I was recently offered an interesting novel by new author, Sarah Harian, called The Wicked We Have Done. This novel was not only entertaining, but made you sit and look at your own morality while we meet the criminals being judged in the Compass Room and determine whether or not they deserve a death sentence for their crimes.
Thank you, Sarah, for talking to us today about your debut novel, The Wicked We Have Done.
This is your first published novel, but how long have you been a writer?
I have been trying to write novels since I was eight. Even at that age I didn’t want to write short stories. It was either a-hundred-plus pages or no cigar. In high school I wrote fan fiction and worked on bits and pieces of horror works in progress, and then I finally finished my first book when I was twenty.
This novel is considered Science Fiction/Dystopia. Is that the type of books that you read for pleasure?
I read all sorts of fiction, but I do like speculative fiction a lot. I think that most of my favorites are fantasy, actually.
Can you tell us a little about The Wicked We Have Done and what is the Compass Room?
A Compass Room is an obstacle course that imprisons inmates in the woods and forces them to face illusions of their crime through technology. They are judged by their guilt and executed accordingly. Evalyn Ibarra enters a Compass Room after being convicted of terrorism, and must prove to the world that she’s innocent by surviving a month’s worth of the simulations.
The name of your series is Chaos Theory. My only knowledge of Chaos Theory is Malcolm’s speech in Jurassic Park about butterflies effecting the rain in Central Park. Can you explain what you are referring to when you talk about Chaos Theory and why you chose that as the focus of your novel?
Overall, chaos theory is the belief that everything in our world down to atoms is chaotic. This theory transcends mathematics, science, religion, philosophy, etc. In the book, Evalyn’s nemesis (for lack of a better term) is so obsessed with this concept of creating chaos that he sacrifices his life in the hopes to create more of it. Chaos theory is also reflected in society’s sudden urge to eliminate disorderly behavior as seen within the criminals placed in the Compass Room. For this series, I attempted to weave in polarized views of chaos and explore how they interact with each other.
TWWHD is full of Chaos. First, it is the reason behind why your main character, Evalyn Ibarra is in the Compass Room to begin with. As the story continues, all of the participants begin to work together for survival. But you also add Chaos when the participants start to bond. Why are drawn into each other’s reinactments?
I think all of the characters are trying to figure out for themselves the meaning of justice. Evalyn especially has a warped view of it considering the guilt she carries from her crime. I think she’s particularly drawn to saving Casey because of Casey’s stark differences to the guy that ruined her life. She senses an unfairness of it all, and develops a desire to stop it.
Just when we are ready to decide who should live and who should be judged, you throw more Chaos in by having the Compass Room begin to malfunction. Is this just to keep the audience on their toes?
No, haha, but it definitely does add to the WTF element of the events in the Compass Room, doesn’t it? The act of the Compass Room malfunctioning is still definitely unsolved. I took the risk of leaving it that way in the first book and further exploring the malfunction in the sequel, A Vault of Sins. There is a reason it malfunctions, which in turn is connected to the overlying concept of chaos theory.
Your next book in the Chaos Theory series is A Vault of Sins. I can’t find anything out there yet on this, but can you tell us if it is a continuation of TWWHD or something entirely new?
Yes, this is a continuation of Evalyn’s story in The Wicked We Have Done.
Thank you for stopping by to talk with us about The Wicked We Have Done.
Check out the trailer: The Wicked We Have Done
Sarah grew up in the foothills of Yosemite, where she learned to fish, hike, and climb trees. She also had a soft spot for video games and fantasy novels, rounding her out to be perfectly equal parts of wilderness princess and super nerd.
Inspired by Carolyn Keene, Tolkien, and J.K.Rowling, she wanted to be a writer since she was eight. Her first attempted book was about twins who found a secret portal to another world in their basement. Between this creation and her first finished novel twelve years later, she dabbled in fanfiction and horror stories.
Sarah worked as a barista at Starbucks while studying at Fresno State, receiving her B.A. in English Education in 2010 and her M.F.A. in Creative Writing in 2013. She was lucky enough to score a TAship during graduate school and teach fiction for a semester.
Now, Sarah is working on the sequel to her new adult speculative thriller, THE WICKED WE HAVE DONE. She’s liberal, queer, Christian, and madly in love with her husband. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to be all of these things at once.
Her works are represented by Kathleen Rushall of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency.
See more at her website: www.sarahharian.com
Follow her on Twitter: @sarahharian