Today I'm pleased to welcome author Jessica Khoury to the blog to answer a few questions about Kalahari, the latest release in her Corpus Files series. Books like this where the characters are forced into a survival situation always fascinate me, particularly because I'm a solid 93% sure I wouldn't be alive for long under the same circumstances, so I like to live vicariously through those who fare better than I would. I hope you all enjoy the interview!
I’m not sure I’d be great in any type of survival situation (understatement), but I think a desert environment would be particularly brutal. What type of environment do you think would present the most challenges for you personally?
I'd probably struggle most in the Arctic. I love snow, but I am such a baby about the cold! Plus, being from the South, I'd have no idea how to deal with it. I'd pretty much be useless. And dead. Very dead.
*Jenny nods along knowingly* Ditto.
If you were part of Sarah’s group stranded in the Kalahari, aside from a virus-carrying silver lion, what type of predator would you most fear having to face?
Gotta go with Indiana Jones on this one and say–snakes! Even though most of the snakes were hibernating while I was in Botswana doing research for the book, I was still on the lookout for them 24/7. Some of the world's deadliest snakes live in the Kalahari! And you don't even see them until it's too late! Yikes!
What’s one thing about survival training writing Kalahari taught you that you didn’t know before it?
There is so much! But maybe the most important thing is Don't panic. When you panic, you make stupid decisions, and stupid decisions get you killed. Taking a few moments to breathe and settle your thoughts and emotions before moving forward can be the difference between life and death.
If Sarah could reach out and pluck one character from any piece of YA fiction to be a part of her group, who might she think would best increase their chances of survival?
What a great question! Probably Bennet from Tamara Ireland Stone's Time Between Us, because he could just teleport everyone to safety! Teleportation would be immensely handy–maybe Corpus should work on that more, instead of manufacturing deadly viruses that could wipe out humanity. Silly Corpus.
If instead of a full synopsis you could only print three words on the back of the book to entice readers to pick it up, what three words would you choose?
"Safari from hell." Haha!
Thanks so much for stopping by Jessica!
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Deep in the Kalahari Desert, a Corpus lab protects a dangerous secret…
But what happens when that secret takes on a life of its own?
When an educational safari goes wrong, five teens find themselves stranded in the Kalahari Desert without a guide. It’s up to Sarah, the daughter of zoologists, to keep them alive and lead them to safety, calling on survival know-how from years of growing up in remote and exotic locales. Battling dehydration, starvation and the pangs of first love, she does her best to hold it together, even as their circumstances grow increasingly desperate.
But soon a terrifying encounter makes Sarah question everything she’s ever known about the natural world. A silver lion, as though made of mercury, makes a vicious, unprovoked attack on the group. After a narrow escape, they uncover the chilling truth behind the lion’s silver sheen: a highly contagious and deadly virus that threatens to ravage the entire area—and eliminate life as they know it.
In this breathtaking new novel by the acclaimed author of Origin and Vitro, Sarah and the others must not only outrun the virus, but its creators, who will stop at nothing to wipe every trace of it.
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When not writing, Jess enjoys spending time with family, playing video games, and traveling the world in search of stories and inspiration.
Jess currently lives in Greenville, South Carolina. She is the author of Origin, Vitro, and forthcoming Kalahari.