Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: Congratulations on the recent release of your cyberpunk novel, The Hereafter Bytes! For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?
Vincent Scott: The Hereafter Bytes is a about Romeo, a somewhat hapless, but very sweet, dead man. He's a digital clone of his dead self in a world where such cloning is becoming a popular method of pseudo-afterlife. His friend embroils him in danger when she copies herself while she's still living. This kicks off a series of events that, much like quick sand, gets them into more and more trouble as they struggle. The premise came together for me as I was reflecting on power and marginalization. I wanted to investigate the ways that the world strips certain people of their humanity, and the excuses they use to justify dehumanizing others. Heavy, philosophically fraught topics, I know. So, naturally, I made it a comedy.
BD: The novel deftly combines a cyberpunk feel with a healthy dose of action and mystery. What can you share with us about your creative process in weaving these narratives together, and what have been some of your creative influences?
VS: My creative process involves a lot of caffeine, and a lot of staring at the ceiling while muttering, "what was I thinking?" In truth, the cyberpunk and the action came together pretty effortlessly. The mystery was a little harder. All mystery requires that you establish things first, then pay them off. With modern-day mysteries, or even historical fiction mysteries, you can trust the audience to have a general knowledge of the world. Sci-fi throws a whole new spanner in the works, because now it's not just the events you need to establish, it's the mechanics of the world in which they occurred. As to influences, I'd definitely list Terry Pratchett as key. His books were definitely crucial for me in figuring out how to mix genre, adventure, and comedy.
BD: At Fanbase Press this year, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums. How do you feel that Romeo’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?
VS: I definitely wanted to bring to life a character who wasn't the conventional protagonist. Romeo is not the take-charge type, or the courage-in-the-face-of-death type. Still, his drive to protect the people he loves keeps him going even as things get dire. I wanted to represent a male protagonist that is defined by vulnerability, but is still a hero. Also, he's asexual, as am I. For asexual readers, I wanted them to see a hero whose perspective might reflect some of their own. For non-asexual readers, I wanted to show how relatable the experience of asexual people can be. Life is still driven by love, even if some kinds of attraction aren't for you.
BD: What makes Thinking Ink Press the perfect home for The Hereafter Bytes?
VS: Thinking Ink Press has been amazing at every step of the publishing process. Their approach to finding books that fall into unexplored niches I think is a great one for the current moment in publishing. Betsy Miller in particular has been fantastic helping me through each step. I think I got very lucky working with Thinking Ink for my first time getting published.
BD: Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books or even into other entertainment mediums, if given the opportunity?
VS: I will definitely write more books that are in this same vein: sci-fi with a dose of comedy and a little pinch of social commentary. That's the kind of fiction I like to read, and so it's the kind of fiction I tend to write. I'd be very open to expanding mediums. An audiobook would be cool. As to mediums beyond that, hey, if a streaming service or a movie studio wants to hit me up and shower money down upon me, I won't object too loudly. I'll be waiting for their call with bated breath.
BD: Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?
VS: Not really. I've begun another book that is stylistically similar to The Hereafter Bytes, but it's early days.
BD: Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about The Hereafter Bytes and your other work?
VS: You can find The Hereafter Bytes at www.thinkinginkpress.com, on Goodreads, and wherever books are sold. If you're interested in my future work, you can follow me on Twitter (@writeitowldown). Thanks so much!