Interview with Christiane Joy Allison, Author of Infinitus
27 Oct 2020
What can you tell us about your new release, Infinitus?
Infinitus is the story of two outsiders from very different worlds in the dystopian future. Gina is a young shirker purposefully living removed from civilization in the Dregs, hiding a disabling genetic condition, while Hawk is an undercover government operative who protects that civilization with the animal traits he was born with. In this cyberpunk adventure, most of the Earth and technology are controlled by the Global Fellowship using their Global Reform Interface and Database, or GRID, which operates on the brainpower of the world’s population. Gina has abstained from the GRID all her life for fear of what the government might do to her if her condition was discovered, but events force her to grow the mental wetware to connect for the first time. She soon finds herself on the run for her life, with Hawk, Fellowship assassins, and terrorist forces all maneuvering to kill or capture her. Navigating some of the darkest places of the world’s underground, she battles her own body in a fight to stay alive and hidden.
Infinitus, the first full-length novel in The Infinitus Saga, takes place in a world dominated by a government-controlled worldwide community with a chimera minority. These chimeras are born with unique animal traits that have reemerged from banned Old World super soldier programs. Some, like Hawk, have heightened senses and strength, or may even be venomous. They are often visibly inhuman and the Global Fellowship teaches all citizens to fear them.
On the fringes of this society is a complicated world of black market traders and specialized tech, like Gina’s rare technological mind-link with her pet bat! The complex world of Infinitus will draw you in and introduce you to a cast of unforgettable characters and amazing technology.
What or who inspired you to become an author?
My desire to become an author developed from watching and reading amazing stories. I started writing my first book, short stories, and essays in the 7th grade, and took creative writing classes and after-school programs in middle school, high school, and college.
I also love the art of broadcast media and dreamed of working in film and television. I pursued a degree in the closest thing locally available, Journalism and Public Communications. I did work in television for a brief period, and received a scholarship from the National Association of Broadcasters Educational Foundation. However, after graduation I ended up using my writing and public speaking talents in public service, believing my life in storytelling to be over.
The lure of storytelling was a powerful thing and could not be ignored forever though. I started writing my own stories again in 2012 to help me relax while finishing my MBA. Then when life intervened and I found myself disabled with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I turned back to writing full time.
I started with children’s picture books for kids impacted by the criminal justice system. I had children like that in my own life and I wasn’t going to let them go on without resources and stories to help them in their struggles. Similarly, the characters in The Infinitus Saga were, in part, inspired by my own battle with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and the desire to communicate what it’s like to live in a body like mine. My kid’s books won awards and provided me with encouragement as I worked through my first novelette and novel in the saga.
Writing gives me wings.
What’s on your top 5 list for the best books you’ve ever read?
- The Host by Stephenie Meyer
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
- Hot Target by Suzanne Brockmann
- The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman
- Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher
Say you’re the host of a literary talk show. Who would be your first guest? What would you want to ask?
My guest would be Stephenie Meyer. She has had an amazing opportunity to work with the film industry amidst a national craze surrounding her books. I would ask her about that experience. What did she enjoy? What would she have done differently? Why does she think she’s been more successful than most in keeping her characters and stories intact? I have always been fascinated by the industry, and would love to see my own works translated to film or television someday. However, I know there is an absolute minefield for authors on that journey, and I would want important aspects of my stories to stay true to the original.
What’s your favorite thing about writing?
My absolute favorite thing about writing is causing my readers to experience deep and real emotion in response to what I’ve written. I love getting the little messages that say, “Oh my gosh, you just made me bust out laughing in the middle of class!” or “I just finished the chapter. It was great. Now I’m going to take a hot bath and cry with my glass of wine.” Seeing a man smile with tears on his face after reading my children’s picture book or watching someone sit thoughtfully after finishing a passage makes my heart soar. Knowing that I’ve connected with my readers on that level is what inspires me to keep writing.
What is a typical day like for you?
In my life, there is no typical day. I am blessed to be surrounded by a big bustling family and dear friends that share a selfless kind of love that tends to interrupt and shape day to day plans. I also struggle with an illness that loves to throw in complications when I’m least expecting it. I usually walk with a cane, but can end up in my wheelchair on any given day without a moment of warning. I may plan to write for the day and end up foiled by emergency appointments or sudden requests to babysit. However, one of the things I love about writing is that I can work it around all of life’s complications and fit it into all of the little moments I have in between.
When I do get the chance to sit down and write for the day, you’ll usually find me propped up in bed or in a comfortable chair with my laptop and lapdesk balanced as I type away furiously. I take breaks for snacks and small meals, but try to stay mentally buried in the events that are taking place in the story. Music helps inspire my writing, but only when I’m in the car or pacing around my house — never while the writing is taking place. When I’m done pacing or driving, I’ll jump back onto my laptop and try to capture the movie I’ve seen in my head as fast as I can.
What scene from Infinitus was your favorite to write?
That is such a hard question! Spoiler alert!
Despite Infinitus being filled with action, my favorite scenes are always the tender and vulnerable moments between characters. After Hawk and Gina end up on the run together, they hide one night inside a decaying Old World parking garage in the middle of an overgrown forest. They’ve been arguing and keeping secrets from one another, but without warning, they realize they are sharing their hiding place with a clouded leopard! Hawk ends up revealing chimera traits he prefers to keep hidden to keep the predator at bay, and they end up talking all night to stay awake and keep an eye on the big cat. In this scene, Gina begins to realize how much Hawk has come to mean to her and gets a chance to ask him what his life as an operative and a chimera is really like. It’s a warm moment amidst the frightening journey they are on together, and I love the way it affects how they view each other and their situation through the rest of the book.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
The famous poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling expresses many of my sentiments. My love for it started with my favorite passage:
“If you can keep your head when all about you,
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you”
As I have grown, I have found I have accomplished or experienced more and more of the poem’s challenges. There is a lot of wisdom and experience buried in those lines, and each one makes a worthy goal.
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