Theresa Halvorsen has never met a profanity she hasn’t enjoyed. She’s generally overly-caffeinated and at times, wine-soaked. The author of Warehouse Dreams and The Dad’s Playbook to Labor and Birth, Theresa wonders what sleep is. When she’s not writing or podcasting at The Semi-Sages of the Pages, she’s commuting through San Diego traffic to her healthcare position. In whatever free time is left, Theresa enjoys board games, geeky conventions, and reading. Her life goal is to give “Oh-My-Gosh-This-Book-Is-So-Good!” happiness to her readers. She lives in Temecula with her amazing and supportive husband, occasionally her college-age twins, and the pets they’d promised to care for. Find her at www.theresaHauthor.com and on Twitter and Facebook.
Welcome Theresa Halvorsen!
Before we get into the nitty gritty, tell us what your story is about.
Kendle’s job is on the line every time she rescues a Wild teen. But Wilds, with their uncontrolled psychic abilities, need her help. They need the chronically underfunded Warehouse, the only school available for Wilds. But accepting a teen with potentially dangerous abilities puts her at odds with her boss; refusing means the teen faces life institutionalized, sedated, and under restraint. Stephen, the new telepathy teacher, is a Bred. His wealthy parents paid for his perfect genetic code. He’s not used to the Warehouse’s long hours, to students who float beds through walls during nightmares, or send fishbowls through windows-not to mention the food sucks.
The only bright spot is the fascinating Wild teacher in the next room who plays amazing cello or guitar music late at night. Kendle doesn’t think Stephen belongs at the Warehouse, but when he helps save her and her students from a violent mob, she wonders if she was wrong…and if a Bred like Stephen might fall for a Wild like her. But Kendle has little time for romance. As society ramps up its hatred of Wilds and the Warehouse’s resources stretch desperately thin, Kendle must find a way to keep the director from expelling the most gifted students as dangers to the school.
When and where does your story take place? Present? Future? Earth? Somewhere else?
Warehouse Dreams is set in Urban Chicago in a parallel universe to now.
What are the main differences between the “regular world” and the world of your story?
The rich can choose the genetic code of their unborn babies, picking items like physical characteristics (sea-glass green eyes, tanned skin and black hair for example), along with intelligence and personality requests such as natural leadership, or charisma. Additionally, they’ve had telepathy and psychokinesis added to their genetic codes.These are Breds and they control a great deal of society, government and business.
There are also Wilds. Wilds are telepaths and psychokinetics, born to Reg parents (people without telepathy and psychokinesis), and do not have the genetic manipulation component or the pressure of perfection Breds do. However, Wilds are not wanted by society. Their families don’t know how to teach them to control their abilities and in all honesty don’t want them around (would you want to be around your telepathic teenager?). So there’s not a lot of assistance for them and many are institutionalized. The Warehouse, or Phillips Academy for the Advancement of Wilds, tries to fill this gap.
Did you invent any interesting technology?
In Warehouse Dreams, there are transport pads, devices that allow both Wilds and Breds to transport to other pads within the United States. There are also bands, bracelets utilized by a special force of police called the Guardians to block abilities. They’re horrific devices that tighten when the wearer accidentally uses their Gifts. Unfortunately, for many Gifted, using their abilities is instinctual, so many Wild adults who have had run-ins with the Guardians have scars on their wrists.
What is the primary way people travel? Do they move around a lot or mostly stay close to home?
Regs use cars and public transportation. Wilds and Breds use transport pads and some will teleport, though it can be dangerous without proper training. The students at the Warehouse mostly stay at the Warehouse. It’s not safe for them to leave, as one incident during a field trip in Warehouse Dreams, shows.
What kinds of climates do your characters experience? Do they see a lot of change or is it always the same? Has your world always had this kind of climate, or has it changed over time?
It’s typical Chicago weather, humid during the summer and viciously cold in the winter, with freezing wind blowing off the lake.
What do people in your invented world do for fun? Are there sports, games, music, or other activities they do in their free time?
As it’s set in today, there’s not a lot that’s different. They watch shows, read books, listen to music, go to bars. There is a celebrity component to Breds as well, and many people follow them obsessively.
When you build a world, what is your process like? Do you do a lot of research upfront, wing it completely, or something in between?
Warehouse Dreams is soft sci-fi so I didn’t do a lot of research; I pretty much winged it.
How central is the setting of your story to the story itself? Is it more of an interesting backdrop, or is it integral to the events of the story?
Warehouse Dreams is set in Chicago which is mildly integral to the plot. The school, Phillips Academy for the Advancement of Wilds, nicknamed the Warehouse, is in an inner city, in a depressed neighborhood. Additionally, San Francisco plays a role as do time zones.
When helping the reader get to know the world you built, what techniques do you use? Do you tend to front load with context so they’ve got everything they need or keep the reader in the dark and feed them only bits at a time? Something in between?
I like to fling the reader into the world and tell them to keep up. I try not to do too much explanation or info dumping, but let the information about the world dribble in as needed. While the world of Warehouse Dreams is complex, it’s primarily focused on the people, their thoughts, their emotions and their views, which in some ways prevented the need to info dump.
Do you have any specialized training or background from your “real life” that has informed your world-building?
That’s an interesting question. I have a degree in psychology and that definitely shaped how the characters use telepathy and how I chose to write about it. My characters are very human, very flawed and I really enjoyed digging into their motivations.
How do you keep all of the details of your world and characters straight? Do you have a system for deciding on different factors and keeping it all organized, or does it live more in your head?
Most of it lives in my head, but I did find I had to draw out places and locations.
Did you experience any difficulties while building your world? Any facts that refused to cooperate or inconsistencies you needed to address while editing?
I think the hardest inconsistency was making sure my characters weren’t too powerful. I had to put limitations on what they could and couldn’t do, such as fine detail work with their psychokinesis. I also found writing dialogue with characters who use telepathy challenging. I had to figure out group conversations that were verbal and also telepathic–it was a lot of fun and a good way to show secrets and emotions. When characters switch between telepathy and verbal, there’s usually an emotional component to that decision.
Do you bounce your ideas off anyone as you’re building your world or is it more of a solitary process?
It was pretty solitary, though I do have to thank my beta readers for all their help.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing about your world. Where can people find you on the web?
I am all over the web! You can buy Warehouse Dreams on Amazon. There’s also my website, www.theresahauthor.com and Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/theresa.halvorsen.5/. Followers can also find my podcast, Semi-Sages of the Pages at http://www.semisagesofthepages.com/. I’m also on Twitter, Bookbub, Goodreads, Pinterest and Instagram, though I prefer Facebook.