MtSnow reviews ‘Persistence of Memory’ (Mnevermind series, book 1) by Jordan Castillo Price. Published by JCP Books, LLC., May 4, 2012, 158 pages. .
Blurb: Every day, Daniel Schroeder breaks his father’s heart.
The two of them have always been close, which makes it all the more difficult to break the daily news: the last five years were nothing like Big Dan remembers.
They’re both professionals in the memory field–they even run their own memory palace. So shouldn’t they be able to figure out a way to overwrite the persistent false memory that’s wreaking havoc on both of their lives? Daniel thought he was holding it together, but the situation is sliding out of control. Now even his own equipment has turned against him, reminding him he hasn’t had a date in ages by taunting him with flashes of an elusive man in black that only he can see.
The Elijah character makes no sense. Not only does he claim to be straight–which has never piqued Daniel’s interest–but he’s appearing in manufactured memories in which he’s never been programmed. Is it some quirk of the circuitry, or is Daniel’s desire to connect with someone clouding his own memory?
Note: This is Part 1 of a 3-part interview, with JCP providing 10 or more Q&A responses per review for each of the 3 stories in the trilogy. Be sure to come back for the next book in the series for more interview questions and answers!
Let’s welcome author Jordan Castillo Price to RGR. Thank you so much for joining us here today! I’m looking forward to your responses to all these fun questions we threw your way *wink*
RGR: Soooo, I just finished reading your Mnevermind trilogy and right now all I can say is -Wow. What a creative and very engrossing world you created. So believable and such a wonderful escape.
JCP: Thank you so much! I was aiming for something I think of as an “intimacy of plot,” something that would take these elements that might seem outrageous or far flung and make them seem highly relatable and entirely real. That’s why I focus so much on the family dynamic.
1. After getting so attached to these guys I have to ask, how do you go about creating such 3-dimensional characters, and is it a difficult process to make them so relatable to your readers?
JCP: I’m really happy to hear you find my book’s inhabitants engaging. When I read, I will often remember the character, what kind of feel they gave me, long after I forget a majority of the details of a book. So while my initial idea for a story might be the technology or some other speculative detail, I try to dream up some interesting characters to explore the fictional world. Once I’ve decided who they are, I make a conscious effort to be sure everyone’s behaving “in character” in any given scene. Often I’m so deep inside the point-of-view character’s head I get everyone else wrong on the first pass, so I have to go back and adjust.
As for making them relatable, it’s a delicate balance. My knee jerk reaction would be to shave off all the interesting edges so as not to offend anyone and make the characters mediocre. Since someone out there is going to hate my characters no matter how I write them, I’d prefer not to skew the writing toward mediocrity in order to please a faceless “audience.” My aim is to create characters who are compelling rather than relatable, and just as there’s someone out there who will hate characters that I find sympathetic, I’m always surprised how many people own up to finding the complete bastards relatable. Despite this conscious effort, writing the most authentic character in the world won’t matter if people are so turned off they won’t keep going with the series—and are potentially turned off from ever checking out any of my work in the future. So I try not to make anyone truly odious unless I have a very good reason.
2. If you were able to stack pixels for your perfect Mnem, which pixels would you use as foundation and and what kind of Mnem experience would they create for you?
JCP: Pixels on computers are dots of color in varying degrees of red, green and blue, but in mnemography, the science of Mnevermind, pixels are discrete conceptual ideas. Kind of like a word, but with the emotion attached that goes with the word. The mnem artist “stacks” the concepts into packets that mnemers experience as 100% real memories.
I personally struggle with anxiety, so I would love a mnem stacked with things like happy, free, acceptance, authentic, surprise. I might find my mnem self running naked down the street laughing, but it would be totally worth it, because all the other characters in my mnem would join in and we’d all have a blast.
3. How do you go about creating a relationship so believable with a ‘neuronormal’ and someone on the autism spectrum and not make it feel like the ‘regular-guy’ wasn’t taking advantage of someone who others may perceive as naive?
JCP: On a very surface level, it seemed believable to me that two guys who were experts in the same field would be attracted to each others’ expertise and creativity despite other differences. Elijah is so good at mnemography tech that everyone else seems insufferably slow to him, so someone as creative and clever as Daniel really intrigues him.
Daniel has been having family issues that make him appreciate traits that previously seemed too mundane to him. He’s recently learned how important it is to be compassionate so he’s in a great spot to embark on a relationship with someone he might not have had the patience for before.
4. Is this why the second book is from Elijah’s POV?
JCP: I was pretty sure readers would buy the mutual attraction given their common interest and the unusually candid circumstances of their first meeting, but Elijah is so un-emotive (is that a word?) that I felt it would be more satisfying to show the roiling tempest of his internal world directly so it would be obvious that he was just as embroiled in the budding relationship as Daniel.
5. I also appreciated the snippets, poems and quotes at the beginning of each ‘part’. What was the thought process of why you made ‘parts’ to each story outside of the chapters? Are they intended like scenes to a play?
JCP: I wasn’t consciously thinking of a play but it’s possible the three-act structure is so much a part of our culture that I’ve assimilated it on a more intuitive level. I seem to understand stories in 20,000-word hunks. So I think of each hunk as being “the part where X happens.” The part where Daniel discovers Elijah is real, the part where he finds Elijah and so on. I also liked the idea of having a motif recur in each story about 1/3 of the way through to tie it to the “real” world in some way.
6. I very much enjoyed your add-ons into your writing and thought process at the end of each story in this trilogy, as it gave great insight into your creative process. Do you consider it easier or more difficult to write about a location close to home, or an imaginary far away location?
JCP: It’s both easier and more difficult to write about my own stomping grounds. I have a more nuanced understanding of any location I’ve lived in. But there’s always the risk of including too much insider knowledge and making the place seem inaccessible to anyone who hasn’t lived here. Conversely, I wouldn’t want to overexplain setting-related details in a way that made it less immersive.
7. How many of the settings were places you actually lived, visited, or just made up in your mind?
JCP: Most of the settings are real, although my brain mashes up a lot of different interiors and calls them to mind as I need them. I located Daniel’s business in a quirky Madison neighborhood on the South Side, kind of run-down and light industrial, occasionally unsavory, abutting farms and Department of Natural Resources land. But the interior of that building is a screenprinter I worked at in Chicago in the late 90s. Oh, the paneling and linoleum and beat up office furniture!
8. You use so many technical terms and the creativity of your ‘world’ is so easy to get lost in, that I find myself wishing these Mnem machines actually existed. The blurred line between dreams that we believe are real, and whether our ‘reality’ was actually a dream had me thinking about the movie ‘Inception’ with Leonardo DiCaprio where he dealt with lucid dreaming or virtual reality.
JCP: I’m flattered. I love movies where we’re not sure which part is real, like Inception and Memento and The Matrix. I used to keep dream journals for many years. Nowadays I may write down the occasional vivid image but not as extensively as I once did. Still, I get a perverse pleasure from that moment where I wake up and realize that think I thought was happening didn’t actually happen.
9. The idea of a Dream Sherpa is interesting, like a guide to help you back from your journey. Why do you think it is important to have a guide in these sessions?
JCP: Purely from a plot perspective, it makes the process of Mnemography something that people can’t do solo, so it gives rise to the whole industry of Memory Palaces. If it were possible to guide yourself through a mnem, then they’d be more like internal, subjective, one-player video games.
The way it works inside the book is that the sherpa is in alpha consciousness (relaxed, at the threshold of sleep) and the mnemer is in low theta consciousness. The person in theta doesn’t have enough control to use the mnem effectively without the sherpa there to orient them to the start and exit points. The sherpa, being conscious, isn’t as immersed in the packet and can see all the obviously unreal parts that the mnemer wouldn’t be aware of.
10. I was fascinated with how Daniel had to check his palm when he got back to the ‘regular’ world to determine whether he was still mneming… I’ve had dreams like that that were SO real that it took me a few hours to realize it was a dream and didn’t really happen. Has this happened to you?
JCP: Oh my God. All the time. ALL. THE. TIME. I have been literally angry with someone for something they did in one of my dreams. In fact, there’s a place I sometimes think I lived, kind of an elaborate tent, even though I only dreamt I lived there. Kind of a personal persistent mnem.
To be continued…
And there you go. Sooo, everyone..if you want to read the rest of this interview, you’ll have to stay on the lookout for the next review on her second book in the trilogy from Elijah’s perspective: ‘Forget Me Not: Mnevermind #2’
Thank you Jordan for joining us here at Rainbow Gold Reviews today, and I’m sure the readers are looking forward to more! I know I am 🙂
Noun, plural mnems.
1. a temporary, artificially induced memory
2. the subjective internal experience in which a mnem is implanted
(see mnem machine, mnem packet, mnemographer, mnemography)”
Excerpt From: Jordan Castillo Price. “The Persistence of Memory (Mnevermind 1).”
MtSnow – If anyone was lucky enough to get this book for free during the recent promotion, they hopefully did themselves a favor and read it immediately, then had to do what I did and go purchase the other two right away! This is an excellent series, and each one ended in such a way I wanted to see what was going to develop between these two very different characters, and see how Daniel’s issues with his family and business might resolve themselves.
Anyway. Since I’m such a fan of JCP’s Psycop series, I figured I’d be in for a fun ride with more of her creative twists and sarcasm, and witty sense of humor. She did NOT let me down. If any of you have followed my reviews at all, you’ll know I reviewed the Psycop audios not long ago. Due to this, I can’t seem to get Gomez Pugh’s voice out of my head, as he did such a good job with Vic and Jacob that I couldn’t help hearing his ‘Vic’ voice just a tiny bit for Daniel.
There’s a vulnerability about Daniel that seems like Vic in Psycop. The characters felt similar even though Daniel isn’t isolated in the same way Vic is. Don’t get me wrong. Vic doesn’t seem much like a family guy. But Daniel is VERY MUCH involved in his family. And his extended family, and his business. And his friends, and even his clients. He’s always looking out for everyone else. And he’s just an all around good guy. Feeling responsible for everyone, but very much working himself into the ground. And whereas ‘Victor Bayne’ seems almost a bit more self-centered (not in a bad way, but a self-protective way) Daniel is more self-effacing and self-sacrificing.
As we go along in the story, we learn some things about Daniel’s parents’ relationship, and how things get really tangled up. And also why Daniel feels so protective of and close with his father. He loves his dad so much, and Big Dan would give him the world if he could. I love their father/son relationship.
Something about Daniel’s strength of character, and the way he is with people, as well as his matter of fact approach to life makes it easier for Elijah to approach him, but only in the Mnem-world. It allows him to be ‘neuronormal’, and lets him show Daniel a different side of himself. Elijah’s unique way of approaching work and life makes him an interesting challenge for Daniel, as well as to his family and friends.
This story had me doing a lot of thinking, and I was extremely fascinated with the world building that was like a contemporary, alternative universe. Close enough in technology to what I imagine could be, but far enough to let me escape while I was pulled in. I would love to experience a Mnem, and appreciated JCP’s way of weaving this idea into a believable, heartfelt story.
If you haven’t checked them out yet, please consider grabbing up these stories. You’ll be glad you did. Highly, highly recommended.
9/10 pots of gold = 90% recommended and converts to 4.50 of 5.00 stars
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price is the owner of JCP Books LLC. Her paranormal thrillers are colored by her time in the midwest, from inner city Chicago, to small town Wisconsin, to liberal Madison.
Jordan is best known as the author of the PsyCop series, an unfolding tale of paranormal mystery and suspense starring Victor Bayne, a gay medium who’s plagued by ghostly visitations. Also check out another of her series, Mnevermind, where memories are made…one client at a time.
With her education in fine arts and practical experience as a graphic designer, Jordan set out to create high quality ebooks with lavish cover art, quality editing and gripping content. The result is JCP Books, offering stories you’ll want to read again and again.
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