Q&A with Arvin Ahmadi – GIRL GONE VIRAL’s Blog Tour Stop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

For seventeen-year-old Opal Hopper, code is magic. She builds entire worlds from scratch: Mars craters, shimmering lakes, any virtual experience her heart desires. 

     But she can’t code her dad back into her life. When he disappeared after her tenth birthday, leaving only a cryptic note, Opal tried desperately to find him. And when he never turned up, she enrolled at a boarding school for technical prodigies and tried to forget.

     Until now. Because WAVE, the world’s biggest virtual reality platform, has announced a contest where the winner gets to meet its billionaire founder. The same billionaire who worked closely with Opal’s dad. The one she always believed might know where he went. The one who maybe even murdered him.

     What begins as a small data hack to win the contest spirals out of control when Opal goes viral, digging her deeper into a hole of lies, hacks, and manipulation. How far will Opal go for the answers–or is it the attention–she’s wanted for years?

 

 

Q&A

with Arvin Ahmadi

 

1. GIRL GONE VIRAL, as a futuristic sci-fi, is different from your contemporary debut,DOWN AND ACROSS (which you can also check out here!). What is it like switching gears in terms of genre?

AA: You know, it’s not as weird as you would expect! I think it’s because regardless of genre, these stories are first and foremost about the characters. World building is of course an important part, and I spent a lot of time coming up with the near-future world of GIRL GONE VIRAL. But the heart of this book is Opal Hopper. It’s her friends, Moyo and Shane. So in that sense, writing this book wasn’t so different from writing DOWN AND ACROSS.

2. What are your favorite kinds of scenes to write? Can you hint at your favorite scene in GIRL GONE VIRAL?

My favorite scenes will always be the intense, dramatic ones. Those usually fall into one of two categories: super emotional, or super fun/rompy. (I guess I live for the drama? Oh God.) I wish I could talk about my favorite emotional scene in GIRL GONE VIRAL, but that would really be spoiling the
book. So I’ll just say that it was the opening section to, I believe, the second-to-last chapter? *goes and checks*
Yep, that one.
My other favorite scene, which falls into the second category, is a VR hookup scene. It comes up around halfway in the book, when my protagonist Opal’s boyfriend is home for winter break and she’s stuck on
campus. They miss each other. So they use a popular virtual reality app to keep in… touch. (I am so sorry for that pun, and if you want to stop reading here, I completely understand.)

3. GIRL GONE VIRAL’s got futuristic tech, badass coder girls, virtual reality like, of course, WAVE. How do you visualize all this crazy tech? What inspires you to make it look the way it does, and have you ever tried VR rides or other VR experiences?

I’m actually not a particularly visual writer! I’m mostly in this game for the dialogue and internal monologues. If you gave me a book that was just characters talking and thinking, I would read the hell out of that book.
Thankfully I used to work in the tech industry, so it was pretty easy for me to visualize a lot of the tech in GIRL GONE VIRAL: virtual and augmented reality, Bluetooth beacons, wearables, smart home technology, etc. I still did quite a bit of internet research to come up with how those gadgets might look in the future, and how they might be used. But a lot of the descriptions just came from my imagination.

4. Tell us a little about your writing process for GIRL GONE VIRAL – or if it differed at all from DOWN AND ACROSS. Are you more of a plotter or a pantser? Did you have a particular playlist/song on repeat while drafting this book? [that’s a lot of questions, but I’m just endlessly fascinated with the behind-the-scenes!]

Oh, I’m definitely a pantser. At least, I am with the first draft. My general philosophy about writing books is that you have to write the book that you can’t not write—the idea that lingers in your head for weeks,
months, maybe even years. The one that just won’t go away. And so with that in mind, when I finally sit down to write a book, I have absolutely zero desire to plan it out; I just want to write. So I’ll write a draft
from start to finish with very little planning.
However, I get significantly more organized when I’m revising; that’s when I’ll write scene outlines,
maybe even open up an Excel spreadsheet and map everything out chapter by chapter, beat by beat. I
suppose you could say I’m a plotter in the streets and a pantser in the sheets… (Does that even make any
sense?? It did in my head, I swear.)

5. TELL US ABOUT YOUR PENGUIN HQ HEISTS, ARVIN. THE PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW.

AA: All I have to say is this: When it comes to my ongoing feud with Penguin Teen, I think of that Killers song, Mr. Brightside: “It started out with a
tweet/ How did it end up like this / It was only a tweet, it was
only a tweet…”

 

 

 

Arvin Ahmadi

Arvin Ahmadi grew up outside Washington, DC. He graduated from Columbia University and has worked in the tech industry. When he’s not reading or writing books, he can be found watching late-night talk show interviews and editing Wikipedia pages. Down and Across is his first novel, followed by Girl Gone Viral.

 

 

 

 

WEEK ONE

May 13 – Brightside_books – Creative Instagram + Review

May 14 – Just Add a Word – Q&A

May 15 – Books and Blends – Review + Moodboard

May 16 – Diamondxgirl – Listicle: Girls in Tech

May 17 – Pagetravels – Creative Instagram Picture

WEEK TWO

May 20 – Spinatale Reviews – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

May 21 – Romansreads – Creative Instagram Picture + Review

May 22 – Across the Bookiverse – Playlist

May 23 – YA Wednesday – Creative Instagram Picture + 5 Reasons to Read the Book

May 24 – Bookish Bug – Listicle

WEEK THREE

May 27 – @meganthemeganerd – Author Guest Post: What message he most wants to convey with the book? (So far, I’ve noticed themes about privacy, grief, internet trolls, etc.)

May 28 – Pie Lady Books – Creative Instagram Picture

May 29 – Reader Voracious – Review + Creative Instagram Picture

May 30 – Velaris Reads – Review

May 31 – The Blonde Bookworm – Creative Instagram Picture

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