Author Interview: The Minders by John Marrs
John Marrs has emerged as as an author who writes terrifying near reality and he’s back this year with his latest focused on medically-modified humans who control cyberterrorism. YIKES. Check out our interview below and preorder The Minders, out February 16th!
The Mindersby John Marrs
Published by: Berkley Books
on February 16, 2021
Genres: Adult, Thriller, Sci-Fi
In this electrifying near-future thriller, five strangers guard government secrets, but only four can be trusted.
In the 21st century, information is king. But computers can be hacked and files can be broken into - so a unique government initiative has been born. Five ordinary people have been selected to become Minders - the latest weapon in thwarting cyberterrorism. Transformed by a revolutionary medical procedure, the country's most classified information has been taken offline and turned into genetic code implanted inside their heads.
Together, the five know every secret - the truth behind every government lie, conspiracy theory and cover up. In return, they're given the chance to leave their problems behind and a blank slate to start their lives anew.
But not everyone should be trusted, especially when they each have secrets of their own they'll do anything to protect...
Interview with John Marrs
In The Minders, you’ve created 5 distinct personalities and characters. Who was the hardest to write and whose head scared you the most?
Emilia is the character who I spent the most time writing and rewriting. She was such a complex beast living her current life but unable to remember the life she led before becoming a Minder. Gradually, she is drip-fed pieces of information until at the end of the book, she finally learns who she is and who she was. Trying to keep her storyline threads together so they didn’t contradict one another was tough at times. My favourite character to write though was Bruno. I felt a lot of sympathy for him. But he was so belligerent and stubborn in his quest for revenge against all those who wronged him in his previous life, that by the end, my sympathy waned and I gave him the ending he deserved.
You write thrillers based on real world concerns – which of the topics you’ve written about are you most worried will come to fruition?
Data hacking is a worry. We are seeing more and more high-profile hacks which are taking place. Some involve our customer records and bank details being released on the dark web. These can just be annoying for some of us, but others can really suffer and feel vulnerable and exposed, particularly where more sensitive data like medical information is exposed. With more of our lives going online – like our photos and memories – these hacks are becoming no different to someone breaking into our home and rummaging through our personal belongings and taking the bits which will be of value to them, but are sentimental to us. Also, some hacks can have life and death consequences. Like how some users of adultery dating site Ashley Maddison took their own lives in the wake of that breach. Patients at hospitals have died as a direct consequence of hackers disabling equipment or state secrets being exposed. The ramifications are huge.
What comes first for you – the world or the characters? What does your worldbuilding process look like?
A rough idea of the story comes first, then the characters and finally the world in which I make them inhabit. My books The One, The Passengers, and The Minders are all stand alone, but they all come under the same umbrella. There are a few references to things that have happened in one book in another. I don’t consciously have a process for world building, it happens organically. As I write, the world just appears and then I have to find the appropriate technology to fit in with that time. So if I’m discussing a character who is doing something as simple as washing their clothes for example, I’ll need to learn how experts predict we might be doing then in twenty years or so. It takes a lot of research.