Today I have the pleasure of welcoming Kellyn Thompson to Chat About Books 🙂
For those who don’t know already, could you tell us about yourself and your book(s) please?
My interests include genetics, psychology, sociology, bioethics, and how technology influences society. I put elements of each of those topics in The Unexpected Inlander. I also like thinking of things from different perspectives and trying out ideas from different angles. In that sense, you can also expect the book and the characters to challenge your perspective.
I’ve loved writing for as long as I can remember, but I’ve always written for myself. So, writing for others is something I’m still learning how to do, but I am loving the process. To practice, I’ve been writing a lot of deleted scenes for The Unexpected Inlander and publishing them on Wattpad. I have learned so much over the last year, and I am excited to continue learning because I know I’ve just barely scratched the surface of what I need to know.
Where did/do you get your ideas from?
The idea for the plot and characters of The Unexpected Inlander emerged when I was thinking about what kind of movie I wanted to see. I rarely see movies in the theatre, but for some reason one day I really wanted to. I was sitting at home and just had the urge to sit in a massive room in front of a massive screen in the dark with a tub of popcorn and zone out for a couple of hours. When I looked up what was playing, however, nothing appealed to me. So I asked myself, “What am I in the mood for?” And from that answer, an assassin whose life is turned upside down when he is distracted during a mission by a woman who rocks his world was born.
As for the world of The Unexpected Inander, the geographical segregation of class (Coastals vs. Inlanders) and the rift between arbitrary unchosen identities (Modifieds vs. Purebreds) parallels that of today’s world, where socioeconomic class is often clustered and confused as being synonymous with race, causing individuals to struggle with their own personal identities, especially as societies around the world become more interconnected and globalized through travel, economic trade, and social media.
Are any of your characters based (however loosely) on anyone you know?
Not really. The personalities of the characters were formed as a result of their circumstances. I thought about their histories and what they had each experienced in their lives up to the point of where the story begins and what it would have been like for them to grow up in the society of The Sectors.
How do you pick your characters’ names?
That is an excellent question because I am still trying to figure that out myself! For the most part, I try to do names that “fit” without being cliche or cheesy.
Can you share your writing process with us, in a nutshell?
I have heard debates about which is better: free writing or outlining. I guess my method is kind of a hybrid, and it works for me. I usually have a few scenes in mind. From them I make an outline that creates a plot to connect those scenes. Then I free write the parts of the outline that are not already written. This usually leads to rewriting the outline. And the “process” goes from there–process in quotations because that word sounds way too organized and purposeful for what actually happens.
Who are your top 5 favourite authors?
In no particular order: Edith Wharton, Madeline Miller, Donna Tartt, Rainbow Rowell, and Jane Austen
If you could meet any author, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would ask Rainbow Rowell if she ever had a different ending in mind for Eleanor & Park, and if so, what was it.
Were you a big reader as a child?
I tried to be, but I was a very slow reader, so it was very frustrating. I did not really get into reading a lot until after I graduated high school, when I had more time to read without the pressure of an exam or report due on the book.
When did you start to write?
I wrote stories and poetry as a teen, but it was not until my mid-twenties that I got serious about it.
If you could re-write the ending to any book what would it be and what would you change?
This is a tough question! I’m honestly not sure I would want to change the ending to any book that I’ve read. Even if I did not like the way a story ended, I feel like it was written that way for a purpose.
Is there a book you wish you had written?
All the unwritten books in my head. It would be *AWESOME* if they were already done.
If you wrote an autobiography, what would your title be?
Life in Revision
If you could invite any fictional character for coffee who would it be and where would you take them?
I would take Edward Cullen to Zoka so I could hear Midnight Sun straight from the horse’s mouth while enjoying my favorite beverage (a Zoka mocha shake).
Tell us a random fact about yourself
I was once on a mission to write a travel book/blog about the best places to sleep in every airport, but I gave it up after a horrid night at Heathrow (that was my third airport to spend the night in at the time).
What are you working on right now?
I am currently working on the sequel to The Unexpected Inlander, which I hope to release later this year.
Tell us about your last release?
I think the number one thing you can expect when you pick up The Unexpected Inlander is to be immersed in a future that will challenge the way you see our present world and make you think about where we are headed as a global society.
One of the main themes of The Unexpected Inlander is the main character’s discovery of his own personal unconscious bias, even though he views himself as being more open-minded and accepting than the rest of his generation (and he is). As such, the story is designed to highlight how the essence of ignorance is not knowing that you don’t know something–and that’s okay. In fact, it’s important and necessary because it’s the only way you can grow and learn and get to know people. You have to admit that you don’t know something for your mind to open up and be receptive. Only then can you truly get to know someone and get to know what it’s like to be that person. That is what happens to Chris: as he gets to know Jenna, he gets to know what it is like to live in their world from her point of view, and in getting to know her and her perspective, he learns about himself.
Do you have a new release due?
I do! The revised edition of The Unexpected Inlander was just released on May 10, 2020.
What do you generally do to celebrate on publication day?
Pop a bottle and get back to work!
How can readers keep in touch with you?
Is there anything else you would like us to know?
I would like to say a quick note of thanks. To Kerry, thank you for this opportunity to discuss my work and for providing a space to spread the word about The Unexpected Inlander. (You are most welcome, Kellyn.)
I would also like to thank those who are reading this. By supporting blogs like this one, you help to push the envelope of publishing by increasing the demand for more platforms that provide access to books that may otherwise be disregarded because they are not as profitable as the current season’s bestsellers. It is because of you that independently published and self-published authors such as myself can share our stories. So, on behalf of the indie community, please allow me to say: THANK YOU!!!
For updates, blog posts, and deleted scenes, visit kellynthompson.com
To see inspiration for The Unexpected Inlander, as well as alternative covers, links to book blog reviews, and other fun stuff, visit my Unexpected Inlander board on Pinterest.
Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Kellyn 🙂
Thank you for asking them!
They were never supposed to happen to each other.
A love such as theirs was never supposed to endure, not in the highly controlled society of The Sectors.
Yet, a chance encounter at dinner led to breakfast at a diner down the road. They each thought they had found their perfect soulmate, but neither could have imagined the awful truth they would face.
Detailed Book Description:
Agent Christopher Rockford has been the best assassin in the agency for eight years, and he loves his job.
He loves his solitary lifestyle.
He loves keeping the world safe by getting rid of anarchists who threaten their orderly society.
He loves his comfortable life as a member of the wealthy Coastal upper class.
But in pursuit of a target, he meets Jenna, a mysterious civilian who belongs to society’s lowest and most shunned group. Meeting her is a life-changing experience. She makes him feel for the first time, and he is instantly captivated.
She boldly stands in the face of everything he has ever known and was taught to believe. He begins to see the world through her eyes, causing him to question his job, his lifestyle, and The Order he so obediently serves. It’s not long before he can’t imagine his life without her.
There’s just one problem: He knows she would leave him if she ever found out about his job. He knows this because he asked her how she felt about assassins in their government, and she was utterly disgusted with the idea, even though she believes their existence is just a myth.
As their relationship grows and intensifies, he knows he cannot keep the truth from her for long.
But Jenna has her own secrets to keep.
Set in an orderly world of near-perfect surveillance, genetically modified humans, and extreme socioeconomic divide, The Unexpected Inlander will take you through Chris’s journey of self-discovery and learning that change begins within.
***This edition includes a preview of the sequel at the end of the book.***
*Author’s unsolicited content warning: The main character is an assassin, so there is some violence in a few scenes.*
What I love about this book: It’s a thriller, even though there’s no twist or surprise ending. It’s still a heart-thumping read, even as you know both sides of the story. The book does not depend on a big surprise because it’s about a relationship and love and how the society that surrounds you can work its way into your subconscious.
What else I love about this book: It is so much more than a love story. It contains clean romance, intrigue, suspense, and world-building with futuristic science fiction elements. Additionally, it touches on discussion topics such as government control of equity, the ethics of genetic editing and surveillance, the importance of perspective-taking, unconscious bias, self-acceptance, and coming to terms with one’s unchosen identities.
It is a story of love, but it is ultimately a story of self-discovery and how meeting just one person can completely change your life.
happy reading 🙂