So, I recently read a fantastic dystopia by Liv Evans and was delighted when she agreed to an interview! She is the author of the upcoming book The Underground, which is the first book in the Derivates Rising Trilogy, and, let me tell you, this is a can’t miss read. If you like dystopias with mystery, action, dynamic characters, and romance, then this is the series for you!
Synopsis: “When freedom is a luxury, resistance is inevitable.”
The Government rule the Hub with an iron fist, their strict laws enforced by Derivates, humans with psionic abilities. When one of these Derivates flees her post, they send KC-847, a powerful telekinetic, to bring her back. However, KC-847 soon learns his team are unprepared for what they find in the tunnels, and the mission goes awry.
Flit, a plucky teleporter, works for the Underground resistance, the last refuge for Derivates wishing to live free of the Government’s control. On a routine security patrol, Flit comes across KC-847 and breaks all the rules to bring him back to the Underground.
However, KC-847’s arrival brings with it a string of deadly events that threaten the safety of the Underground. Convinced the incidents are more than unfortunate coincidences, Flit refuses to fall back on a false sense of security and drags KC-847 on an investigation that will change the trajectory of Derivate-kind forever.
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LINKS: Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository
Getting to Know Liv Evans:
Question: What prompted you to start writing?
Liv Evans: I have been making up stories and writing them down for as long as I can remember. I started to take it a little more seriously when I was a teenager, testing my skills by writing fanfiction. I wouldn’t even want to read back over that now, it is probably so terrible, but it was a start. Thankfully, there were those golden reviewers who would offer constructive advice, and eventually I gained the confidence to start creating my own worlds.
Liv Evans is the pseudonym for an Australian-born author who delights in crafting stories just as much as she enjoys devouring them.
Always one to question authority, Liv prefers to write stories with fully fleshed out characters and immersive worlds. Her favourite aspect of writing is weaving a tale that makes the characters and readers question what they think they know about themselves and the world.
Central themes in Liv’s work include never blindly accepting authority, finding the strength to stand up for what is right, and the power of the human spirit.
Q: In your bio, it says that the central themes in your work, “include never blindly accepting authority, finding the strength to stand up for what is right, and the power of the human spirit.” Why are these particular themes your focus?
LE: Fiction can be so powerful. There is nothing else I’ve found that has the ability to pluck me out of my everyday life and throw me into a whole new world the same way a book can. A good novel can make you experience so many emotions and influence the way you think about the world. As such, I want to try and put messages in my writing that readers can take away with them. The themes mentioned are things that were instilled in me as I grew up, and I like to think that exploring them can encourage people to think outside of the box and find ways to make the world a better place to live in. So much of life is about power and control, and when things are going wrong, it is these themes that help us see that, and find ways to make things more equitable. Big or small, I believe everyone can make a difference, and that is why I like to write stories about characters who do so in their own ways.
Q: Which books have most influenced your writing?
LE: As an avid reader, I think all of my influences smooshed together to make me write the way I do. One series that I can pick off the top off my head is The Runelords, by David Farland. That was the first series I read where I really fell in love with the author’s writing style and character development. Farland balanced so many perspectives with precision and distinction, and the stories were richer and more complex for it. While I don’t write nearly as many perspectives as Farland does in that series, I do try and add the different levels and motivations to my own work to create worlds that are never black and white.
Q: What interests do you have in addition to writing?
LE: Between working, my family, and writing, I manage to squeeze a few hobbies into my free time (read: when I should probably be sleeping). I am equal parts crafter and nerd. I love making things, whether I am sewing, knitting, felting, beading, decorating cakes, making cosplays… I also enjoy reading, watching movies and TV shows, and playing tabletop role playing games.
About the Book:
Q: Can you tell readers a little bit about The Underground?
LE: The Underground is a dystopian meets superpowers kind of novel, where a totalitarian Government use these powered people (called Derivates) to enforce their laws. Registered, and treated more like property than people, the Derivates have every aspect of their life controlled.
There is a rogue group of Derivates that manage to live, undetected, free of the Government’s control. They call themselves the Underground, because they are quite literally, underground. Living somewhere beneath the Government’s main city, the Hub, most of these Derivates spend their lives in the tunnels, unable to risk going up to the surface lest they be captured.
The story follows the adventures of Flit, an Underground teleporter, as she stumbles across KC-847, a Registered Government Derivate. She brings him back to their base, and as he tries to learn more about how their society works, a chain of deadly events make the pair realise that their sanctuary is not as safe as they thought it was.
It was a lot of fun writing the Derivates, due to the range of powers they can have. Teleporting, mind reading, mind control, telekinesis, and more. While the story is technically a dystopian, you’ll get hints of science-fiction, some powered action scenes, a bit of mystery, splashes of sass, and a good dash of romance.
Q: If you had to describe the protagonist of The Underground in three words, which words would you choose?
LE: There are two equal protagonists in The Underground, so I will cheat and answer this for both:
- KC-847: Logical, considerate, adaptable.
- Flit: Plucky, passionate, principled.
Q: Which character in the book do you most relate to?
LE: I feel like there are little aspects of different characters I relate to. Flit, because I can be just as passionate about certain topics, although I’m nowhere near as brave as she is. In other ways, I relate to Link, one of Flit’s teammates. She is always the mediator of the group. I do a lot of that in real life. When I’m spending time with my kids, I relate to Flit’s mother, Tinker. She loves Flit dearly, but the level of mischief she gets up to makes Tinker shake her head. My kids are a bit the same.
Q: What’s the most surprising thing you learned when writing The Derivates Rising Trilogy?
LE: Just how vital Google and Thesaurus.com are to my writing process. I can’t recall how many times I jumped on Google and searched up random and seemingly mundane things: underground cave formation, radio communication, electrochromic glass, propaganda, political theories, and the list goes on.
Q: Can you tell us anything about the second and third books in The Derivates Rising Trilogy?
LE: I’ve worked really hard to follow the usual trilogy format where book one covers smaller, local issues, book two stretches the world and uncovers something larger and way more alarming, and book three is where we watch the world burn.
I’ve kept The Underground based firmly in the Underground on purpose, so that readers could get a good idea of the life that our characters have to live in order to maintain their tenuous grasp on ‘freedom’.
In book two, The Hub, we head above ground and get a close-up look at the Government and exactly what the characters are contending with. Flit and KC-847 are going to have their eyes opened as they realise that there are more pieces in play than they thought.
And book three? Unfortunately, more details about that will lead to spoilers for book two that I’m not quite ready to part with. Suffice to say, our main characters are going to be facing the biggest challenges of their lives, with stakes that are far higher than they might have imagined.
Q: Where can readers learn more about you and your writings (i.e., website, Twitter, Facebook page, Goodreads, etc.)?
- Website: http://www.livevans.com.au
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53449001-the-underground
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/livevanswrites/?hl=en
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LivEvansWrites
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/LivEvansWrites
- Amazon: https://www.amazon.com.au/Underground-Derivates-Rising-Trilogy-Book-ebook/dp/B0891ZLSB7
I am delighted to host this AMAZING giveaway for The Underground! The winner receives a paperback copy of The Underground, a bookmark, custom hand-poured candle, cotton tote bag, enamel pin, and a vinyl decal. How fantastic is that? I’m loving that tote!
To enter this fantastic giveaway, click the image or link below!
7 thoughts on “Author Spotlight: My Interview with Liv Evans!”
Thank you for the interview, Julie! It was heaps of fun. Xx
Thanks for agreeing to do it! I love The underground and can’t wait for my reader friends to check it out! 🙂
After reading god knows how many reviews of books like this one, I’ve come to the concllusion that much of so-called science fiction, particularly “dystopian,” is actually fantasy. What most people seem to want from a “dystopian” novel is the thrill of reading about a world that they know can’t exist, can’t threaten them. Psionic powers! Super heroes! It’s like reading horror novels. Experience thrills and chills in complete safety. Meanwhile, true dystopias exist all over the world, quiet and deadly, including our own in the US, but who cares? Denial is a wonderful way to live — until it isn’t.
You certainly have a point there about dystopians existing all across the world right now. It can be tempting to escape into fiction and pretend that there isn’t anything going on in our own world that is in dire need of changing.
As far as the fiction goes, you’re right. Dystopian is an odd genre to pin down, and the novels in it tend to be more sci-fi (or more precisely, speculative fiction) or fantasy with dystopian themes. It is hard to classify any book as any one thing, so sometimes you just have to squish it into a neat and tidy box, when it really is anything but tidy.
Sometimes we just have to hope that, by reading about characters who question their own world, readers may just be inspired to do the same.
Interesting points. When I think of science fiction, I think of stories where science has advanced/changed society, technology, etc. in unimaginable ways. This could include the development of special powers, space travel, and more. Dystopian literature certainly falls under this umbrella in many instances, though I see your point about many of them being more fantasy than sci-fi. For me, it has more to do with the influence of science on the story.
Do you think that people read dystopian because they like reading about a world that doesn’t exist, or is it more because they can see a little of their reality in the imagined world? Maybe a mix of both.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
Undoubtedly both, plus many other reasons, I’m sure.