friday5 special edition: interview with debut author Hayley Stone!!

I'm beyond thrilled to have a very special guest here on the blog today for a very special author interview edition of the Friday5. Please welcome my agentmate, and sci-fi writing superstar, rockstar extraordinaire (girl did a signing at this year's SD Comic-Con!), debut author and all-around awesome person, Hayley Stone! Hayley's stunning debut, MACHINATIONS is out now, and you guys, YOU GUYS, you seriously need to check out this whirlwind of thrilling sci-fi goodness! 

Before we get to today's special edition Friday5 Q&A, here's a little more about rockstar Hayley, and Machinations:


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Hayley Stone has lived her entire life in sunny California, where the weather is usually perfect and nothing as exciting as a robot apocalypse ever happens. When not reading or writing, she freelances as a graphic designer, falls in love with videogame characters, and analyzes buildings for velociraptor entry points. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history and a minor in German from California State University, Sacramento.

Machinations is her debut novel from Hydra/Random House. Its sequel, Counterpart, releases October 11th, 2016.

Admit it, you adore her already, don't you? :) Well, just wait until you hear about Machinations!

Perfect for fans of Robopocalypse, this action-packed science-fiction debut introduces a chilling future and an unforgettable heroine with a powerful role to play in the battle for humanity’s survival.

The machines have risen, but not out of malice. They were simply following a command: to stop the endless wars that have plagued the world throughout history. Their solution was perfectly logical. To end the fighting, they decided to end the human race.

A potent symbol of the resistance, Rhona Long has served on the front lines of the conflict since the first Machinations began—until she is killed during a rescue mission gone wrong. Now Rhona awakens to find herself transported to a new body, complete with her DNA, her personality, even her memories. She is a clone . . . of herself.

Trapped in the shadow of the life she once knew, the reincarnated Rhona must find her place among old friends and newfound enemies—and quickly. For the machines are inching closer to exterminating humans for good. And only Rhona, whoever she is now, can save them.

"A tension-filled story of loss, loyalty, and forgiveness, with abundant Terminator-style shoot-em-up scenes and a snarky, kickass female warrior. I inhaled it!”
Jennifer Foehner Wells, bestselling author of Fluency

Welcome to the blog, Hayley!

I'm delighted to have you here to answer five questions for my first ever Friday5 author interview! Let's get right down to it :)

Question1> I love hearing about authors’ journeys to get where they are today. When did you decide you wanted to be an author, and how did the idea for Machinations first come about?

Hayley> I’ve always wanted to be an author. Always. There was never a time before that goal, although I did toy with the idea of becoming a storm chaser (too dangerous) and/or a veterinarian. From a young age, I was telling stories, however I could. Over time that transformed from picture books to short novels to fanfiction to roleplaying and then, finally, to full-fledged novels. 

Machinations was born from a fusion of several different sci-fi stories that dealt with the idea of doppelgängers and/or resurrection of some kind: Doctor Who, Girl with the Third Eye, and Mass Effect 2. With those tales percolating in my brain, I had a dream about my own clone essentially stepping in and taking over my life—with my blessing. It made me wonder: what circumstances could lead to something like that happening? 

I’m not sure where the machines came from, but they showed up when I started writing,and I went with my gut. As it turned out, combining two possibilities for artificial life (robots and cloning) ended up working very well, allowing me to explore some interesting themes of personhood.

Question2> Machinations is a thrilling, futuristic adventure full of everything I personally love in a good sci-fi read. What do you love about the sci-fi genre as it exists today, and what would you love to see more of in the future?

Hayley> Thank you! I love the curiosity of the sci-fi genre, and it’s ability to be both challenging and political while also telling a damn good story. To me, the speculative genre is all about asking questions (about humanity, about our future and our past), without necessarily providing clear-cut answers. It leaves room for interpretation, and I think many SFF readers bring their own experiences into that space, thereby personalizing the story.

I’d love to see more female authors writing under their own names, breaking down that bias against feminine-sounding names. I’d like more diversity, and more portrayals of women as fully-realized characters: full of flaws and fears and passions, who don’t fall into easily quantifiable definitions of “likeable” or “unlikable.”

Of course, there are some fantastic authors already doing this: Kameron Hurley, N. K. Jemisin, Victoria Schwab, Jennifer Foehner Wells, to name a few. Hopefully I can follow in their footsteps.

Question3> You probably get lots of clone questions, but I have to ask—if you had a perfect clone of yourself at your disposal, which one task would you ask her to perform? (And yes, given the times we’re living in, getting her to play Pokemon Go on your behalf is a perfectly acceptable answer.)

Hayley>I have to confess, having her play Pokemon Go wouldn’t have even occurred to me, but that’s brilliant! Apart from that, I would probably have my clone work a normal 9-5 job, so that I could stay at home and write without worrying about money.

Question4> If you were to play matchmaker for your main character, Rhona Long, how would you describe her to the person you’re setting her up on a blind date with?

Hayley> A quick-witted redhead who wears her heart on her sleeve and isn’t afraid to sacrifice for the greater good. Enjoys debate, not being brutally murdered by sentient machines, and pop culture references.

Question5> Machinations is set in a world where the machines have risen up against the human race. When—I mean if—this (cough*inevitably*cough) happens on earth as we know it, what would your first course of action be?

Hayley>One of the reasons I set the book in Alaska was because I thought the remote location and treacherous winter climate would give the machines some trouble. So in the event of a robot apocalypse, I’d probably grab my loved ones and book it into the wilderness as fast as possible, getting away from any major technology.

Thank you so much, Hayley! It's been a pleasure having you on the blog today. And for anyone who now can't wait to get their hands on MACHINATIONS, either for your own reading pleasure or for the sci-fi lover in your life, you can order your copy today!

In Canada: Amazon | Chapters-Indigo 

In the US: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

And don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads!

Happy Weekend!