‘Networked’ Book Review and Exclusive Q & A With Author L K Chapman

Review of ‘Networked’

When someone mentions Sci-fi novel, most will think of space, future and technology and I guess I presumed the same would meet me when reading ‘Networked’. How I was wrong, as I was taken on a journey of a quite brilliant original concept with heart at its core.

The story follows a basic idea of game developers that have been working on a computer game for years of their life only to have all their work wiped and then replaced, and then the tale very quickly escalates into a nail-biting page turner. I was hooked, drawn in and opened up at the mercy of ‘Networked’.

Chapman has a brilliantly unique style of story-telling that plays and tests with your every emotion in each and every chapter, she describes the game that’s created in such a way that’s briefly informative which lets your imagination take over the rest, living and breathing every pixel of a brand new world.

The Author takes you for a ride exploring deeper issues like trust, friendship and above all depression. I loved how Chapman portrays our inner darkness as human beings, bringing with it a few spicy scenes that I can’t deny brought for tasty reading.

Overall a thoroughly enjoyable read. Original can be an over used word in society today, but I can truly say that I tried comparing ‘Networked’ with other films and books for similarities and got no-where. Whether you’re into Sci-fi or not, this book has something to fulfil your literacy needs.

Q & A with L K Chapman

I’m really interested to know what inspired you to write a novel based around a computer game?

I love anything that plays with the boundaries between what’s real and what isn’t. Games are great because when you play them you can be somebody else- for me that’s a really fertile place for stories and ideas, and writing about a game meant I could take my novel in all sorts of different directions.

Can you tell us a bit more about who Louise is and what made you become the writer you are today?

I’ve always been interested in people, societies, emotions and relationships. I’m fascinated by why people do the things that they do, and writing is a way of exploring that. I think a big influence on me was studying Psychology- often my ideas for stories originate from a concept I learnt about that I find particularly fascinating.

There were many issues covered within the story, the one that stood out above all for me was suffering with depression, I thought you handled it brilliantly, have you or anyone close in your life ever suffered from depression and what advice would you give to someone who suffers?

I suffered from depression when I was a teenager. It started when I was sixteen and continued for around a year- though it’s hard to say for sure when it started and when it finished. It was a very strange time. I didn’t really know what was happening to me and it changed the way I thought about everything. I genuinely believed that other people didn’t like or care about me- I remember going off on my own on a night out once and being genuinely surprised that my friends had noticed I had gone, let alone that they cared. I found being around people very difficult and the only person I confided in was my boyfriend (now husband). It was this bond I had with him which inspired the depression storyline in Networked.

Probably the most useful thing to me when I was depressed was the realisation that other people had been through the same thing I had- I suppose that what I was feeling were symptoms, rather than some irreversible change in who I was. I would encourage anyone who wants to find out more about depression to visit www.mind.org.uk which is a great source of information about all things to do with mental health, and what you can do in terms of treatment and support.

Usually I can place a target audience through reading, but with this novel I found it was appealing to a much larger scale, did you have a target audience in mind?

This is a tricky one- I’m still not even sure what genres Networked fits most neatly into! While I was writing, I guess I just thought it would appeal to “people who are similar to me”- but of course I would love it to appeal to a far wider audience than that!

How difficult was your journey to getting published, do you have one piece of advice you can give to any new writers hoping to get published?

Everything to do with getting published was a steep learning curve for me, as I started from a point of knowing absolutely nothing! The best thing I did was buy the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook which has loads of useful information whether you want to self-publish or traditionally publish- I don’t know what I would have done without it! After that, I tried approaching a couple of literary agents, but I found waiting for responses demoralising and didn’t persevere very long. I’m quite impatient and the waiting was driving me mad- I wanted to get Networked out there and start work on my next novel! This was why I decided to publish it myself.

It’s empowering how many options there are for self-publishing, though also a bit overwhelming when you’re new to it all. I think my main advice is to be organised and think about where you might need to spend a bit of money and where you can do the work yourself. I found a book design company to make my cover and used a self-publishing company to get the paperback version of Networked sorted, but I formatted and published the e-book myself. I have no idea whether I did things the best way- it certainly didn’t all go smoothly. But I think there comes a point when you just have to go for it and I’ve learnt a huge amount over the past year!

If you could share a drink with any author (living or past) who would it be and why?

Probably Richard Adams, because I am borderline fanatical about Watership Down!

And finally a huge congratulations on your novel, I honestly wish it all the success it deserves, it truly is a worth while read. Are you currently working on anything else, if so can you give any of us a sneak peak as to what we might get to see next? 

I certainly can! I’m actually at a bit of a crossroads at the moment trying to decide which of two stories to take forward to be my next book, but it will either be “Buried Deep”- a chilling love story set across two time periods; or “UA”- a dystopian sci-fi thriller that I actually wrote several years ago and it just needs a bit of sorting out to get it into a more readable state. Either way, hopefully my second book will be out before the end of 2015!

– I’m so excited to see what comes next from Louise, If you are going to support just the one indie author this year, make it L K Chapman.

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