The city of iRemember shimmers in the desert haze, watched over by the Bureau, a government agency that maintains control through memory surveillance and little pink pills made from the narcotic plant Tranquelle.
It looks like an oasis under its geodesic dome, but the city is under siege. ‘Off-Gridder’ insurgents are fighting to be forgotten.
Bureau Inspector Icara Swansong is on a mission to neutralise the threat. Her investigation leads her into iRemember’s secret underbelly, where she finds herself a fugitive from the very system she had vowed to protect. She has to learn new rules: trust no one. Behind every purple Tranquelle stalk lurk double-agents.
A sci-fi noir with a psychedelic twist, iRemember explores the power the past holds over us and the fragility of everything: what is, what once was, and what will be.
– When and where do you prefer to write?
I write whenever I can. I don’t really have a specific time of day when I’m most productive, and sometimes I will literally wake up with a revision in my head and have to make a quick note at 2 am. My preferred place is a bit more interesting. Space is so important for writers. The dream is to have a cabin of some description somewhere isolated and lovely. The reality is that I live in a tiny studio in London surrounded by people (my partner) and stuff (like books and ancient programmes from plays I liked), and so basically have to write wherever there’s wiggle-room. Wherever, whenever as long as I’m relatively alone is preferred and seems to work.
– Do you have a certain ritual?
Tricky. Probably lots that I’m not even conscious of. Everything I’ve written that’s been successful so far (full disclosure, I’m a debut novelist so that’s not a huge amount yet) has been written on the same Mac computer. It’s more a ritual of necessity, as I can’t afford a new one right this minute, but nevertheless, it’s kind of like a lucky laptop and I’m not sure I’d want to write on anything else in case it breaks the spell. Another not so great ritual and one I’m trying to kick, is endless, agonising self-doubt. Followed by elation. More doubt. Elation. At every sentence. Every word. Every… you get the idea. In fact, I’m doubting the answers to these questions right now… and now I’m elated.
– Is there a drink of some food that keeps you company while you write?
I love nuts. And I’ll go through a 500-gram bag of almonds during a good writing session. In fact, I should start measuring the success of sessions by bags of almonds consumed.
– What is your favourite book?
Not fair! Am I allowed to pass on a question? There should be a meme of writers’ faces when they get asked this, involving lots of equations in the air. Picture me now with a look of absolute horror on my face. I can tell you my favourite book that I’ve read in the last six months: a really smart and hilarious fantasy called The Sky is Yours, by Chandler Klang-Smith. I can also tell you my single most favourite book I own with a silver cover: Catch 22. And last but by no means least, anything by China Miéville might be in my top 5 in any given week.
– Do you consider writing a different genre in the future?
I would love to. I get bored easily, so genre-swapping really appeals to me.
– Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
This is another tricky question to answer. Mostly because I don’t want any trouble from lawyers (!) Honestly, in a sense most of my characters contain elements of the person I know best. Myself. So the short answer is probably yes.
– Do you take a notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
No. I have a tiny cross-body bag for commuting etc. and my notebooks don’t fit. I keep notes on my phone while I’m out and about. It’s not very romantic, but it does the job.
– Which genre do you not like at all?
I have really eclectic reading tastes (as you might have guessed from the ‘favourite book’ question) and tend to pick by individual book rather than genre, so will read literally anything that takes my fancy. I have liked at least one book in almost any genre you can think of. I especially love weird or unusual non-fiction.
– If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
I prefer to write alone, so I can’t imagine this happening. But I would love to see how other writers’ processes work without them knowing. Like a fly on the wall. Or on a web cam. That makes me sound creepy. Now, even if I wanted to co-write with someone, they’d probably say no!
– If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
That would depend entirely on what I was doing research for. Let’s say if I was going to research my latest book iRemember. The book deals a lot with concepts of time and memory and explores how fragile the past, the present, and future are. There’s a famous Shakespeare quote about the past being like a foreign country. Or something like that. Obviously, I’m paraphrasing. It’s a really good quote. But playing on that misquote, maybe that’s the foreign country I’d like to visit most of all for research. The distant past.
Thank you, SV Bekvalac and Rachel’s Random Resources
About the author
SV Bekvalac was born in 1987 in Croatia, in what was then Yugoslavia, but grew up in London.
She studied German and Russian at Oxford, and went to film school in Prague. After almost becoming a film-maker and then an academic, researching cities and films, she found herself writing fiction about cities instead. She started off with screenplays and short stories, but they got longer and longer. iRremember is her first novel.
She has lived in cities all over Europe. Now she lives in London, or in one of her own imaginary cities.
For a limited time, iRemember will be available for only 99p.