Today I am interviewing J.D. Laica, author of the new high-tech conspiracy thriller Biohack, the first book in the Gender Wars series. Biohack was a Hot New Release in five Amazon categories in mid-June.
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DJ: Hi J.D.! Thanks for agreeing to do this interview!
For readers who aren’t familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
J.D. Lasica: Sure. I’m a journalist and nonfiction author turned thriller author in Greater Silicon Valley. I’ve spoken at the United Nations, Harvard, Stanford, and on four continents—but I mostly love interacting with readers and championing the idea that we all have stories to tell.
DJ: What is Biohack about?
J.D.: It’s a story about a woman who loses her toddler in a swimming pool accident and wants a second chance. And a hacker with special ops skills who’s looking for her real mother and comes up against powerful forces in a biotech company that’s out to change our idea of how to have kids.
DJ: What were some of your influences Biohack and the series?
J.D.: These characters have been dancing around in my head for years, but it was only the development of CRISPR gene editing a few years back that took this from the realm of science fiction to something that could be right around the corner.
Thrillers have always been my first love, and I wanted to tackle a big subject. So Michael Crichton was a major influence, and I tried to follow his lead in weaving in some cutting-edge science without slowing down the action. There’s a Tom Clancy international vibe with scenes set in New York, L.A., Miami, Dallas, Rome, France, Belarus, and more. And you’ll find touches of a technothriller, crime thriller, science fiction, medical thriller, and even legal thriller weaved in.
My other influence was Silicon Valley, which informed the world I created for the villain and his team. I think people are becoming more skeptical of where tech may be taking us, and readers can see the upsides and downsides of artificial intelligence and reproductive technologies in the novel.
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?
J.D.: The protagonist, Kaden, is someone who could dazzle you with her mad hacking skills one minute and kickbox the hell out of you the next. She has a backstory about her gender that ties into the series title, and she finds out something about the parents who raised her that turns her life upside down.
Her foe, Sterling Waterhouse, is not a cardboard villain but a formidable opponent who stops at nothing to get what he wants, and that includes retrieving the DNA of the most famous people in history—living and dead.
DJ: What is the world and setting of the Gender Wars series like?
J.D.: I was happy to see that in the 60+ five-star reviews on Amazon so far, a lot of readers talked about the highly visual world I set out where the action takes place. Some of the scenes take place on a high-tech campus, others at a billionaire’s lavish estate, and others in exotic locales around the world. One reader wrote, “This book cries out to be a movie.”
My years working and running tech startups helped me portray this disturbing new landscape in a realistic way. The company’s treatment of women— employees, surrogates, and teenage girls—sparks conflicts throughout the course of the novel, but in the end it’s a story about women reasserting their power.
DJ: What was your favorite part about writing Biohack?
J.D.: I loved researching the action scenes that amount to cinematic set-pieces. The opening scene takes place along the Roman Street of the Dead in the catacombs beneath the Vatican. Bringing that to life was just awesome. The final scene also was satisfying in that it brought a resolution to the action but propels the reader toward Book 2.
DJ: What do you think readers will be talking about most once they finish it?
J.D.: I was interviewed on two podcasts this month, and both talked about how trippy it was that genetic science is bringing these hard moral choices to our doorstep and society is totally unprepared for it. I think each reader will come away with different ideas about how this should all play out, and that’s exactly as it should be. It’s not my job to tell you where to come down.
DJ: Did you have a particular goal when you began the Gender Wars series? Biohack is only the first book, but is 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?
J.D.: I’m out to develop a relationship with my readers. While it’s nice that readers are going to come away with a better understanding of the biosciences, I want to make sure I’m appealing to the heart as much as the head. This is fun summer reading but it’s also a story that will stay with you long after you read it. The theme is one that’s both timely and timeless and fits in with others in the genre, ranging from The Handmaid’s Tale to Jurassic Park. In the Acknowledgments I made sure to credit many of the authors who inspired me, from Lee Child and Dan Brown to Ursula K. Le Guin and Margaret Atwood.
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 Biohack that you can share with us?
J.D.: “Be fearless and free!”
“Score one for the damned.”
“The future is coming at us faster and faster. You just have to project your dream forward and catch up to it.”
DJ: Now that Biohack is released, what is next for you?
J.D.: I’m busy at work on Book 2 in the series. The working title is Mixed Reality. Several characters from the first book will return in another fast-paced thriller with cutting-edge technology and lots at stake.
DJ: Where can readers find out more about you?
Author Newsletter: Please join my Readers Circle by signing up at https://bestofindie.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jdlasica (follow me and I’ll follow you back)
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/J.D.-Lasica/e/B07D443D7L/
Biohack page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07D3S966G
And finally, here’s the trippy futuristic fertility clinic site I created based on where genetic science may be taking us by the mid-2020s: BirthrightsUnlimited.com
DJ: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to answer my questions!
J.D.: It was a pleasure! Would love to hear from your readers regarding what they thought about Biohack or the issues it tackles. I’m at email@example.com.
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Buy the Book:
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What would you give for a second chance?
Valerie Ramirez, a special ed teacher still haunted by her toddler’s drowning accident, faces a fateful decision when she’s admitted into an exclusive program run by a mysterious biotech company.
Kaden Baker, an elite hacker who dabbles in covert ops, finds her life turned upside down when she discovers her parents turn out to be imposters. Where does she come from? Who’s been financing her high-stakes secret missions?
The answers lead back to the same sinister biotech firm. As Kaden and Valerie become allies, they make one startling discovery after another about the company’s dark intentions. But each step closer to the truth puts their lives at greater risk.
The stakes couldn’t be higher—for Kaden’s freedom, for Valerie’s fate, and for the future direction of humanity itself.
About the Author:
J.D. Lasica leads a double life as an author of high-tech thrillers and as a tech entrepreneur in Greater Silicon Valley. He has spoken at the United Nations, Harvard, Stanford, and on four continents—and would love to chat on Facebook Live with your book club.
He co-founded Ourmedia, the world’s first free video hosting site, with the crazy notion that we all have stories to tell. When he isn’t daydreaming about future tech and dark plots, he enjoys travel, reading, nature hikes, photography, droning, poker, chess, red wine, Netflix, fatherhood, and hearing from readers.
Sign up for J.D.’s Best of Indie Readers Circle for weekly consumer tips on the best new indie book releases: bestofindie.com
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Facebook author page: facebook.com/authorjdlasica