Q1: What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
The 716: Impulse is the first in a YA sci-fi trilogy about a guy who wants to be an engineer but, in his world, only women can go to university. It focuses on his struggle to be taken seriously, his fight for equality, and the people he meets along the way.
As for what inspired it, it was one of those light bulb moments. I had just had coffee with a cisgender male friend and I was complaining about a sexist newspaper article I’d read and how unfair it was. He agreed, but it was lacklustre and we were soon talking about something else. Later, I saw how passionate he could get about things that directly affected him and I wondered, if cisgender men could see sexism and gender discrimination through the eyes of someone like them, would they be more passionate about eliminating such discrimination? Would it be easier for them to understand?
Q2: What are five words that describe your writing process?
Coffee. Reading. Waking up in the middle of night to write down ideas. Time running away on me. Oh, and overwriting!
Q3: What authors, or books have influenced you?
Jane Austen is my hero. I adored We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Nought and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. To some extent, I think every book I read influences me, opens my eyes to new ways of writing or expression.
Q4: What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
Quiet, coffee, laptop.
Q5: What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?
Character and plot. Good writing invites the reader to fall in love with characters, or to hate them or question them—regardless, to get involved in their lives. They should be unique and yet universal in a way, be interesting and relatable with real flaws and dreams. And good writing has to take me somewhere. Not necessarily to another planet or country (although I love that!), but on a journey of some kind, an emotional one.
Q6: What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Shut the door so the cat can’t get in.
Q7: What is your favourite genre to read?
Q8: What comes first for you — the plot or the characters — and why?
I think the characters inform the plot and vice versa. Sometimes, a character will come to me and I wonder where they will take me. Other times, I know I want something to happen but I’m not sure who will do it, and then a character will come to me.
Q9: What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished The 716: Impulse and I am starting work on the second novel in the trilogy, The 716: Momentum. I’m super excited—it’s strange and electrifying to be plotting and planning again after so much time editing!
Q10: What are you currently reading?
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender. It’s super good!
Find out more about S.J. Pratt by following the links below: