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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Interview With NYT Best-Selling Author Guy Garcia


Swarm 
Guy Garcia is an award-winning author, journalist, Internet entrepreneur and commentator on social and demographic trends. He is the author of the novels “Skin Deep” and “Obsidian Sky.” His nonfiction books include “The New Mainstream” and the New York Times bestseller, “Self Made” (with Nely Galan). A co-founder of the pioneering urban web site, Total New York, he has been a contributor for Huffington Post, The National Journal, NPR and PBS, and his work has been included in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, Time, Fortune, and more.  

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?
The seed for Swarm occurred late one night when I happened upon a cable science program about new research into the biology behind locust swarms. I was fascinated to learn that ordinary grasshoppers and marauding swarms of ravenous locusts are actually the same animal. Under certain extreme conditions, including lack of food and crowding, a rise of the serotonin level in grasshopper brains triggers a morphogenic reaction where they become aggressive, sexually promiscuous, and physically transform into bigger, meaner members of a single collective hive mind. I had already been thinking about how social media was changing human behavior and aggregating our online personas into a massive network of proto-emergent consciousness. As I researched the latest advances in mind control experiments by the U.S. government and others, the plot and characters all began to flow and twine together. 

2. What is it about and whom do you believe is your targeted reader?
Swarm is a fast-paced high-tech thriller that melds technology and hacktivist culture with primal human urges and social forces that may or may not trigger the next phase of human evolution. There is a mystery at the heart of this cautionary tale, but part of the surprise is how much of the events and technology in Swarm actually exist today.  No matter how far-fetched some of the things that happen in Swarm seemed, I felt that reality was chasing right behind me. This book is for anyone who loves science-fiction, mystery thrillers, and stories that use fictitious scenarios to reveal a deeper truth. 

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Technology is moving faster than we can absorb it - and some of the same innovations that make our lives easier also bring new dimensions of uncertainty and danger. As technology blurs the lines between reality and fantasy, past and future, right and wrong, we must find the courage to protect and assert our humanity. There is a lot of noise about machines owning the future, but I'm still betting on the durability and evolutionary potential of our own species. Without a human heart beating inside every digital step forward, without human emotions and needs and dreams linking us all together, magical machines have no value and no future. And when new technologies and products ask permission for access to our brains, we should take a long collective breath and make sure we're not giving away something that can never be taken back.

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
Do not underestimate the value of small random tidbits of information that catch your attention and tickle your imagination. Write them down, text them to yourself. Keep them in a folder and when the folder gets fat and heavy, you'll know it's time to think about writing a book. And don't be afraid to revise - it won't hinder the genius of what you've already written – to the contrary. I revised Swarm ten times over four years. When you're making improvements that are so minuscule nobody, else will ever notice – that’s the signal it's time to publish and move on. 

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
We are in a golden age of storytelling. The hunger for compelling narratives of every kind is insatiable, stoked by the same forces that are squeezing the traditional publishing industry. Writing books and nothing else is great work if you can get it. But the opportunities --and demands-- of social media, video, virtual and augmented reality are something that every writer needs to take seriously. But good writing remains at the core. I recently shared a virtual reality clip of Swarm VR Experience at the Sundance Film Festival. It definitely raised the profile of the book and allowed me to try my hand at intriguing new platforms for immersive storytelling. Still, if the novel at the heart of it all wasn't sturdy and true, none of those flashy high-tech extensions would matter. 

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
Swarm is novel, but I researched it as much as any of my non-fiction books. It was a challenge to make sure that the trove of information never overwhelmed the human dimension of the story, but the personal passions behind big ideas ended up being the book's moral compass and subliminal message.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
Swarm is Orwell's 1984 updated for the Age of Trump. It's a thrill-ride exploration of the convergence of technological, social and biological forces that are raising the stakes and shocking the system of every person on this planet. Grounded in techno-moral conundrums as familiar and unnerving as tomorrow's headlines, it is a searing cyclorama of a world groping for meaning and redemption in the maw of the imminent now.

For more information, please see www.ownyourmind.org

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs 


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