Book Review: Ctrl Alt Delete

Earlier in the year, PK interviewed Jennifer R. Donohue twice. Once for her self-pubbed debut, Run with the Hunted, and then for her her entry into SFWA. I’m excited to announce she’s back (!!) for her charmed third appearance for the sequel, Run with the Hunted 2: Ctrl Alt Delete.

With the sequel, Donohue’s voice has loosened and deepened into a distinctive and fabulous style. The story takes place within the addled mind of the heist team’s cyber expert, Bits, as she navigates a world she’s forgotten with a body full of consequences.

You can read my full review on Goodreads, and then click to get your own copy!

PK: Welcome back! Today is more like an awkward hippie interview than anything professional. You ever have one where the manager asks what kind of bird you’d be or wants you to write a limerick based on that one time you had to fire a guy? No? Just me? Okay, then.

*leans back and twirls her pencil*

PK: Writers are often plagued by a swarm of weird facts masquerading as story prompts. What’s a weird fact buzzing in your brain right now?

JD: Oh well see, the problem with this is everything is a story prompt. Weird facts, half-formed thoughts that cause me to break the surface of wakefulness and text myself baffling things in the middle of the night, weird things you see on the side of the road (what is the DEAL with single abandoned sneakers?), and the list goes on. But I do love weird random facts, and if I can’t shoehorn them into conversation, you can bet that they’ll be in a story somewhere.

One pleasant fact is that a snail that was thought to be extinct (the Bermuda Land Snail) has been revived in captivity such that a few thousand have been re-released into the wild. As a SFF writer, the idea of deliberately saving a species and being able to return it to its home just grabs and shakes me. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it yet, but it’s there percolating.

One severely unpleasant fact is that there are books bound in human skin held by libraries around the world. While my current work in progress does not actively include such a thing, it certainly exists in that world, and maybe it’ll get a mention.

PK: Characters sometimes carry little bits of people from real life, maybe even parts of ourselves. Out of Bristol, Dolly, and Bits, who is the least like you and how do you write someone you don’t know?

JD: Of the trio, I’d say Bristol is the least like me.

She’s very concerned with presentation: how people perceive her, how she can manipulate those perceptions, and how to reach the best possible outcome for herself in every situation. That level of constant manipulation and self-maintenance sounds exhausting, honestly, and isn’t the way I live my life. While we’re all probably a little self absorbed (and I’m an only child!), I’m not a Bristol-level of self absorbed.

PK: If you could write for any franchise currently in existence, which writer’s room would you love to crash and why? Might as well let the Universe know your dreams, right?

JD: I wouldn’t mind Run With the Hunted becoming a franchise, does that count?

Otherwise, I think I’d say Shadowrun. Playing 5th ed. tabletop Shadowrun is really what sparked my specific cyberpunk love (further cemented by William Gibson’s Neuromancer).

I started writing Run With the Hunted because I wasn’t in a game at the time, and needed that cyberpunk fix, so I very carefully created my own world of tomorrow. However, Shadowrun also mixes in fantasy races like elves and dragons and trolls, and honest-to-God magic (something I was not interested in replicating for my own personal use), but the interplay of those things, technology, and megacorporations make for a fascinating and complex world I’d be happy to help expand.

If you’d like to hear more from Jen, you can check out her Patreon, blog, and Amazon page with all her published work! Or check back here, because I’m sure she’ll return!

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