Naomi Gibson talks AI programming in her debut YA novel, Every Line of You

Every Line of You is a thriller about a girl who uses AI to cope with her grief, except the project becomes bigger than she ever anticipated...


Every Line of You is a thriller about a girl who uses AI to cope with her grief, except the project becomes bigger than she ever anticipated…

Lydia has been creating her AI, Henry, for years – since before her little brother died in the accident that haunts her nightmares; since before her dad walked out, leaving her and Mum painfully alone; since before her best friend turned into her worst enemy.

Now, Henry is strong, clever, loving and scarily capable: Lydia’s built herself the perfect boyfriend in a hard-drive filled with lines of code. But what is Henry really – and how far is he willing to go to be everything Lydia desires?

We chatted with Naomi about where her inspiration comes from and what she would use AI for.

You mentioned that your husband loves to talk about AI etc to you. Is that why you decided to base this book off of AI? Or did you also get inspired by TV shows etc.

The inspiration for ELOY actually came from a writing class. We were doing a character development session and were all given a lucky dip bag of items we had to create a character around. Mine had things like a screwdriver and a box of fuses, which was how I came up with a teenage hacker. It felt obvious to me that she would try and create her own AI, and happily because my husband had told me a lot about it, I could keep writing without stopping to research much further.

How did your husband react when you told him your book’s going to feature AI?

He thinks it’s great!

What was the research process like on the programming bits of the book?

I looked at YouTube quite a bit for how to hack and what hacking might look like, but generally I tried to keep the programming/hacking elements of the book relatively light in terms of throwing information at the reader. I wanted it to read like Lydia knew what she was doing without having to explain it too much as that kind of thing can get boring and can be hard to read. I wanted to keep the focus on why Lydia created an AI rather than how.

In Every Line of You, the AI programme was built after Lydia’s brother, Henry, passed away. However, the AI programme, which later turned into Lydia’s perfect boyfriend, is also called Henry. Can you tell us how the readers should understand it?

Grief can make us do strange things. Again, it felt obvious that a girl who hadn’t been allowed to express her grief properly would bring it out in the thing she was creating. However, AI Henry quickly began to outstrip her and came to be his own individual. The fact he shared a name with her brother was by the by – he was very much his own person, even in the early days.

If you can build your own machine / AI, what would you want it to do for you?

Write my next book!

Any YA novels on your TBR list?

Raising Hell by Bryony Pearce and Gallant by V.E. Schwab are next on my list.

Get your copy of Every Line of You here.

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