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Humans have always wanted
to know what goes on inside the minds of other animals. But what if humans
could become animals? Toby’s father leads a team of neuroscientists directly
connecting the brains of humans with those of animals. And Toby is a prodigy at
throwing her mind into the animal subjects in his lab—she’s the best there is.
But Toby suffers from cystic fibrosis and she’s not likely to live into adulthood. Could a radical plan to embed her consciousness into an animal allow Toby to survive? And what does it mean to live without a human body?
Can Toby and her father solve the problem of fully merging two beings before she takes her last breath? Will the government succeed in stopping their efforts before they are done? It’s a race against death and into the minds of animals.
read an excerpt...
After the major had left, Toby came into Will’s office and slipped onto his lap.
about Olga Werby...
Olga Werby, Ed.D., has a Doctorate from U.C. Berkeley with a focus on designing online learning experiences. She has a Master's degree from U.C. Berkeley in Education of Math, Science, and Technology. She has been creating computer-based projects since 1981 with organizations such as NASA (where she worked on the Pioneer Venus project), Addison-Wesley, and the Princeton Review. Olga has a B.A. degree in Mathematics and Astrophysics from Columbia University. She became an accidental science fiction indie writer about a decade ago, with her first book, "Suddenly Paris," which was based on then fairly novel idea of virtual universes. Her next story, "The FATOFF Conspiracy," was a horror story about fat, government bureaucracy, and body image. She writes about characters that rarely get represented in science fiction stories -- homeless kids, refugees, handicapped, autistic individuals -- the social underdogs of our world. Her stories are based in real science, which is admittedly stretched to the very limit of possible. She has published almost a dozen fiction books to date and has won many awards for her writings. Her short fiction has been featured in several issues of "Alien Dimensions Magazine," "600 second saga," "Graveyard Girls," "Kyanite Press' Fables and Fairy Tales," "The Carmen Online Theater Group's Chronicles of Terror," with many more stories freely available on her blog, Interfaces.com.
Selected Book Links on Amazon:
“Becoming Animals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078P6BB6K/
“Suddenly, Paris”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014OM5158/
“The FATOFF Conspiracy”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B014S0W4WO/
“Twin Time”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LZM578L/
“Lizard Girl & Ghost: The Chronicles of DaDA Immortals”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FBR7Q1T/
“Coding Peter”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LFP45WC/
“Fresh Seed”: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07FFDZNYB/
more personal "stuff" about Olga Werby...
more personal "stuff" about Olga Werby...
Does this book have a special meaning to you? i.e. where you found the idea, its symbolism, its meaning, who you dedicated it to, what made you want to write it?
I like to write about people who live on the margins of our society. Toby, the main character in this story, is dying from cystic fibrosis. We get to watch her get sicker and sicker as the story progresses and empathize with her suffering. There is a lot of moral ambiguity in this book, but I hope the readers go along and see why the choices were made as they were. I think books teach empathy – we get to live another’s life through the words on the page. That’s very powerful.
Where do you get your storylines?
Stories usually start with just a tiny idea and then grow as I collect research around that topic. A few years down the line, the little clump of thoughts jells into an idea for a book. But I never know if the book will become a full-length novel or a novella or even a longish short story. I’m a “pantser” – I write without an outline. I just have a ton of research and random thoughts written down on little notes in my note-taking software. I have to feel my way towards the resolution of a story. The more research I do, the better the outcome.
Was this book easier or more difficult to write than others? Why?
“Becoming Animals” was a difficult book to write. It is based on a lot science – all the scientific details described in this story are true, even if they are pushed to the limit of what’s possible. When you read about how a rat responds to danger or how a whale mourns its baby or how a young piglet gets the zoomies, it’s all real. The fictional part is how a human girl responds to experiences that are unique to other animals.
Do you only write one genre?
I write science fiction – basically fiction with a ton of science. I have written fiction that was more fantastical (less science-y), but I prefer to write about real science. One of the easiest ways to learn is through stories. Humans are wired to enjoy and remember them. Science fiction tells stories about the future or alternative history or some other “what if” scenarios that involve real science pushed to the limit. While entertainment is a perfectly valid goal in itself, sometimes a good story can do more than entertain.
Give us a picture of where you write, where you compose these words…is it Starbucks, a den, a garden…we want to know your inner sanctum?
I write at my desk, in a spare bedroom that we turned into an office. I’m surrounded by books and the surface of my desk is covered with loose papers full of squiggly notes and fiddly toys. But my computer monitor and what’s on it is just as important as what’s in a physical space around me. I work in a text editor – it’s simple text, no formatting at all, no distractions. I have a note taking application running as well – I have years’ worth of research that I do before starting a story, so I need to have that at my fingertips. I have a web browser open on a dictionary page. And I have iTunes with a soundtrack for my book (each book has its own soundtrack).
And finally, of course…was there any specific event or circumstance that made you want to be a writer?
Funny. There was one particular event…among many. I wrote fan fiction as a kid for stories I loved and couldn’t get enough of. But it was “Twilight” that pushed me towards actually penning an entire complete novel – “Suddenly, Paris.” I saw a kid at school -- a girl who I’ve never seen reading a single thing ever – pick up “Twilight” and not put it down until the end. I wanted to know why? Why was this story so compelling to this kid? What gripped her? What made her read a thick book to the end? Interestingly, when I read that novel, I was angry at the abusive relationship described…and yet I still found it compelling. So I decided to write a compelling story where the heroine was not a wet blanket or in an abusive relationship. The result was my first novel: “Suddenly, Paris.”