Friday, June 10, 2011

Is Living for 800 years a good thing?

Gosh, I haven't posted an interview in over a month!!!  I could tell you all the reasons -- too much work at day job, getting my new novel, ETERNITY, launched.  Then there was our vacation in Yosemite and Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks to celebrate our anniversary in mid May.  But I won't talk about all of that. :)

However, I do want to talk about my newly released novel, Eternity.  It is available in ebook now and will be available in print by June 20th.  Rather than gush over myself with an intro to the interview, I'll just answer the questions I ask everyone else. Then all of you can feel free to gush if you want--especially over my beautiful cover by the magnificent Bosha Struve.  I really do LOVE it! She's a genius.

What was the initial spark that put this story in your head?
As with most of my books, it wasn't a single spark but several things that collided over a long period of time and then hit me over the head one day. Sometime in the mid 1990's I read an article in the science magazine Nature(Of course, then it wasn't on the web.) The article described scientists in Antarctica taking deep core samples in the ice.  The purpose was to determine if the ozone hole had grown over the last couple hundred years.  I was mesmerized by the idea of core samples revealing anything about past conditions.  Then I wondered, what else could be found in that sample? Diseases? Cures? What else could the jetstream carry over the poles and deposit in the ice?
Fast forward about twenty years when I was working at a medical university which served four or five hospitals and was doing a lot of health-related research.  The core sample idea came back to me and I wondered what if the sample yielded some type of virus?  A virus the world hadn't seen in thousands of years.  What if the ages of people in the Bible (some purported to be 800+ years old) was true.  Could it be that a virus existed in the time of Abraham or Moses that allowed people to live longer?
And if we found that virus today and were able to give it to people what would happen?  Would we give it to everyone?  Or would we use it as a means of power?  Would we charge hundreds of thousands of dollars for it and save it for the few?  If we distributed it widely, would we keep it from certain kinds of people? Why? Would there be people who didn't want to live for 800 years, perhaps people who thought it was against the natural order of things?  How would those people rebel? Of course, if everyone lives that long over population becomes a huge problem very quickly, and that brings all kinds of social chaos.  Thus an entire world was born.
It seems that most authors use something from their own lives, or the lives of people they know as an integral part of the story.  Is there anything in this story like that?  If so, what?
Because this is a made up world in the future, it isn't directly from my life.  However, many of the difficulties of this world are extrapolations from difficulties in our own world. As with many Science Fiction authors who deal in social systems, I examine things in my made up world that are reflections of things happening today that really bother me.  For example, every time I read about kidnaped children or human trafficking, I shudder.  Every time I read about the horrific things some countries to do their own people cry for the inhumanity of it and wonder why we haven't evolved to be better people?  Every time I read about people who join cults in order to feel accepted or a part of something, I wonder how religion is or can be perverted to motivate people toward a specific agenda.  All of these things are magnified in my dystopian world.  

However, in spite of all the evil in the world, I still truly believe that good will triumph in the end.  That there are people who will stand up for right and be counted and fight for their beliefs.  And those are the people who are my prime characters.  The characters, of course, don't always agree on what is right or how to get there.  But they do fight for their beliefs and they do each in their own way win back something for humanity.
Is there a particular scene in this book that you really loved when you finished it? Which one and why?
There are many scenes I love, but I think my favorites are the dialogs between the three main characters--Miki, Rohin, and Anna.  They are a threesome that discovered the virus together and fight each other, and sometimes fight together throughout the book.   I think each one of them represents the difficult decisions we all face in life when we have to choose a direction in the face of huge odds.  It is these types of decisions that make us really look at all of our prejudices--really evaluate what is most important and what we are willing to sacrifice to get it.
What's next for you?  Can you tell us about any upcoming releases?  Will you be traveling in the next few months where readers can find you?
My next release is a Romantic Suspense novel, EXPENDABLE, from The Wild Rose Press. It will be available in August.  It also plays with some futuristic ideas, but a little closer to today's biotechnology--dealing with stem cells and gene manipulation.  I hope everyone will keep an eye for it. 
You can buy ETERNITY in ebook from these booksellers. When the print version releases on June 20th you will be able to buy it print from then or have your local bookstore order it. I'd love to hear from anyone about what you think living for 800 years might be like?  Would you want to live that long or would you fight it? 


Susan Lute said...

Maggie, fabulous cover! It's so beautiful! Congratulations on your launch :D

I would love to live for 125 years. Think about how much you'd see in terms of human development - as long as it was the kinder, gentler side. If everyone lived 800 years, maybe That would be interesting. But if it was only me... by the time I'm 100, I'll probably have great, great grandchildren. It might be sad to outlive them all. On the other hand, my mortgage would be paid off :D

Paty Jager said...

Great interview.The cover is excellent! I'm not sure I'd like to live that long. I guess if I never aged it would be fine but to hang on that long... I really think the next generations need a chance to do their thing. And you know how as you age the years seem to go by faster- would that mean by the time I'm 800 a year would be like an hour?

Terri Reed said...

Great interview. What an intriguing idea!

Terri Reed said...

Oops, hit send before I answered your questions.
Hmmm, live for 800 years? If my kids and grandkids and greatgrandkids were with me, probably. Sometimes I feels there's not enough time as it is to do everything I want to do, if I knew I had 800 years I wouldn't feel so rushed all the time. Maybe. Ha!

Heather Hiestand said...

Fantastic cover, Maggie! Best of luck with the launch!

Delle Jacobs said...

Great book idea and cover too! But I'm going to buy it so don't put me on the free list.

I guess I'm old enough now to know I don't want to live an incredibly long life- but I'm also in no hurry to go. I wonder about quality of life, and good health and sustained abilities would be important to me. But I don't have any particular desire to look like I'm thirty-five forever.

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Thanks for commenting, Susan, Paty, Terri, Heather and Delle. Interesting that some of you would NOT want to live so long. One of the things my story does is also slow the aging process. So, you age normally until puberty, then (assuming you get the virus shot) you age one year for every ten solar years. So, when you are 400 years old, your body is 40 years old. :)

@Terri I like the idea of being around the grandchildren and great-great-great etc grandchildren too. I wonder if living so long would mean we would have giant family compounds where the extended family lives. Perhaps returning to calling towns by family names as they did hundreds of years ago.

@Paty I do wonder about the next generation and if ours lived longer would it stunt them? On the other hand if we stopped having to "work" would it allow us to do other things like write great books? paint great pictures? take that around-the-world motorcycle trip? that we can't do because we are working and then our bodies get tired? Or would we invest more time in charities? I also wonder if living so long would make us lackadaisical or turn only to entertainment.

@Susan the mortgage paid off? Now that is something. Or you could have refinanced it 20 times. :)

I'll choose the book freebies at the end of the week. At the moment I'm at a business conference in L.A. Thanks again for visiting!

Maggie Jaimeson said...

Back from conferencing. Lost my luggage again. I think the L.A. - Eureka connection is not good. However, the airport is good about delivering it when it gets in. It will show up some time tonight. In the meantime I have a good excuse for having nothing to wear. :)

Anyway, free books to Susan, Paty, and Terri. I'll contact you offline.