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Meet Lindsay Edmunds: The Inventive Author of CEL & ANNA

Lindsay Edmunds is an author whose work is fresh and original. She received excellent reviews for her first novel, CEL & ANNA, and is currently at work on the sequel. She’s been a successful medical editor for many years, plying her trade in Washington, D.C. and Greater Pittsburgh, and she's also launched an insightful blog called Writer’s Rest. She also writes about books for "Huffington Post," and when I caught up with her, she had just returned from a delightful week in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Lindsay, you’re participating in Kindle’s free giveaway for CEL & ANNA on June 21 and June 22. What’s the benefit?

To reach new readers. I know authors who have been very, very pleased with the results of Kindle’s giveaway program.

You cleverly devised a way for people to enjoy virtual sex in the Middle Machine Age. How did you come up with the particulars?

Oh the challenges involved in writing that chapter! The emotional and physical responses of the partners had to be filtered through a complex technological process—a process I had to invent. No one in the history of the world has ever had sex the way my characters have sex. Had I thought it through beforehand, I wouldn’t have set the bar that high. Readers have told me that the virtual sex chapter (“Bed of Stars”) works. This amazes me.

Some readers call CEL & ANNA a fantasy; others call it dystopian fiction. And still others describe it as science fiction. Where do you see the novel in terms of genre?

I see CEL & ANNA as science fiction with a romantic twist.

Your book features a computer who “ascends” to consciousness. You’ve written an article about artificial intelligence for Huff Post. Do you think computers will ever gain awareness of their surroundings and emotions?

Yes, I do. Some people predict doomsday when that happens. Others believe just the opposite: that the ascendancy of artificial intelligence will usher in a utopian world. I don’t buy either of those scenarios. I believe conscious computers will find life to be as much of a muddle as we do. Some may turn to religion or spirituality, an idea that fascinates me.

Lindsay, what was your main challenge in crafting a story about a world that exists solely in your imagination?

Imaginary worlds have to be invented in every detail. How is a Middle Machine Age apartment furnished? What do the cars look like? (Do they have cars?) When you go to a restaurant, what is on the menu? Also, everything you invent has to be simultaneously strange and recognizable.

What message do you want readers to take away from CEL & ANNA?

Life can deliver beautiful surprises.

You lovingly depict several “rebel outposts” in your book, some rural villages that fly beneath the radar of the totalitarian “Big Brother” society. Do these towns and their citizens represent the benefits of a free society?

The government doesn’t care whether these rebels live or die, which means they can pretty much live as they please as long as they stay nonthreatening. But their freedom comes with a high price tag. They do without many things the more docile classes of society take for granted.

If you could enter one scene in your novel and interact with your characters, which one would it be and why?

I would enter the final scene to give them a hug and say “well done.” Then we’d open a bottle of champagne.

I read you’re working on a sequel. Will Cel be a character? Can you offer some hints about the storyline?

The sequel introduces an entirely new race of beings: the Infimi, who live on the internet (now called networld). Middle Machine Age society is coming undone, and a war is brewing in networld. Cel will be back, with an even bigger role to play.

What kind of fiction do you enjoy reading? Have any authors influenced your artistic development?

I’ve been a fan of Russell Hoban ever since I found TURTLE DIARY in a used bookstore in Bethesda, Maryland. I love stories that bend reality—that suggest that our ordinary, familiar world is neither of those things. Shirley Jackson was good at reality-bending, too. An old favorite novel is Joyce Cary’s THE HORSE’S MOUTH. But my taste in fiction is inconsistent: I also like Evan S. Connell (MR. BRIDGE, MRS. BRIDGE), who is a master of realism. He wrote two terrific nonfiction books: THE WHITE LANTERN and A LONG DESIRE. They are about exploration and travel.

How do you juggle your editing career with writing fiction? Do you have a specific routine?

I write first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon. The second session feeds off the first.

What advice would you give to others who may be thinking of publishing an indie novel?

Indie novels can be published cheaply and quickly, but they shouldn’t be. Self-publishing is hard work. It really is.

Who designed your book cover?

Dave Hunter, the Chicago-based graphic artist who designed the cover for THE VOICE I JUST HEARD. He got the look of CEL & ANNA exactly right. Self-publishing authors should look at his portfolio, and then they should hire him. To learn more, visit Dave's web site.

Please fill in the blank for the next question. “When I’m not writing, the place you’re likely to find me is…..”

The place you are likely to find me or the place I want to be? They aren’t the same. The place you are likely to find me is at home in western Pennsylvania. The place I want to be right now is western Scotland.

Lindsay, thanks so much for chatting with me. I love your novel!

Readers, you can discover more about this terrific book by visiting Lindsay's web site. To leave a comment, please scroll down. Thanks.
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