Saturday, July 30, 2016

False Hearts Guest Post with Laura Lam

"...Orphan Black meets Inception: Two formerly conjoined sisters are ensnared in a murderous plot involving psychoactive drugs, shared dreaming, organized crime, and a sinister cult. "--Goodreads

False Hearts

by Laura Lam

Release Date: July 16, 2016
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781447286424
Hardcover: Young Adult
$17.14 * 366 pages


Guest Post: The Connection of False Hearts by Laura Lam


Historically, female characters haven’t been given the same prominence as male-dominated stories in culture, especially in thrillers. They would be the victim at the start, the hysterical mother, the love interest. The hero would still be Jack Reacher, Jason Bourne, or James Bond. Recently, female-led thrillers have been on the rise through stories like Gone Girl, The Girl on a Train, Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, Luckiest Girl Alive, and other titles with ‘Girl’ in it (even though all these books describe grown women, not girls, but hey ho). In YA, there’ve been lots of female-dominated narratives in the genre, which has been great. Yet the protagonists of my latest book, False Hearts, are a little different, as they were born conjoined twins in a reclusive cult set in the redwoods outside of a futuristic San Francisco.
False Hearts isn’t being marketed as YA, but I do think it also appeals to teen readers. In the main narrative, the twins have been separated for ten years after escaping the cult of Mana’s Hearth and are now fitted with false, mechanical hearts. Taema and Tila are in their mid-twenties. One night, Taema’s sister stumbles into her home, covered in blood and terrified. Moments later, she’s arrested for the first murder by a civilian in decades and taken away. Soon, Taema is given a proposition by SFPD: assume Tila’s identity, go into the deep underbelly of the Ratel mob that Tila has infiltrated, and find out what her sister has been up to. If Taema can help bring down the Ratel, she can save her sister’s life.
Interspersed with Taema desperately taking on her sister’s traits and falling down the rabbit hole is Tila writing about their past in the Hearth while in jail. When they are sixteen, they are still conjoined, but their shared heart is beginning to fail. The Hearth is a hippie commune turned sinister cult, completely cut off from the outside world. When the twins realise they need to escape, they know it won’t be easy, but it’s their only choice of survival. Once they escape, this city of San Francisco seems perfect and wonderful at first. Medical tech is advanced, people don’t age thanks to gene therapy and walk-in plastic surgery clinics, and things like war and poverty are things best left in the past. Scratch the surface, though, and the pretty exterior shows something uglier underneath.
Writing about twins was an interesting challenge, as it’s such a close bond. It’s even more so if the twins are conjoined. For the first sixteen years of their lives, Taema and Tila have never been alone, never been able to keep secrets. So Taema will do anything—anything—to find out what her sister has really been up to. That, I think, makes False Hearts pretty different from other books out there, and hopefully makes it fresh and interesting to read. It definitely made it fun to write.