This post features an interview of Chris Bedell, author of Dying Before Living.
Welcome, Chris Bedell, to empathyseries.com! Your science fiction novel, Dying Before Living, will be available in ebook everywhere and in print from most major retailers later this year. What’s this novel about, and why did you decide to write it?
This novel is about 17-year-old Cameron who gets a second at life after a cure is discovered for his fatal disease and he is cryogenically frozen and unfrozen. The stem cell cure gives him telekinesis and his grandmother’s death makes him become a superhero. A budding relationship also develops between Cameron and his fellow classmate Ryder.
Have you written in other genres before, or has sci-fi always been your primary focus as an author? What appeals to you most about writing sci-fi?
I’ve written in the YA category, but I’m pretty new to sci-fi. What appealed to me about the sci-fi genre is writers can also play with near future, as opposed to several hundred years in the future. In DYING BEFORE LIVING, the world is a little less than ten years into the future, meaning it’s a grounded speculative element.
Would you say this book focuses more on character, classic sci-fi tropes and themes, or the world in which the novel takes place? In other words, what really lies at the heart of this story?
The heart of this story is standing up for what’s right. Cameron feels powerless after his grandma dies, so using his telekinesis to become a superhero honors her. Also, his grandma’s death isn’t what it seems—the situations was anything but a robbery gone wrong, and Cameron also investigates her death, which evokes THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATOO vibes. In order to investigate his grandmother’s death, he must turn to a internet tabloid journalist Sofia Lord. Sofia isn’t 100 percent above board, but she’s good at what she does. Also, Sofia was in contact with Cameron’s grandmother before she was shot in an alleged robbery gone wrong.
What makes this novel stand out from other science fiction reads?
That I’m including LGBTQ characters in a superhero story. It feels like there are more positive LGBTQ stories now and there are plenty of superhero stories, but they often exist as separate entities. Ultimately, Cameron and his boyfriend Ryder aren’t the only LGBTQ characters in DYING BEFORE LIVING.
What do you hope readers take away from this book after having read it?
That nothing is as it seems. Without giving away spoilers, there’s a lot at play in DYING BEFORE LIVING, so even when Cameron thinks he knows something, he doesn’t. The book is like a snowball rolling down the hill—the conflict just organically gets bigger and bigger.
What’s next for Chris Bedell, and where can readers find you online?
In addition to DYING BEFORE LIVING, I have another YA novel coming out this year. My YA LGBTQ Thriller I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED, which is pitched as GONE GIRL meets Adam Silvera’s HISTORY IS ALL YOU LEFT ME with the backdrop of a New England boarding school, is being published by Magnolia Press, formerly Pen Name Publishing. Furthermore, readers can follow me on Twitter for writing updates. My handle is @ChrisBedell.
Chris Bedell’s fiction and nonfiction publishing credits include Thought Catalog, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Chicago Literati, and The Vignette Review, among others. His debut young adult fantasy novel In the Name of Magic (which is the first book in a trilogy) was published by NineStar Press in October 2018. He is also launching two new series in 2019—a young adult science fiction thriller that’s Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Notmeets Arrow from NineStar Press, and a young adult thriller coming from Magnolia Press (formerly Pen Name Publishing) that’s Gone Girl meets Adam Silvera’s History Is All You Left Me.
After being cryogenically frozen for three years, terminally ill seventeen-year-old, Cameron, gets a second chance at life when he receives a stem cell treatment for his fatal heart disease. Cameron also receives something he didn’t anticipate—telekinesis strong enough to move objects by looking at them.
Well on his way to recovery, Cameron’s future looks bright until his grandmother is brutally murdered in a robbery gone wrong. Overcome with grief, and determined not to let other innocents die, Cameron starts using his newfound telekinesis to fight crime and other injustices.
As Cameron explores his newfound powers, he becomes attached to fellow classmate, Ryder. As a romance sparks between them, Cameron continues hiding his identity as a crime-fighting vigilante.
But if life weren’t complicated enough, budding journalist, Sofia Lord, contacts Cameron and reveals his grandmother was trying to expose the biotech company she worked for and how they might have been selling non-FDA approved drugs on the black market. Working with Sofia means trusting her, though, and Sofia’s ruthless reputation means cooperating isn’t exactly a trip to Starbucks. However, Cameron might not have a choice about his unholy alliance with Sofia if he wants the truth surrounding his grandmother’s death exposed.
Thanks so much to Chris Bedell for visiting the EMPATHY series blog!