In less than a year, fifteen-year-old Gypsy Capone will be considered a woman in Ovoidia, a “utopian” city-state where every woman can be approached for immediate sex by any man, where curving architecture adds weird whimsy, sporks are the only cutlery, and true intimacy between the genders is a sign of suspect subversion. After all, if a woman just plays along, she’ll also do her job and have children, with the reward of a fine home in the “Communities,” where she and the other “Mamas” live together in harmony with everything they need. Right?
The irony: Diam and Isis, the two leaders of Ovoidia, are themselves females. Fun, yes! And just below the surface, perversely sinister. They personally execute these precise sacrifices by women to establish their “happy,” absurdly totalitarian utopia, and are backed up by their chosen army of male “crusaders,” enforcing a crime-free, fully controlled society.
Men are relegated to work in the “City” where they may “enjoy”—right there on the street if they wish—any woman they want and are welcome to satisfy their sexual and emotional needs at establishments called Gaje Clubs where only the most “gifted” among women are chosen to work.
Not surprisingly, in Ovoidia women have evolved until they feel nothing of sexual pleasure. But in Gypsy’s deepest heart, she realizes her own dark secret: she is the exception. Next she discovers to her horror that her secret, if known, could result in the ultimate punishment—genital mutilation.
To save her body and even her soul, Gypsy chooses a dangerous path—to single-handedly confront this scary and absurd world. She has the support of her allegiant sister Sadie and Miles Devine, a rogue, secretly gay crusader, and also “Doctor,” a morally questionable physician to help her. But none of them fathom the levels of paradox, incongruity, and twisted evil they will soon face, and the ride becomes something even Gypsy could have never imaged.
When and where do you prefer to write?
It depends on the day but I tend to write first thing in the morning or last thing at night. I prefer to write sitting at my desk.
Do you have a certain ritual?
I wouldn’t say I have a specific ritual but I do prefer to handwrite my first drafts.
Do you like a drink or something to nibble on while you write?
Yes I guess you could say it’s part of my ritual.
Do you consider writing a different genre or do you already do that?
I never expected to write a dystopian novel. Although it is one of my favorite genres to read. I enjoy writing about real life experiences in a fictional setting.
What is/are your favourite book(s)?
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Awakening by Kate Chopin, 1984 by George Orwell, and most of John Steinbeck’s work.
Do you sometimes base your characters on people you know?
Overall I would say no. However I have written stories about my experiences that involved people I know that I’ve written into more dramatized versions of themselves.
If you had the chance to co-write a book. Whom would it be with?
That’s a question I’d never considered before. I suppose either Steinbeck or Orwell. It would be a thrill getting to share ideas and develop characters with them.
Do you take a (digital) notebook everywhere in order to write down ideas that pop up?
Yes a must have. Thoughts are fleeting.
Which genre(s) do you not like at all?
I’m not a huge fan of Sci-Fi although I do see how that can be misconstrued. I don’t tend to feel that dystopia’s are the same as most Sci-Fi novels. They don’t all include a technological element which Sci-Fi tends to demand.
If you should travel to a foreign country to do research, which one would you chose and why?
If given the opportunity to travel for research say a sequel to The Willing, I’d have to visit either a former communist country or current one. Russia would probably have a lot of information to offer as well as interesting places to see.
Thank you, Lindsay Lees and Pump Up Your Book
About the author
Lindsay Lees is originally from Los Angeles and holds dual citizenship in the U.S. and the United Kingdom, and while growing up and later in college, she split her time between the two countries. Lindsay earned a B.A. in 2008 from Manchester Metropolitan University, and next an M.F.A.in Creative Writing from California College of the Arts. The Willing is Lindsay’s debut novel. She currently lives a quiet Southern life with her husband and a houseful of pets.