GETTIN’ LUCKY: An Interview with Debra Driza, Author of MILA 2.0

Today we’ve got Debra Driza on the line talking about her debut YA sci-fi thriller MILA 2.0. Here’s the scoop:

Mila 2.0 is the first book in an electrifying sci-fi thriller series about a teenage girl who discovers that she is an experiment in artificial intelligence.

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Mila was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was a girl living with her mother in a small Minnesota town. She was supposed to forget her past —that she was built in a secret computer science lab and programmed to do things real people would never do.

Now she has no choice but to run—from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology. However, what Mila’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and it just might save her life.

Rockin’ premise! But since we’ve got the author here, let’s dig a little deeper…

So tell us a little bit more about Mila. What is she like at the beginning of the story? What is she passionate about? What is her biggest road block? What would she normally eat for breakfast?

At the beginning of the story, Mila is pretty grief-stricken by the loss of her father. She’s moved to a new town, is trying to fit in, and really struggling to find her place. She’s passionate about reading, horses, and discovering what happened to her relationship with her mom. Her normal breakfast at first is toast and jelly, but once she discovers she’s an android, all bets are off.

Tell us a little bit more about yourself. What is your defining characteristic as a writer? What themes do you see yourself exploring throughout your writing career? What do you normally eat for breakfast?

Oh gosh, my defining characteristic? Probably humor. I’m not sure that I could write even the most serious book without at least a little humor. In MILA 2.0, I really enjoyed exploring the themes of identity and what it means to be human. I actually find the theme of identity fascinating, and could definitely see myself exploring it more throughout my writing career. Um, breakfast? What is that? (Does caffeine count as a breakfast food?)

Tell us a little bit about your publishing path. Was it typical? Was it magical? What has been your favorite part?

Is there such a thing as a typical publishing path? I’m not sure. I guess mine wasn’t uncommon in that I started out with a couple of books that ended up in the trunk. MILA is my fifth actual book, and my third YA–but my first published book. My favorite part has definitely been connecting with other writers. You know, people who don’t think you’re crazy for talking to the characters in your head.

On a scale of 1 to Voldemort, how evil are you to your characters, and does that correlate in some way to how evil/not evil you are in real life?

My antagonist General Holland is pretty darn evil. Though, to be fair, he thinks he’s completely logical, and looking to protect the greater good. That’s actually another theme I like to explore: individual rights vs. the greater good. I try not to torture people in real life, but some days that restraint can be very challenging, so LOOK OUT if you see me writing in a coffee shop somewhere. =D

Give us a brief, general idea (no spoilers!) of what we can expect in the MILA 2.0 series.

Lots and lots of action, more romance, and robot dogs! (Um, no, actually–no robot dogs. Alas.)

Are you working on anything new besides future MILA 2.0 books? Tease us, please!

I have a few contemporary YA stories that I’ve been tossing around. I love contemporary, and the freedom that genre gives you to experiment with voice. Because Mila is quite dark and intense, I’m really looking forward to playing with something light and fluffy.

Thanks so much, Debra, for piquing our curiosity. I can’t wait to pick up my own copy, available now at:

IndieBound
Amazon US & Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Powell’s
Books-A-Million
The Book Depository

For more about Debra Driza:

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www.debradriza.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Debra-Driza
www.twitter.com/DebraDriza

Mary Elizabeth Summer is an instructional designer, a mom, a champion of the serial comma, and a pie junkie. Oh, and she sometimes writes books about teenage delinquents saving the day. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her daughter, her partner, and her evil overlor–er, cat. CATCH MY GRIFT, a YA mystery, will be released by Delacorte in Fall 2014.
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