Stuart Wilson, author of the YA sci-fi adventure Kyle vs. Leila (formerly titled Cyberfreak Debt), answers questions about his novel and his writing habits. Follow him on Twitter.
The majority of Cyberfreak Debt takes place at the Directorate of Metanormal Defense. How did you go about developing this complex setting?
I knew I wanted to keep all the craziness in one place—it would have gotten out of hand if the characters could have wandered wherever they liked! So I just started adding all the features they’d need to live and train: food halls, sports arenas, racing courses… but then it just got out of hand anyway.
From the setting to the sound effects, Cyberfreak Debt seems heavily inspired by comic books. Why did you choose to write in this style?
I’ll take that as a compliment! I grew up on comic books and I still love them. When I envisage stories in my head they’re always in a pow! zap! sort of form, so I guess that just comes out in the writing. Mainly I wanted to the book to be fun, and I think that’s exactly what you get with comic books.
How did you go about choreographing the action scenes?
The main aim here was for unpredictability. If things start kicking off I wanted the reader to have no idea what might happen—sometimes even I didn’t know what was happening!
What was the inspiration behind Ahn, the little Japanese boy who is simultaneously wise and childishly absurd?
I have friends with Japanese heritage and it’s a really interesting culture from my point of view (I’m a Brit), so I wanted to play with some of this in the story. Although I never intended him as a main character, he already seems very popular and I’m glad about that because he deserves it.
What was the first idea you had for Cyberfreak Debt, and how did the story grow from there?
It’s the cumulation of so many other stories that I’ve written in the past; all the best bits pulled into one piece so it’s kind of been developing for years. It’s hard to say exactly where one story begins, but of all the books I’ve ever written, this is the first one that felt complete.
Do you have a favorite aspect about writing? Scenes you particularly enjoyed creating? Characters you especially liked developing?
I love the absolute freedom. You can literally take your characters wherever you want and, especially in a story like Cyberfreak Debt, the possibilities are limitless. I like pushing the boundaries as far as I can, to the point of insanity and beyond!
Describe your ideal writing situation. Where would you be? What would you have available?
Lots of coffee and Diet Coke. I think I’m addicted but I need a steady flow of caffeine to keep going. After that as long as I’ve got headphones, I don’t mind where I am—café, office, library… I just carry my laptop around and find a place to perch.
If Cyberfreak Debt could be adapted into any other medium, what would you want it be? Comic book? Movie? TV series?
Movies can be over too quick and, while a box set can be with you a long time, almost like a book, I think I’d have to say comic just to satisfy my inner geek…
What’s next for Kyle Rivers? Will he be returning for future adventures? What about Leila?
I hope readers will see Kyle’s journey came to a comfortable conclusion. He’s got himself together and can really choose what happens now. Leila however has all sorts of beef, loose ends and vendettas to take care of. She’s the one to watch and the one I’m most excited to write about next!