Monday, June 4, 2012

Interview & Giveaway with S. J. Kincaid

There are three things you should know about me:

1) Insignia is one of my favorite books. Ever. As in, of all freaking time.
2) S. J. Kincaid is beyond amazing. She's so chill. I mean, I'll be freaking out and fan-girling and she's just like,
3) Oh yeah. When I went to RT back in April, Ms. Kincaid showed up. AKA I never expected it. It was a surprise, and when I saw her I literally became just like the dude on the right

Anyhow! After the jump, not only will you have a ton of awesomeness delivered just to please your palate, but Ms. Kincaid is also generous enough (as she is) to give away some Insignia-related swag.

This is an interactive interview, as in YOU get to read what YOU want to read. I've divided this into two parts: the fun part and the more-serious stuff.

But before we get to all that, let's look at what Insignia is all about, shall we?

By: S. J. Kincaid
Release date: July 10th, 2012 from Katherine Tegen Books/Harper Teen
More than anything, Tom Raines wants to be important, though his shadowy life is anything but that. For years, Tom’s drifted from casino to casino with his unlucky gambler of a dad, gaming for their survival. Keeping a roof over their heads depends on a careful combination of skill, luck, con artistry, and staying invisible.

Then one day, Tom stops being invisible. Someone’s been watching his virtual-reality prowess, and he’s offered the incredible—a place at the Pentagonal Spire, an elite military academy. There, Tom’s instincts for combat will be put to the test, and if he passes, he’ll become a member of the Intrasolar Forces, helping to lead his country to victory in World War Three. Finally, he’ll be someone important: a superhuman war machine with the tech skills that every virtual-reality warrior dreams of. Life at the Spire holds everything that Tom’s always wanted—friends, the possibility of a girlfriend, and a life where his every action matters—but what will it cost him?

Gripping and provocative, S. J. Kincaid’s futuristic thrill ride of a debut crackles with memorable characters, tremendous wit, and a vision of the future that asks startling, timely questions about the melding of humanity and technology.

-Summary from Goodreads
Pre-order: Mrs. Nelson's (support my local indie store!)||Barnes&Noble||Amazon||Book Depository


1) Have you ever dated a gormless cretin? (You know I had to ask.)

Oh yes. There was a particular gormless cretin who decided during a movie we were watching that it was time to kiss me. Here's the problem: the move was "Hotel Rwanda". People were being brutally murdered and hacked with machetes in this terrible depiction of a real-life genocide, yet for some reason, the movie put this guy in a romantic mood. I was not impressed. Slightly alarmed, really. We did not date long.

Good call. Gentlemen, you listenin'? That is VALUABLE dating advice. 

2) Have you ever tasted Spicy Indian? (sorry, all, but inside jokes are too fun.) (Also, my gosh, that was not meant in an... ahem, inappropriate way. The capitalization was not intended to be possibly misleading... ah, I'll just shut up now.)

I love Indian! But if it’s too spicy, I just can’t handle all the spiciness.

Okay, btw, I am totally NOT thinking of disturbing stuff, mkay? This question was contributed by a friend of mine notorious for her... um... bluntness. STOP GIVING ME THOSE LOOKS, PLEASE! :D Haha, but seriously, I agree that Indian food is definitely awesome.

3) What is the secret to your awesomeness? (We're all dying to know, Ms. Kincaid, we're dying for it.)


Lauren DeStefano said the same thing. This must mean something... *engulfs fiber*

4) Being completely hypothetical here (because oh, the things I would do if you weren't an author), what would you be if you weren't an author? Something paranormal, perhaps? A mermaid? A troll? (Just kidding about the "troll" part.)

I'm going to be boring here: I'd be a nurse. …
Okay, too boring. A vampire nurse, then? Lots of blood and nurses get higher salaries on night shift, anyway.

That is such a clever answer. Y'all see this wittiness? Yeah. It is plentiful throughout the book.

5) What's one thing you can do that others usually can't?

Waste a lot of time accomplishing nothing in particular. Oh, and drawing faces. Sometimes. Not usually very well. 

Oh, I do that too! The former, I mean. I can't draw faces.

6) If you could have your own theory/law/principle/postulate, what would it be called, and what would it be?

Kincaid's law: No matter how simple or basic something is, if overanalyzed, over-thought, or over-discussed, it will become confusing.

That is very, very true.



1) What inspired you to write INSIGNIA?

I was reading about future technology, and one article discussed the likelihood that future combat (with advanced nations) would mostly involve unmanned drones controlled remotely. I started imagining two people on opposite sides of such a war, controlling those machines, and the relationship they'd have to each other without ever having actually met in person. It reminded me of a video game—one with terrible, real-life consequences... And the idea grew from here.

Well, I suppose if that did happen, my brother's intense videogaming sessions might actually not go to waste....

2) Is INSIGNIA part of a series? If so, how many books are there planned to be, and what can we expect in terms of evolution with each one?

Insignia is, indeed, part of a series. My contract's for three books. As for evolution... There are several plot threads that began in book one that will certainly develop in the subsequent two books. I can promise only one thing without spoiling much: the characters get older with each book. ;-)

Wait, how much older? And what do you mean by "will certainly develop?" WHAT DOES IT ALL MEEEEEAN??!!? O.O

3) In INSIGNIA, many laugh-out-loud-(literally) nicknames are introduced, such as "Man Hands" and "Evil Wench." How did you come up with such hilarious (yet vital) nicknames? Were there any, say, inspiration from "real life?"

Glad you like them! 'The Android' is the only one that came from real life, mostly because I knew this guy who was so good at everything, so friendly, and so smart, and just all-around awesome. Then I heard some people discuss him one day, and someone said, "I'm telling you, he's an android." That stuck in my brain. The other ones I just came up with as I wrote.

I know a guy like that. I shall now call him Android. ;)

4) I remember you telling me that it took you seven books to get published (and am I glad you did--get published, I mean). That must have been an exhausting time to plow through. Was there ever a time when you wanted to just give up? If so, how did you overcome such feelings?

There were definitely times I wanted to give up! You do feel a bit foolish sometimes, persisting and persisting at something and failing over and over again. I did sometimes decide to throw in the towel (especially after parting with literary agents one and two—since agents are so hard to get in the first place!) I guess the thing that drove me forward was the fact that I'd basically turned writing into my primary hobby. Once I quit, I was faced with the great chasm of free time. I always said then, "Meh, I guess I should write something." So there's that. Also, there was this nagging voice in my head warning me that if I quit now, I would definitely never get published... Whereas if I kept writing, I might have a chance one day.

Truthfully, after I wrote INSIGNIA, I really did intend to take a ten-year hiatus, because I was sure this was the best I could do at present, and if INSIGNIA didn’t get picked up, I obviously had no idea how to write something that would sell. I got into painting as my hobby instead. Then, it happened. I got a contract. Having failed six times before, I think it was much sweeter and more satisfying finally achieving what I'd dreamed about for so long. I dropped painting and went back to writing. 

Now THAT is resilience and perspicacity.

5) INSIGNIA features some of the most dynamic and three-dimensional characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Being completely honest (or pretending to be, anyway), which character do you think resembles you the most? And for those who haven't yet had the phenomenal experience of reading INSIGNIA, could you please describe that character in words that would also therefore describe yourself?

Thank you, Juli! I'm glad you like them. In all honesty, I'm not sure any of the characters bear a particular resemblance to me. There's really a bit of me in a lot of them, but not a great concentration of my characteristics in any one of them. I enjoy writing them all. I suppose if pressed, I might pick 'Vik'-- simply because I also make light of situations quite often, and I also have some fantastic friends in my life.

Vik is made of awesome. Fantastic choice.

6) I know everyone asks this question, but alas, I'm not that original anyway: What is the best writing advice you can give to any aspiring (or published, even!) authors out there? Bonus points will be awarded if you can phrase the answer in under eight words. (Eight because, well, INSIGNIA has eight letters. See, you should have definitely picked a longer title. Something like The Ultimate Guide On How To Become Epic: Floating Through the Epic with S. J. Kincaid.)

Ignore rejections, keep writing. Gloat later once successful. ;-)

You are GOOD. (Also, why the heck did I say "floating through the epic?" Ugh. It should be more like, say, "COMBATING through the Epic." Ha, see what I did there?)

7) Bonus question: Go to page 127 of INSIGNIA. Pick one word/sentence/paragraph on that page and share it with us. Let us know, with that passage, why EVERYONE should go and pre-order INSIGNIA. (You guys should've already done that the second you saw this interview, by the way. Come on, there's still time for redemption! *insert ticking clock*)

All right, page 127 of the ARC: "He couldn’t tear his mind from the Russo-Chinese Combatant even though the Battle of Stalingrad raged around him." I picked this one because I thought this scene was kind of funny when I thought of it. The Battle of Stalingrad was one of the most violent, brutal, nasty conflicts that helped change the course of World War II. People fought for weeks over one building, people threw themselves under tanks to blow them up, and it lasted for something like two years. And Tom and Vik are just having a casual conversation in the middle of it. It's just an absurd scenario, so it amused me. Hopefully such things will amuse others.
The backstory and history links is absolutely genius. *sighs* I am very amused, yes. But I will be more amused if you would please hand me Book Two. So... pleeeeease?

Isn't she amazing? Let's see a bit more about just how awesome S. J. Kincaid is...

I'm a writer of YA fiction. My debut novel is called INSIGNIA. It's the story of a teenage video gamer who becomes a government weapon in a futuristic world at war. (Summer of 2012, Katherine Tegen Books) On Goodreads:

-Bio from the Kincaid Blog

Find S. J. Kincaid around the Cyberspace:

Look out for my review of Insignia here to see how much I loved it! Just so you guys know, Insignia is edited by Molly O'Neill, my dream editor, who also happened to have edited, oh yeah, Divergent and Insurgent. So... yanno. Keep that in mind. ;) And oh! Fantastic news! Fox has purchased the movie rights to Insignia! I am SOOOOO excited. *crosses fingers* PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make it a movie!

And now, finally...

This giveaway will be international. I haven't asked Ms. Kincaid about that yet, but if you live abroad I can get her to mail it to me and then I'll mail it to you! :) Yay! Okay, so, make sure that you are at least 13 or older (if under, must have parent permission). Otherwise, you can't enter the giveaway. Sorry. :(

Enter the giveaway!

Enjoy, and may you love Insignia!
The Reviews News


  1. thank you so much for this giveaway! Insignia sounds like such a great read! =)

  2. Thanks so much for the interview and giveaway! Wow that it took seven books to get published! I think the persistence is absolutely great.

    I'll (hopefully) be attending the Dark Days Tour stop in Huntington Beach in July so maybe I'll see you there, S.J. Kincaid! Can't wait to read your book! :)

  3. Thank you for the giveaway! Great looking book, sounds interesting ,I'm going to check it out!

  4. Book looks great. Thank you.
    magic5905 at embarqmail dot com

  5. This sounds like a great book (and I must get some fiber as well!). Always interesting hearing an author's view on the world.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. I’m pretty sure you’ll kill me if I don’t pre-order this, so...let me go do that ;)

  7. @Jill Haha YES!!!!!!!! :D :D :D (the you pre-ordering part, not the me-killing-you part.)

  8. Thanks for the giveaway! Hmmm... if I want to be more awesome, I need to take more fiber... I'm on it! :D

  9. I love the idea of the laugh-out-loud-(literally) nicknames. My husband and son have nicknames for everyone. My son's nickname in college was Turd Ferguson (had to do with a campaign sign he stole)anyway his girlfriend and future wife was NOT amused by being referred to as Mrs Turd Ferguson.

  10. I've been excited to read Insignia ever since I heard about it a few months back! It sounds totally awesome!


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