Today I have author Imran Siddiq here today to tell us a little bit about himself and his new book Disconnect as well as a short excerpt from his book.
Author: Imran Siddiq
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci Fi
Published: January 27, 2013
Dirtying fingernails in sewers is fast approaching worthlessness for Zachary, a 16-year old Underworld scavenger. When footage of an Overworld girl, Rosa, is discovered, his intrigue heightens at why she expresses sadness with a lavish lifestyle.
In meeting Rosa, Zachary is scorned by her opinion of the deprived. She pities him and provides a means for them to communicate. With time, friendship and something he’s never felt grows; love for another human. Knowing Rosa calls him when it suits her isn’t enough; he wants to meet her, but how? Relationships in Underworld are few, let alone the impossibility with those above the ceiling.
Underworld will suffer when plans to conquer Jupiter’s moon, Europa move ahead. Worse is Rosa’s father, a disgraced Overworld ambassador, approving the plan.
Zachary must defeat the prejudice of the worlds, sneak within opposing forces, lose friends and challenge Rosa’s sadness. In doing so, a twisted secret is uncovered that may devour the reason he lives; Rosa.
In space, love had boundaries.
MGO: Thanks so much for being here today Imran!
In 20 words or less tell us a little about your novel.
What if a scavenger broke the rules to meet a girl whose world lay above a ceiling shrouded in secrecy?
MGO: What made you decide to write in the genre that you choose?
I am fan of fantasy, but science fiction has always been my passion since a young child. Aged 5, in 1983, I saw Star Wars Episode IV boy, did my life change after that. There are still many avenues that YA SciFi can take, and I want to experiment with doing something different. Yes, Disconnect sounds like a traditional YA Dystopian about love, but I plead that you give it a chance - because a few agents did comment that the twists are spot on.
MGO: Why did you choose to self publish your work?
I've been attending festivals for the last 3 years, and have attended several. Agents like my style, but won't take a risk based on what they currently want for the market. Now on novel 6, I felt a little disheartened that my tales remained away from many (except the BETAs). So plucking courage I opted to Self-Publish. I'm not overly concerned about royalties; what matter more is coverage and readers wanting more.
MGO: Where did you get your inspiration while writing Disconnect?
Driving back from a Writing Festival, my mind was in a spin over a comment made by a Literary Agent that romance in YA Science Fiction was lacking. Boom - in an instant the final scene for Disconnect played out in my mind. As soon as I got hime, I scribbled down this idea of a poor scavenger who falls for a rich girl, but I had to make it different. And the twists and turns definitely do that. Think of Blade Runner, without Harrison Ford, Replicants, Sean Young, and the whole of Blade Runner Hmmm a weird one that?
MGO: When did you know that you wanted to become a writer?
I always knew. From the age of 9, my teachers commented on my ability to create worlds and characters and how much I believed in them. Then, during my teen years I did the unthinkable; I stopped writing. Damn me damn me. In 2007, whilst hiding from giant ants in a Borneo jungle, I looked out to the sun, and realised what was missing in my life; writing. Haven't looked back since.
MGO: Disconnect will be a trilogy, are you currently working on the sequel or something else entirely?
Oh am I indeed! Part 2 to the Trilogy titled Disassemble will be released in June 2013, and on the same day (dare I do that ???) I will released Part 3: Disrupt. I don't want to keep fans of the first novel waiting.
Disconnect's tagline = In space, love has boundaries
Disassemble's tagline = Connections will be torn
Disrupt's tagline = All that's lost, will be found
MGO: Do you have plans in the future to write in a genre other than sci-fi?
Well, I'm keeping my foot in the YA Sci-Fi market, but hope to revamp a YA Techno-Fantasy novel that is a cross between Conan and LotR, but without wizards, elves and dwarves, and where the protagonist is a black cat. "meow"
MGO: Thank you again for being here today Imran and letting us get to know you and your latest book, Disconnect better!
Zachary stopped at the clunk under his boot.
How had nobody seen the box? With a glance into the darkness of the Wastelands, he licked his chapped lips.
Taking the box, Zachary darted past heaps of tottering metallic sheets. So far today, he'd scavenged nothing that was worth shoving into the pockets of his knee-length coat. If there was one thing to beat today, it was the pride-crashing kick to the guts of returning empty-handed for a fourth day. As the shortest scavenger of the stall at five foot six, a barren run made him the easiest target for teasing.
The stalls heckles from the day before still chilled him. The quickest rat with the hunting skill of a slug.
But thoughts of leaving the vast Wastelands with only a handful of screws and two-inch nails drowned in his anticipation that the jingling in the box would be ratchets, fuses and battery cells.
Zachary sprinted along the ledge of the bay to an overhanging bank. Not even the sick rested amongst the rusty vehicles deserted here. Using his trusted titanium screwdriver, he teased off the knot of wires beneath the mesh. Why would anyone take trouble to wrap and then to discard this box?
Whatever, thought Zachary freeing the last clasp of the lid. Inside there was a folded note, a silver Intercom-transmitter, and an orange-tinted bracelet. Result! Twiddling his long, brown hair, he scrutinized the box for hidden compartments within the padded interior. The smooth texture couldn't have started life in Underworld, could it?
Locked away from light, Underworld was a murky pit in comparison to the rich nature of Overworld that few had seen, and finds such as these were rare here. Luck placed Zachary within easy access of the clutter that lay on the west side of Underworld, the Wastelands. Spending most of his day amongst the sewer pipes didn't bother him for it was far better than the dull lanes of District Two. No day was the same amongst junk. Every gush from the pipes revealed a new surprise.
Nobody knew how thick the ceiling was or why its creation blocked Underworld from the world above. Often Zachary pondered what exactly sat above the ceiling. He guessed unlimited power, droids with abilities that dwarfed the functions of humans, and a life that didn't require working in muck. Short hours. Free time.
An eerie chill climbed his spine at imagining the scattered giant steel support pillars dropping aside? Would Overworld add to the mess of Underworld? Could the two worlds of the Galilei Research Base co-exist? No chance.
What did it matter? Underworld's builders had left it to rot.
Zachary squinted in the darkness at the unbroken chain links on the bracelet and the deep dent in its centre. Components of music-playing Harmon bracelets weren't difficult to locate, though one as complete as this? He clicked his teeth thinking of when a working bracelet had last been handed to the stall. Longer than five years at least. There was a harsh rattle as he shook the bracelet. If he fixed this, it could be enough to save him another day of shame.
More than that, he could show his dad that scavenging wasn't a deadbeat job by putting some good food on the table.
The Intercom-transmitter, a communication device he'd often see in the hands of a ruthless looter, felt light in his palm. If this find functioned he held his breath then mushrooms for supper would become a memory. Zachary squirmed. Adjusting to the slimy, vomit-wrenching taste of mushrooms that thrived in abundance was at the bottom of his to-do list.
He rubbed his back against the carcass of a vehicle, his heart thumping. Maybe the Master of the stall would let him look behind the curtain?
Zachary's hazel eyes reflected off the Intercoms shiny shell. He rubbed the recognition pad underneath, not sure what to expect. Dull lights clicked along the screens circular pattern. Blue tinted static formed in the air a foot above the Intercom.
What in Europa! Zachary swiped the image. Signs of energy were a signal to the greedy. If any of the gangs roaming the dry deluge saw this, they'd seize the Intercom and snap his skinny limbs apart.
Coat over the Intercom, Zachary sunk deeper into the bank. He paused before returning his thumb to the pad. The blue static burst out again, accompanied by a disturbing cackle. A human head with long hair formed in front of him. The image rotated, showing blurs where the eyes and mouth should have been. An incomplete android? Or an Overworlder?
About the Author:
Imran Siddiq may have tried to leave Leicester a few times, but it's become his place to wake up to, freeze when the heating is off, and serve two cats and, most of all, get down to writing.
At the age of 29, during a night in the jungle (of his mind –he is a writer, after all), Imran’s writing bug awakened, and for the last 5 years, he’s been sacrificing every second that he can to writing. A veteran of writing festivals, a constant presence on Twitter, and one who is still able to gobble up all forms of Star Wars and Lord of the Rings, Imran hopes he can bring a smile to others through his stories.
Imran’s preferred genre is YA Sci Fi. He has a tendency to throw a droid into every novel –literally every novel.