Jessica Khoury is of Syrian and Scottish descent, and was born and raised in Toccoa, Georgia. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Toccoa Falls College. She currently lives and writes in Columbia, SC. Jessica is the author of ORIGIN and VITRO. You can visit her online at www.jessicakhoury.com.
What inspired you to write a companion novel to Origin?
While Pia’s story felt finished to me, the world of Corpus still felt rich with stories. In Origin, it is hinted that the corporation has more projects all over the world, so it was a natural leap to expand into one of those other projects.
What do you think draws young adult readers to science fiction like Origin and Vitro?
Well, I hope there are many reasons! 😉 Anyone looking for a fast-paced story that’s a little different that much of what’s out there will find that in these books. Also, my hope is that readers will be drawn to the ethical dilemmas the characters face in my books—these dilemmas are so relevant to today’s evolving world and aren’t so different from the questions we have to ask ourselves about current technological advances.
What was your favorite scene to write, in either Origin or Vitro?
In Vitro, I really enjoyed writing from Lux’s perspective (Lux is Sophie’s Vitro twin). In the story, Lux has just awoken for the first time, so event though she’s technically 17 years old, she has the personality of a very young child and her thought process is very different than a normal human’s due to the chip implanted in her brain. It was challenging to write her scenes, but ultimately very rewarding… if a little chilling.
In Vitro, Sophie discovers she has a Vitro twin. Did you ever want your own twin? What do you imagine it would be like?
I’d love to have a twin! I hope it would be nothing like what Sophie and Lux face in Vitro, however.
What do you hope readers will take away from Vitro?
I hope they’ll come away thinking about the ethical questions the characters have faced, and that they’ll reflect on what they would do in a similar situation—after all, the science in the book isn’t too far-fetched and similar situations are happening in our world today.
In addition to your novels, you’ve written some short stories. How is the writing process different?
I always plan my novels before writing them, spending a lot of time in the pre-writing stage. In short stories, I never think beyond one sentence, and instead write them completely off the cuff and all in one sitting, like a stream-of-consciousness. It’s a totally different process, and it’s always fun to write this way because I often end up surprised by the turns the story takes.
Has your interest in theater influenced your writing in any way?
It certainly has! I often use theater techniques to explore my characters’ personalities, and when I’m plotting an action scene, I close my eyes and visualize it as if I were blocking a scene in a play. My experience as a director in theater has given me a lot of unusual but very helpful tools in writing.
What important question have we forgotten to ask?
How is a raven like a writing desk?
Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rain forest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home―and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.
Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia’s origin―a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.
Origin is a beautifully told, shocking new way to look at an age-old desire: to live forever, no matter the cost.
On a remote island in the Pacific, Corpus scientists have taken test tube embryos and given them life. These beings—the Vitros—have knowledge and abilities most humans can only dream of. But they also have one enormous flaw.
Sophie Crue is determined to get to Skin Island and find her mother, a scientist who left Sophie behind years ago. With the help of Jim Julien, a young charter pilot, she arrives–and discovers a terrifying secret she never imagined: she has a Vitro twin, Lux, who is the culmination of Corpus’s dangerous research.
Now Sophie is torn between reuniting with the mother who betrayed her and protecting the genetically enhanced twin she never knew existed. But untangling the twisted strands of these relationships will have to wait, for Sophie and Jim are about to find out what happens when science stretches too far beyond its reach.