I like to start every year by picking up one book that I know will blow my brains out. The Infinity Courts was my first read as well as the first 5 star book of 2021 but more that that, it was a book that left me screaming and reeling. I’m still not over this freaking masterpiece which is why I’m delighted to be talking to the author of the book, Akemi Dawn Bowman on the blog today 🙂
This post is a part of the Buzz Week for The Infinity Courts which is basically an exciting week full of giveaways, interviews, character reveals, music, moodboards and what not! I’m actually going to be doing a character reveal for Nami on my bookstagram account (if all goes well it should be up already) so go check that out.
Interviewing Akemi Dawn Bowman, Author of The Infinity Courts
Eighteen-year-old Nami Miyamoto is certain her life is just beginning. She has a great family, just graduated high school, and is on her way to a party where her entire class is waiting for her—including, most importantly, the boy she’s been in love with for years.
The only problem? She’s murdered before she gets there.
When Nami wakes up, she learns she’s in a place called Infinity, where human consciousness goes when physical bodies die. She quickly discovers that Ophelia, a virtual assistant widely used by humans on Earth, has taken over the afterlife and is now posing as a queen, forcing humans into servitude the way she’d been forced to serve in the real world. Even worse, Ophelia is inching closer and closer to accomplishing her grand plans of eradicating human existence once and for all.
As Nami works with a team of rebels to bring down Ophelia and save the humans under her imprisonment, she is forced to reckon with her past, her future, and what it is that truly makes us human.
Hi Akemi! It’s so exciting to have you on my blog 🙂 I’m really pumped for the release of The Infinity Courts. Can you tell us how the idea for this book came to you and how long have you been planning to write it?
I had an idea for a book about AIs versus humans since before STARFISH was published. But the combination of deadlines and other commitments kind of pushed it to the side for a while. I also had this idea of a book taking place in the afterlife—I read an article years ago about a scientist who felt like we put too much importance on our physical bodies, and that our consciousness could be like information on a computer that transfers itself somewhere else once our hardware breaks down. That really intrigued me. And I thought, “What if an AI learned how to transfer itself, too? What would that kind of an afterlife look like?” When I finally got to start writing this story that’s been living in my head for years, it felt like I was getting back to my roots. Writing sci-fi and fantasy was my first love, and I’m so thrilled I get to share this genre mash-up with everyone soon!
That’s amazing! What came first; the worldbuilding, plot or the characters?
The plot, definitely. There is a very specific scene I can’t talk about because of spoilers, but it was the foundation of the entire story. The characters came next, and then the worldbuilding was fleshed out while I was drafting. I think that speaks a lot to the way I write—I need to believe in cause and motivations to fully get behind any story, even my own!
How was writing a sci-fi novel different from writing your usual contemporaries? What are your favourite parts about writing in both genres?
I know this is going to sound strange, but it wasn’t that much different for me. I definitely have a LOT of fun creating new worlds and getting to break some of the “rules” of real-life. But I’m a character-driven author at the end of the day, and I think no matter what genre I’m writing in, that’s still my focus. So it doesn’t necessarily matter what the rest of the world looks like—I try to take readers on an emotional journey where they’re learning about someone else’s life, and finding out what their struggles are, and what motivates them. And I love that about any genre—that writers have the ability to make someone care about a stranger. I think it encourages empathy, and it’s one of those things I just find quietly beautiful.
I absolutely love that about writing, it’s downright magical. I love reading about all your characters so I wanted to ask, who’s your favourite character to write and who would you most probably be friends with in real life?
Most fun to write about might actually be Ettore, which is probably horrible, and probably a slight hint as to what’s coming in the series. But he’s just so unapologetically BAD. I don’t want to give too much away, but Ettore is someone who has inherited some of the worst qualities imaginable—he literally enjoys breaking people, and growing his own twisted, power. But most of my characters are constantly battling with moral dilemmas, or how to know what’s right or wrong. So to write a character like Ettore who cares about absolutely none of that? It’s fun. But we would absolutely not be friends in real life. Nami, on the other hand, would be a great friend, though we’d need to work on the communication a bit haha.
I like to think I’d be friends with Nami as well. We could have some real deep talks! Speaking of, TIC has so many questions around morality; what is good and what is bad and many interesting questions surrounding AI. Did you know you were gonna include such themes beforehand or did they come up while writing?
I’m an overthinker for sure. I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t analyzing every single possibility, and trying to figure out what “right” actually means. Because sometimes it’s not always black and white. Sometimes there’s more than one answer, or there are different answers for different people. People close to me make jokes that I talk about emotions like I’m Spock, but I think it’s because I find them really confusing sometimes. So I guess in some ways, writing THE INFINITY COURTS was my way of talking through some of the things I think about in real life, but using the idea of humans versus AIs as the backdrop.
I absolutely relate to being an overthinker! I love the way you structured the afterlife and included such themes but I have to ask, will we ever get a glimpse of earth and the world Nami left behind in the upcoming books?
I can’t answer this question without giving away spoilers, BUT I will say that Nami definitely still has ties to her past life that affect her choices in Infinity. Her life ended very suddenly, and she’s still new to the afterlife—I guess you could say she’s kind of like a ghost with unfinished business!
If you had to describe TIC in three words what would they be?
Epic. Complex. Genre-bending. (Are hyphens cheating?)
How would Nami, Gil, Shura, Theo, Ahmet and Annika fare if they were in a lockdown in the same house?
AHH THIS QUESTION! So perfect. They’ve all been trapped underground with each other before, so I think the stay-at-home part wouldn’t be TOO much of a problem. Nami and Gil would 100% be arguing over the rules of a board game (and let’s be honest, neither of them have even bothered to read the rules, they’re just convinced they’re right). Shura would’ve tried to mediate, but then gave up and raided the cupboard for snacks. Theo is trying to talk everyone into playing some new game he invented involving physical exercise, and nobody wants to play. Ahmet is doing DIY in the house somewhere to pass the time. And Annika, tired of being asked over and over again what the updated quarantine rules are, told everyone to “Google it” and started a vegetable garden, where she is very happy not dealing with any more nonsense.
Omg that’s such a perfect answer, I love it! And that’s a warp. Thank you so much for being here and answering my questions 🙂 All of you need to go add The Infinity Courts to your TBR asap and go preorder it as well! If this didn’t convince you then there’s one more thing that might…
Time for Moodboards!
~ Nami ~
~ Gil ~
~ Caelan ~
Have you read any books by Akemi? Is The Infinity Courts on your TBR yet?
Do you enjoy reading author reviews? I for one love them!
And what are your thoughts on moodboards?
I love books centered around the afterlife! What are some of your favourite tropes?