Last week I reviewed Remake by Ilima Todd, and it is amazing. I can’t remember the last time I was so glued to a book. Anyway, I liked it so much that I had to get an interview with the author to get a better understanding of why the characters in the novel did what they did and of the process that went into writing the book. The interview is posted below.
Q: Why did you decide to write Remake?
A: My family means a lot to me, and I can’t imagine my life without them, but for this story that’s exactly what I did—tried to imagine a world without families. Nine’s world just grew from there.
Q: If you were a “batcher” and on your way to the Remake facility, would you change anything about yourself?
A: Probably not. I’m far from society’s ideal in terms of appearance, but thinking about changing something about myself makes me a little sad. A lot of history went in to making these wrinkles, gray hairs, and scars. The one thing that would tempt me most, though, is dropping several pounds in an afternoon, haha.
Q: Did you create Nine from someone you know in reality?
A: No. But after writing the book and looking back on her character, I realized she’s a lot like me—insecure, unsure about big decisions, stronger than she gives herself credit for. I think every character I write has a part of me in them, which is scary, beause by sharing that story I’m in a sense laying out my flaws for the world to see.
Q: Do you think if you were in Nine’s place, you’d make the same decisions?
A: First of all, I’m really glad I’m not in her place because she’s had to make some hard choices. While I think she chose the right path for her, I’m not sure I would be strong enough to do the same. It may sound silly since I made her up, but I look up to Nine and hope that if I were to face something similar, I’d find the strength to choose the right path no matter the consequence.
Q: Which character in Remake is your favourite?
A: Definitely Theron. His quick wit and genuine love for Nine makes him irresistible in my opinion. He’s also based loosely off of my husband, so I may be a tad biased.
Q: Which character was the hardest to write about?
A: Can I say Theron again? Haha. He goes through some tough stuff, and because he’s my favorite, it was really hard to put him through that.
Q: Do you think you could’ve adjusted to island life as easy as Nine?
A: I was born and raised in Hawaii, and a lot of Nine’s experiences on the island were inspired by my own childhood. While the adjustment she went through was drastic, island life is probably one of the best options one could hope for. Waterfalls, beaches and pleasant weather year-round? Sounds perfect to me. I’d say I would’ve adjusted just fine.
Q: Which character was your least favourite?
A: Probably Eridian. Because I don’t share her same values, it was difficult having to think and write through her set of lenses. Not fun.
Q: What was the hardest decision you ever had to make?
A: I grew up wanting to become an astronaut and even secured the senate nomination I needed for the airforce academy, but when the time came, something inside me knew it wasn’t right. It wouldn’t have been a bad decision, just not the right one for me. I ended up attending college somewhere else, though I still pursued my love of astronomy and earned a physics degree. Since that decision brought me to my husband and eventual family, I have no regrets.
Q: When would you say was the moment you “found yourself”?
A: As sappy as it may sound, I don’t think I truly find myself until I gave birth to my first child. Along with the unconditional love my daughter brought into my life, there’s something about being a mother that is fulfilling beyond any other thing I’ve done. It’s my most cherished role.
Q: Nine admires Theron for his bravery and confidence. Is there anyone you admire? If so, why do you admire them?
A: I’m going to loop both of my parents together here. They’ve always supported me and my ambitions, teaching me that I could do anything if I worked hard. They taught me to value education and are the perfect examples of what it means to be a loving family. I just hope I’m half as good at parenting my four children as they were.
Q: In the story, Freedom is a place that gives the illusion of free will. Is this connected to Democracy in any way?
A: I think ‘illusion’ is the key word here. While the citizens think they are free to choose how they will live, there are consequences to those choices that are kept secret. They don’t know it, but they are living under more of a governmental tyranny than a democracy.
Q: Do you think gender plays a significant role in self-discovery? If so, why?
A: I believe gender is more than just the physical traits it’s often associated with—it’s something inside of us, too. Because of that, I think it’s impossible to separate it from who we are. Rather than letting it become a burden, though, it should be something to celebrate.
Q: Do you have any intentions of making the novel into a movie?
A: When I wrote Remake, I actually pictured it playing out in my head as a movie, scene by scene. Watching this story unfold on the big screen would be a dream come true, but as of right now there are no set plans for a movie.
Q: Do you think that if there actually was a virus that wiped out most of humanity, the world would resort to population control?
A: Maybe—not that I’d necessarily agree with it. Overpopulation, whether you believe it exists or not, is a hot topic today and there will certainly be those concerned with it happening again if it really was the cause of a Virus.
Q: What alternative do you think the world should’ve taken instead of population control?
A: I think Kai’s family has the right idea—self-sufficiency, oneness with the sea and land, hard work, family. I get wary thinking of any one person or government dictating how we should live. Given the opportunity to choose and act for themselves along with proper education, I have faith that people will do the right thing and don’t have to be controlled at every turn.
Q: Do you think if you grew up in a society like the one in Remake, you would be the same person you are today?
A: I credit so much of who and what I am to things my parents taught me and experiences I’ve had with my family. I can’t imagine what my life would be like today without any of that.
Q: Are you planning on writing a sequel?
A: Yes. I’ve been working really hard on the next installment. We’ll get to revisit favorite characters, meet a few new ones, and learn more secrets about the how and why of Freedom One’s society.
Q: Are you working on any new novels at the moment?
A: Besides the Remake series, I have several other novels in various stages of development. The one I’m excited about most right now is set in a future where the world monetary system has collapsed and everything is bartered or traded, including my main character.
Q: Did you have any alternate endings? If so, what were they?
A: No. I always knew Remake would end the way it did. I think it’s a satisfying ending but leaves enough unanswered questions that the reader will want to tune in to book 2.
About the Author:
Ilima Todd was born and raised on the north shore of Oahu and currently resides in the Rocky Mountains. She never wanted to be a writer even though she loves books and reading. She earned a degree in physics instead. But the characters in her head refused to be ignored, and now she spends her time writing science fiction for teens. When she is not writing, Ilima loves to spend time with her husband and four children.
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