Hey! Welcome back to my Blogoversary Celebration! Thanks for coming back. :) Today I am thrilled to feature author Josin McQuein, who has an amazing guest post for us on the thought process of the spine-tingling creatures, the Fades, from her debut novel ARCLIGHT! I've had the pleasure to read both Josin's ARCLIGHT and her novel releasing in October, PREMEDITATED, and I enjoyed them both immensely, and I can't wait for the rest of the world to have to opportunity to read both novels. But until then, without further ado, Josin McQuein's awesome and creepy guest post on her thought process for the Fades!
Guest Post by Josin McQuein
As someone who occasionally goes by the name Blogger the Terrible due to posting gaps, I am seriously impressed by anyone who can keep a blog schedule for an extended period of time.
At this point, Blythe may be the only person on the planet who has read both of my books, so it's very cool in this writer's brain that she's been gracious enough to allow me a space on her blog. And I will do my very best to keep this short enough that she won't regret it.
So... I have a book coming out next month - ARCLIGHT - and in this book, there are creatures called the Fade who are photophobic. Now, lest that detail make you think these creatures are simply vampires by another name, let me assure you that they aren't. They aren't supernatural creatures in the traditional sense at all, but they are rather creepy, and it's that aspect of their being and origin that I'm going to focus on.
There are three factors in the Fade's creation.
1 - Fears of the dark and the unknown are primal. So is the fear of a loss of self.
When you don't know what makes a noise, it's easy for your mind to convince you that you're facing the thing that scares you the most. In this case, everything beyond the small enclave where the humans live has fallen in a living darkness that inches a little closer to them, every day. The Fade spread a lack of light like a contagion, and they do it without ever being seen because they can make themselves vanish. They're chameleons who can alter their appearance to match whatever background they're standing in front of, so if one's after you, you'll never see it coming. The only warning you get is that shiver and the suspicion that you're being followed.
As to a loss of self, whether you're talking about paralysis, a degenerative disease, or mind control, no sentient being can tolerate the idea that their body is no longer their own. To lose the ability to choose where you go or what you say, to be so completely under another's influence that you're reduced to an existence as a working mind trapped inside a shell, that's true terror. After all, it was the threat of assimilation, more than annihilation, that made the Borg such a horrifying enemy in Star Trek.
2 - I'm a nerd, wrapped in a geek, and dipped in dork... but you probably got that from the use of "Borg."
I *love* science fiction, but even more I love the particular brand of science fiction that's got facets of science fact. Granted, much of the "science" in Arclight (and more so its sequel) is pseudo-science, parts of it are real areas of research. Nanotechnology is an advancing field, and as with all science, there are some serious ethical considerations to be weighed.
3 - Ants.
Technically, that should be ants and scorpions, but I'll start with the ants because that's where the entire concept of "Fade" began.
Years ago, I heard the account of a South American hiker who had a harrowing experience in the rainforest. This person and her friends had stopped at a backpacker's hotel. Some time in the night, she woke up because she felt something crawling on her. She knew there were no lights because the hotel used a gas generator that had to be turned off after a certain time, but there was moonlight, and she said she swore that it looked like the room's wallpaper was moving.
Her roomie grabbed a flashlight, shined it on the wall and discovered that there were thousands of ants in the room. They were on the wall, but also ON THE HIKERS!
They ran out of the room (and into other groups doing the same) and headed for the lobby, but there were ants there, too. People had taken refuge on sofas and couches while the ants streamed past, huddled under umbrellas because the ants in the ceiling were attacking the scorpions that had made nests there, and the scorpions, in turn, were leaping off the ceiling beams onto people's heads to get away.
The hikers had stumbled into the middle of the yearly army ant migration, and the hotel staff, knowing it was coming, had abandoned the hotel because the ants would devour everything in their path (scorpions, rats, etc.) until they'd passed on.
That story was the spark that created this idea of a horde of unseen creatures, all linked by a hive mind, and capable of wiping out everything in their path. The Fade became part bogeyman and part pestilence all held together by idea of a worst case scenario. And if that's not quite creepy enough, think about this -- zombie ants are a real thing.
So that's it. That's Arclight's creature in a nutshell.
I wish I had time and space to explain more, but that would spoil the book. Suffice to say, that there are many kinds of darkness. It's a condition of belief, rather than fact, as darkness itself can never be added, subtracted, or even quantified, and all it takes is a single spark to bring the light back.
Thanks again to Blythe, and I hope you all read and enjoy ARCLIGHT when it comes out.
No one crosses the wall of light . . . except for one girl who doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or how she survived. A harrowing, powerful debut thriller about finding yourself and protecting your future—no matter how short and uncertain it may be.
The Arclight is the last defense. The Fade can’t get in. Outside the Arclight’s border of high-powered beams is the Dark. And between the Light and the Dark is the Grey, a narrow, barren no-man’s-land. That’s where the rescue team finds Marina, a lone teenage girl with no memory of the horrors she faced or the family she lost. Marina is the only person who has ever survived an encounter with the Fade. She’s the first hope humanity has had in generations, but she could also be the catalyst for their final destruction. Because the Fade will stop at nothing to get her back. Marina knows it. Tobin, who’s determined to take his revenge on the Fade, knows it. Anne-Marie, who just wishes it were all over, knows it.
When one of the Fade infiltrates the Arclight and Marina recognizes it, she will begin to unlock secrets she didn’t even know she had. Who will Marina become? Who can she never be again?
**all giveaways in this event are international
YA and MG writer repped by Laura Rennert of the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I have a habit of doodling things that turn into actual pictures. I toss them up at random intervals for readers to point and laugh at.