Today it’s my stop on the blog tour for Kirsty Applebaum’s incredible new book, ‘TrooFriend.’ When Sarah is given the latest life-like android instead of the puppy she wants she is furious with her parents and is determined not to interact with, ‘Ivy.’ Ivy should be the perfect friend, she won’t lie, harm or bully Sarah. But there are rumours spreading that this model is dysfunctional, some even claim they are developing feelings or that they’re dangerous. And when Ivy is threatened, what lengths will Sarah go to protect her one true friend? In a world that is striving to make devices smarter and develop Artificial Technology, this reminds us that just because we have the capability to do something it doesn’t mean we should necessarily do it. Kirsty has brilliantly captured the voice of Ivy, we really feel for her as she begins to experience true life emotions going against everything she has been developed to be. For the reader to feel empathy for an artificial being is an truly remarkable feat and Kirsty should be lauded for conjuring this emotion in the reader. A tale of unexpected friendship and learning to be true to yourself, this is a thoughtful and compelling story that will have you gripped to the very last page.
How TrooFriend Came To Be – Kirsty Applebaum
It feels almost as if TrooFriend appeared from nowhere. The idea came very suddenly in a writing workshop. We’d been listening to each other’s childhood stories, identifying key emotions and conflicts involved, then using them to build a new story. My friend Di described how she’d once taken a pencil from a friend and felt terribly guilty about it, although she could never quite remember whether she’d taken it deliberately or not. I decided to transform her into an artificially intelligent robot (sorry Di!) and began to write. For the rest of the day I couldn’t stop thinking about it. When I told my husband about the idea he said, ‘You have to write that!’
But I had a problem. My publisher was expecting delivery of another book – one that I was finding incredibly difficult to complete. I secretly started on TrooFriend. It poured from my fingers. Every time I finished a section my husband would read it and hassle me for more. After a week of this moonlighting I called my agent, Nancy Miles, and confessed. Lovely, wise Nancy said if this book was flowing I should just let it happen, so I went full steam ahead. I wrote in every spare moment – and in 32 days I had my first draft.
Happily, both Nancy and my brilliant editor, Kirsty Stansfield, loved it. After a short editing period, Nosy Crow decided to publish it as my second book.
So, did TrooFriend appear from nowhere? Well, looking back, I think I was always going to write this book. I was seven when Star Wars came out and thirteen when I read Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot. I studied Frankenstein, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Iron Man. I watched Terminator and listened to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I think all these stories (and more) have been brewing away in my subconscious for decades and it all tumbled out in the form of TrooFriend.
But one last thing. For all the writers out there spitting nails at this story of a ‘book in 32 days’, I’d just like to say this is not my usual modus operandi! The Middler took just under two years to write, and right now I must get back to that book I was supposed to be delivering when TrooFriend appeared. Did it ever get finished? Well, I’m nearly there. Three years and counting…
Thank you to Kirsty for this really insightful guest post and I’m very envious of your 32 day first draft.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and guest posts.
Thank you to Clare and Nosy Crow for inviting me to take part in the blog tour. ‘TrooFriend,’ is available to buy now online.