I am so thrilled to be a part of the CHARISMA Blog Tour and to have been able to ask Author Jeanne Ryan a few questions about her amazing new book – on how it took shape, on the research, on its inspiration – upcoming projects, and advice she’d give to Aislyn.
I love, love, loved CHARISMA. It was awesome and chilling and totally unputdownable. (
I’ll be posting Here is my review later today if you’d like to know what else I thought about it.) I loved it so much I just had to pick up NERVE, which I’m currently reading and loving, because I just had to read something else by the author.
Anyway… In addition to the Q&A, the publisher has offered up a copy of CHARISMA for giveaway. So if you’d like a chance to win it, read it, and love it, just scroll down to the Rafflecopter to enter.
Author: Jeanne Ryan
Release date: March 3, 2015
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
A chance at the ultimate makeover means deadly consequences in this Sarah Dessen-meets-Robin Cook thriller
Aislyn suffers from crippling shyness—that is, until she’s offered a dose of Charisma, an underground gene therapy drug guaranteed to make her shine. The effects are instant. She’s charming, vivacious, and popular. But strangely, so are some other kids she knows. The media goes into a frenzy when the disease turns contagious, and then deadly, and the doctor who gave it to them disappears. Aislyn must find a way to stop it, before it’s too late.
Part medical thriller, part social justice commentary, Charisma will have readers on the edge of their seats.
Q&A with Jeanne Ryan
Q. If you could describe CHARISMA in 15 words or less, how would you describe it?
Cripplingly shy girl accepts a drug to make her shine, with catastrophic consequences.
Q. What advice would you give Aislyn when she was first considering taking Charisma?
I’d say, whoa! If someone’s trying to sell you something with a buy-it-NOW-or-lose-it-forever offer, chances are they’re more desperate to sell than you should be to buy. Aislyn, I know you want to protect your little brother, ease your mom’s pain, and turn your life around, but take a moment and consider–if one scientist has developed this miracle drug, others will too, because the demand for it will be insane. Wait until it’s ready and proven.
Q. What was the most challenging part of bringing CHARISMA to life – the science, the characters, the mystery, something else? And what made it a challenge?
I think the biggest challenge was to meld all of the above and keep the story moving. The science came readily enough by doing a lot of research via online resources and connecting with real-world scientists who were generous enough to speak and/or email with me. However, since this isn’t a science book, I had to keep a light touch on the gene therapy details. It was much more important to focus upon making Aislyn sympathetic and believable, as well as to keep the tension mounting so that folks would want to read her story.
Q. In NERVE you wrote about gamers. What inspired you to write about a drug that modifies genes in CHARISMA?
The plot and premise of CHARISMA veered wildly over the course of writing it. In fact, I started out with a story about a terrorist organization based in Indonesia since I had plans to travel there on a family trip anyway and could do all sorts of research. But it turned out the most influential idea arrived in the form of paranoia I seemed to develop after reading a State Department warning of a rabies outbreak in Bali. Obsessing over lethal viruses, I found myself with a new plot, and once I learned about how scientists were modifying genes by using viruses, I knew I’d found a cool premise upon which to build my story, i.e., a therapy that could be life-changingly great yet dangerous.
Q. When researching the topic of gene therapy, what was the most chilling discovery you found? And how close to reality is the fictional aspect of your story?
The most chilling discovery for me was the possibility of gene therapy being performed on germ-line cells, and thus passed down to future generations. This isn’t legal now, but if it ever becomes so (or if someone goes ahead and does it anyway), there’s a real possibility of altering humans such that certain classes of society who can afford the treatment evolve one way and those who can’t afford it another.
As to how close to reality my fiction is, I strive to make it theoretically possible, even if it’s highly unlikely this type of gene modification will be developed soon. However, other gene enhancements probably will be developed, so we should be talking about the ethical questions now.
Q. Would you be willing to swap your DNA for the life you’ve always dreamed of? And why/why not?
After much thought, I think I would, assuming it were well tested and shown to be safe. Because who wouldn’t want to live the life they’ve dreamed of? (You can see a more fleshed out rationale on Book Revels March 7th post.)
Q. Now that CHARISMA’s release is here, what can you tell us about your current/next project?
I’m still in that shape-shifting phase of trying out ideas, so there’s no telling what my next book will be about yet. But one of those ideas has kept me up in the middle of the night twice this week, so that’s a good sign.
About Jeanne Ryan
I’ve lived all over the world, raised in a family with eleven brothers and sisters. I spent my early childhood in Hawaii and the rest of my growing-up years trying to figure out a way to get back there, with stops in South Korea, Michigan and Germany along the way. Before writing fiction, I tried my hand at many things, including war game simulation and youth development research. But I decided it was much more fun to work on stories than statistics.
These days, I still love Hawaii, but have found my home under the moody skies of the Pacific Northwest.
Thanks to the awesome folks at Dial I have a copy of CHARISMA to give away to ONE winner – US only
- Must be 13 or older to enter
- Giveaway is US only
- There will be ONE winner
- Giveaway ends on March 18th at 12:00 a.m. Pacific
- Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter
- Winner will be announced in the Rafflecopter and contacted by email
- Winner has 72 hours to respond with their details or another winner will be chosen
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…