Interview with Teri Polen, Author of the Gemini Connection

Today celebrates the ebook release of The Gemini Connection by Teri Polen!  I had the privilage to receive a review copy from Black Rose Writing last month and I lovedit. When Teri reached out to me, I already had a ton of questions rolling round my mind and she kindly agreed to answer them for me as well as the return of our Fictional Five question!

Q. For those that you are a new author to, can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be an author?

Teri: I’ve always been an avid reader, but never really had writing aspirations until the day a fully formed story popped into my head.  So I wrote it. And it was amateurish, horrible, and violated every rule of writing ever created. Reading it now is a form of torture.  From there, I studied my craft through workshops, writing retreats, books, and seminars, then started over. And I’m still learning and improving.  I’m a young adult author who writes horror, sci-fi, and fantasy.

Q: In the Gemini Connection we hit the ground running, I would love to know a bit of history about Tage and how it came to be in the predicament that it finds itself in.

Teri: With drought conditions and severe shortages of rain, Evan and Simon grew up with water conservation and rationing – it was just a way of life for them.  The protein supply was never plentiful, but when the twins were around 10-years-old, an unidentified virus ran rampant through the livestock on Tage. Every time scientists developed a vaccine, it would mutate, making the vaccine ineffective, and the livestock population was decimated.  Tage and Earth, who had troubles of its own, shared resources until it became infeasible, and soon after, Earth fell, their fresh water supply exhausted. Tage is now in a perilous state, and all citizens are expected to contribute in some way to its survival.

Q: In the story your main characters are young men, there is a trend in YA at the moment towards female protagonists, was it a conscious decision to move away from that?

Teri: Although it may sound strange, I find it difficult to write from a teenage girl’s perspective.  I have sons, and over the years I’ve overheard them and their friends discuss life, girls, sports, etc. while they were at our house or when chauffeuring them from place to place.  When the my main characters began to speak to me, I wasn’t surprised they were 17-year-old boys.

Q: The Gemini connection relates to the twin status of your main characters, do you have first hand knowledge of being a twin or did that require any research on your part?  Did you discover any funny twinisms in your research?

Teri: I’m not a twin, and really haven’t been around twins that much, but was always fascinated by stories about twins with close bonds.  A friend of mine, whose mother is a twin, said it wasn’t unusual for her mom and aunt to prepare the same dinners on the same night, show up places wearing identical outfits, or pick up the phone to call the other, only to find her twin already on the phone.

Q: It was an interesting choice to launch the reader straight into the action and it was one that I loved!  Did you always intend to start the story that way?

Teri: I didn’t plan it that way.  Through various drafts, the story began in several different spots, but this was the one that felt right.  The reader is immediately thrust into Evan’s world and learns the stakes he’s up against as a Bender.

Q: The concept of Bending was pretty unique, how did you set about making something unbelievable so believable to read?

Teri: One of my favorite movies is Inception.  After watching it again (I’ve lost count of the number of times), I started thinking about why a person would be in someone else’s head.  What would it be like? What could they do while there? To make it believable to the reader, a writer has to establish rules for that world, and that’s what I attempted to do with the concept of Mindbending.

Q: What are you currently working on at the moment or is it a secret?

Teri: It’s not a secret – if anyone asks what I’m working on, they may regret it when I’m still talking about my WIP ten minutes later!  It’s another YA sci-fi/thriller involving genetic engineering, another topic that’s held my interest for years. I just write the stories the characters dictate.

Q: We like to round off our interviews with this question!  Fictional 5: Can you choose 5 fictional characters or authors that you would love to invite for a dinner party, what would make them such great guests?

Teri: That’s a hard one – there are so many!  Stephen King – requires no explanation why.  Victoria Schwab – I’ve met her a couple of times at book festivals, her Shades of Magic series is magnificent, and I’d love to spend a day in her mind just to see how it works.  Maybe some of that creativity would rub off on me! Kaz Brekker from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows – one of the most cunning and complicated characters I’ve ever read.  Simon from Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – outstanding sense of humor.  Maggie Stiefvater – because of all things Raven Cycle.    

Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog today, Gaynor!

You’re welcome Teri!  Thank you so much for taking part, I’m really intrigued about your WIP and I would have to agree with Kaz Brekker being a great dinner guest!

For those who’s interest has been piqued by The Gemini Connection it is available to buy today from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and direct through Black Rose Writing. You can also check out my review here!

You can also keep up to date with Teri pretty much everywhere!