. The Subjects were a believable bunch in a realistic situation. Even though it’s a premise that’s worn thin, I was able to empathize with nearly every Subject’s flaws and troubles. Although Thaddeus was a bit two dimensional, the sheer amount of negativity with which he was portrayed made up for any sympathy I may have had left.
Experiment X: Revolt is a quick, fun read for anyone who is into the likes of the Marvel and DC cinematic universe. Even if you’re not, it’s great for a thrilling adventure fantasy.
Pages: 221 | ASIN: B07L7WJ7K5
In Experiment X: Exposed Dr. Thaddeus unveils his plan to create an army of super-humans and the masses rejoice. This seems like an easy reference to many terrible things throughout history. What was your inspiration for this moment?
For this moment, I was inspired by how easily influenced masses of people are, and how quickly they can become terrified of something that probably isn’t true. We are told that we have these enemies when we’re just the least bit scared of something so that we have a finger to point at someone, even if that enemy is false. Too many people believe their ‘leaders’ when they tell them who to blame and that they need protection from something that likely doesn’t even exist.
I find that authors sometimes ask questions and have their characters answer them. What were some questions you asked yourself while creating your characters?
A big one that I had asked myself and my characters is actually addressed in the very beginning of the book, ‘who are you?’. Generally, people ask only about your job and/or school as if that’s all we are. But, it’s not. Shed away the layers that are on the surface of yourself and find out what’s left. What can you survive? Who do you love? Who would you die/kill for?
What can readers expect in book three in the Experiment X series, Experiment X: Revolt?
Readers can definitely expect some more bloodshed, war in both the Lab and on the streets, revenge, friends and allies in unlikely places, redemption, new abilities/powers, and some gruesome satisfaction.
They were dead!
I watched one of them die!
Doctor James Thaddeus just presented them as Captains on live TV. Right after he informed a brainwashed world that he was accepting volunteers to expand his super soldier army.
It’s been nearly a year since I helped release imprisoned Subjects from the Lab and the last thing I want is to see is that horrid ‘Doctor’ create more human weapons to treat like rats.
Shawn and I need answers to what we are if we’re going to attack the facility again and stop Thaddeus.
Although it would be easier if Lab-loyal Subjects didn’t capture us, dragging us back to the Lab like criminals.
We’ll just have to take them down from the inside this time.
We can’t let Thaddeus win.
He’ll kill us.
Posted in Interviews
Tags: action, author, author interview, book, book review, bookblogger, dystopian, ebook, experiment x, Exposed, fantasy, fiction, goodreads, kindle, kobo, literature, mystery, Nikki Haase, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, science fiction, story, suspense, thriller, writer, writing
Experiment X: Exposed is the second installment of the Experiment X Trilogy. Exposed jumps right back into the lives of Karen and her commands a year after their escape from Dr. Thaddeus’s lab. Those freed from the horrors of their capture spend their days slowly recovering and training their elemental powers. It isn’t long until Dr. Thaddeus makes a grand appearance on national television to unveil his new plan to create an army of superhumans; Experiment R. The unsuspecting population rejoice. Soon droves of volunteers sign up to take part with the promises of wealth and prestige. At the same time, Karen receives a coded message from her former captain embarking her on a journey that once again puts Hher physical and mental capabilities to their limits.
For those who enjoyed the first book, I highly recommend the second. If Sacrifice was about Karen discovering her powers, Exposed is about mastering them. Needless to say, Karen is back at it, supercharged, and ready to go.
Despite the obvious difference in power, Karen is a relatable character. Her anger, pride, and raw emotions are illustrated with such care from a first-person perspective. As the main character, Karen is portrayed with enough detail to make her believable and yet still given room to grow. She is a strong girl with a strong personality. Such perfection with one character made the haphazard way that other characters were thrown in seem jarring. Because the story is from a first-person perspective, all other character growth is described through Karen’s thoughts. Some of the major players are well remembered for their importance to Karen. However, many new characters are not given the time to develop a relationship with the main character.
The pacing, I thought, quickly moved from one event to the next with barely any transition; I was left with no concrete timeline. Although the author mentioned tentative time frames, and the ambiguous period of various events was intentional, every section of the story felt similar.
But these are minor glitches in a book that has a lot of potential for the characters and expanding story line. These issues only stand out to me because I was so invested in the character and story. Nikki Haase has command of an entertaining writing style that elevates Experiment X: Exposed above many of the dystopian fiction I’ve read this year.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7
The first thing I noticed when I started reading this book was how calm the narrator’s tone was. It starts by telling how we hear about stories of women who, after a night out, end up in strange surroundings with sour legs and a bad taste in their mouth. I expected the plot to follow this narrative but Nikki Haase had a pleasant surprise for the reader as the story shifted to a more intense plot. The author is great at describing events that I could imagine everything she talked about. The vivid descriptions is one of the things that made this book a fantastic read.
I enjoyed Rebekah’s introduction into the story. Being able to view Rebekah through the eyes of Karen made her a special character to me. Karen hated Rebeka, disliked her fake rosy red-lipped smile and could not stand her light brown eyes. I love when the author does this because it makes me more interested in a particular character. Rebekah was perceived to be one of the unlikeable characters at the start of the book. I kept reading about her, built my own perception of her, and came up with a neutral judgment of her. Despite the narrator making Rebekah appear like an evil character at first, I found her to be extraordinary and fascinating.
Enter Jack and the plot twists in the book. We are first introduced to Jack as he talks with Karen at the party. Jack seemed like a gentleman. I like how he appeared at the opportune moment when Dante had disappointed Karen. The interaction between Dante and Jack was obviously unpleasant as the two tried to flex their muscles on who the better gentleman was. Reading about the conspiracy theory about an experiment conducted by the military and the U.S government was not only thrilling but also frightening.
Who wouldn’t enjoy a story about a government facility that houses super soldiers? The breaking of the theory and the actions that followed were electrifying. The characters in the book were excellently developed. Karen was the main character in the book and also significant in the whole experiment. It was interesting how Karen was oblivious of her role until Jack showed up.
I liked how Jack enters the story as an antagonist but ends up… ah, I won’t spoil it. I enjoyed this fantastic, action packed, story immensely and I highly recommend it.
Pages: 262 | ASIN: B06W9NC7B7
Experiment X: Sacrifice is a genre-crossing novel with elements of a science fiction, fantasy, and action as well. Did you start writing with this in mind, or did this happen organically as you were writing?
The story itself happened organically, but the genre-crossing was planned. I started writing it after reading the Hunger Games and binge-watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, and I had been toying with the idea about a story of super soldiers created in a lab, it just fell into place. I just thought placing people in the ‘real world’ with these elemental powers would be pretty neat.
Karen is an intriguing character that I enjoyed following. What were some driving ideals behind her character development?
I’m glad you liked her character! She was fun to write. I wanted to show people that they can escape abusive situations. I wanted to show people that you can find family in more than just blood. Despite tragedy you can come out on top and that you’re so much stronger than you think.
The powers displayed in the book were fascinating and used in interesting ways. What were some sources of inspiration for the different experiments?
A lot of it came from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Certain elements of them just came from my boyfriend, Mike, and I sitting down and mulling over what they could do. He’s the one that came up with the Air Elements being able to control/conjure lightning!
This is book one in the Experiment X series. What can readers expect in book two of the series?
They expect more of the inner workings of the Lab, new Experiments/new Subjects. Someone who was dead is alive. Shawn discovers a new power. Not everyone is who they seem and the characters must do whatever it takes to survive.
I lived a normal life until Jack showed up.
He tells me that there’s a government facility that houses an army of super soldiers known as Experiments.
He tells me I’m a key part of it and that they’re after us.
I know he’s dangerous and I know he’s capable of murder, but he’s the only person who can help unlock what’s been hidden inside of me.
Now the only thing that will keep my loved ones safe is to help destroy the very thing that created me.
And even that might not be enough.
A vengeful fire burns deep within in and I must take down the Lab if I want to keep the last remaining strands of my sanity.
I only need to make it out alive.