I just signed a contract with City Owl Press for my dystopian novel Mixed In. Here are some fun facts about Mixed In:
- It’s set in the near future in the city-state of Cochtonville. I’ve written about Cochtonville before in my story Grave to Cradle (also in The Female Complaint.) To be honest, when I picture Cochtonville, I picture Cedar Rapids gone wrong.
- The protagonist is chemist Catrina Pandora Van Dingle, who comes to Cochtonville to work for Cochton Enterprises. Like I am, she is a jack-of -all trades analytical chemist. She comes to Cochtonville to study beans found in the pocket of Thomas Jefferson’s hand me down trousers.
- Her love interest is Ulysses S. Butz, owner of The Union Station bar. He does much more than sell drinks at that bar.
- She has a friendly lab mate, the hapless synthetic chemist Jester Rana.
- I always like to have at least one older female character. In Mixed In, it’s Wilma. Wilma has parties but she doesn’t sell Tupperware.
- I looked to the past and the 1930s-40s-and 50s to describe the mood of this place. So you’ll find some prohibition and the modern day equivalent of a Vice Squad. Quite a lot is banned in Cochtonville including any art that doesn’t relate to agriculture.
- I began writing this while teaching my Science Fiction and Empire course and let the news my students were talking about in that class and in my Short Story Writing course influence the plot.
- This novel doesn’t have religion in it, and by request, is a tiny bit less sweet than Natural Attraction.
- My thanks to Sarah E. Gold for proof-reading the initial draft for me and to Susanna Sturgis and Kay Van Wyk for beta reading. Amy Sue Nathan provided feedback on the first fifty pages.
- Thanks also to bar owners Steve Bray (Green Gable Inn in Cedar Rapids) and Diane Chaplin (Chaplin’s in Arnolds Park).
I’ll let you know more about it as things unfold.