Halfkinds Volume 1: Contact – Written by – Andrew Vu
About the Author:
Andrew Vu is a writer currently living in Oakland, CA. He attended UC Berkeley and has been writing since he was a teenager.
His novels are fast paced, character driven stories that are sure to keep you engaged and on the edge of your seat.
About the Book:
In the twenty fourth century, a scientific experiment gave a few species the gift of intelligence, and after much struggle, they’ve carved out a place in society. By the thirtieth century, humans find themselves co-existing, negotiating, and residing on Earth with these animals as equals.
Maya Lawton is a lonely prostitute living in this world. She gives birth to the first halfkinds, creatures who are half animal-kind, and half mankind. Since interspecies breeding is illegal, she is forced into seclusion and raises them alone. Then one day, without warning, she dies, and her death leads to their discovery. Abandoned and lost, this family of halfkinds plan to escape to a terraformed moon. But the law is after them. The order is to kill, sent by the highest authority, the United Species Alliance.
1. What aspired you to become a writer?
I had wrote a few teen angst novels when I was a teenager and had big aspirations to become a young writer. Unfortunately, I got rejected left and right by agents, and I had gotten into college, so that derailed my writing dreams. Once I graduated and started working for ‘the Man,’ I decided to pick off where I left from and started writing again. It was more of a hobby, but once I got into the swing of things, it became a passion and I’ve never looked back.
2. Tell us a bit about yourself
I’m in my late 20’s and am a computer programmer by day, writer by night. I went to Cal (GO BEARS) and I live in Oakland, CA with my girlfriend and my dog. Other than writing and reading, I enjoy beer, sports, video games, movies, basically any kind of media. On the web, I like to cruise around UPROXX (With Leather, Filmdrunk, etc) and was a former sports blogger. My blog even got featured once in a while on Deadspin when Will Leitch was running it, but that was a long time ago.
3. What are your favorite books and why?
Growing up, I loved SE Hinton’s The Outsiders. Also, with my teen angst background, I was a big Catcher in the Rye fan. I also love Koushun Takami’s Battle Royale, and I’d say it heavily influenced Volume 1 of the Halfkinds series in terms of its detail to violence.
Currently, I enjoy George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I’m also a huge comic book fan and enjoy graphic novels. A few of my favorites are Watchmen, Batman – Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth, The X-Men’s Days Future Past Saga and House of M, World War Hulk, and Old Man Logan just to name a few. I’m more of a Marvel guy, but I have nothing against DC.
4. Besides writing, what else do you like to do?
As mentioned above, I love playing video games. I believe that it’s an underrated medium for story telling. These days, plots go beyond trying to save the princess, they’re quite complex. Take the Bioshock series, which melds gameplay with the works of Ayn Rand. There are also RPG’s that blend science fiction and fantasy. Story is an integral part to the game playing experience.
5. Do you base any of your characters on people that you know?
I try not to. I wouldn’t want my friends or family to get the wrong idea if they read one of my novels and found out that the character based on them ends up dying a horrible death. It’d be an awkward conversation topic come Thanksgiving.
6. How do you name your characters or places in your book?
Sometimes I try to think of names that fit with the character’s personality. Other times, I end up naming characters after people I know, but its just the name. The characters are usually nothing like the people whose name they are based on. I also throw in easter eggs in my book, and will often have a lot of pop culture references for character names or names of streets or cities. I feel that finding those easter eggs is like a game of Where’s Waldo, and a careful reader could probably find them.
7. Is there anything you like to do while you write (eg listen to music, have tea?)
I occasionally listen to music when I write, especially when I’m writing scenes with high drama. I like to pretend the music I’m listening to would be the score if the scene were being played out on film. It certainly helps me get the mood right. Thus, the stuff I usually listen to are non instrumental tracks.
8. What is your latest book?
I just finished the second book of my Halfkind series. The series is about a distant future on Earth where a subset of species have gained human level intelligence. In this world, interaction with these animals is part of everyday life. Human societies do business with dog societies, wolf societies do business with elephant ones, and so on. And not everyone gets along. It seems far-fetched, but I put a realistic spin on this world.
Then, a family of the first half-man, half-animal creatures are born. They are called halfkinds, and in the eyes of society, they are monsters. A team of government agents are sent to kill this family. The first book focuses on the cat and mouse like chase between the family members and agents. The second book focuses on the survivors of the first book and dives deeper on who created them and why they were created. I plan to write six books in the series, and already have the overall arc planned out.
What makes the series unique is that each chapter is told from the point of view of different characters, similar to George RR Martin’s work. However, it’s told in first person POV, not third, so you get a true insight into the character’s thoughts and motivations as you read. It’s quite common for some of the same events to be told from different characters, so you get their spin on what happened. From the feedback I’ve gotten so far, some readers enjoy this, while some don’t. I’ve tried to reduce this aspect in my second book.
Overall, the first book is more of a high paced, action adventure novel while the second book is more of a traditional science fiction novel. While the series is science fiction, I plan to have different genres influence each book.
9. Do you plan a book before writing it or do you dive into it straight away?
I am very detail oriented, so I always outline my books chapter by chapter, and then outline my chapters page by page. That way, I have a clear sense of what the end product will look like. I also create a cheat sheet while writing, which is an outline of characters, names, and places so that I don’t end up stating one fact in one chapter, then something completely different in another.
10. Which one of your characters are you favorite and why?
My book has the family of halfkinds and the government team. I do have a favorite from the halfkind family, but since this is a survival story, and since I tend to treat the characters I like well, I’ll refrain from saying which halfkinds I like the most. I feel it’ll give the plot away!
From the government team, my favorite character is Fenrir. I tried to create him to be the ultimate bad ass, a mix of Batman, Wolverine, and Sandor Clegane. He’s a fighter, but has a strong heart and a conscience. He’s often the voice of reason among a group that is essentially a killing machine.
11. Have you ever given a character one of your own personality traits?
I feel like my characters represent different aspects of my personality. My sneaky and devious side is represented by Tiago Lawton, my soft side is Iris Lawton. This helps when I’m writing my chapters. Since they’re presented in first person POV, I really like to write thinking what would my evil side think? What would my good one think?
12. What is your favorite thing about being an author?
I feel like I’m a pretty imaginative person, and being a writer is the perfect outlet for me to express my creativity. The greatest joy I have is when people are able to read my novels and tell me that the genuinely like them. When I read, I deeply get immersed into the universe of the book I’m reading. I love to go on wikias and look up every piece of trivia I can. I want my novels to do the same for the reader. I could probably sit and talk for hours with my fans about my novels, about the characters, their motivations, what the reader liked, what they disliked, everything.
13. Do you have a phobia? What is it?
I have a fear of rejection, so being a writer has been great exposure therapy for it! Just kidding. I’m not too fond of heights.
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