Matt K. Turner has written for several TV shows, including the critically acclaimed ABC drama THE FAMILY. Inspired by a vision of a hero who was trying to fight off attackers while feeling like he is losing his mind, he decided to write a high-octane psychological thriller. Adding biotech and engineered humans in the mix, this book provides a fresh take on the Sci-Fi genre. As our author of the day, Turner tells us what Genesis is about, talks about the research that went into this book and much more.
Please give us a short introduction to what Genesis is about
Genesis is a science fiction novel set in a near future that blends a lot of things I love. It begins as a psychological thriller. My lead character Aiden is living a pretty spectacular life with an amazing lakefront house, a beautiful wife and a thriving tech startup. But he starts to experience a variety of strange physical problems. He has bouts of blurred vision, acute head pain, and most disturbingly, spurts of abnormal physical ability. He also thinks someone is following him, which plunges him into a paranoid tailspin that makes him question every detail of his life.
As Aiden finds himself in the crosshairs of a multi-national biotech corporation that seems hell-bent on capturing him, the story breaks out into a sci-fi thrill ride through a world of ruthless mercenaries, hacker enclaves and the bleeding edge of body modification. While we get into some pretty epic action, Genesis also explores some interesting theoretical territory as Aiden and other characters face questions of their own humanity and the future of the human race. But under all the explosions and existential examinations, you could also say Genesis is a love story. It’s about the lengths Aiden will go to save the woman he loves and, in doing so, hang on to his own humanity.
What inspired you to write about a guy who faces the possibility that he is an engineered human?
I was actually walking my kids in the stroller one day and I had a vision of an action scene where the hero was basically losing his mind while trying to fight off attackers. I guess that’s a weird place for your mind to go while walking your children, but anyone who’s taken care of twin girls for a day will understand why I might identify with someone losing their mind while under siege. Anyway, I loved the idea of something being violent and explosive, but surreal and beautiful at the same time. That prompted me to think of different scenarios in which a character would have increased physical abilities, but some sort of psychological issue to contend with. Somehow that led me to the character of Aiden Markusson.
The idea of an engineered human is a reality that we creep closer to each day. We are already modifying our bodies and tinkering with our DNA. Creating someone like Aiden is only a matter of time.
You used to work on the acclaimed ABC drama THE FAMILY. How much did this experience differ from writing a novel?
Writing for television is a purely collaborative effort. I was with eight other very talented writers in a room every day, which was a great learning opportunity and a real eye opening experience in terms of the true power of creative synergy. Because of the volume of material and pace television requires, you must have that many writers to get the job done, however, you can also see how a simple idea can work at a catalyst to generate new ideas and inspire others to build on it. Television writing is unique for that reason. Writing a novel is pretty much the exact opposite. It’s just you and what pours out of your own mind onto the page. You don’t benefit for others, but you’re able to express yourself in a very personal way.
Identity plays a prominent role in this book. Why is it so important to us humans to know who we are?
It’s the big question mark of life, isn’t it? I think that’s what we’re trying to figure out from the moment of birth. Who are we, really? Sometimes we think we know who we are and then a dramatic moment exposes true self for better or worse.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I’ve been a DJ for twenty years! It’s not a secret really, but you probably won’t meet that many other novelist slash DJs.
You worked a lot of twists into this book - did you plan them all out before you started writing?
I try not to plan twists. I prefer when they just happen. I like to be surprised when I write and if I’m surprising myself, I hope I’m surprising the readers as well.
According to your readers, your book provides a fresh take on the Sci-Fi genre. Was this intentional?
Yes. I love science fiction, but sometimes I feel like the writers forget about character in the pursuit of science. For me, writing should start with character and build out from there. I also wanted to bring a higher level of entertainment by drawing in more humor and action oriented scenes.
I really just wanted to write a book that I would enjoy reading. For me, that means interesting characters, compelling plot, and some sort of spark in the writing. I think style is something that seems to be in short supply these days. Storytelling is a compound word. It combines “story” and “telling.” A lot of writers have the story part down, but forget to put effort into the “telling.” I tried to remember that and have fun writing the novel. If it’s fun to write, it has a better chance of being fun to read.
Tell us about your writing habits - best time of the day to write, favorite writing spot etc.
I like to write in the mornings from pretty much anywhere. Home, a coffee shop, it really doesn’t matter as long as I have my headphones.
How likely do you think is a future as the one you described in Genesis?
I think something like Aiden is pretty likely. I did a lot of research before writing the book and we are already using 3D printing technology to generate man-made organs. We are constantly augmenting and trying to improve our bodies. I don’t know how long it will take to create sentient AI, but humans built from fabricated parts is going to happen and happen much sooner than we think.
What are you working on right now?
As usual I’m spread all over the place. I’m developing several television pilots, in pre-production on a science fiction short, finishing the feature script that expands the short, and planning my next novel. I’m also getting into creating content for the virtual reality platform, which is really exciting.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
I’ve got the usual online options. I love it when readers reach out!