Saturday, June 18, 2022

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Glitched by Tiffany Yao @RABTBookTours

Science Fiction

Date Published: April 14, 2022


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Kashmira lived an ordinary life until an army of invaders sacked her city and left her for dead. When she awakens, she discovers she is a glitch in a virtual reality video game – destined only for deletion by the bots that hunt her. 

Dugan is a bitterly disgruntled engineer who played a pivotal role in the creation of virtual reality games and the NPCs who inhabit them. Fired from the company he helped found, he seeks only revenge.

In a chance encounter, Dugan sees in Kashmira a tool to sabotage the games and avenge himself, and through him, Kashmira finds the help she desperately needs. As they traverse the worlds of virtual reality and their friendship deepens, it will take everything they have not only for her to win her freedom and survive, but also to answer the fundamental question of what “life” is.


Interview with Tiffany Yao

    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    Glitched is a philosophical scifi novel about a girl named Kashmira who was almost killed when an army of invaders attack her city. When she survives, she discovers she is a glitch in a virtual reality video game – destined only for deletion by the bots that hunt her.

    The idea for this book came to me one day while I was playing Assassin’s Creed with my brother. In video games, the characters that populate the games as part of the background scenery are what’s known as NPCs (non-player controlled characters). Occasionally for fun, my brother and I knocked these NPCs off a cliff as a joke. They would make a funny scream before hitting the ground and disappearing. As soon as we walk away and return to the spot where they fell, an exact copy of the character appeared in the same place in the game. Though it was comical at the time, I said to my brother, “Luckily, it’s just a game. Otherwise, what we did was really messed up.”

    That was when the idea for my book Glitched popped into my head. I thought, “Holy crap. What if one day, our video games get more and more realistic to the point where the characters become conscious? Could we even play these games anymore? What if we are NPCs in our world and it’s all a game?

    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    In Glitched, I explored the relationship between creator and creation. In my book, we meet Kashmira, an NPC who was supposed to be deleted when a player kills her in the virtual reality video game where she exists. But through a fluke, she survives and discovers the true nature of her reality.

    Dugan is a human who played a big part in bringing Kashmira and her kind into existence. He loves to build things and shape them according to his whim. That’s his character and it’s in his nature to do that. He’s quite gifted and talented, so he knows how to make things happen, but he hasn’t spent much time in thinking through all the potential consequences of the things he builds. Of course, that all changes after bumping into Kashmira in a video game when he decides to help her. Being confronted with his own creation forces him to think through his choices and actions. Likewise, Kashmira wrestles with her own complex feelings as she continues to grow.

    If you had a chance to ask your maker point-blank why you are here and what you were made for, would you do it? Would you want to know the answer? At a certain point in the book, Calvin, one of the creators of the video games says, "Whatever definition or sacred walls we build around the meaning of ‘life’ will always be flimsy. We have entered the age where the definitions given to one may soon apply just as well to new things that arise."

    Not only are we creation seeking answers, we may be on the cusp of creating a new race of beings who will turn to us for answers. Whenever a reader responds to these ethical and existential questions with their own thoughts and discussions, I know I have done my job.

    What was the hardest part of writing this book?

    The hardest part of writing was always getting myself to sit down and start doing it. I am sure that I speak for many people out there when I say that there are days I wanted someone to just tie me to a chair. But even sitting there, could someone also lasso my mind and send it to work? Why was it that whenever I was busy doing other things, all the ideas choose to rush into my untamed brain?

    Trust me though. It gets easier over time with practice and habit. The first ten to fifteen minutes are difficult, but if I can get through them and into the zone, my brain and my fingers will eventually collaborate, and my writing will flow.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    Exploring existential questions and empathizing with the joy, grief, and anguish of my characters were my favorite parts of writing Glitched. I also loved the freedom of creating VR video game worlds as gorgeous backdrops for my characters.

    Where there alternate endings you considered?

    Yes. There was an alternate ending I wrote as a draft, but I discarded because I knew my hardcore science fans would probably finish the book with more questions than answers. Without giving too much away, my alternate ending included Kashmira uploading herself to a robot and taking a stroll in what would be the last frontier for her – our world.

    Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

    I am ever grateful for my writer’s critique group. They are a sharp bunch of enthusiastic readers and talented writers who embrace tough questions. I have met engineers, an anthropologist, an editor, and so many interesting folks from all different walks of life. Many evenings, we gathered at a bar to ask each other the really big questions. Or also the small and mundane questions. We exchange our writing and share technical writing advice on craft. For any aspiring writers out there, don’t be afraid to get out there and talk to others. The best research you can do is to listen and observe people themselves.

    What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

    I love reading books with fresh and original stories to tell. These stories could be contemporary, science fiction, fantasy, or cross-genres. The genre matters less to me than compelling characters and interesting messages.

About the Author

Tiffany writes science fiction to explore the ways technology shapes our view of ourselves. Born and raised in Houston, Texas, she bumped shoulders with diverse folks from all walks of life who inspire her characters. She incorporates her experience working in the aerospace and tech industry into her storytelling. She is now based in Austin, Texas.

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Stormy Vixen said...

Glitched sounds like an exciting, edge of the seat read that I will really enjoy! Thanks for sharing it with me and have a marvelous weekend!

K said...

I'm really looking forward to giving this a read! Thanks so much for sharing.

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