AF: In a world where everything seems so controlled and perfect Liberty had some close encounters with danger from those she would have called friends. Can you explain why things were so perfect yet could have been really damaging to her?
TL: First, I want to say: I love your questions. I think they get at the heart of the story, and I hope I don’t reveal too much in my answers. The Regimen Custodia Terra works to create a perfect world, but they underestimate the importance of the family. Life begins in the laboratory where scientists create healthy, superior humans using genetic engineering. The newly conceived life is implanted in the breeders. After delivery, the breeders and other staff care for the infants. As the children grow, they move to primary and then secondary facilities. They are not given the chance to form attachments to people but learn to rely on the Regimen for everything. Growing up without the bonds of family, many lack the natural attachment and compassion for others that develops in families. Friendships, too often, are superficial and temporary. Unfortunately, many of Liberty’s friends remain her friend only as long as it is convenient to them. However, this is not the case with every one of her friends.
AF: They found a bomb shelter that could have been considered a time capsule. What was the significance of them finding that?
TL: When Liberty and her friends discover the bomb shelter, something inside her changes. While she had made attempts to better her life, the controlling ways of the Regimen Custodia Terra deadened any sense of hope. The finding of the bomb shelter is a pivotal moment in her life. Liberty begins to hope. Inside the bomb shelter, she discovers items that lead her to believe that life had once been different. Life could be different again. In the second book, Testing Liberty, she will discover even more about the way life was.
AF: In a world that seemed designed to put people in jobs that matched their strong suites, why would Liberty have been placed at the senior center or the breeding center when she seemed so mechanically inclined?
TL: Scientists and physicians continue to study the health and genetic makeup of the growing children. After a series of tests, Liberty was selected to be a breeder because of her superior physical and intellectual makeup. If she had not had that combination, she would have been given a vocation that made use of her mechanical abilities. The job at the Senior Center was meant to be temporary, ending once she reaches the prime childbearing age.
AF: I'm curious about Liberty's friend. I often felt it was a spiritual thing, like someone would refer to the spirit of the God being with them. Was your intention for that to be the thought through the entire book despite "Him" ever being called such for lack of knowledge or of belief?
TL: I wanted the interpretation of Her Friend left to the reader’s imagination for now. Your thoughts on this are logical since Aldonians are not familiar with God or faith. Another possible interpretation is that she hears the voice of her conscience. She is accustomed to listening to the voice, so she hears him in a unique way. The second book goes more into Her Friend.
AF: This may sound like a strange observation and question but I noticed how many characters had wild colored hair and extravagant eye makeup. Is that how you see future fashion?
TL: I think some people in every generation have embraced wild fashions. The Aldonian scientists, who are supposed to be ensuring that every baby born is healthy, have also experimented with cosmetic features, including hair and eye color. Most Aldonians have striking hair and eyes anyway, but the younger people like to be different. They have credits they can spend on whatever form of entertainment they want. Since everything else in life is so mundane, some enjoy finding ways to stand out.
TL: Thank you for these excellent questions. I really had fun answering them!