Interview with Mark Lavine

Q: Can you tell us a bit about how you came up with the idea for Forever Child?

A: Well, often times writers, particularly science fiction writers, will come up with ideas by observing current activities/trends, and extrapolating them out into the future, or carrying them to an extreme. I suppose that was the case with Forever Child. I took a look around at our society which places such a value on youthfulness, on trying to stay young and appear youthful, and I asked myself where that would take us if science could really deliver on that wish. There’s an old saying to be careful of what you wish for, and Forever Child is perhaps a vision of where we might end up if our wishes for endless youth really did come true. As you read in the book, it may not be a future worth pursuing.

Q: The book certainly makes a statement about our present world. Would you care to elaborate on that?

A: I’ll let each reader draw his or her own conclusion about that, since everyone will see something a little different in the story and each reader will have his own opinion. But there is certainly a comment in there about losing what is most meaningful in our lives through an obsession with youth and with a denial of the natural process of aging and death.

Q: Forever Child is your first science fiction novel. What kind of challenges did that present to you as a writer?

A: Plenty of challenges, believe me! When you set a story in the present, as my previous novels have been set, you already have a foundation to work from, in that the setting, the locations, the events, the way of life, are all given and you can start from there. When you set a story three-hundred years into the future, you can take absolutely nothing for granted, and virtually the entire world and way of life needs to be considered and invented, as a background for the story itself. For me, it was very challenging but also very fun and satisfying to create a whole new world in addition to the story.

Q: The character of Kianno goes through a number of different physical “incarnations”, so to speak. Was that representative of the development in his character?

A: I would say that the physical changes he goes through are less representative of his character development than they are opportunities for that development. What I mean is that they are not so much symbols which represent the various stages of his growth, but are really more forces which shape his character. In that sense, then, he grows not just by confronting challenges posed by others and the external world, but also by confronting and accepting the changes in his physical self which occur several times throughout the story.

Q: This novel is a hard science fiction book, and contains a fair amount of scientific conjecture in the biological and medical fields. How much science and how much fiction should there be in a science fiction novel?

A: That is entirely a matter of personal taste and preference. Personally, I like a lot of scientific conjecture in an SF book, but that’s just because I really enjoy science and enjoy postulating where we might be heading, as well as reading where other authors think we might be heading. But, of course, the science can never get in the way of the story. The story and the characters must always be the number one focus, and if the science is ever taking the reader away from that focus for very long, then it’s probably too much, even for a science buff like myself.

Q: Is there a sequel to Forever Child coming up?

A: Well, the current project I am working on is not a sequel to this book, and Forever Child was not designed to be a multi-part story. It is very much a stand alone novel. Nevertheless, there are certainly aspects of the story which could serve as launching points for a new novel, and there has certainly been a lot of enthusiasm for the book. However, at this time I don’t foresee any sequels or prequels. Of course, the wonderful thing about the creative process is that you never know what inspiration may be just around the corner.

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