Today I have the pleasure of interviewing NA sci-fi author Olivia Mayfield who you might know better as author and editor Rhonda Helms.
Ten Days by Olivia Mayfield
TEN DAYS is a New Adult romance, based on the sci-fi short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster.
Nineteen-year-old Cally isn’t like the others. In her society, the Machine caters to every whim, ensuring people don’t have to leave their pods. But Cally and her best friend Marshal find themselves drawn to how things used to be, when people lived on the surface of the earth and relied upon manpower, not technology. When physical contact wasn’t uncivilized, and love was normal, acceptable, embraced. Cally tries to swallow down her increasing dissatisfaction with the “rules,” as well as her rapidly developing feelings for Marshal, a task getting harder each day.
Then, things start going downhill, fast. Food is spoiled. Air grows musty. The population panics about the dysfunction–is it sabotage? Anarchy? But Cally and Marshal discover the truth: The Machine, the answer to all their problems for longer than anyone can remember, is breaking
down. Now, these two have to risk it all to save themselves and the people they care about…before their entire world destroys itself.
Try the book! Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon UK
Interview with Olivia Mayfield
Why did you decide to become an author?
I’ve always been a huge reader. About ten years ago, I just…basically sat down and decided I wanted to try writing a novel. Part of it came because I’d just graduated from college, after changing my major a million times before settling on English. I realized books were my passion.
How do you balance writing with other things in your life?
I have a calendar and I track my work and writing goals daily. It’s super nerdy but it helps me make sure I stay balanced but also give enough time for my writing. I also try to take weekends off when I can.What is your favourite thing about being an author?
I love when someone messages me that they read my book and really connected with it. There’s no feeling in the world like that—knowing that something I created resonated with someone else. :DWhy do you choose to use a pen name?
My adult writing is under this name, and my teen writing is under my real name. Since my adult material has sex scenes, I didn’t want the two connected. lol
What are your favourite books?
Oh gosh, ask me who my favourite kid is too. Haha. Impossible question. But a few of my all-time favorites are Rebecca, Jane Eyre, The Book Thief, Unwind, Pride & Prejudice…and about a billion more, I’m sure. hah
Are there any books/authors that inspired you to write?
Not anything specific. Just my love of books. I devoured everything as a kid, from CS Lewis to VC Andrews to Stephen King to Anne Rice.
Describe your book in one sentence.
Cally’s world is crumbling around her—The Machine, which was created to keep her futuristic underground society functioning, is malfunctioning, and time is running out before it dies completely…and everything she’s ever known is destroyed.
Where did you get the idea for Ten Days, did anything inspire you to write it?
Oh, the story was based off the short story “The Machine Stops” by E.M. Forster! A brilliant and frightening prediction of the future (it actually came up with technology that hadn’t been invented yet at the time).
Why did you decide to base your book on a short story?
That story haunted me since I read it in high school. When I realized it was in the public domain, I knew I wanted to lend my voice to his tale. I added new characters but made them work within the confines of his world. It was a great challenge.
What made you decide to write a New Adult novel?
I’m a huuuuuge New Adult fan. I think it’s a wonderful way to explore intimate voice and narrative with strong emotions and emerging adulthood.
What would you say makes your book unique and worth reading?
Well, it’s not regular New Adult, insofar as it isn’t a contemporary romance. Lol. It also pays homage to a classic sci-fi story yet inserts what I hope is resonant and realistic characters we root for.
Is there any specific message you wanted to convey in the book?
I think my biggest message has to do with being okay with who you are, how you feel. Living life as fully as you can and not suppressing yourself because you feel like you have to.
What are your plans for future books?
I’m toying around with the idea of a sequel… ;-) I also write mystery romance for Berkley, so I’m working on new proposals now!
Do you have any hobbies and Interests unrelated to books?
I love photography, actually! I’m a singer, so music is super important to me. And I cook—I do a lot of Mediterranean cooking (I have two cookbooks that I rely heavily upon). It’s fun and a great way for me to de-stress.
Would you ever consider putting these (answer to above) into any of your books?
I’ve definitely written photography and art and music into my teen stories (as Rhonda Helms). I love all things art-related, basically. :D
FUN STUFFIf you could meet any one author (dead or alive) who would it be and why?
Neil Gaiman. He seems like a totally cool guy. I’d love to hang with him in a bar and pick his brain about everything.
Tell us one interesting fact about yourself.
I have a serious addiction to ketchup. I put it on almost everything.
What is your favourite food?
Probably Japanese—I can’t quit sushi. Lol. And yet, I also love Mexican. And hummos. And lasagne. Maybe I don’t just have one favourite food. haha
What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
I went parasailing in the Bahamas. I’m petrified of heights, so this was a huuuuge thing for me. It was the most stunning view I’ve ever seen in my life.
If you could be any supernatural creature which would you choose?
A unicorn, because THEY ARE AMAZING.
Digging my fingers into a patch of bold green grass—grass!—I gasped in a shock of air. Real air. It burned my lungs like fire, flooded me with a surge of sensation so unbelievably real, so undeniable that for the moment I could do nothing but lay there. I closed my eyes and tilted my head toward the hole to draw in another lungful of the Machine’s steady flow of artificial air, soothing the painful ache in my chest from the surface’s foreign atmosphere.
“Kuno was right,” I whispered to Marshal. My words shook from me as I spoke. I could hardly believe what I was experiencing.
Or that I was experiencing anything at all, actually. According to everything I’d ever learned, Marshal and I should be dead right now.
And yet, here we were.
Marshal reached a hand over to me, squeezed my fingers. “What do we do now?”
I peeked an eye open and looked at him. Warm tendrils of sunshine caressed the crown of his brown hair and the shades of green in his eyes, illuminating colors I’d never seen before. My heart twisted in surprise, even as my brain furiously cataloged each sensory experience.
Air breezed across my oversensitive skin. Cool blades of grass caressed the backs of my arms and legs. There was a strong, damp scent just beneath me that I’d never smelled before, pouring from the dirt.
Things were living on the surface—not just living but thriving. It teemed with activity, the day-to-day flow of nature progressing happily along, undisturbed. Unpolluted.
A slow-moving cloud blotted out the sun and darkened the sky then, bringing me back to reality. It was true—we’d been lied to our whole lives.
If Kuno had been right about this, could he be right about the Machine?
One thing I did know, that I felt in my gut—we were running out of time. It was certain that nothing was what I’d previously thought. And if this was true, my other concern, that the Machine was breaking down, was possible as well.
About the Author
Olivia Mayfield has been an unabashed fan of romance since she was a young teen, secretly devouring her mom’s Harlequins. She has a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, as well as a Master’s degree in English, and lives with her family in Ohio. In her free time, she loves reading, shopping, wearing absurdly high-heeled boots, cheesecake, singing karaoke, and harassing her friends.