Introducing the dystopian writing team of James Courtney and Kaisy Wilkerson-Mills
What are we working on at the moment?
Kaisy and I are working on StarChild, a dystopian novel (which will eventually turn into a trilogy) set in the far future of North America. After the fall of modern civilization, one nation rose as the only civilized place left on the planet: the vile, corrupt, nation of City-State. The government alleges the people are “free”, but it uses terrible government programs and sensory overload to control the people.
We are also in the process of completing a collection of short stories entitled Tales from City-State – Perceptions and Experiences: A Dystopian Anthology. These short pieces are totally separate entities from the novel, but some characters and themes appear in both the collection and the novel set.
How does our work differ from others of its genre?
The dystopian environment of City-State is different. It is a city with seven layers stacked on top of one another. The political climate is one of absolute corruption. There is not a single extreme ideology that has taken over (as in 1984 with socialism). However, the main problem centers around an expedient government whose main objective is to maintain control of the citizens through the use of mind-numbing entertainment and horrific government mandates: euthanasia, forced abortion, eugenics, and class divisions. The government believes this is an appropriate solution, but there are specific citizens who catch on to these schemes, and they aim to overturn certain political leaders and laws.
Why do we write what we do?
Why write dystopian literature? Because we have to, and we love it!
James: The stories are in my head, and if I don’t write them I’ll go insane. Secondly, I see the world in its current state, and I have a perception of future laws and policies. In some respects, dystopian literature shows how the world should NOT be. In turn, this allows us to imagine a better future. The answer isn’t one ideological extreme or another, it really comes down to people paying attention and taking responsibility for the power they have over their governments.
Kaisy: I love writing and editing this genre – dystopian – because it is extremely fascinating. As James stated, it is interesting to imagine the United States in one to two thousand years. Current themes such as euthanasia and abortion are relatable many years into the future just as “older” themes such as love, entertainment, and politics are still relatable in today’s society.
How does our writing process work?
Generally, Kaisy or I generate a hook first – like the setting or an event. Then I (or Kaisy) outline a story. I’ll send that off to Kaisy who looks it over and comes up with missing literary elements, symbolism, and story structure. Then one of us will write all or portions of a story and send it to the other. This begins a rather long game of bouncing ideas (terrific ideas and horrible ideas) off each other until a solid, coherent story emerges. It really is a team effort; it works! One of us may think of something the other did not. Brainstorming, drafting, and editing is a valuable process!
James and I are also very honest with each other. If one of us does not like an idea, we are not afraid to communicate. Honesty and compromise are vital in the writing process when working with others!
The writing process blog tour will continue with fellow writer Sage Doyle who is the author of “The Journal of Wall Grim” – www.wallgrimm.wordpress.com. His insightful thoughts on the writing process will post on April 28th.
Sage’s immediate contact information:
Twitter – @sagedoyle
Author page: https://www.facebook.com/1sagedoyle