LF: Tell us about yourself.
AW: A person of contradictions. I don’t particularly love to read fiction but love writing it. I have traveled all over the world but hate traveling, because I treasure the memories despite the miserable process of acquiring them.
I love animals, yet my first, most vivid memory involving an animal is of a tiny monkey gnawing on my ankle as if it were a fried drumstick. I was maybe five years old, and I wailed like I (seriously) thought I was gonna lose my foot. As an adult, I was chased by a baby elephant at a Nepalese sanctuary after I ran out of the bananas I was feeding it. Again, I thought I was gonna get hurt. In Hawaii, a pony bit my hip.
LF: How did the idea for Rapture come about?
AW: I was chatting with someone about how most religions privilege humans, placing them at the top of the creation pyramid. But what if everything we assume about our place in the universe is wrong? Is it too convenient that, of the countless sentient organisms on Earth (and maybe aliens elsewhere in the universe), humans just happen to be God’s most favored creation?
I wove a story around that idea, throwing in elements I like in sci-fi: technology, action, mystery, politics, religion, philosophy, spaceships, futurism, science (in this case, biology), and, most of all, moral quandaries. I like exploring questions where there is no clear right and wrong.
LF: Your main character has complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS). Can you explain that to people?
AW: Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (CAIS) is a rare genetic condition. By default, humans grow up to look female. If you are genetically male, your body will produce male hormones. Normal people will respond to those hormones and develop male features, e.g. penis, deeper voice, facial hair. However, people with CAIS do not respond to those hormones. Thus, they will keep developing into the default female form, ending up looking just as feminine as women who are genetically female. Internally, a CAIS person has testes, but no ovaries or uterus.
LF: Plans for the future?
AW: I’d like to go to Antarctica and retrace Ernest Shackleton’s incredible journey, before it all melts.
I would like to write a new novel someday, but it’s such a huge investment. I have tons of ideas but haven’t thought of a good enough story to carry them out. My hope is to write in a different genre every time so I can experience something new.
LF: Anything you would like to add?
AW: If you like travel love stories, I hope you will check out my other novel, Morocco, Maybe. It’s completely different from Rapture. If you want to talk about books or writing, I’m happy to chat and share my experiences. You can get in touch with me via my blog or my Goodreads Author’s Page.
Spacecraft in formation over a futuristic alien city set on water with huge planet in orbit behind
Finally, thank you very much, Laura, for reviewing my book and interviewing me.