Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
Ex-neuroscientist Carina struggles with a drug problem, her conscience, and urges to kill. She satisfies her cravings in dreams, fuelled by the addictive drug ‘Zeal’. Now she’s heading for self-destruction – until she has a vision of a dead girl.
Sudice Inc. damaged Carina when she worked on their sinister brain-mapping project, causing her violent compulsions. And this girl was a similar experiment. When Carina realizes the vision was planted by her old colleague Mark, desperate for help to expose the company, she knows he’s probably dead. Her only hope is to unmask her nemesis – or she’s next.
To unlock the secrets Mark hid in her mind, she’ll need a group of specialist hackers. Dax is one of them, a doctor who can help Carina fight her addictions. If she holds on to her humanity, they might even have a future together. But first she must destroy her adversary – before it changes us and our society, forever.
Praise for FALSE HEARTS
“Riveting.” ―F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author
“A multilayered, suspenseful thriller, False Hearts explores themes of identity and power in a breakneck plot that keeps the pages turning.” ―Ilana C. Myer, author of Last Song Before Night
“An ingenious premise, and Laura Lam executes it flawlessly. Gritty and wise, your own pulse will be racing as you get caught up in this exciting tale.” ―Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of Red Planet Blues
“A taut futuristic thriller, set in a San Francisco where everybody is beautiful... and nobody is exceptional. Two unusual sisters are caught in a war for control of a society that quietly suffocates its outsiders, rebels, and the damaged. Taema and Tila are all three, and their strange past and unique bond make False Hearts a difficult book to put down.” ―A. M. Dellamonica, author of Child of a Hidden Sea
“A smart debut from someone who's clearly got what it takes.” ―Peter F. Hamilton, author of the Commonwealth Saga
Guest Post: What were some Struggles faced writing Shattered Minds?
Shattered Minds was one of the hardest books I’ve written. It’s my first book told in third person. It’s my first book with 3 points of view. Plus, just to make things a bit more interesting (read: difficult) for myself, I have two separate flashback narratives. It was the best way to tell this story, but holy hell was it difficult. Like a puzzle piece with bits missing or edges that wouldn’t fit. None of the characters are much like me, so I did a lot of research. I’m not a serial killer who is addicted to drugs, nor am I a Native American trans man, nor am I a power hungry, twisted villain. I love research, but there was a lot of it. Shattered Minds is also very reliant on technology, corporate hacking, and espionage. Google was my friend, as well as a few nonfiction books and interviewing my cousin who owns a white hat hacking corporation.
Even so, when I finished the first draft, it felt broken, and I felt broken. Editing was when I fell in love with the story. My editor found a simple way to make my protagonist and antagonist’s relationship more compelling—that Roz, the villain, is the reason why my protagonist Carina wants to kill everyone around her. She did a brain experiment that went wrong. Roz now wants to find Carina not only to protect her company but because she is the failed experiment that must be eliminated. It did mean rewriting about half of the book and it basically becoming a Frankenstein retelling. I’m now really proud of the end product, but 40,000 words into the first draft, I really wondered if I’d ever finish it. I remember thinking that once you write a book, the next one would be easier. Nope. Each time is, in a way, like writing a book for the first time again. You’re always trying something new, trying to level up and push yourself and your craft. It definitely keeps things interesting.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Lam was born in the late eighties and raised near San Francisco, California, by two former Haight-Ashbury hippies. Both of them encouraged her to finger-paint to her heart’s desire, colour outside the lines, and consider the library a second home. This led to an overabundance of daydreams.
After studying literature and creative writing at university, she relocated to Scotland to be with her husband, a boy she met online when they were teenagers and he insulted her taste in books and she insulted his right back. She almost blocked him but is glad she didn’t. She is now a dual citizen, but at times she misses the sunshine.
While working a variety of jobs from filing and photocopying endlessly at a law firm to library assistant to corporate librarian, she began writing in earnest. Her first book, Pantomime, the first book in the Micah Grey series, was released in 2013, which was a Scottish Book Trust Teen Book of the Month, won the Bisexual Book Award, was listed a Top Ten Title for the American Library Association List, and was nominated for several other awards. Robin Hobb says “Pantomime by Laura Lam took me into a detailed and exotic world, peopled by characters that I’d love to be friends with . . . and some I’d never want to cross paths with.” The sequel, Shadowplay, followed in 2014, as well as several the Vestigial Tales, self-published short stories and novellas set in the same world. The third book in the series, Masquerade, will follow in 2017.
Her newest book is False Hearts, a near-future thriller released in June 2016 by Tor/Macmillan and in three other languages. Peter F. Hamilton calls False Hearts “a strong debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” Another thriller, Shattered Minds, will be released in 2017.
She is still hiding from sunshine in Scotland and writing more stories.