Please welcome Garren Lowe, a lead character from CK Kelly Martin’s new YA book Tomorrow, due out this month!
INTERVIEWER: When and where were you born?
GARREN LOWE: 2045 in Billings, Montana, the capital of United North America – the single nation that was formed from the merging of Canada and the U.S.A. in 2032.
INTERVIEWER Do you believe that what will happen in the future? That Canada and the United States will join together?
GARREN LOWE: It happened once already so it’s possible. But I don’t know. The future is subject to change. I’ve seen that firsthand.
INTERVIEWER: In your opinion what’s the worst thing about the future?
GARREN LOWE: Either the lack of freedom or people’s denial about our situation, take your pick. Androids do so many of the jobs that used to belong to people decades ago. That leaves over a third of the U.N.A. unemployed and living in social welfare camps. Then there’s the constant threat of terrorists attacks, the government’s abuse of eco refugees and crippling environmental degradation that meant our days were numbered. But we couldn’t talk about any of that back in 2063. The government controlled the media. If they didn’t like what you said or did they’d have your memory wiped and then covered with a profound desire to obey the state. Then they’d send you off to a toxic waste site to ‘clean-up’ until your body gave out from contamination. Meanwhile the majority of the population was addicted to “gushi,” a virtual reality system indistinguishable from real life. It had its roots in things like videogames and the internet. The technology got better and better, and lots of people couldn’t do without it. They’d rather live mostly in a virtual where they can have whoever or whatever they want than deal with unpleasant realities.
INTERVIEWER: That sounds brutal.
GARREN LOWE: It was.
INTERVIEWER: But there must have been good things about the future too? Were there any things you preferred to the place that became your second home, 1986?
GARREN LOWE: Yes, there were good things. The Bio-net for one. It meant most diseases were a thing of the past for citizens of the U.N.A. No more deaths from cancer or heart disease. No more AIDs, allergies or diabetes. All of those things were cured long ago. In the future people lived a long, long time. But there were a few things they couldn’t fix. The Toxo virus for one. And radiation levels from the Pakistan-India War meant women had begun to lose their unborn babies to damaged D.N.A. at an unprecedented rate. Also, many of the prejudices I’ve seen in the 1986 didn’t exist anymore by 2063 – racism, homophobia and sexism. Those were things of the past by then.
INTERVIEWER: It’s good to hear there are some positive things about the future.
GARREN LOWE: Well, I’m hoping that by the time 2063 rolls around again things will be better in a lot of different ways. Like I said, the future is subject to change.
INTERVIEWER: You seem to enjoy quotes so I picked one out to share with you for this interview. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
GARREN LOWE: That’s a great one, thanks. I like it, and I believe it.
INTERVIEWER: I do too. Okay, we’ve talked about the good and bad things about the future, now what are the best and worst things about living in 1986?
GARREN LOWE: I have to tell you, the food was disgusting. Full of fat, sodium and chemicals no one should be ingesting. But I started to crave the food anyway. And then cigarettes, which were even worse because with no Bio-net I didn’t want to get cancer, but smoking is a hard habit to break. People act ridiculously in 1986 – junking up the environment without a second thought and giving themselves skin cancer from oiling themselves up in the sun. It’s crazy in some ways and fantastic in others. All these amazing animals we lost to extinction later – rhinos, elephants, polar bears and whales – you’d only find those in zoos in 2063 but in 1986 they were out in the wild for people to see. There’s also an incredible amount of freedom for people lucky enough to live in the west. They can travel the globe freely, unlike in the future when environmental damage and terrorist threats made that impossible. People had to remain within their national borders. Finally, 80s music is pretty great. It’s incredible to be able to see the talented musicians I’d admired from the future live. In 2063 the musicians were mostly clones, genetically spliced hybrids like Chena (a Tina Turner/Cher clone) and Supreme (another female solo act who was an amalgamation of all the original members of the Supremes) created in Chinese labs.
INTERVIEWER: How old are you during the events that occurr in 1986 Vancouver in Tomorrow?
GARREN LOWE: Nineteen. Freya and I were in Vancouver a year after we were sent back in time to 1985. The future was doomed and our parents – especially hers – were powerful people. They thought they were saving us by having us sent back and in some ways, they were right. But things got messy. And U.N.A. security started to search for us. We stayed in Vancouver too long. They got to Freya.
INTERVIEWER: I’d ask you how what happened after that but it would be a major spoiler so instead can you tell me what was the hardest thing you’ve ever had to deal with?
GARREN LOWE: There are so many. What happened to Seneval (you’ll read about that), never being able to see either of my mothers again, the day Freya was taken and knowing that I might never see her again and that even if I did, she might be a vegetable. But the most painful thing was seeing what the Toxo virus did to my sister, Kinnari. She became a monster, and for a long time I believed I could’ve prevented that if I’d only been with her in Chicago when the virus started spreading. I’ve begun to forgive myself for that because so much has happened since and I can’t live in the past or the future. I need to make the most of my life and live in the moment. She would want that for me too, I know.
INTERVIEWER: After all you’ve been through, is there anything that still scares you?
GARREN LOWE: The same things as always – losing my freedom, losing my mind to a memory wipe and losing Freya. But you can’t live in fear. You always have to have hope.
INTERVIEWER: Is there anything else you’d like to share with readers?
GARREN LOWE: Just the obvious message about taking care of the planet. And if you’re in a tough spot you think you can’t get out of, don’t give up. I don’t know who said it’s not over till it’s over, but that’s the truth.
Synopsis via Goodreads:
The sci-fi adventure that began with Yesterday continues with a thriller that can also be read as a standalone.
2063, United North America: climate change has rendered great swathes of the country uninhabitable, the rise of robot workers has created mass unemployment, eco-terrorism is a constant threat and a 2059 nuclear exchange between Pakistan and India has torn large holes in the world’s ozone layer and pushed humanity’s existence towards a cliff.
Garren and Freya have managed to escape that nightmare world and lose themselves in 1986 Vancouver. But the future’s reach is long, and they’re no longer safe there. No one is. Shadowy forces are intent on influencing the past’s path. And when Freya is taken, it’s up to Garren to save both her, and the future.
“I’m not gifted like Freya. I never saw what was coming back then and if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t remember my past now either.” —Garren Lowe, Tomorrow
About the Author
C.K. Kelly Martin always thought she’d get around to writing in earnest eventually and began writing her first novel in a flat in Dublin, finishing it in a Toronto suburb. By then she’d discovered that young adult fiction felt the freshest and most exciting to her. You have most of your life to be an adult but you only grow up once!
Martin currently resides near Toronto with her Dub husband. She became an Irish citizen in 2001 and continues to visit Dublin often (although not as often as she’d like!) while working on teen novels.
http://www.ckkellymartin.com | twitter.com/ckkellymartin