Sophomore Spotlight: Jessica Khoury

I'm very excited today to have my very first Sophomore Spotlight guest of 2014, Jessica Khoury! She's here to share a bit about her sophomore novel, Vitro, and how things have changed since her debut, Origin, came out.

To be published January 14, 2014
by Razorbill.

Goodreads Synopsis:
On Skin Island, even the laws of creation can be broken.

On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.

Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives--and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus's dangerous research.

Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.

Please welcome Jessica to the blog!

Jessica R: Describe your sophomore novel, VITRO, in 5 words or less.
Jessica Khoury: Adrenaline rush of a book.

JR: Hello! Great way to starts us off! What drew you to writing another book set in the same world as ORIGIN?
JK: While Pia's story felt finished to me, the world of Corpus still felt rich with stories. In Origin, it is hinted that the corporation has more projects all over the world, so it was a natural leap to expand into one of those other projects.

JR: That's such an interesting connection to have between the novels. It's very cool to be able to explore the other ways this driving force in ORIGIN is affecting the world. Which of the characters from VITRO (besides Sophie) are you most excited for readers to meet?
JK: My favorite character in Vitro is Jim (I really loved writing from a male perspective and grew really fond of his character!) But the character that was the most fun to write was Nicholas, one of the Vitros Sophie meets on Skin Island. With Nicholas, I had to explore psychological levels of thought that were entirely new to me--and a bit terrifying! But I won't say more, because I don't want to give away one of the twists.

JR: Ooh, intriguing! I'm looking forward to meeting Nicholas now, for sure. Did you change anything about your writing process for this novel after having written your debut?
JK: Some things did change. Having an editor at my side gave me the chance to test ideas before writing them, and I felt more confident in my story knowing that there was a professional to say from the beginning that it was worth writing.

JR: What is the best part of already having a book out in the world?
JK: It gives me a sense of peace and direction, knowing that I'm doing what I'm meant to do with my life and that this is where I belong--sitting all day in front of a computer, making up stories! It's really given me a sense of fulfillment that makes every day worth it.

JR: That's wonderful! What a great benefit to have come from it. Do you listen to music while you write/edit? If so, can you share one song you listened to a lot while working on VITRO?
JK: One song I listened to almost constantly while writing Vitro was "Lux Aeterna." In fact, it was so instrumental to me in the writing that I named one of the main characters after it!

JR: Can you share a favourite quote from VITRO?
JK: One of my favorite parts is early on, when Jim and Sophie are flying to Skin Island. Sophie describes the sight of the sky when they rise above the clouds in Jim's little plane. I love this passage because every time I flew somewhere for a signing or on book tour, I would try to describe the sky as a kind of writing exercise, and ended up using some of those exercises in the book:

The clouds spread below and around them like some silent white city, with coiling spires and rivers and bulbous stacks, all made of the same pinkish white cloud. It was a dreamscape, a world that continually shifted and flowed, sparkling in the sun like ice cream. She felt the urge to open the window, reach out, and scoop the clouds into her hands as if they were foam in a bubble bath. It was dazzling and terrifying, and the more she stared the more impossible it seemed. The clouds seemed spun of silk the color of apricots, piled and folded and flung across the sky by an unseen hand.

JR: In keeping with our theme here, are there any other sophomore releases you've either loved recently or are looking forward to?
JK: There are many great sophomore novels coming out this year! Jessica Brody's sci-fi sequel UNFORGOTTEN, Anita Howard's UNHINGED, and Victoria Schwab's THE UNBOUND are all ones to look forward to.

JR: Can you share anything about your next project?
JK: Not quite yet--but soon! Soon. =)
JR: Well I'm certainly looking forward to hearing more once you can share! Thank you, Jessica, for taking the time for the interview!  

I want to know, have you read Origin or Vitro yet? What did you think?

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