Author Interview: Michael Camarillo

Michael Camarillo

We’ll skip the “tell us about yourself” because coming up with something on the spot is, truly, the bane of an author’s existence. So, let’s start with something a little easier! Tell me what you’re working on at the moment.*

I am in the final stages of publishing my debut fiction novel called Keeper 829. It is a dystopian fiction set in the year 2098 and incorporates elements of historical storytelling and science-fiction imagination. Ultimately, it boils down to an alternate reality where humans are a crop for reaping in a scheme of genetic engineering.

In as much detail as you would like, tell me about your book(s) that are already out/on the way.*

As I mentioned above, my novel Keeper 829 is coming out on December 31, 2021. It is the first book in a series called The Keeper Program. In this dystopian society, I created an autocratic organization called The Institution who restructured the world into four geographical zones. Faith and states were eradicated, and society operates under the thumb of this shadowy organization which goes the whole nine to portray freedom and rights, including a World Panel of “representatives.” All of this emerged after an apocalyptic nuclear conflict called “The War.” Society is advanced using AI bots (IDA Units) to handle most low-skilled jobs, and The Institution uses a satellite apparatus called “The Eye” to spy on the world and manage it accordingly. What humans don’t know is that much of The Institution is comprised of extraterrestrial AI units who were sent to Earth millennia ago.

My MC is a Keeper, a biomimetic being who looks like a normal female human. She, like other Keepers (and their counterparts, Warders), was sent to Earth to “keep” an intelligence species until necessary information is extracted and the resources of the planet are exhausted. In her home galaxy, a massive civil war resulted in the collapse of the harmonious system and remnants of both sides raced out to various “yield planets” (places where intelligent species are being grown and engineered) to regroup. My MC was in a production batch that was infected with a virus, thus has lost many of her memories and can no longer receive updates from the SAGE Central Command System. This has made her adapt and become more human than robot, hence she has a deep connection to the humans.

She ultimately meets other Keepers and Warders and the veil is lifted as she finds out that she is an unwitting player in this game that ends with the extermination of humans. —

I also write non-fiction travel books focusing on Culture and Education for a business I own and run called Novel Excursion Travel. I have one out on Amazon now, called “Explore! San Antonio Your Culture Guide to Educational and Service-Oriented Travel.” I also have plans to write a children’s book series focused on purposeful travel, hopefully in 2022.

As far as the writing process goes—including such things as conception of idea all the way through to money in the bank—what is the least favourite bit? (Everyone has one!)*

Selling books

Conversely, what is the bit of the writing process that gets your writery brain grinning?*

Creating ideas and world building

If you could steal any author’s ability to improve your own work, who would you steal from and why? (e.g. Tolkien’s language skills, Douglas Adams’ humour, etc.)*

Anne Rice’s ability to jumble timelines and jump between different characters’ perspectives without confusing the reader. She is my spirit animal and I would love to be able to tell a vivid and intricate story like she can.

Now for some fun! The main character of the book you’re working on (or have recently finished) has kidnapped you for ruining their life. How will you explain that what you’re doing is for the best?

I will ask her to watch all the Matrix movies with me, then say “You are the one, I am merely the Architect. Ergo, the choice is yours.”

You, your main character(s), and the protagonist of the last book you read are playing poker. What are the stakes? Who will win and why?

Gabriel (Warder 516) , Nesha (Keeper 829), Mary (Keeper 704), the Vampire Lestat, and I are playing for the survival of humanity. I win because my perception determines their reality and I wrote what hands they have. 🙂

Let’s face it, writing is hard. What do you think are some traps to avoid in your particular area of expertise? (Whether that be your genre, your knowledge of plot, your character building, your world building, etc.)*

I think becoming stretched too thin by overcomplicating my world building. My character building is very personal to me, so I also need to avoid letting my perception of my characters’ models cloud my judgment.

Anything else you’d like to add? Plots to take over the world, for example. Upcoming release dates, links and things, maybe even your favourite chocolate cake recipe.

I once wanted to be a dictator but then I realized how much work it would take and decided instead to write books.

Can’t say I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe, though…after living in Europe for three years, I can say my favorite food ever is Langos (Hungarian Sweet Bread). Khachapuri from Georgia comes in a close second!