Following Joy and Felix, a commoner and a Duke who have been mind-paired since birth, as they attempt to clear their names after being falsely accused of murder, Alechia Dow’s new YA sci-fi, The Kindred, is an action packed, universe hopping read with a romance that will make your heart flutter. To celebrate its release, we caught up with Alechia to talk all things aliens, baking and tackling ‘real life’ topics in sci-fi.
Hi Alechia and happy new year! It’s so lovely to get to chat to you again today to celebrate the release of your fabulous new YA sci-fi, The Kindred. 2021 was… a lot for many people, so I’d love to ask, how have you been in the year or so since we talked to celebrate the release of your fabulous debut, The Sound of Stars?
Hello!! Thank you so much for having me again! 2021 was a lot, but I kept busy. I wrote new stories, worked on my craft, made a ton of doughnuts, and held tight to the things that made me happy.
The Kindred had one of the most unique concepts for a sci-fi I’ve read in a long time. Can you tell us a little about the inspirations behind it?
Oh, thank you!! There were a lot of little inspirations from Sense8 to Star Wars, but the one that really stuck with me is loneliness. I watched a documentary about how loneliness has increased, especially among older generations, and how people are trying to find new connections in an ever-evolving technological world. I thought, wow, imagine what it would be like if you shared a mind, memories, experiences with someone else? Imagine how technology could be used to remedy that? Imagine how that would shape a person? I love the idea of using technology to connect people, even from afar, but also the scope and issues that might present.
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As well as being a seriously talented author, you’re also an incredible baker and pastry chef. So, I have to ask, if Joy and Felix were to make you a visit, what would you bake them?
Thank you! If Joy and Felix were coming over, I’d make them the classics: brown butter chocolate chip cookies with a sprinkle of sea salt on top because it’s complex (like them!), and a fruity torte; a vanilla sponge with a sharp berry fruit mousse and citrus glaze!
The pandemic has been a hot topic in the past few years when it comes to fiction and the best way to recognise it (and whether to or not) so I wanted to say that I absolutely adored the way you acknowledged it in The Kindred. What was your thought process when writing it into the story the way you did?
You know, it was a toss-up for me whether to include it or not! On one hand, I love my fiction to have escapism, but on the other, if you’re writing contemporary, it would be weird not to acknowledge that. So I thought, well, let’s mention it without making predictions or saying hey, it’s all good now! It’s there but not the focus.
With the recent welcoming of a new year in mind, what do you think a New Years party with Joy, Felix, Ellie and M0Rr1S would entail and would you like an invite?
I think they have to invite me!! They’re so different in a lot of ways, but with good food, music, conversation, and no responsibilities to save the universe right then, it would be a great party!
How do you think you’d react in Rashid’s position upon finding yourself face to face with an alien?
First of all, I’d probably faint just like he did! Then, I would be like: I KNEW IT!! I’d ask a million questions.
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The Kindred explores topics such as colonialism, oppression, race and class. What was your writing process like when incorporating such important and very real narratives within science-fiction?
Scifi is such a great genre to explore huge topics that otherwise might be overwhelming. I know I want to explore colonialism, oppression, race and class, but I always approach it very carefully and cautiously. These are very real issues that deserve very real consideration. At the same time, I can’t imagine not having them discussed in books featuring empires, and kingdoms, with brown and Black kids trying to save their universe. It’s not always easy, but I really believe that featuring these topics will resonate with readers and give them hope.
It was so much fun to see the Ilori from The Sound of Stars featuring in The Kindred. Does this mean both books are set in the same universe? If so, do you think you’ll be revisiting it again in the future?
They are set in the same universe! I would LOVE to revisit this universe in the future, and *hopefully * I will.
Finally, you have multiple ridiculously exciting projects in the works, including YA and MG titles. Can you tell us a little bit about them?
I do! My first short story, Beauty Sleep, will be in Out There: Into the Queer New Yonder! It’ll be out in June this year with Inkyard Press. Then, I have a middle grade foodie fantasy coming in Fall 2023 with Feiwel & Friends, and another short story, We Are Stardust in 2023 as well! There’s more, but I can’t share them just yet!
Thank you so much for having me again! It’s been such a pleasure. 🙂
Get your copy of The Kindred by Alechia Dow here.