In a world where brain-controlling software dominates the lives of teens, Heather Anastasiu, former graduate student at Texas State, has created a new voice in young adult fiction.
She released her debut novel, “Glitch,” last month. It is the first book of a trilogy, concerning a dystopian world in which members of society are controlled by neurological chip implants.
When Zoe, the narrator, starts to malfunction, she gradually regains a sense of her previous identity. The novel is the first of a three-book deal with St. Martin’s Press Publishing House and has already been translated into several different languages.
The University Star spoke with Anastasiu about her debut novel.
EC: What compelled you to write a science fiction trilogy for teens?
HA: I’ve always loved the classic sci-fi movies of the ‘90s. I also like a lot of science fiction books and dystopian novels. I’ve found that writing for teenagers is an emotional and intellectual development. I wanted to create something that had a good correlation with the regular teenage experience with sci-fi elements in the mix.
EC: What are some characteristics of the protagonist?
HA: At the beginning of the book, Zoe is young, naive and willing to believe the first thing people will tell her. However, when she starts to experience a glitch in her hardware, she begins to feel all of these deep emotions. She was a fun character to write. She’s like a new creature experiencing the world.
EC: As a former graduate student at Texas State, would you say the literature program has had an influence on your recent success?
HA: I’d say so. Because I was pursuing a master’s in literature instead of creative writing, I got to take a look from the outside within. I studied the motives and process of making a book. Literature and creative writing have always been two different entities.
EC: What are some of the greatest challenges you’ve faced as a young writer?
HA: For any writer, it’s learning the discipline of writing every day, and understanding the importance behind the revision process. There is an expression in creative writing called “killing your darlings.” The biggest thing I’ve had to learn is having the strength to get rid of a word or sentence that I thought was good. It’s all about rewriting.
EC: Any future projects in the making?
HA: The second novel in the “Glitch” trilogy will be released on February 19th. I’ve already completed the first draft of the last book. As far as any writing outside of the trilogy, I have some ideas nibbling in my mind, but nothing I’m willing to put down on paper just yet.