Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Interview with debut author C.A. Higgins - Lightless + my review

Today is a very exciting day for me, one of my dear author friends Lisa Verge Higgins' daughter Caitin, a chip off the old block, is releasing her debut novel, Lightless. Its the first in her new Sci-Fi series.
The Book releases one week from today so be sure and pre-order your copy now!
It's my great pleasure to introduce my readers to Caitlin Higgins!!!!
Caitlin its all yours!

Publisher: Random House
Release Date: 09/29/2015
Length: 304pp
PreOrder: B&N/Amazon/Kobo/IndieBound/Audible


With deeply moving human drama, nail-biting suspense—and bold speculation informed by a degree in physics—C. A. Higgins spins a riveting science fiction debut guaranteed to catapult readers beyond their expectations.

Serving aboard the Ananke, an experimental military spacecraft launched by the ruthless organization that rules Earth and its solar system, computer scientist Althea has established an intense emotional bond—not with any of her crewmates, but with the ship’s electronic systems, which speak more deeply to her analytical mind than human feelings do. But when a pair of fugitive terrorists gain access to the Ananke, Althea must draw upon her heart and soul for the strength to defend her beloved ship.

Some of you may know Caitlins mom  shes one of our Expats Goodread group author members, someone who weve read and discussed on the Goodreads forum, has been a guest on the blog many times and a personal favorite of mine, Lisa Verge Higgins. Im so pleased to present to my readers her daughter and debut author extraordinaire C. A. Higgins.

Caitlin, welcome to the blog.
I loved your debut novel.
Tell my readers a bit about it.
Hi Deb, and thanks so much!  LIGHTLESS is about a top-secret military spaceship, the Ananke, that is infiltrated by two mysterious men who may have connections to a notorious terrorist planning her next attack.  One of the two men escapes and in the process does something strange to the Ananke’s computer.  While an interrogator tries to get the truth out of the remaining captive by any means necessary, the ship’s mechanic, Althea, tries desperately to fix her ship’s computer—and in the process finds herself drawn into a conflict with solar-system-wide consequences.

Some are calling this the debut of a series and some the debut of a trilogy.
Which is correct?
LIGHTLESS will have two sequels.  The second book is called SUPERNOVA, and there is a third novel that I am writing now.

Wow a starred review from Kirkus Higgins continually ratchets up the tension as the handful of people on board the Ananke struggle to uncover one another's secrets. A suspenseful, emotional story that asks plenty of big questions about identity and freedom, this is a debut not to be missed.
Read the entire review
What’s your personal take on reviews will you be reading them all, some?
Thank you!  I don’t think it’s practical or healthy to read every review, but I do read a good number of them, good and bad.

You followed your moms footsteps in more than one way as you both went to college to pursue science and then became novelists. While your mom first pursued her wicked past youve put your scientific knowledge to work in Lightless.
How did you determine the balance between scientific calculations/formulas/computations and conversational dialogue?
That’s a similarity my mother and I have discussed often—not without some playful interdisciplinary snarling, since she studied chemistry and I studied physics!  I was very conscious that LIGHTLESS was a work of fiction, and so it was important to me that any science in the novel supported the characters rather than obscuring them.  So someone like Althea, who is a scientist, spends a certain amount of her time thinking about physical laws and doing calculations, whereas someone like Ida, who is not a scientist, spends most of her time thinking about the human and conversational side of things.  

Caitlin, I love hearing stories about an authors first sale.
Tell us about
the call.
My agent called while I was at work so I wasn’t able to pick up, but about a half hour later I listened to her voicemail while riding the elevator down to the street.  I was thrilled, of course, but I was also stunned.  Actually, I was in such a daze I nearly knocked over a little old lady in the building’s revolving door.  She had a cane.  I apologized but I still feel terrible about it.

Caitlin, your bio tells us that you came up with Lightless while sitting in a physics class.
Tell us about that
It was really two different physics classes.  In one, I was doing a math problem and I had a sudden and vivid image of a man sitting in a room telling stories to keep himself alive, like Scheherazade.  In another, I was sitting in class and we were talking about equations of state and particles in isolated systems.  And I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I took a group of characters and treated them like a thermodynamic system?”  So I imagined this isolated setting with a group of characters who interacted with each other like ideal gas particles in a box, where the only influences on them are each other and whatever qualitative changes happen to their setting.  The fun part of thermodynamics, to me, is that disorder must always increase—so these characters, extending the metaphor, will start to behave more and more chaotically (or even violently) with each other as time goes on. 

Has your mom being an author made your decision to write easier or harder?
Easier, definitely.  Having a mother who’s a writer has shown me that writing is what I want to do, and the good and bad sides both of such a career.  It’s very nice to be able to call up my mother when I’m stuck on a scene and complain to her, and she will understand completely.

Whats the one piece of advice shes given you thats the most important?
As much as I want to say, “KILL THE BEAST!” which is what she screams every time I use too many adverbs in a sentence, I’m going to have to pick a different piece of advice.  Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I complained that I hated writing first chapters because “You have to put all the background information in them!”  My mother looked at me, amused, and said, “No, you don’t.”  She explained to me that the best way to get all that information across is not to infodump, it’s to hand it out piece by piece, uncovering mysteries as you go.  She was completely right, and I had that advice ringing in my ears while I wrote LIGHTLESS.

Which one of your characters was the most fun to write?
Ivan, definitely.  He’s very clever, and very good at making close empathic connections with the other characters…while still keeping his real thoughts to himself.  I always knew what he was thinking but none of the other characters did, and the difference between what they thought of him versus what he was actually doing was always fun to write.  Plus, Ivan has probably the best sense of humor of the major characters in LIGHTLESS—not that he has much chance to exercise it.

Can you give us a hint about book two?
What happens on the Ananke during LIGHTLESS have huge consequences for the solar system—and the sequel, SUPERNOVA, deals directly with those consequences.  The book opens in the state of high chaos that LIGHTLESS ends in, and the characters are swept up very quickly into a lot of action.  You’ll learn more about the terrorist that Ida is hunting in LIGHTLESS, the Mallt-y-Nos.

Caitlin, will you be touring with this release? Are there dates/times/places listed?
On October 1st from 12:30 to 1:30, I will be at Madison Square Reads in Madison Square Park, New York, by the Farrugut Monument. 
For any updates or new events, you can see my website, cahiggins.com!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions.
Good luck with this novel and the ones in your bright future.

 My Review

Higgins uses her scientific knowledge and an amazing storytelling voice to produce an addicting fast paced sci-fi thriller series debut. Her futuristic dystopian world filled with enigmatic engaging characters both sentient and cyber showcases her vivid, imaginative narrative. Her unforgettable world building features an autocratic big brother-ish interplanetary society on the verge of a revolution. Her inhabitants struggles and achievements are informatively seen through the eyes of her extraordinary star players that will intimate her fans to her brave new world. And the cliff-hanging ending will have readers salivating until the next installment.
Brava Ms. Higgins for a fantastic debut!

Theres unrest in the Solar System!
In deep space a highly advanced militarized ship for The System, the Ananke is on a super secret mission with a crew of three, the captain, Willhem Domitian, a scientist, Rufus Gagnon and software engineer, Dr. Althea Bastet, caretaker of the über-intelligent on board computer. Who
s at this moment trying without success to rid the computer of a nasty virus that's causing mass malfunctions, planted by the two saboteurs they captured aboard ship. Now while trying to repair the computer theyre also awaiting a visit from a System Intelligence officer sent to interrogate the prisoners and they have bad news for her.
Upon arriving to question the captives, Ida Stays has learned that one has escaped, but the man still in custody is no other than Leontious (Ivan) Ivanov, estranged son of a successful scientist mother and the infamous father who destroyed Saturn. Hes a thief but also rumored to be in cahoots with the Systems most notorious terrorist Mallt-y-Nos who may be the head of the rebellion thats trying to overthrow the government. She just needs proof and she'll use any means to get it.

Connect with Caitlin- Website - Twitter- Facebook

MEET CAITLIN:Along with writing novels, C. A. Higgins spent most of her time in college doing problem sets, translating vulgar Latin poetry, and fending off sleep deprivation. It was while sitting in one of her physics classes contemplating the inevitable heat death of the universe that she had the idea that would eventually become her first novel, LIGHTLESS. After becoming a runner up in the 2013 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing, she received her BA in physics before continuing on a linear career path by getting a job in theatre. She currently lives in Brooklyn with aspirations of publishing more novels and learning ancient Greek.

Today's Gonereading item is:
a selection of book lights because
you'll be up into the wee hours
finishing this exciting debut
Click HERE for the buy page


  1. I like how you said there was a blend of science with her amazing ability to tell a story. That sounds like a read anyone would love! Great review Debbie!

  2. Best of luck with the release of Lightless, Caitlyn. I have added to my tbr list. :)
    Great Interview Deb :)

  3. Great tip mom. Oh but I hate info dumping esp in fantasy

  4. I learn something new about my own daughter every day. ;) Glad the advice helped, kiddo! #proudmom

  5. I learn something new about my own daughter every day. ;) Glad the advice helped, kiddo! #proudmom