Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A Cornucopia of Dystopia: Interview with Katie Kacvinksy, author of Awaken

Katie Kacvinsky worked in the entertainment industry and as a high school English teacher before deciding to write full time. She currently lives in Corvallis, Oregon.

Today I am very pleased to welcome Katie Kacvinsky, the author of the new dystopian book Awaken, onto the blog to answer some of my questions as part of A Cornucopia of Dystopia. A Cornucopia of Dystopia is an exciting blogging event featuring new dystopian fiction releases held by the lovely Casey at The Bookish Type and Danya at A Tapestry Of Words.

So without further ado, here's the interview! :

Where did you get the inspiration for Awken and its dystopian world?

Not to be a huge pessimist, but I think we’re on the cusp of living in a dystopian society. I’ve read articles about people trying to go a week without Facebook or a week without texting and they physically can’t. It’s this obsession with our current digital lifestyle that inspired so many ideas in Awaken.

Technology is constantly progressing and changing in today's world- how is Maddie's world relevant to teenager's today?

Yes, technology is progressing every day. But here’s the thing; technology is supposed to make our lives better. I think we’ve hit a dangerous line where it’s starting to deplete our lifestyles. It’s messing with our attentions spans, our relationships, our culture. My younger cousin told me since Facebook and texting have become the most common forms of communication, that guys don’t ask her out anymore. They consider a date to be texting now. You can read someone’s Facebook profile to get to know them instead of asking them in person. There’s something so phony about all that. Let’s work a little harder to know one another. Let’s not dish our lives out on a screen. Make people work a little harder to get to know you. That’s how you value things—when you have to work for them. Aren’t people worth that?

What research did you have to do for Awaken?

The freedom of writing fiction is I can invent anything I want, so I let my imagination do most of the work. I looked at current trends and technologies and extrapolated them. I also love reading science journals, like Scientific American, Wired and non fictions books; Hot, Flat and Crowded is one of my favorites. These resources helped inspire my digital creations and futuristic setting.
What appealed to you about writing a dystopian novel?

I think a good story should entertain, but I also think a story should make you think about your own values and relationships. I love the idea of making something fictional, but real enough that it could happen. My favorite stories are books like Fahrenheit 451 and Slaughterhouse Five, and movies like The Terminator and The Matrix. They make you evaluate your own morals and values—that’s the only time you question anything.

How would you describe Awaken in a sentence?

Oh, I’m so bad at this! One sentence…Awaken is a dystopian romance about a girl living almost completely in a digital society until someone helps her unplug and learn what it means to be human.

What would you like readers to take away with them after reading Awaken?

I know that my readers will have mixed feelings about my messages. More than anything, I hope reading it will encourage dialogue. I hope it makes my readers think about their own habits and that it encourages conversation about where our technology-driven culture is going—the benefits, but also the consequences of our digital age.

What was your reaction when you saw the final cover design?

Initially I was really surprised; the cover design they showed me was nothing like the one we discussed, which was going to show a girl and boy on the cover. But I absolutely love this cover. It represents my themes, my character, my story. It’s aesthetically gorgeous. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has a great design team.

How are you feeling about the release of your first YA novel?

Publishing a novel is a privilege and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’m trying not to have any expectations. I just want to enjoy the journey.

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions Katie and for the interesting and in depth behind the scenes look into Awaken. What really intrigues me and  makes me want to read it is the fact that technology is progressing so fast now and a dystopian world like Awaken's seems scarily plausible. Now, a brand new phone could be considered out of date within a years time and people can become so addicted to digital devices. Not that they aren't hugely beneficial too...

This is my last post in the Cornucopia of Dystopia event and I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to Danya and Casey for inviting me to be part of it and for all their hard work to make it a success. So, don't forget to check out the rest of the line up and enter some of the fabulous giveaways planned here!


  1. Thanks for this!
    Pop past the blog to say hi!

  2. ^.^ Thanks for posting this!

  3. Aw, I'm so glad you've been enjoying it! Thanks so much for participating, Stephanie :)


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