From the Los Angeles Public Library’s Local Author Spotlight series, a conversation between Senior Librarian Catherine Royalty, and Cody Sisco:

Did you know you were starting a series before you began writing Broken Mirror?

I knew I was writing a series, but I didn’t quite know what shape it would take. The draft of what I thought was the first installment ran over 600 manuscript pages, far too long for a first-in-a-series novel. An editor I asked for advice told me I should chop it into thirds. “No way,” I responded. And, of course, a little while later, I realized he was right and the manuscript was broken into three parts. Then I began the work of whipping the first book, Broken Mirror, into shape.

The Resonant Earth series has such an imaginative premise. What was your initial point of inspiration?

The first spark came as I was traveling by train from Paris to Geneva for a consulting gig. The eerily quiet train moved through the shadow of the mountains as rain splattered the windows. I felt very far removed from my prior life back in the United States. I began to wonder how much a character could change and remain themselves, and by extension, remain fully human. And that idea started snowballing into my vision of a character with mental illness in an alternate reality where history had taken different turns and how he struggles to understand what’s real and what’s in his head.

Like most great sci-fi novels you touch on important issues that society is grappling with today, including immigration, mental illness, and our sometimes uneasy relationship with technology. Do you find the speculative fiction genre to be particularly suited for social commentary?

I do. Speculative fiction allows both authors and readers to enter into a story with a sense of appreciation and wonder for what’s different between the fictional world and the real world. We can also view the similarities from a more comfortable and critical distance. We let down our guard to get absorbed in a new world, and the ideas of that world move inside us and begin a transformation.

The discussion continues. Read more on the Los Angeles Public Library’s Local Author Spotlight blog.Patrons of the Los Angeles Public Library can borrow and read Cody’s novels on the Self-E/Biblioboard e-book platform.