A young woman operating a high-tech computer.

RTX at Home: gen:LOCK Novel Highlights

Melissa Scott, author of the upcoming gen:LOCK novel Storm Warning, spoke about the book at RTX’s virtual event. As a huge fan of gen:LOCK, I had to tune in and find out more about the story and Scott’s writing process.

Before diving into the panel, here’s a synopsis of Storm Warning:

The last few months have been a whirlwind for Cammie MacCloud. Ever since she agreed to join the gen:LOCK program to help fight the Union, an authoritarian force threatening the world, she’s been struggling to find her place in the group. As a 17-year-old genius hacker, she doesn’t really fit in among the other four recruits: She can’t shoot, she isn’t the most graceful in the field, and her brash style doesn’t exactly jibe with Command.

But Cammie notices things the others don’t, and she has the skills to investigate when something feels off… like their latest mission, which currently finds them stranded at the center of a deadly storm with a Union spy in their midst.

I immediately pre-ordered it! I love how the creators behind gen:LOCK are expanding the world through tie-in material. We saw this kick off with DC Comics, where they focused on Kazu’s background. Now, we’re getting a novel featuring Cammie. I hope we continue to get more content like this in the future because I’d love to learn more about Yasamin and Val/entina.

For now, here are some of the summary points and direct quotes I gathered from the panel:

  • Before accepting the opportunity, Melissa Scott watched the show because she hadn’t seen it before. She watched the first episode and loved it. She even called her friends and said, “Why did none of you tell me about this?” She watched the rest of it, called her agent back, and said she didn’t care much about the terms of the contract because she really wanted to write this companion book.

  • In terms of the show itself, Scott said, “It deals with a lot of the same issues and interests I have in my own writing about who gets to be a person, how you define your world, who gets to do what when, and I love the show for that.”

  • Larissa Angus, the Senior Character Concept Artist at Rooster Teeth, drew the cover!
A young woman operating a high-tech computer.
Credit: Scholastic Inc.
  • In addition to the official synopsis above, Scott also gave us the elevator pitch of the novel, which provides more details. The #genLOCK team are asked to rescue a group of refugees and they’re able to get them to the nearest Polity base, but they’re all stuck there because of a hurricane. Cammie becomes suspicious that one of the refugees may be a Union agent. She has to convince the others, and they have to deal with this problem before things go sideways.

  • When asked about why she chose Cammie as the focus character, Scott said, “I find Cammie fascinating because she’s the only one of the team who is not a soldier. She’s the youngest, she’s in many ways the weakest, we see her as a klutz when she’s first trying to learn to use the Holons, and yet, she is super, super competent as a hacker and as an engineer. She’s able to design these modifications to the Holons through season 1 that are just — they’re genius. It’s that tension between the kind of competence that everyone else shares and that she doesn’t, and the competence she has that the other characters don’t that fascinated me.”

  • Scott also mentioned how Cammie goes through a lot in the first season, like the attack by Nemesis, “She’s literally dismembered in Holon form. And that’s not something that I think anyone gets over lightly.” She enjoyed exploring those moments because there wasn’t time in the series to dive into it and flesh out Cammie’s reaction.

  • Rooster Teeth’s Christine Brent talked about what she wanted to explore with this book, “I definitely feel like there is a slight gap in the amount of novels and books for children that represent women and minorities and all of the above… I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to really dive into a character that’s the youngest of her team, like Melissa said, and a genius engineer that went through a traumatic experience but has come through the other side and is talking about the ramifications of it and that it’s okay to not be okay.”

  • Brent also added, “We got to dive into Kazu’s backstory within the DC Comics… and I really wanted to explore a lot of Cammie’s backstory as well because all of these team members had lives and people they cared about before the Union started attacking and where their motivations came from, so I love being able to fill in the gaps and tell a different story and put additional representation out there in the market.”
  • “Being able to flesh out Cammie’s backstory and Cammie’s family a little bit, those were some of my favorite scenes to be able to write, and I’m really, really glad to have been indulged with them,” said Scott. The panelists recommended bringing tissues because there are some emotional moments that might make you cry!

  • The book will explore the space between seasons 1 and 2, and Scott also wanted to touch the things that couldn’t be covered in the first season. “You get to look at the refugees, you get to look at the other bases, you get to look at how the characters interact among themselves and what they think of each other.”

  • In terms of Cammie’s cursing, there are restrictions with Scholastic, since this is a young adult book, but they were able to devise a workaround. “It was a fine line between going full Cammie and going Cammie with a swear jar, you know? You had to find creative ways around it, but Melissa did a great job. It still feels very much like Cammie,” said Scholastic’s Lori Wieczorek.

  • Scott gave us one tiny and interesting tease from the book, “Cammie’s adventures on the Ether are a little more different. They deal with some pieces of her past that she never expected to come back — never expected to have to deal with again.” I’m curious to learn more!

  • There will be a second book! Scott is really excited about it, and she’s currently working on the plot. Cammie will be a major character again. She also said, “And we’ll be seeing maybe some other characters that we haven’t seen in quite a while… And it’s going to be about the places that are caught between the Polity and the Union as the war proceeds.”

Pre-order your copy of Storm Warning today!

Featured Image: Scholastic Inc.

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