I was lucky enough to be able to interview the author, so grab some coffee, sit back and see what we "talked" about.
1. From the description of Perception it's clear you have an interest in faith and science. Could you tell me first about your scientific background?
Well, I took science classes in high school, does that count? :) My daughter is a science major in university so she's helpful to have around. However, I'm very interested in science where it intersects with technology, and we live in a rapidly moving technological age and so this kind of science effects us all.
2. And what about your faith background?
I believe in God. I'll leave it at that for now.
3. People in the States often imagine faith and science as being natural enemies. Where would you stand in that debate?
I believe science and faith are more intertwined than we like to think. Of course, my main character in Perception doesn't think so! :)
4. The world of Perception involves genetically altered people, class divisions, climate extremes and war--all very immediate large-scale issues, but you explore them from the point of view of individuals. Do you think that's important in writing for young adults? Do you think it's more or less important for other groups of readers?
Most people are only really aware of the world immediately around them and everything else going on globally is vague. This is especially true for teenagers just trying to navigate high school and their own social circles. This is where we feel safe to stay unless something dramatic happens to push us out of our comfort zones and we're forced to take a look at the bigger picture. My main character Zoe is genetically altered and privileged but she doesn't think about it that much. She certainly doesn't think about what's going on in the world outside her gates until her brother goes missing.
5. Did you have a message in mind as you started writing this novel? If so, how do you balance conveying a message with entertaining readers?
I don't have certain message in mind, except maybe to look wider and deeper at life and the future.
6. Do you think it's more important to make people think or to give them good answers?
I definitely want to make people think. I know I don't have all the answers. :)
7. I love how your book blurb ends--in the midst of betrayal and personal crisis, there's room to fall in love. What about in the midst of writing? To what extent did you fall in love with your characters in this novel?
We always fall in love with our own characters, don't we? I'm especially fond of Noah who wrestles with his faith and his attraction to a girl who doesn't share it.
8. And finally, what didn't I ask that you'd really like readers to know?
Perception is the first book in a series and though I took special care to tie up major lose ends at the end (no cliffs!) I didn't attempt to answer every question it raised. There will be more questions and answers in books 2 and 3.
Seventeen year old Zoe Vanderveen is a GAP—a genetically altered person. She lives in the security of a walled city on prime water-front property along side other equally beautiful people with extended life spans.
Her brother Liam is missing.
Noah Brody is a natural who lives on the outside. He leads protests against the GAPs and detests the widening chasm they’ve created between those who have and those who don’t. He doesn’t like girls like Zoe and he has good reason not to like her specifically.
Zoe’s carefree life takes a traumatic turn. She’s in trouble and it turns out that Noah, the last guy on earth she should trust, is the only one who can help her.
and here's where you can find the author online http://www.facebook.com/AuthorLeeStrauss
or the book on goodreads http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15812886-perception