15.08.19 / Words Matter Publishing / Science-Fiction / Paperback / 344pp / 978-1947072923
About Raquel Rich
Raquel Rich is a full-time sci-fi author and occasional blogger. She loves to travel, suntan, walk her dog, and is obsessed with all things Beauty & the Beast. She despises cold weather, balloons, and writing about herself in the third person but noticed all the real authors do that. Raquel left (ok, got let go from) a career in the travel industry and rather than looking for a real job, she wrote her first book, HAMARTIA. Born and raised in Canada to Brazilian parents, she lives in the Toronto area with her family. Married to the guy she’s been with since she was fifteen (her baby daddy), her superpowers include being a mom to their two awesome grown-ass boys and one fur baby.
Raquel Rich is a proud member of Broad Universe: an international, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting, encouraging, honoring, and celebrating women writers and editors in science fiction, fantasy, horror, and other speculative genres.
Grace’s nine-year-old son, Jordan, is dying. First, the Metagenesis disease will tear his soul from his body, and then it will kill him. Desperate for a cure, Grace agrees to take part in an illegal clinical trial cloning souls. Supported by her best friend Kay, the two embark on the ultimate “Vegas Vacation” to the past in search of the right soul to clone, racing against time to save Jordan’s life. But someone is trying to stop them and when they discover why Grace must make a choice: let her son die or kill her husband. If she kills her husband, she triggers widespread Metagenesis, sealing the fate of the human race with a new plague.
Humanity is counting on Grace choosing to let her son die.
Q&A with Raquel Rich
Thank you, Raquel, for taking some time to answer a few questions about your debut science-fiction novel, Hamartia.
Thanks for having me, Stuart!
Could you give us your own personal overview of what readers should expect within the book?
Deep down, Hamartia is a story about a broken woman clinging on to the only person she has left—her dying son. And it’s time travel. And it’s a thriller. Be warned: if you’re going on a week-long holiday, you should bring a second book along. If you don’t, when you’re done whipping through this one, you’ll be left with nothing to read and then you’ll be cursing me. I peppered the story with tons of mini cliff-hangers to make you suffer. You’re welcome.
Where did the initial inspiration for the narrative in Hamartia come from?
My son and I were at the Science Museum in London, England, where an exhibit on fears and phobias caught our attention. The exhibit explained things from a scientific point of view and also explored popular beliefs, one of which was reincarnation. The conversation which ensued consisted of my son making fun of my fears (balloons and turtlenecks) and me rationalizing that in my past life I had been strangled to death at a party—obviously. This is where the idea of “lost dying souls” began. I started asking myself, what would happen to a soul when it has completed too many life cycles? Would it die? How cool would it be to travel to your past life… to clone a new soul?
Could you give us a few more insights into what Grace has to face during her travels to the past and the impossible decision she has to make?
Not without spoilers. 😉
How would you describe the tone and atmosphere of Hamartia?
Although Hamartia has a dark theme and an ethical dilemma no parent should have to face, there’s also humour injected here and there. Sometimes my sense of humour goes right over the reader’s heads and that’s OK. But I gotta tell you, I’m always tickled when I read reviews that mention how darn funny the book was. Those readers are probably as twisted as I am.
What were the most challenging parts of writing about a woman with the world literally on her shoulders, making her choose between her whole world, her nine-year-old boy and her husband, and their continued existence?
The most challenging part was that I didn’t like Grace. I spent a lot of time with her in my head and she annoyed me—a lot. I’m always a bit wary of people who tell me they loved Grace so much and can relate to her perfectly. On the other hand, even though I didn’t like her, if I were in the same predicament, I would’ve made the same decision. Would you have?
How long did it take you to write Hamartia from concept to finished draft?
Four years. In all fairness, I had a full-time job and so I mainly wrote only on the weekends. I also took many sabbaticals from the project, suffering through bouts of writer’s block (procrastination).
Did you always have your eye set on being a writer/author and what sort of books did you grow up reading?
As a kid, I read everything from Sweet Valley High and Babysitters Club to Goosebumps and anything by Stephen King. I dreamed of being a pilot and a writer. Both dreams died by the time I was thirteen. Motion sickness quashed the pilot dream. But writing remained dormant until my early thirties and then—BAM!
Finally, have you read a book/article recently that you would personally recommend to the readers of this post?
I recently picked up a sci-fi humour book, “Loved Mars, Hated the Food” by indie author, Willie Handler. I met the author at a convention where he was promoting his upcoming release by giving away print copies of chapter one. I love sci-fi but hate Martians and space travel, so this was right out of left field for me. To be polite, I gave chapter one a chance and it had me laughing out loud. Willie is hilarious! I bought his book on release day. Today, I’m a few chapters in and still laughing with the turn of each page.
Thanks for your time.
No, no—thanks for YOUR time, Stuart! 🙂
Thank you again to Raquel Rich for taking the time to give us some insights into her debut SF novel Hamartia. I am really intrigued by the predicament that Grace faces in this novel and the SF elements that accompany her journey to a decision that has global ramifications. I hope you enjoyed the Q&A and it has enticed you enough to give Hamartia a go. Thank for coming by and supporting this post.