In my case the hardest part about this job is the fact I never know whether I'll succeed. The outcome of any project could be stunning, or a complete disaster—I’ve got several disasters on my hard drive and I’m very ashamed of each of them. Dealing with failures is the hardest part of being a writer—you need to abandon hopeless projects, delete huge parts of your text, and keep trying again until you reach the point where there’s nothing more you can do to improve your novel. Sometimes it’s a long process I must say.
Can you give a short synopsis of One God: The Will To Power?
Once upon a time, there was a guy who knew he was brilliant, but nobody else would admit it. His name was Miran. He had a boring job with no prospects, and he hated being in that situation. Maybe someone else would appreciate the money and routine, but not him, as Miran had a big dream—he wanted to make the world a better place, with no disease, hunger, or death. With a little help from his friends, he set up his own company, Genesis, and set off on his mission—immortality for everyone. People tried to stop him, to convince him he was wrong, but he never abandoned his goal. Did he succeed? Well, more or less. I won't give you a straightforward answer. One one hand, perhaps he did, on the other hand, the price he paid was unbelievably high…
What inspired you to write this book?
This novel started as a short story, inspired by the serious sickness of one of my family members. I was angry that I couldn’t help them, and started to day-dream (I’m forty and still childish): what if I could heal him, what if I was capable of modifying his genome, what if I had an organ for transplant? As I went deeper and deeper into my thoughts of human augmentations, and as the disease of my relative progressed, I got outraged and anxious, desperate, and felt so unfairly treated by fate that I had to write at least a few pages to release the tension. And so it began, a couple of pages, exasperation, helplessness. In the end it all turned out well (I mean my relative is fine!) and I got down to writing the novel. It took me quite a long time, as I conducted a lot of research and wanted to explain the genetic concepts in a straightforward way, develop a WOW plot and interesting characters.
I think sometimes, at least in my case, there are sparks that ignite the writing process. You get burnt by them, it hurts a bit, but a moment later you realize you’ve got a book to write! It can happen at any moment—I remember when I stopped in front of the grocery store and sat in the car for an hour as I was rethinking some part of One God. Good thing the people here know me and my job, and didn’t call the police.
How many hours per day do you spend writing?
It depends on the stage of the book. Usually I write much more at the beginning, while working on the first draft. Later on I write less as I need to refine how I tell the story, metaphors, phrasing. I spend no less than 4 hours each day on writing, and up to 12 hours, I'd say. Even when I feel no flow, I still work—I don't believe in ever giving up and whining that I’ve got no inspiration. When the situation is very bad and I can’t put down a sentence, I'll do a workout and then tell myself Kata, if you have one more hour without progress, you’ll be back in the gym. It usually helps.
Name your top five favorite books.
Here you go:
Margaret Atwood, Oryx and Crake (and actually the entire MaddAddam trilogy.)
Majgul Axelsson, April Witch (and all the other books by this author).
Gillian Flynn, Sharp Objects.
Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train.
And maybe to not sound so serious: the entire Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. We've all read his books (I mean my entire family) and text each other the best quotes.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on another psychological thriller with the working title I Can Hear You. (I expect the title will stay—working titles are always the best ones I come up with). It tells a story of a couple who meet at rehab; they both have the impression they can hear other peoples’ thoughts. This seems impossible, but as more and more facts suggest they may really be able to read minds, some people become very interested in them. In this book, I try to focus on individual characters, so I'm working with a first-person narrative with different points of view. The first volume is currently undergoing a developmental edit, and meanwhile I’m working on another two, maybe three...
Title: One God – The Will To Power
Author: Kata Mlek
Genre: Dystopian, Technothriller, Science Fiction
Miran Zyelinski has had enough of ethics and laws getting in the way of progress.
Nothing—not the government, not the church, and certainly not lesser men—will hold back Miran’s vision for humankind: immortality.
Miran will need wealth, brilliance, and ruthlessness to achieve his goal. Andreas can provide wealth, but must be paid in his own currency, and his price is high. Satia has brilliance and ruthlessness to match Miran, but their mix is volatile.
Opposed on all sides, Miran will not waver from his goal of immortality. The question is not whether he will succeed, but who will be left alive when he does.
Based on real-world developments in biology and genetics, this technothriller rolls relentlessly through unexpected twists and continuous shifts of power, culminating in a tempting, disturbing, and altogether-too-likely vision of the future, where one corporation gains almost total control over the world.
Book 1 of 3. Includes The Genesis Files, bonus micro-fiction and art from the world of One God.
Note: contains strong language and some disturbing scenes. For mature readers only.
UNCOMFORTABLY REAL FICTION
I began my writing career in 2012 after leaving the IT industry. In Poland, I’ve had several successful novels published by traditional publishers. In 2015, I made the decision to switch to self-publishing and start my international career.
In 2015, I published the English edition of my intense psychological thriller Absolute Sunset. This was one of the most talked-about books in Poland in 2012, and the English edition has been equally well-received.
In 2016, I published One God—a trilogy of techno-thrillers about corporate control of genetic modifications. Originally published in Polish as a single long novel, the English version was expanded and re-written to create a trilogy with lots of great new scenes.
Now I’m working on another psychological thriller, a brand-new story written directly in English for my English readers.
All of my books cross genres—I like to experiment with different styles to create the effect I want, and to give my readers a unique experience. My Polish background gives me a different perspective and makes my writing fresh, although I feel it’s still accessible—inside we’re all the same, after all.
You can read my free short stories, get writing tips, and catch up with me on my blog at katamlek.com. If you like my work, you can become my patron on Patreon and get future books for free. And of course, you can find me on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
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