Friday, April 11, 2014

Interview with Walter Jury & Sarah Fine, co-authors of Scan

Today I have an interview with Walter Jury and Sarah Fine, co-authors of the new YA alien thriller SCAN! Walter Jury is one of the producers of the Divergent movie, and Sarah Fine is the author of the Guards of the Shadowlands series and the upcoming Of Metal and Wishes.

I had the opportunity to read SCAN a few months ago, and it was an intense read! My review, along with an ARC giveaway, will be posted next week. So keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, I included the cover and the summary of SCAN below so that you can learn more about it before you read the interview.

Scan by Walter Jury & Sarah Fine
Release Date: May 1, 2014
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Tate and his father don’t exactly get along. As Tate sees it, his father has unreasonably high expectations for Tate to be the best—at everything. Tate finally learns what he’s being prepared for when he steals one of his dad’s odd tech inventions and mercenaries ambush the school, killing his father in the process and sending Tate on the run from aliens who look just like humans.

All Tate knows--like how to make weapons out of oranges and lighter fluid--may not be enough to save him as he’s plunged into a secret inter-species conflict that’s been going on for centuries. Aided only by his girlfriend and his estranged mother, with powerful enemies closing in on all sides, Tate races to puzzle out the secret behind his father’s invention and why so many are willing to kill for it. A riveting, fast-paced adventure, Scan is a clever alien thriller with muscle and heart.

Walter Jury (left) and Sarah Fine (right).

I think author Morgan Rhodes's blurb of SCAN ("Nonstop, action-packed thrill ride") describes it perfectly. What did you enjoy the most about writing SCAN? Do you have a favorite scene?

(SPOILER ALERT) Walter's favorite scene is the final set piece. Without giving away any plot points, I will describe it as a major action sequence that involves Tate and his primary pursuer, along with a few other names in a very fun location that is described in detail, but allows for the imagination to run wild with the options as the scene progresses. With Tate's skills that we establish early on, we get a real sense of how high the stakes are and how far he can progress with his Dad's tutelage and influence guiding him.

While I was reading SCAN, I couldn't help but to be in awe of Tate and all his skills and knowledge. He was a brilliant kid. It made me wonder, how much and what kind of research went into SCAN? Was it intimidating to write about someone who pretty much excelled at everything?

Sarah consulted with a chemistry professor regarding many of the explosive chemical reactions in the book, and with one exception where she used major creative license, they're totally possible. But also, the Internet is a writer's friend. Look on Youtube for "Super Soaker flamethrower" or "nitrogen triiodide detonation" and there is a wealth of terrifying-yet-inspiring source material! DO NOT try that stuff at home PLEASE.

Tate's not the only the one with a family who is hiding big secrets about aliens, but unlike some of the others, Tate's parents never told him anything. How different would Tate be from the person he is today had his father (Fred) told him everything from the very beginning?

(SPOILER ALERT) Fred knew what he was doing. He wanted to see an advanced level of consistent maturity from Tate prior to giving him the keys to the castle of his family heritage. Consistent is the key word, because as we see adversity really fortified Tate's focus. So it was probably the right move at the time for Fred not to share the information with his son--had Fred have passed along the information, then maybe Fred would still be alive, but if Tate had demonstrated irresponsibility in a different manner, then it could have been very costly in some other manner. To answer the question directly, I believe Tate needed some real adversity to get him to a higher level of maturity--and I don't believe just his father's divulging of their family history would have been enough to change that particular aspect and weakness.

I know SCAN is Tate's story, but I love his girlfriend Christina too! She's awesome, and I kept wondering what she was thinking throughout the book. Will readers ever get a glimpse inside her head? Like maybe a novella or anything from her POV?

Great question. It is actually a great suggestion and certainly something that would be fun to write--the shootout in Act I especially, would be great to see from her perspective as it is devastating to both Tate and Christina, but maybe surreal to Christina as opposed to calamitously real to Tate. We will have to give you a special thanks if that ever becomes a novella or an ebook teaser!

I saw on Goodreads that the sequel to SCAN is called BURN. What can you tell us about it? Is this a duology or will there be more books after BURN?

BURN is currently in the works so while we are working hard to finish it, it would be premature to spoil any of the major plot points and sequences--but what we can say is: more secrets revealed, more MacGyver-like maneuvers, and definitely more action! As of now, we are looking at a duology, but we love these characters and the world-building that went around this mythology, so we certainly would be open to exploring more possibilities in the future!

Is there anything else about SCAN you would like to mention to readers?

SCAN is really a labor of love for us--it was a story that just flowed out of us very seamlessly because we so passionately wanted to look at the ramifications of a visit from aliens prior to the advent of modern technology. The characters definitely are inspired and we hope, creatively unique, to readers of all ages and all proficiencies in young adult literature. We hope everyone gets out of reading the novel the exact same feeling we had when writing it!

Finally, if you found out you were actually an alien, how would you react?

Walter: I would start researching right away in order to figure out how to get to outer space using one of those services like Elon Musk's SpaceX. At this stage, I know they are still experimental and very expensive, but it is a great excuse for me to book a costly trip to outer space and gives me the perfect retort when my wife asks what I'm doing--"Babe, I'm just planning a trip to visit some family!"

Sarah: It depends. Am I a member of the dominant species? If so: sigh of relief. Possible fist pump. If not: ACT CASUAL AND TRY TO BLEND IN.

Thank you to both Walter Jury and Sarah Fine for answering my questions (and Stacey from Penguin for asking me to interview them)! I loved the in-depth answers, and I'm even more eager to read BURN. And anything from Christina's perspective would be awesome, if a novella or teaser ever becomes possible! :D

Well, I hoped you all enjoyed the interview! Did it make you curious to read SCAN? If so, SCAN will be released May 1, 2014 by Putnam Juvenile, a Penguin imprint. So not too long from now! And as I mentioned before I will be posting my review and a giveaway next week. Stay tuned!


  1. I was thinking the exact same thing about Tate's characterization. He's got the intelligence of a card-carrying MENSA member! I did wonder how exhaustive the research was for his character!

    Thanks for sharing!



    I didn't even need to be sold on this book b/c A-L-I-E-N-S. But I was ;) Great interview!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  3. I really want to read the book after this interview :/

  4. thanks for the fun interview and congrats to Sarah on the new release!!! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. I think that it's all the research that I would enjoy. I like the sound of this.

  6. I am SO excited to read this - especially after reading (the nonspoiler parts of) this interview and Joyous Read's review of it. I love sci fi books, particularly ones with aliens involved. I can't wait to come back and read this interview after I read the book - I already bookmarked it :)

  7. I really enjoyed the interview and I'm looking forward to reading Scan. It sounds like such a fantastic story.

  8. Hahaha act casual and try to blend in. Genius! I think that would be my reaction too! Haha. I'm looking forward to reading this book! :D

  9. I love SANCTUM by Sara Fine and I'm really looking forward to this.

  10. Hahaha. Act casual Yep. Fun ibterview :)

  11. Awesome interview! I really love Sarah Fine so I can't wait to read this one!