Today I am interviewing Nick Clark Windo, author of the new science-fiction novel, The Feed.
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DJ: Hi Nick! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Nick Clark Windo: It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me here!
…sure. The Feed is my first published novel, though there are a few unpublished ones hanging around at home and plotting their freedom amongst themselves. I wrote one at school, another at University (where I studied English literature), another at RADA (where I trained to be an actor) and then another as I was working as an actor and starting to produce films, which is what I do as well as writing. I coach people on communication skills too. I don’t sleep much!
DJ: What is The Feed about?
Nick: It’s about two parents who are searching for their abducted daughter in an era when technology has collapsed. The Feed is the Internet directly to the brain: all knowledge, instant unfettered communication at the speed of thought. It’s great! Unfortunately, when it goes down, people find that they’re unable to make their own memories any more, or read body language, or communicate properly. Think you’d be in trouble if you lost your phone? Well this is worse. So it’s in this world that Tom and Kate fight to find their child.
DJ: What were some of your influences for The Feed?
Nick: Ah. Loads! I have quite a magpie brain, so books, films, TV shows, music, the news, they all set thoughts a-whirring. You’ll see some echoes of 28 Weeks Later in there, The Road, Station Eleven and just what’s happening in the world: the way people interact. Put on some Godspeed You! Black Emperor and some Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds while you’re reading and you’ll have a nice soundtrack. I’d love to hope that readers of David Mitchell might see some points of reference; certainly, his cross-genre boldness has been a big inspiration over the years.
DJ: Could you briefly tell us a little about your main characters? Do they have any cool quirks or habits, or any reason why readers with sympathize with them?
Nick: Well I hope that readers will recognise some of themselves in Kate and Tom. We first meet them in a crowded restaurant where they’ve agreed to have a date night ‘off Feed’. So everyone else is there, living in this digitally enhanced augmented reality and not really paying attention to the real people in the restaurant with them, and Tom and Kate are chewing the walls with withdrawal symptoms. More prosaically they can’t order any food as the menu is online and the waiter, dependent as he is on the Feed for communication, can’t really understand what they’re saying in ‘the real’.
DJ: What is the world and setting of The Feed like?
Nick: It’s a recognisable future. No hover cars or killer AIs. It’s all an extrapolation of how we live now – in fact, a lot of it is about how we’re living now is affecting how people will live in a few years. Then the Feed goes down and…well, the world is a pretty dangerous place. Essentially lobotomised, lots of people bite the dust quickly – they don’t know how to communicate, let alone forage for food or fix things. But for those who survive there’s a lot of hope, and a lot of natural beauty to the world. There’s also something taking people over in their sleep, which is causing a slow-burn terror amongst the survivors. On balance, I wouldn’t want to live there.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing The Feed?
Nick: I love the physical act of writing. I love getting lost in an imaginary world while at the same time describing that place with a pen and ink on paper. It’s wonderful.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
Nick: Well…there are a couple of twists, and something that has been kept off the blurb and out of the publicity on purpose. So – those things!
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began writing The Feed? Was there a particular message or meaning you are hoping to get across when readers finish it? Or is there perhaps a certain theme to the story?
Nick: There certainly are themes, and there’s a lot that I’m interested by and worried about. I believe that technology is affecting us in very fundamental ways that we’re sort of aware of, but hiding from. And in a few decades the damage will have been done. But at the same time, the novel’s not a polemic: it’s a thriller. So what I hope the readers get is absorbing entertainment. There are some big worlds in there, so their imaginations should get a work out, and some big things happen to the people in it…so emotions will hopefully be stretched. And there are twists. And, yeah, if it gets people thinking a bit about some of the things we’re taking for granted…that’d be good, too.
DJ: When I read, I love to collect quotes – whether it be because they’re funny, foodie, or have a personal meaning to me. Do you have any favorite quotes from The Feed that you can share with us?
Nick: Oh gosh. I do, but it feels kind of awkward pointing them out – like showing you my favourite pants. (NB as a Brit, that means underwear rather than trousers; I probably wouldn’t mind showing you my trousers.) To be honest, I’ve found that a fair bit of the writing process is about smoothing those sorts of lines a bit more unobtrusively into the rest of the text. Having said that, I’d obviously love it if any of your readers have some choice quotations. Please Tweet me with them if you do!
DJ: Now that The Feed is released, what is next for you?
Nick: The next book! Which isn’t to do with The Feed (although there might be one of those cooking, too). It’s pretty early stages but I know the world, the main characters. And I know how it’s going to end. That works as a compass point – I can get lost with the characters then, knowing where we need to get to. And The Feed is being adapted for TV. The show-runner is one of the writer/execs from The Walking Dead, so it’s all pretty big and very exciting. It’s due to start shooting very soon.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
DJ: Before we go, what is that one thing you’d like readers to know about The Feed that we haven’t talked about yet?
Nick: There’s some feel-good stuff in there! You know? It’s really easy to pitch the book as bleak post-apocalyptic stuff, but there are some people in there doing some emotional things…and there’s hope…and there’s bravery, and heartfelt resolution. Not to mention the landscape: man, it’s pretty in the future when we’ve stopped polluting the place!
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
Nick: Absolute pleasure. Thank you for having me.
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*** The Feed is published by William Morrow and is available TODAY!!! ***
Buy the Book:
Amazon | Barnes & Nobel | Goodreads | Kobo
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“Think The Road intricately wrapped around Station Eleven with a dash of Oryx and Crake…Windo pushes all the right buttons in this post-apocalyptic mashup.” — Kirkus
Set in a post-apocalyptic world as unique and vividly imagined as those of Mad Max and The Girl with All the Gifts, a startling and timely debut that explores what it is to be human and what it truly means to be connected in the digital age.
IT MAKES US. IT DESTROYS US. NOW WE MUST LEARN TO LIVE WITHOUT IT.
The Feed is accessible everywhere, by everyone, at any time. It instantaneously links us to all information and global events as they break. Every interaction, every emotion, every image can be shared through it; it is the essential tool everyone relies on to know and understand the thoughts and feelings of partners, parents, friends, children, colleagues, bosses, employees . . . in fact, of anyone and everyone else in the world.
Tom and Kate use the Feed, but Tom has resisted its addiction, which makes him suspect to his family. After all, his father created it. But that opposition to constant connection serves Tom and Kate well when the Feed collapses after a horrific tragedy shatters the world as they know it.
The Feed’s collapse, taking modern society with it, leaves people scavenging to survive. Finding food is truly a matter of life and death. Minor ailments, previously treatable, now kill. And while the collapse has demolished the trappings of the modern world, it has also eroded trust. In a world where survival of the fittest is a way of life, there is no one to depend upon except yourself . . . and maybe even that is no longer true.
Tom and Kate have managed to protect themselves and their family. But then their six-year-old daughter, Bea, goes missing. Who has taken her? How do you begin to look for someone in a world without technology? And what happens when you can no longer even be certain that the people you love are really who they claim to be
About the Author:
Nick Clark Windo was a student in the Faber Academy “Writing a Novel” course. He studied English literature at Cambridge and acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and he now works as a film producer and communications coach. The Feed, his first thriller, was inspired by his realization that people are becoming increasingly disconnected from one another, as well as by philosophical questions about identity and memory. He lives in London with his wife.